More attack ads in District D

I received this lovely message in my inbox at 11:53 this morning, from an organization labeled “Say No To Dwight Boykins“, complete with the email address of “SayNoToDwightBoykins@politician.com” The email contained another poorly created advertisement and went as follows:

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“Say No To Dwight Boykins

Fellow Democrats:

District D will be destroyed if Dwight Boykins is elected. Dwight Boykins and his City Hall Insider friends are only in it for themselves. Ask anyone who has talked with Republican Dwight and they will tell you that he is implying that once elected he will GIVE THEM CONTRACTS.  That sounds like a page out of the Book of Rick Perry and Tom Delay! J.R. “Bob” Jones donated THOUSANDS of Dollars to his fellow Republican. You remember Bob Jones don’t you?

Bob Jones’ disrespectful email to Council member Adams when she refused to support Double Taxing our community.

Now Republican Dwight is taking money from the same man who disrespected our Council member and Boykins was SILENT when this woman was attacked.TYPICAL REPUBLICAN!
 

District D can’t afford to elect a REPUBLICAN Insider. Dwight Boykins is BAD FOR OUR COMMUNITY BAD FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS Say No To Dwight Boykins!”

Notice the link about “Bob Jones’ disrespectful email” goes to a note by Jolanda Jones. It is about something the megadonor sent to Councilmember Wanda Adams in the aftermath of the Prop 1 kerfuffle. The astute will remember the previous attack ad against Dwight Boykins, which I wrote about at that time. Unlike this ad, the previous one was created on Facebook by an individual named “Dennis Glenn” and shared by another candidate, Larry McKinzie. This ad has not been connected with any individual, nonetheless any candidate, although they are remarkably similar in format and message.

Previously, Glenn had gone after Boykins for donating to the GOP and voting in a single Republican primary. These attacks were much less substance-based, although the previous advertisement contained mostly half-truths as far as substance goes.

I immediately noticed the difference in the token Republicans juxtaposed alongside Boykins in the advertisement, and how they differed from two weeks ago.  Originally, the photo included serious posed photos of Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, George W. Bush and Mitch McConnell, alongside a silly photo of Boykins that could easily have been photoshopped. This photo, however, includes a more serious photo of Boykins that I have seen before, along with sillier photos of the Republicans. This time it is Ronald Reagan, John Boehner, Rick Perry, Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney and Clarence Thomas. The presence of an African-American Republican in this ad immediately caught my eye.

The photo on the bottom, of course, in that infamous image from Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. An interesting jab against Republicans since the State of Alabama was run by the other party at that time. Yes, yes, I know they were Conservative Democrats and shortly thereafter they fled en masse to the GOP, but it would not have been my first suggestion for an image of why Republican politicians are bad.

No idea who is behind these, I will be conducting an investigation shortly if anyone has filed a d/b/a for “Say No to Dwight Boykins.” My hunch is that it is someone from the junior varsity squad (i.e., the fringe candidates).

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Fisher decision

The New York Times reports that the United States Supreme Court has come out with their ruling in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. Many months ago, I wrote an op-ed on this topic. I wrote shortly before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case, where I repeated the assertion made often in the media at that time, that a 5-4 division of the Court would have struck affirmative action as unconstitutional.

That was before the court heard arguments, however. As this decision approached, I became convinced the Court would render an exceedingly narrow opinion, pertaining only to Texas because of the 10% rule, in a nearly unanimous manner. For the first time in many, many years, I was right about one of these things.

The Supreme Court held 7-1 that the Fifth Circuit had, indeed, erred in their ruling. However, they attributed this to the Appeals court incorrectly not applying heightened scrutiny to UT’s affirmative action program.  6 Justices specifically held not to overturn Grutter v. Bollinger, the most recent Supreme Court opinion upholding affirmative action.

The Justices, for all intent and purposes, were actually divided into three groups. 5 Justices (Roberts, CJ., Kennedy, Breyer, Alito, Kagan, J.J.) held the opinion of the court, the thing with heightened scrutiny and what not. 2 Justices (Scalia and Thomas, J.J.) would have scrapped all affirmative action. Justice Ginsburg would have affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s opinion. The missing link, Justice Kagan, did not take part in the case since it was pending while she was the President’s Solicitor General.

