In win for #VotingRights, Federal Court Rules NC Electoral Map Unconstitutional

From the New York Times:

A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s congressional map on Tuesday, condemning it as unconstitutional because Republicans had drawn the map seeking a political advantage.

The ruling was the first time that a federal court had blocked a congressional map because of a partisan gerrymander, and it instantly endangered Republican seats in the coming elections.

Judge James A. Wynn Jr., in a biting 191-page opinion, said that Republicans in North Carolina’s Legislature had been “motivated by invidious partisan intent” as they carried out their obligation in 2016 to divide the state into 13 congressional districts, 10 of which are held by Republicans. The result, Judge Wynn wrote, violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

The ruling and its chief demand — that the Republican-dominated Legislature create a new landscape of congressional districts by Jan. 24 — infused new turmoil into the political chaos that has in recent years enveloped North Carolina. President Trump carried North Carolina in 2016, but the state elected a Democrat as its governor on the same day and in 2008 supported President Barack Obama.

The unusually blunt decision by the panel could lend momentum to two other challenges on gerrymandering that are already before the Supreme Court — and that the North Carolina case could join if Republicans make good on their vow to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.

In October, the court heard an appeal of another three-judge panel’s ruling that Republicans had unconstitutionally gerrymandered Wisconsin’s State Assembly in an attempt to relegate Democrats to a permanent minority. In the second case, the justices will hear arguments by Maryland Republicans that the Democratic-controlled Legislature redrew House districts to flip a Republican-held seat to Democratic control.

Read the complete article here.

Obama to introduce “American Jobs Act”

In a speech to a joint session of Congress tonight President Obama is expected to unveil a new White House economic strategy to bolster employment. With unemployment at 9.1 percent, and figures for jobless claims rising according to today’s report from the Department of Labor, the President is switching emphasis from large public stimulus packages to job creation.

Republican lawmakers are not interested in job creation but in profit maximization. Predictably, some are already calling Obama’s announced “American Jobs Act” an example of the same tired Democratic ideas that have failed to stimulate the economy in the past. No word yet on whether Republican ideas about profit maximization and deregulation lead to anything but risky and unstable economic climates like the one that brought about the more recent financial collapse. When it comes to economics, Republicans really have no good ideas.

Democratic lawmakers are also not much interested in job creation. If they were, Americans would have labor laws that promoted job security and stability, fair wages, and standard benefits such as health care insurance. Of course, Democrats say they are for job creation, but when they say this while passing legislation at the same time that allows corporations to transfer profits and jobs out of the country, it’s hard to believe their commitment to American workers is anything but political pandering to people who don’t know any better.

The fact is a small but powerful minority of Americans has become more wealthy in the last two decades since the global internet economy emerged, largely because the corporations they own and run have paired wages, trimmed benefits, hemmed unions, outsourced jobs, and generally practiced an economics of greed. In order to turn this situation around the President cannot be expected to provide job security for every American without help from Congress. The problem is, again, that Congress is effectively bought and sold by the wealthy political elite that governs economic policy in this country. Without a massive congressional turnover, which is unlikely to happened given the influence and power of money in electoral politics, legislation for protecting and promoting the interests of American workers (that is, every American who has, wants, or needs a job) will be anemic and unsuitable for returning Americans to work at jobs that pay well with good benefits

Everyone keeps saying those days are over. If they are over, then so is the growth and sustainability of the American economy. Without workers who get paid well to buy things we produce and other countries import, we will be a nation of debtors with permanent status anxiety. ::KPS::