Washington Supreme Court won’t redraw political maps, will accept redistricting commission’s work

The Washington Supreme Court will not exercise its authority to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative district maps, leaving in place the work of the bipartisan redistricting commission.

In a unanimous ruling Friday, the court found the commission had substantially met its legal obligations by voting on a map framework just before the midnight Nov. 15 deadline — despite the fact that the panel did not reveal its maps publicly before the vote and with acknowledgment that work on completing the maps continued after the deadline.

The court’s ruling, which drew criticism from some political activists, was out of deference to the Legislature, whose Democratic and Republican caucus leaders appointed the four voting members of the redistricting commission.

“Redistricting raises largely political questions best addressed in the first instance by commissioners appointed by the legislative caucuses where negotiation and compromise is necessary for agreement,” wrote Chief Justice Steven González in

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How Much Are Latinos Shifting Right?

Of course, perception can drive reality: If Latinos believe that Democrats take them for granted, they are more likely to vote for Republican candidates, according to analysis from Equis Research, a Washington-based firm that focuses on Latino voters across the country.

Mr. Guillen, who did not respond to several messages from The Times, has fiercely embraced his new party, appearing with Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas during his party switch announcement and welcoming an endorsement from Mr. Trump by enthusiastically recalling how his signs “covered South Texas” during the presidential election. (Four years after Hillary Clinton won the district by 13 percentage points, Mr. Trump won by the same margin in 2020.)

“Something is happening in South Texas, and many of us are waking up to the fact that the values of those in Washington, D.C., are not our values, not the values of most Texans,” Mr. Guillen told reporters

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Biden battered by wild political turns: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Joe Biden’s promise as a candidate was to bring stability after chaos — and his approval rating through the first six months of his time in office was nothing if not stable.

Then came August, and there that went. A wild month of national, international, meteorological and epidemiological events leaves Biden at the low point of his presidency, after an acutely low stretch for the country.

Biden’s approval rating is down to 44% in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll out Friday morning, with 51% disapproval. His approval rating is down a striking 9-point drop among independents, and 10 points among men.

Afghanistan is the proximate cause — notwithstanding fresh details about former President Donald Trump’s late efforts to remove troops long before Biden did, as reported Friday by ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

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Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and ‘shadow docket’

The hearing — for which a date and witnesses have not been announced — is one of several fronts where Democrats are pushing back on the Texas abortion ban and on the conservative Supreme Court majority that let it go into force, despite its violation of the precedent set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

“The Supreme Court must operate with the highest regard for judicial integrity in order to earn the public’s trust,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement. “This anti-choice law is a devastating blow to Americans’ constitutional rights — and the Court allowed it to see the light of day without public deliberation or transparency.”

The hearing will examine the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called “shadow docket,” the nickname for emergency actions taken by the court that do not go through the full briefing and hearing process of a … Read the rest

McCarthy Threatens Technology Firms That Comply With Riot Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, has threatened to retaliate against any company that complies with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, after the panel asked dozens of firms to preserve the phone and social media records of 11 far-right members of Congress who pushed to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Mr. McCarthy’s warning was an escalation of his efforts to thwart a full accounting of the deadly attack at the Capitol carried out by a pro-Trump mob, and his latest attempt to insulate the former president and Republican lawmakers from scrutiny of any ties to the violence. It came after he led the G.O.P. opposition to the creation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the riot, and then pulled five Republican congressmen from the select committee that Democrats created on their own, boycotting the proceedings.

In preservation orders the special committee

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China bans ‘incorrect political’ and ‘effeminate’ media

China is intensifying its stringent campaign to clean up their airwaves.

Lawmakers in Beijing announced on Thursday that entertainers with “incorrect political positions” shall be prohibited from appearing on broadcasts as part of sweeping new restrictions to make Chinese media a more “patriotic atmosphere” for fans, Reuters has reported.

Their message included criticism that the industry supports an “effeminate” male image, to the detriment of Chinese men, they said.

The National Radio and Television Administration of China also intends to put the squeeze on stars’ outsized salaries while encouraging such entertainment tycoons to volunteer to aid public welfare programs.

Recent Chinese celebrity scandals, from tax evasion to sexual assault, may have prompted leaders to make big moves, the Reuters report suggests, as the Communist Party’s publicity department slammed the industry for “severely polluting the social atmosphere,” they said in a statement.

Lawmakers have also denounced male entertainers deemed
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Opinion | Don’t Be So Sure a Supreme Court Backlash Will Boost Democrats

There is plausibility to this notion. The consensus narrative goes something like this: After Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, it triggered passionate opposition from the pro-life constituency, while pro-choicers grew complacent as the years went by. Abortion foes consistently were more focused on the issue — and the allied issue of Supreme Court appointments. Now, with Roe on life support, the pro-choice majority will take to the polls in greater numbers. In Virginia, ex-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, in a close race to regain his old job, is already making the abortion issue a central argument in his campaign.

But based on the last four decades, this argument may not be all that solid after all.

For one thing, it turns out that abortion was not really an instant trigger for conservative evangelical political engagement. As POLITICO detailed in 2014, the evangelical community was by and large supportive of abortion

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Supreme Court and Joe Manchin tighten Biden’s political straitjacket

Add in the Republican Party’s expanding assault on voting rights and a looming fight over raising government borrowing levels, and Democrats face a struggle to repay the faith of their 2020 voters. And that’s without horrendous tests from a pandemic that is again filling hospitals, targeting unvaccinated Americans — including, increasingly, kids who have been left waiting on regulators — and looking likely to dog the White House deep into midterm election year.

Each of these crises is putting Biden’s leadership under extreme examination and in several cases exposing his inability to meaningfully shift prevailing dynamics because of divides in his own party and Republicans’ obstructive power.

The President has issued stirring and even angry demands for action on voting rights and abortion rights. But a 50-50 Senate and a new conservative Supreme Court majority severely limit his options — unless he is prepared to embrace the political earthquakes of

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Ignoring Puerto Rico’s political status is a mistake, advocates tell Biden

A national coalition of stateside Puerto Ricans say they “are deeply disappointed” that President Joe Biden’s task force on the island won’t weigh in on the ongoing congressional debate over the island’s political status.

Power 4 Puerto Rico, a group that advocates for federal policies and legislation that address Puerto Rico’s recovery and economic growth, sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by NBC News, the group said that while they are pleased by efforts to bring back a “working group that is meaningfully empowered to coordinate Puerto Rico federal policy” that also addresses reconstruction challenges, “it would be negligent of the task force” to ignore one of “two major underlying structural barriers to Puerto Rico’s prosperity: 123 years of U.S. colonialism.”

A month ago, Biden revived a White House Puerto Rico task force to advance rebuilding efforts in the U.S.

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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.27.21

Good Friday morning.

ICYMI — Dr. Scott Rivkees is exiting the Ron DeSantis administration.

Florida’s phantom surgeon general is on his way out the door.

Scott Rivkees, we hardly knew you. Literally. Image via WLRN.

Rivkees will leave his position when his contract is up on Sept. 20

“We thank Dr. Rivkees for his meaningful work during the most challenging pandemic of our lifetime. We appreciate his service to the people of Florida and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw said in a statement provided after Florida Politics first reported the news about Rivkees leaving..

A pediatric physician, Rivkees’ selection for Surgeon General in 2019 was panned due to his lack of public health knowledge.

Rivkees was largely absent from public view throughout the pandemic. One of the few appearances he made was noteworthy only because he was yanked from a panel for

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