This was especially interesting since Justice Kennedy was in the dissent of Grutter. While Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were not on the Court in that year, Justices typically as conservative as them were dissenting in the previous case, like Chief Justice Rehnquist.

We’ll see how the Legislature deals with all this in 2015, though.

Supreme Court update

Three major cases were decided today by the United States Supreme Court. All three will have a major impact upon our State for the future.

First up, the case of Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council. In the 7-2 ruling, authored by Justice Scalia, the Court held that the State of Arizona had no right under to regulate election or voting requirements, being precluded from doing so under Federal Law. The issue in question revolved around the requirements Arizona used to prove citizenship. While Federal Law, under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (colloquially styled the “Motor Voter Act”), requires only a signed formed, the Arizona statute required proof through either birth certificates, passports or naturalization papers.

The case sets an important precedent in the relation between Federal and State oversight of elections. Most directly, the decision will mean that Texas could not institute a similar measure. In a more expansionist view of this ruling, States would be prohibited from instituting more strict voting requirements than Federal Law allows. This view was partially taken by Scalia’s opinion, which relied heavily upon the Motor Voter Act’s instruction for States to “accept and use” federal forms. This could possibly have the implication of blocking more and more of super-strict State voting restrictions.

Next, the Court decided the case of Salinas v. Texas. In a typical 5-4, Conservatives versus Liberal ruling, written by Justice Alito, the court held that Miranda protections, most notably the right to remain silent, are not applicable. In that case, Defendant Salinas voluntarily entered a police station in order to answer questions about a recent murder investigation. After answering questions, Salinas stopped somewhat abruptly. At trial, the prosecution used Salinas’ silence as evidence of his guilt.

Justices Scalia and Thomas insinuated in a concurrence that, even if Salinas had expressly invoked his fifth amendment rights, it would not have granted him protection. The seven remaining Justices, however, disagreed.

Finally, in yet another 5-4 decision, the Court ruled in Alleyne v. United States to overturn a 2002  decision, Harris v. United States, pertaining to mandatory sentencing and Sixth Amendment litigation. In this case, the issue pertained to the sentencing of an individual found guilty of a crime, where a sentence would be enhanced if a certain fact were proved.

Specifically in Alleyne, the issue pertained to a Defendant convicted of armed robbery. The sentence would be enhanced if it could be proven that the Defendant was brandishing  firearm. Although the jury could not find this fact satisfied, the Judge did, and so the Defendant was sentenced with the enhanced penalty. In reversing the 11 year old Harris case, Justice Thomas joined with the 4 traditional liberals on the Court to state that the Sixth Amendment protects Defendants from anyone other than juries deciding such facts.

Warrant required for DWI blood test

The Washington Post carried this BIG story yesterday, and I meant to get to it, but never had time. In an 8-1 opinion, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Thomas was the lone dissenter), the court ruled that police must try or have a reasonable duty to obtain a warrant before forcing a blood test to test for BAC. I have no idea how “try” or “reasonable” will be interpreted by the states.

The case, Missouri v. McNeely, denoted that the extraction of blood for the purposes of testing constituted a “search” under the fourth amendment. Accordingly, a Judge’s warrant would be required before said extraction.

I did not think that this really applicable to Texas law, but, evidently, it is. Texas (especially Houston) generally allows for defendants to refuse BAC test (the individuals would then incur an automatic license suspension), but it is becoming less common in recent years. I have a hunch that back in the good ole’ boy days, since half the legislators seemed to be defense attorneys in their other jobs, exemptions and the like were a lot more ubiquitous.

However, times have changed and the average legislator nowadays is a Republican businessman from the suburbs, instead of a Democratic attorney from the country. Localities now have broad power to set “no-refusal weekends” during certain big-events, as well as the State providing exemptions from the privilege of refusing BAC tests for a variety of categories (repeat offenders, children in the vehicle, etc). The Statesman had a good article about all this. Austin generally uses warrants, and the article insinuated Houston did as well, but it suggested that rural areas rarely did.

The Statesman article stated that Austin PD will not be doing any more warrantless blood tests. I wonder if HPD will follow.