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Hometown: Atlanta
Home country: US
Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 4,631

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In Rare Appeal, Federal Judge Begs Senators To Fill Vacancies On His Court

Source: Huffington Post

It’s not often that a federal judge pleads with the White House and senators to fill vacancies on his or her court. But in the case of U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill, his court’s workload has become so unmanageable that it’s come to begging for help.

“I write this letter out of concern for some 8.5 million people who live in the Eastern District of California, with my intention to prevent an impending, acute, and judicial catastrophe,” O’Neill wrote in a letter Friday to White House counsel Pat Cipollone and California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. “The statement sounds serious and ominous. It is both. It may also sound like an exaggeration. It is not.”


O’Neill is one of the two judges retiring in the coming months. He is taking senior status on Feb. 2, 2020, along with Judge Morrison England Jr., who is taking senior status on Dec. 17, 2019. Senior status is when a judge has worked long enough to take a reduced caseload or retire completely while still receiving a full salary. Neither O’Neill nor England plan to continue working. Both gave more than a year’s notice of their retirement.

The White House, which routinely announces its intent to nominate people to various federal court seats, has not indicated plans to nominate anyone to this court. Typically, the White House works with both of a state’s U.S. senators to pick judicial nominees. President Donald Trump has ignored that tradition with appeals court nominees but mostly stuck to it with district court picks.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/federal-court-vacancies-california-district-judge-lawrence-oneill_n_5daddccae4b0422422c9b149

Federal Judge Declares GOP 'Poll Tax' Unconstitutional, Says State Can't Restrict Right to Vote Base

Source: Law & Crime

A federal court in Florida has ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny individuals with prior felony convictions the right to vote based on their inability to pay fees and fines. Friday’s decision restores the right to vote for plaintiffs who otherwise would be eligible to vote in Florida but who simply cannot afford to pay off their outstanding fines, fees and restitution.

The 55-page opinion by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle is a victory for voting rights advocates and Civil Rights advocates who argued that Florida Republicans had essentially re-instituted a poll tax on the right to vote in the Sunshine State.

The mood among pro-democracy advocates was jubilant just after the 2018 midterm elections when Florida’s electorate overwhelmingly chose to allow formerly incarcerated individuals their right to vote. Some 65 percent of Floridians voted in favor of re-extending the franchise. The passage of Amendment 4 would have allowed 1.5 million previously disenfranchised Floridians the right to vote.

In sum, the popular measure affected roughly seven percent of Florida’s entire population–but disproportionately impacted the state’s African-American community for the better. Under the prior, 150-year-old system of disenfranchisement, nearly 20 percent of Florida’s black population was denied the right to vote.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/civil-rights/federal-judge-declares-gop-poll-tax-unconstitutional-says-state-cant-restrict-right-to-vote-based-on-ability-to-pay/
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