MI Republicans Admit to Illegal Foreclosure Scheme, “Surrender” to Democrats

Democrats and Republicans have settled the suit seeking to prevent Michigan Republicans from using foreclosure lists to challenge voters. The MDP statement on the settlement says:

An agreement announced today by Obama for America, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Michigan Republican Party, the Michigan Democratic Party, the Macomb County Republican Party, the Macomb County Democratic Party, and plaintiffs Duane Maletski, Sharon Lopez, and Frances M. Zick protects the voting rights of foreclosure victims. The settlement acknowledges the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote. This settlement has the force of law behind it and ensures that Republicans cannot disenfranchise families facing foreclosure. [my emphasis]

In their reply to the joint motions to dismiss from the Republicans, the Democrats reminded that 6th Circuit precedent grants discovery before a suit like this can be dismissed on the jurisdictional grounds the Republicans had cited in their motions.

Under controlling Sixth Circuit precedent, when jurisdictional challenges raise questions of fact that are intertwined with merits questions, the proper course is denial of the motion to dismiss, conduct of discovery in the ordinary course, and consideration of the issues at the appropriate time on summary judgment. And because none of the Defendants has answered an interrogatory or produced a document in response to the Court-ordered discovery on jurisdictional issues, controlling precedent bars the Court from granting their motions. The rule is simple: When a defendant introduces evidence of its own related to the merits, it cannot block the plaintiff from conducting full discovery and still prevail.

I’m guessing–though this is an outtamyarse guess–that the Republicans weighed their options, thought discovery was sufficiently likely (and sufficiently damaging) that they chose, instead, to settle. And in return, the Democrats get to affirm that, indeed, Republicans were planning on using foreclosure lists to challenge voters.

Here’s Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer on the settlement:

Today’s settlement protects the voting rights of all Michigan citizens and guarantees that Republicans cannot use foreclosure lists to deny or challenge anyone’s right to vote. It is no surprise the Republicans back pedaled when their illegal scheme was revealed, and their surrender today ensures that Republicans cannot take advantage of the economic crisis to deny anyone’s voting rights. Read more

Why Is the DNC Ignoring MI’s Citizens’ Legal Complaints about the Cluster$%@#?

The Democratic Party’s charter requires that the Party:

Establish standards and rules of procedure to afford all members of the Democratic Party full, timely and equal opportunities to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates, … and further, to promote fair campaign practices and the fair adjudication of disputes. (Charter, Article I, Section 4)

Yet both the Democratic National Committee and the Michigan Democratic Party appear to be violating that requirement in their selection of which challenges to the MI Clusterfuck to hear at the May 31 Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting.

At least one group of ordinary Michigan citizens submitted a complaint that appears to fulfill all legal requirements. Yet the MDP has failed to follow its own rules on how to assist with and respond to that complaint–and it also did not comply with the requirement that it publish the names of those selected in the April 19 district conventions (which triggers a deadline for the submission of complaints). And the DNC will only hear the two state party-led complaints at the May 31 Rules and Bylaw Committee, thereby violating the requirement that "all members" of the party be able "to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates."

This complaint is similar to the petition I launched in April, in that its solution would reflect a compromise number between the results of the January 15 Clusterfuck and a 50-50 split: it works out to be the same 69-59 that the "Blue Ribbon Commission" has proposed. Also, like my petition, this complaint calls for the super-delegates to receive no vote.

But it’s different in two ways. First, it advocates giving MI’s elected delegates just half a vote each, not the full vote I suggested (in that respect, I like mine better, but then I didn’t get off my ass and file an official complaint; though this complaint has the advantage that it matches what the rules call for). More importantly, the complaint justifies its solution based on the MDP’s and the DNC’s own rules.

My favorite part of the petition is that it notes that, on March 26, a Court ruled the January 15 primary unconstitutional. That meant, the petition asserts, that the,

Michigan Presidential Primary of January 15, 2008, was "invalid, inoperable, and without effect." The result was non-binding.

Read more