Category Archives: Lawsuits

Are Murtha’s days numbered? Polls say maybe.

Rep. John Murtha, whose claims to fame include Abscam conspiracy, slandering Marines, smearing half his own state as racist, and serving up enough pork in Congress to supply Oktoberfest, may be watching his custom-gerrymandered seat slip away.

One poll recently released has Murtha’s Republican opponent, Bill Russell, pulling within the margin of error in the upcoming election, while another poll leaked to Miz Michelle by her Pennsylvania source shows Russell with a comfortable lead.

No need to remind me that I just tossed up the world’s longest freakin’ post on how I think the polls this year are about as useful for toilet paper as they are for predicting elections. However, given that Murtha is a guy who has held this seat since 1974, who typically considers a 2-to-1 victory margin on Election Night a squeaker, who lives in a district with a 63% Democratic registration roll, and who is running in a “we all hate Republicans worse than liver worse than root canals” year, it is absolutely unheard of that Russell, a Republican Iraq hawk who won a spot on the ballot with a write-in campaign, could be giving Murtha the race of his life.

I don’t think it’s petty of me to note how anxiously I am looking forward to seeing Murtha assuming long overdue civilian status, bringing with him little but his shredded dignity, his Abscam souvenirs, his various coffee mugs from his favorite defense contractors, and his pending slander suits.

UPDATE: Commenter MommaMT (see below) is kind enough to alert me that the “worse than liver” expression is not quite apt in significant parts of Pennsylvania. I hope my substitution is satisfactory.

The Fairness Doctrine, resurrected from the Pit

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has finally made public intentions toward a plan whose existence many Democrats have been trying to deny for years: bringing back that speech-suppressing abomination, the Fairness Doctrine. (Links here and here, and with audio here and here).

More on the Doctrine’s history, why it’s a dangerous assault on the Constitution, and why Democrats like Bingaman love it so much and want it back so badly, below the break.

Continue reading

Could the polls be wrong? It’s happened, but…

A bunch of people, both live and over email, have asked me why I don’t blog more on poll results, especially given that I worked in the business for a number of years.

Admittedly, I’m blogging a lot less on poll-related topics than I did, say, a month or more ago, which is a bit counterintuitive in light of the avalanche of poll results that comes in the last couple of months before an approaching presidential Election Day.  Since mid-September, pollblogging on WitSnapper has been especially rare, and even then I’ve typically done so only to comment on the misuse or shoddy execution of polls.

There’s a pretty simple reason: taken as a whole, the polls for this race have been entirely unreliable, and my estimation is that it’s because of pollster panic.

In addition, if McCain were to overtake Obama in the last couple of weeks in defiance of the polls, it wouldn’t be the first (or even second) time in modern election history.

Details and further links below the break.

Continue reading

SCOTUS hoses Ohio

Justice John Paul Stevens took Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s case to the full Supreme Court.  The Court sided with Brunner.  The temporary restraining order on the early-voting program has been overturned, and Sec. Brunner is not required to check hundreds of thousands of questionable registration forms against state motor vehicle or Social Security databases.

No word as to the Court’s reasoning yet; I’m guessing it’s because they thought there wasn’t time, and the complainants took too long to file their grievance.  Sec. Brunner still has yet to explain why she initiated a program that’s a magnet for fraud, and barred election observers from monitoring the registration.  Peter Bronson said three weeks ago, “If Ohio polling looks like Chicago, thank Brunner.”  The article details Brunner’s long history of stacking the deck of Ohio elections in favor of Democrats since taking office.

No link yet…will update as they trickle in.

UPDATE: Here’s the basic AP wire dispatch; more details likely later.

UPDATE II: Allahpundit is on it.  So is Miz Michelle. Bloomberg.com has a more in-depth news report on top of the wire dispatch.

Brunner to SCOTUS: My 200,000 forms! MINE!!

A number of developments in quick succession out of Ohio regarding Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D-OH) and the questionable registration forms arising from her questionable early-voting program:

  • After saying initially that she would not appeal the Sixth Circuit’s upholding of the District Court’s temporary restraining order demanding that she allow tighter oversight of the program before continuing it, she has swept into the U.S. Supreme Court alleging a “veiled attempt at disenfranchising voters” (not quite clear if she’s talking about the Appeals Court).
  • The number of suspect forms Brunner is protecting is now known:  She’s sitting on a whopping 200,000 forms that warrant investigation.  Brunner is refusing to allow county boards of elections to match registration forms against state resources such as state motor vehicle and Social Security databases.  As Ace of Spades mentions (Ace has been awesome covering this, by the way), Bush’s margin of victory in Ohio four years ago was 118,457 votes.
  • It is already known that Obama activists from out-of-state, falsely registered as Ohio residents, have indeed received absentee ballots, as part of a larger effort to get thousands of others registered and furnished with similar ballots.  One of Sec. Brunner’s most frequent refrains (echoed constantly by ACORN) is that there is no evidence that fake registrations translate directly to fake ballots cast.

