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In the category of: Some Republicans are trying to get on the right side of history
In the category of: Mid-term elections matter a lot.
Only Congress can decide if the president is above the law.
Let’s take the words of the president seriously. If he’s right — if he has absolute power to pardon himself from legal consequences for absolutely any wrongdoing — then we do not have a president; we have a monarch. And we are not, as John Adams once promised, “a government of laws, not of men.”
That might sound dramatic, but I don’t think it is. Consider the recent 20-page memo sent to Robert Mueller’s team from Trump’s lawyers. The document lays out a view of presidential power that is essentially boundless. It states that the president “could, if he wished, terminate” Mueller’s inquiry “or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.” Later, Trump’s lawyers clarified that the president can fire the FBI director “at any time and for any reason,” including to shut down an inconvenient investigation.
In the category of: Maybe the most important thing we’re not talking about.
This case has been one of the most closely watched this term.
The case involved a challenge to Wisconsin’s state assembly map. Republicans controlled the redistricting process in Wisconsin and worked in secret to draw a map to cement GOP control over the chamber.
Their plan worked. They won 60 of the chamber’s 99 seats in 2012, even though then-President Barack Obama had won the state and Republicans only got 47 percent of the vote. The GOP won 57 percent of the assembly vote in 2014 and increased its majority in the assembly to 63 seats. In 2016, the party’s share of the assembly vote dropped to 53 percent, but Republicans picked up an additional seat in the assembly.
The challengers in the Wisconsin case said the state assembly map was a partisan gerrymander that treated Democrats and Republicans differently, thus violating their rights guaranteed by the First and 14th amendments. They said the election results over three federal elections offered clear evidence that Republicans had drawn a map making it nearly impossible to take control of the chamber.
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