By Brian Bakst
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A top Senate Republican said Friday his caucus would block any attempt to seat the winner of Minnesota's close election until an anticipated court case is finished and an official election certificate is issued.
Pending the counting of hundreds of unopened absentee ballots, Democrat Al Franken holds a 49-vote lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, whose term expires at noon EST Saturday.
Minnesota's other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, has said the man with the most votes after the recount concludes should be seated while legal matters play out. Franken hasn't discussed his intentions.
The new Congress convenes Tuesday. A court challenge and possible appeals could keep the Franken-Coleman contest unsettled for several months. Hundreds of uncounted absentee ballots are due to be opened and examined Saturday, and the Canvassing Board had hoped to wrap up its work by Tuesday.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the incoming chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told reporters Friday that Republicans would object to seating anyone before the already lengthy process is finished.
"I can assure you that there will be no way people on our side of the aisle will agree to seat any senator provisionally or otherwise unless there is a valid election certificate and all legal issues about who got the most votes is finally decided," Cornyn said....(Click for remainder).
By The Legal Times
In a meeting last month with the Barack Obama’s transition staff, representatives of the nation’s top prosecutors caught a glimpse of the president-elect’s thinking on the politically fraught issue of what to do with the the current 93 U.S. attorneys.
“[The president-elect] is going to be smart and be cautious. My gut feeling is it won’t be like it was in 1993,” said U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of Texas’ Western District, a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys. On Dec. 11, Sutton and 15 other members of the committee met with Obama’s DOJ transition chief, David Ogden, and his staff at the Justice Department to advise them on law enforcement issues and to point out areas the committee believes require special attention.
At the meeting, Ogden briefly discussed the U.S. attorney issue, though he said he had had no role in deciding who stays and who goes, according to one committee member. Ogden, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, is reportedly the leading candidate for the Justice Department's No. 2 spot.
Sutton declined to characterize Ogden’s comments but said he left the meeting with the impression that the president-elect will address the U.S. attorneys individually. “I think they’re going to work on a case-by-case basis,” said Sutton, who as a member of the Bush-Cheney transition took part in similar meetings before he was a committee member....(Click for remainder).
Posted by Bret M-C at 5:26 PM
By Michael Seitzman
Elisabeth Hasselbeck wants you to know that the recent Prop 8 vote in California is particularly special because it "came from the People," and that "Only the People should vote to amend the Constitution."
If we left it up to The People, Liz, you wouldn't be allowed to vote to begin with. You also wouldn't get equal pay and you'd be sitting in front of Whoopi on the bus ride home.
How about free speech? You want to rail against our new president, Elisabeth? Put Free Speech to a vote on the day after a terrorist attack on American soil and see if The People would tolerate it. I think you'd find that The People aren't exactly reasonable in a time of crisis.
The problem with people like Elisabeth Hasselbeck is that, one, they only like the intervention of judges when it helps them (see "Florida Recount") and, two, they like to endow The People with more wisdom than reality (or the reality show) supports. It's a romantic notion that The People can be trusted to be reasonable, deliberate, and just. The truth is that The People are often anything but (see "Selma march"). The People don't even act in their own best interests when you remove ideology from the equation entirely. Stock market goes up, people get greedy and buy without employing any reason whatsoever (see "Dot-Com Bubble"). It goes down and those same people sell with wild-eyed terror (see "Crash of 2008").
You can't trust that The People are even remotely educated on the issues. Those of you who live in a state that votes on individual laws, think about how much time you spend on those propositions before you vote. Chances are you read a one-paragraph blurb in your sample ballot over a bowl of cereal on Election Day. If that. Are you truly weighing the pros and cons? Have you read the proposal itself, looked at the statutes on the books, heard from those who would be directly affected? Of course not. That's why we have a congress that holds hearings and why we have courts who listen to both sides of the issue. If you can't cook and you want a good meal you go to a great restaurant. If you don't know how to legislate you vote for people who do....(Click for remainder).
Though he was elected to replace outgoing mayor Tom Potter back in May, Portland, Ore.’s gay mayor Sam Adams was finally sworn in at 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The Oregonian reports that about 40 people were there to witness the ceremony, including his partner, Peter Zuckerman.
Though Adams’s sexuality never became a factor in the race, before it officially began, he was the subject of a smear campaign from a would-be rival, gay real estate developer Bob Ball.
Ball attempted to link Adams to an encounter with an underage intern -- an attempt that failed.
Portland is now the largest city in the United States with an openly gay mayor.
"This is a testament to how fair-minded Portlanders are that it wasn't an issue. I spend my time on the basic issues of life,” Adams told the Associated Press. “A part of that includes equal rights, but that's not even close to a majority of the time. My passions for public service includes promoting social justice, equality for all, but it obviously also includes finding good jobs for people, which is also part of my family's background of not being able to always have economic security. Being gay is part of me, so is being Irish-American, so is being from a small Oregon town."
Posted by Bret M-C at 5:11 PM