Sec. Brunner has asked Associate Justice John Paul Stevens to take her appeal.  He may decide it himself; he may take it to the full Court; he may decline to hear the appeal altogether (in which case Brunner could see if she can persuade another Justice to take her appeal.  Or she can just see if she can run out the clock while she continues to deny the county boards permission to access state databases to screen out at least some of the 200,000 registration forms she sitting on, while absentee ballots continue to go out.  Anyone taking odds?

Murtha grasps at petty little straws UPDATE: “Oh, hey, sorry, just kidding. But not about the murder.”

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), America’s newest “ex-Marine,” is still living in his own big fat bloated bubble of denial.

The congressman accused eight Marines in 2006 of the murder of Iraqi civilians after a firefight in Haditha, without any evidence to back it up except a sensational story in TIME Magazine.  Today, now that six of the eight have had their charges dropped, one other acquitted of all charges, the last still awaiting court-martial on reduced charges, and two of the Marines filing or preparing to file lawsuits against him for slander and defamation, he is repeating his smear to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha stands by a controversial remark he made previously that U.S. Marines killed women and children “in cold blood” in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.

The blunt description changed how American troops engaged Iraqis and improved overall conditions in the war, Murtha, an 18-term Democrat from Johnstown, said today during a wide-ranging interview with Tribune-Review reporters and editors.

“There are all kinds of things that have happened that have made a difference, but one of the big differences is that we are not bullying our way through like we used to,” said Murtha, a former Marine and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. “The rules of engagement are clear — and it’s changed. One of the things that has made it better in Iraq is we are no longer just breaking down doors.”

“It’s my obligation to speak out. I try everything I can to get things done,” Murtha said.

Right.  He’s a real prince, that Jack Murtha.  See you in court, pal.  Here’s hoping you graduate to Citizen Murtha real quick, courtesy of the targets of your other bizarre smear:  your own constituents, whom you tarred today as racists for not uniformly supporting Barack Obama (Allahpundit and Miz Michelle have more).

Tool.

UPDATE: Murtha apologizes a day later in a media release for calling Western Pennsylvanians racists.  No apology to be found about sliming the Haditha Marines (twice now).  And Murtha’s Iraq vet opponent Bill Russell gets a neat new campaign ad out of it.

Too bad he can’t get in Murtha’s face about it now, because Murtha has suddenly cancelled their debate tonight. Reminds me of that video of Murtha running for the elevator, no?  Hopefully Russell can put together a nice little ad slamming him for that.

6th Circuit cracks down on Ohio SecState

Ohio’s early voting program is shut down again, in another blow to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.  Unless she takes the matter to the Supreme Court, she will need to stop stonewalling the Ohio GOP in their efforts to screen out fake voters.

Last week a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Ohio’s early-voting program spearheaded by Sec. Brunner.  The program allowed people to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day; Ohio Republicans (Brunner is a Democrat) complained that the program did not allow for sufficient oversight to prevent fraudulent registrations and votes, and the federal judge agreed.

Brunner appealed to the Sixth Circuit, where a three-judge panel called for the TRO to be reversed (and strangely broke with protocol by releasing their ruling before the full court heard the case, to which at least one judge took vocal exception).  The full court overruled the panel and upheld the order yesterday, ordering the SecState to implement tighter controls on the program before reinstating it, including providing access to motor vehicle databases to match against new registrants.

Election Law Blog (via Allahpundit) gives an excellent summary of the ruling and its implications.

ELB mentions that there is still time for Sec. Brunner to appeal to SCOTUS, and that Justice Stevens has rejected such an appeal before but that came on the eve of the election in 2004 and there simply was not time to hear it.  With three weeks left, Brunner could still ask the court to reverse the TRO.  However, existing case law (ELB cites Purcell) leans in the direction of deference to the federal court on these matters, and there are many underlying issues in this particular case that complicate matters considerably, so the odds that SCOTUS would hear such an appeal are not exactly bankable.

Miz Michelle has more.

ACORN in Ohio: “RICORN?”

A civil RICO suit has been filed against ACORN in Ohio.

Columbus-based think tank The Buckeye Institute has filed suit in Warren County’s Court of Common Pleas.  The suit is brought on behalf of two voters claiming that ACORN’s fraudulent voter registration methods have a diluting effect on their votes and those of others, and that the signature-collection methods are set up in such a way that fits the legal definition of a corrupt organization under the RICO statute.  Here is the full complaint.

My guess?  This suit represents the first crack in the dam.  It won’t be the last complaint of its kind; it will spread to other counties and states, and the legal mud-wrestling will last long after the election.

