Your Houston News: Department of Justice blocks Texas Voter ID law

-By Melecio Franco

November 18, 2011- In Texas, one has to have a picture identification to buy beer, lottery tickets, cigarettes and spray paint, but efforts to require voters to meet those same requirements have been halted by the federal government.

Despite the efforts of Texas lawmakers to require voters to present picture identification in order to vote, on Nov. 16, the U.S. Department of Justice told state election officials that they have not provided enough information about racial statistics on Hispanics in each county for the law to receive preclearance.

In a letter from T. Christian Herren Jr., chief of the voting section of the DOJ to state election officials, Texas was told that it did not provide “the number of registered voters in Texas by race and Spanish surname within county of residence who current possess a Texas driver’s license or other form of identification issued by [the Department of Public Safety (DPS)] that is current or has expired within 60 days.”

By not providing the information the DOJ believes that the new law has not yet met the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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Huffington Post: Clarence Thomas Assailed For Alleged Ethical Lapses By More House Dems

-By Mike Sacks

November 18, 2011- Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) is turning up the heat on Justice Clarence Thomas based on new information that builds upon previous reports of his alleged ethical lapses.

In late September, Slaughter had sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States to request official action on Thomas' multiyear failure to disclose his wife's income from various conservative think tanks and activist organizations. The Judicial Conference is the principal policy-making and administrative body for the federal court system.

On Friday, Slaughter submitted a new letter, this time addressed to Chief Justice John Roberts in his capacity as the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference, to update and clarify the September letter.

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Think Progress: Ohio Voters Have Nearly Enough Signatures To Block Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Voter Law

-By Ian Millhiser

November 15, 2011- Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping voter suppression bill which shortens the state’s early voting period, bans in-person early voting on Sundays, and prohibits boards of election from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. In 2008, four in 10 votes in Ohio’s capitol city were cast using methods that would be eliminated by this anti-voter law.

It is now almost certain, however, that Kasich’s war on democracy will not impact the 2012 election. According to the Ohio Democratic Party, the secretary of state just certified that Ohio voters submitted nearly all of the signatures they need to suspend this law until after it is ratified or rejected by the entire state electorate in November 2012:

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BREAKING NEWS! Congress Introduces a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

The Amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.

Section 2. The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.

Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association and all such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable

FreeeSpeechForPeople.Org has an online petition supporting this amendement CLICK HERE TO SIGN:

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Mother Jones: Conservatives Plot to Burn, Shred, and Sabotage Scott Walker Recall Effort

—By Andy Kroll

November 11, 2011- A group of self-identified conservatives say they plan to sabotage the effort to recall Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, which begins on Tuesday, by burning and shredding recall petitions they've collected and misleading Wisconsinites about the recall process.

These plans, discussed in Facebook posts that were first reported by the blog PolitiScoop, entail posing as recall supporters and gathering signatures, only to later destroy the petitions. They also include telling Wisconsinites that they can only sign one recall petition (which is false—they can sign different petitions as long as they each correspond to a different organization) and directing signature collectors to the homes of registered sex offenders. (Requests for comment were sent to each of the Facebook posters who allowed messages from other users.)

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LA Times: Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case

-By James Oliphant

November 14, 2011- The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

The occasion was last Thursday, when all nine justices met for a conference to pore over the petitions for review. One of the cases at issue was a suit brought by 26 states challenging the sweeping healthcare overhaul passed by Congress last year, a law that has been a rallying cry for conservative activists nationwide.

The justices agreed to hear the suit; indeed, a landmark 5 1/2-hour argument is expected in March, and the outcome is likely to further roil the 2012 presidential race, which will be in full swing by the time the court’s decision is released.

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