Thursday, November 1, 2012

Judge under investigation for racism blocks tribal polling access; Montana elections get even weirder

A federal judge under investigation in Montana and forced into early retirement for sending an email laced with racist attacks on President Obama's mother and ancestry has blocked easy access to early polling in remote parts of the state.

Richard Cebull, a Bush appointee, has forced tribes to sue Democratic Secretary of State Linda McCullough who is running for re-election. From a piece by Jordy Yager in the Hill:
“I'm not arguing that the opportunity is equal for Indian persons as it is to non-Indians," Cebull said, according to the Associated Press. "Because of poverty, because of the lack of vehicles and that sort of thing, it's probably not equal. However, you have to prove ... that they can't elect candidates of their choice."
From news aggregator rt.com
Fifteen Native American plaintiffs insisted to the court that they were being discriminated against because they did not have fair and equal access to ballots, needing in some cases to travel 120 miles round-trip in order to vote at sanctioned polling places. Judge Cebull, however, implied that their case was not strong enough to warrant emergency action.
Again, Yager in The Hill:

“The judge was wrong on the law and the defendants are on the wrong side of history,” said Tom Rodgers, a member of Montana’s Blackfeet Indian tribe, and a lobbyist with the Carlyle Consulting group, in a phone interview with The Hill Wednesday night.“They have a fear of Native Americans’ political power and a fear of their own budgets coming under stress,” said Rodgers, who blew the whistle on former lobbyist Jack Abramoff for charging Native American tribes exorbitant fees.
It was announced in early October that the misogynistic judge would assume senior status with reduced case loads according to Clair Johnson of the Billings Gazette and published in the Helena Independent Record:
At least two organizations, including the Montana Human Rights Network and Common Cause, also filed formal complaints against Cebull. The incident drew national attention and calls by other groups, elected officials and the media to resign. The Ninth Circuit has not issued a decision in the case.
Pitting tribes against a Democratic secretary of state in a tight election between Senator Jon Tester and earth hater Dennybriated Rehberg, whose drunken antics contributed to a near-fatal 2010 boat crash, is a desperate move by the Montana Republican Party after another GOP judge reluctantly released a heavily redacted version of the incident.

In cooperation with ProPublica, PBS has exposed more GOP wrongdoing.

The state's contentious election season has been punctuated with a controversial activist judiciary with jurists even pitted against one another.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports this morning that one cable provider apparently refused to air the PBS report, Big Sky, Big Money.

The Helena Independent Record has reported that a break-in occurred at the office of the Commission of Political Practices: the former director having resigned in an imbroglio in yet another twist in the saga.

The US House race in Montana finds the earth hater party spending double the money in its efforts to defeat Kim Gillan.
Billings Gazette file photo.

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