Incidentally, on the top page of the complaint you might notice that ACORN is named as codefendant with Project Vote, the political arm of ACORN which Barack Obama ran while a practicing attorney.  But don’t let anybody ever tell you that Obama has any direct connection to ACORN or its voter registration tactics…Fight the Smears!

Federal judge: Ohio SecState breaking the law by enabling ACORN

In the second ruling against her in as many weeks, Ohio State Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has been found in violation of federal election laws by a federal judge.  Sec. Brunner neglected to “take adequate steps to validate the identity [sic] of newly registered voters.”  The ruling stems from complaints about the Secretary’s program allowing people to register and vote at the same time, without waiting for the registration to be verified.

The nut of the complaints, of course, was that the lack of oversight in the registration/voting program left the door wide open for voter fraud.  At the front of the complainants’ minds was ACORN, the community organizing umbrella group with a long, documented history of unethical or criminal voter registration practices continuing into the present day, which is known to have deployed an enormous number of its troops to Ohio.  (As noted earlier, Ohio is one of the states of interest to the FBI in their probe of ACORN’s activities.)

Details below the break.

Continue reading

Could Ted Stevens skate?

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) may just have caught a break from overzealous prosecutors in his trial on corruption-related charges, according to the Los Angeles Times. (Link via Don Surber.)

According to the story, lawyers for the prosecution neglected to disclose testimony possibly helpful to the defense in a timely manner:

The government previously turned over a redacted version of the FBI interview with [Alaska oilman and star witness Bill J.] Allen to defense lawyers but conceded today they had erred and that portions of the summary should not have been excised. They turned over the new evidence after discovering the oversight Wednesday night.

Defense lawyer Brendan V. Sullivan said the omitted material included statements in which Allen contradicts himself on the question of whether he believed Stevens would have paid for the home improvements if he had been billed.

The prosecution is…ahem…meeting with difficulty in convincing the “visibly angry” judge, let alone defense counsel, that this was an accident.  Presiding judge Emmet Sullivan is hinting that he is considering a mistrial:

“I am going to bring the jury in and let them know we are not going to proceed today,” he added later in the morning. “Maybe they will come back for further service . . . and maybe they won’t.”

Buzz says the judge is demanding a good reason from prosecutors not to throw the case out.  If the People blow this case, they have no more business working for the government than Stevens has.

Where villainy and thugs prevail, there Ted is ever found

I tell you, it seems no matter how bad the Democrats get in terms of campaign thuggery, Republican Senator Ted Stevens never seems to have any trouble helping the GOP keep up with the Joneses.  Yea, verily, a bloated paragon of venality and shady-eyed depravity!

From the Wall Street Journal, via Instapundit, more cease-and-desist abuse, this time in Alaska:

In Alaska earlier this month, radio ads hit the airwaves trumpeting the allegation that Sen. Ted Stevens received a sweetheart trade-in deal on a new Land Rover. An Alaska law firm representing the Republican senator quickly fired off letters to stations around the state demanding they stop running an ad it said was “factually incorrect and a gross distortion of the real facts.”…

While some stations buckle under the pressure and drop the ads, most refuse. “I think candidates want us to become the censors,” says Mike Burgess, general manager of KOB, the NBC affiliate in Albuquerque. “I don’t think that’s our job.” The station has already received a handful of letters requesting ad takedowns this political season.

The article also says:

While no one tracks the number of legal notices broadcasters receive on political ads, station managers and lawyers say attempts to block ads are growing both in number and intensity, particularly in states with closely contested elections.

I’d like someone to start clocking and documenting this trend.  If nothing else, when officeholders finally face the prospect of a track record of state-sanctioned harassment of TV and radio stations, it may make them think twice about abusing the legal system to harass legitimate broadcasters (or at least limit their itchy C&D-letter fingers to complaints that actually have legs).

As for Senator Stevens (hopefully soon to be Citizen Stevens, then Inmate Stevens)…enjoy prison, Senator.  You won’t be missed.

State intimidation of political opponents, again

(UPDATE: David Bernstein at Volokh has an excellent point.  Following his example, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and putting the controversial “Hunter” ad right here on the blog.  You’ll see embedded YouTube video below the break.  Let ’em come after me.  Now on to the post…)

On the heels of the Democratic Party threatening to release the IRS hounds on the organizers of the anti-Ahmadinejad protest earlier this week if they didn’t personally snub Sarah Palin as a speaker, here comes Barack Obama’s lawyer threatening to release the FCC hounds on any TV station that dares to air an anti-Obama issue ad released by the NRA.

If shutting down TV stations weren’t bad enough, officers of the court and law enforcement in Missouri, prompted by the Obama campaign, are gearing up to prosecute for libel anyone the campaign says “lies or misleads” about Sen. Obama.  Fabulous idea:  a political candidate formulating his own standard of libel and recruiting officials with the power of the state to enforce it.

It’s tough to type while I’m clenching my fists in white-hot anger, but details are indeed below the break.

Continue reading