Local is better, isn’t it? Neil Gorsuch

(Promoted by Colorado Pols) 

By Hillary Larson and Sarah Brooks

Around Colorado, we’ve noticed a fair amount of support for Neil Gorsuch. He is, of course, a homegrown Coloradoan who has served on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for over a decade. Despite Gorsuch’s lengthy tenure on the bench, his decisions have not always reflected the views of his constituents.

Coloradans have consistently supported protective environmental legislation that safeguards this beautiful state and our public health. Additionally, access to reproductive health resources has long been a top priority for Coloradans. Will Gorsuch represent these values while serving the Supreme Court?

We have our doubts; here’s why.

Gorsuch

During his time on the 10th Circuit, SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch repeatedly sided with employers and companies, citing their own religious beliefs as the basis for denying contraception access to their women employees. Yet Colorado has consistently been a pro-choice state, which directly conflicts with Gorsuch’s anti-reproductive rights perspective on the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case. This case resulted in Hobby Lobby stores denying its female employees access to contraceptives under company health insurance.

Most mapping shows that Gorsuch is actually further to right on the political spectrum than his predecessor, Anthony Scalia1, who regularly opposed environmental protections. A New York Times editorial cited Gorsuch’s surprising position on deference courts: “He [Gorsuch] is even more conservative than Justice Scalia in at least one area—calling for an end to the deference courts [courts that allocate decisions to alternate parties, such as a government agency] additionally show to administrative agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, that are charged with implementing complex and important federal laws.”

In the next four years, there will likely be cases in which supreme court justices must side with environmental protection and corporate interest. With the climate-change denying, environmental regulation opposing Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of our Environmental Protection Agency, Gorsuch will become the 5-4 tiebreaker on our nation’s highest court. Do we really want someone who won’t defend our natural landscapes, clean air and water in that position?

We need the court to safeguard our environmental protections because we certainly can’t rely on President Donald Trump, or Scott Pruitt, to do so. The next four years are crucial in terms of creating protective, preventative environmental legislation. If Gorsuch is confirmed and opposes more stringent protection, it will sent a precedent of neglect amongst the Supreme Court.

As Coloradans, we’ll proudly shout from the rooftops that we live in one of the best states there is. If one of our judges is going to represent the nation, they should have a far better track record for protecting our human rights and environment than Neil Gorsuch.

But wait, we could still do so much worse!

We agree, Gorsuch is most likely not the actual devil. Given Trump’s cabinet and advisor selection, many people argue that he could have chosen a more destructive nominee, therefore we should hold our nose and deal with Gorsuch.

It is possible for Trump to have picked a worse nominee, but are those really the standards we’re holding ourselves to right now? If we start judging our nation by the worst possible outcome, we will fail. We will fail our state, we will fail our families and we will fail the planet. So let’s fight for the best.

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/31/us/politics/trump-supreme-court-nominee.html

Colorado Sheriffs Debunk “Sanctuary” Fakery

An open letter this week from the County Sheriffs of Colorado attempts to clarify the role and legal responsibility of law enforcement with regard to detaining undocumented immigrants for eventual transfer to federal immigration authorities. Our generally conservative elected county sheriffs in Colorado are clearly taking heat from constituents energized by the President Donald Trump, and want out of the low-information line of fire:

Recently, there has been increased interest in the topic of how local governments work with federal immigration authorities. As Colorado Sheriffs, we’ve received inquiries on how our jails cooperate with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE.) Some have claimed that Colorado Sheriffs offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants in their custody. Let us clear the air.

Sheriffs hold the rule of law as sacred. We are elected with the authority to enforce the laws of Colorado and to protect the rights guaranteed in the federal and state Constitutions.

Our jails serve two distinct purposes. One is a judicial function, the other is a detention function. Under our judicial function, we hold persons accused of a crime awaiting trial, if a court has not authorized their release. This includes persons taken into custody on warrants issued by a judge or persons arrested by a peace officer under a probable cause arrest. If the court authorizes the arrestee’s release, we must release them…

Outside of legally recognized exigent circumstances, we cannot hold persons in jail at the request of a local police officer or a federal agent. To do so, would violate the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. While Colorado Sheriffs do not have the authority to enforce federal laws, we do work cooperatively with a large variety of federal law enforcement agencies. At times, we participate in federal task forces and other times, we share information on potential federal crimes with those federal law enforcement agencies. This includes sharing information on all arrestees in our jails with the FBI and ICE. This gives them the opportunity to determine which arrestees might also be wanted by federal authorities or who might be in violation of our federal immigration laws.

If federal authorities present us with a warrant or other detainer, signed by a judge or a magistrate, we hold those persons for federal authorities to pick up. However, the courts have ruled that we have no authority to hold arrestees on administrative holds that have not been reviewed and approved by federal judges or magistrates.

Sheriffs have informed ICE that in order to comply with the 4th Amendment, we must get judicially approved holds or warrants. However, at this time, ICE chooses not to do this.

Recently, some have chosen to accuse Sheriffs of providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants, simply because we are complying with the Constitution, as determined by federal courts. This is an absolutely unsubstantiated and ridiculous claim. [Pols emphasis]

We wouldn’t put any bets on the Peter Boyles talk-radio crowd laying off the sheriffs and local governments who they regularly accuse of everything up to and including treason for not keeping undocumented immigrants locked up, but this letter is useful to prove to anyone not already on the fringe of the issue that our local law enforcers are enforcing immigration law to the full extent that it is practicable to do so.

So, you know, enough with the conspiracy theories and stupid bills.

Neil Gorsuch Founded The “Fascism Forever Club”–Wait, What?!

UPDATE: Michael O’Laughlin updates the story, and we’re happy to report that there was no real “Fascism Forever” club at Georgetown Prep:

Mr. Gorsuch, who was nominated on Jan. 31 to the Supreme Court by President Donald J. Trump, participated in the informal debates, where he was routinely teased, accused of being “a conservative fascist.” No shrinking violet, he would shoot back, taking on the liberal ethos of the school and even arguing with religion teachers about the liberal theological trends in vogue at the time…

He wrote that he founded and led the “Fascism Forever Club,” though those with knowledge of the school back in the 1980s say there was no such club. The mention of it in the yearbook was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to poke fun at liberal peers who teased him about his fierce conservatism.

At the same time,

The yearbook’s mention of the club is not the only item on Mr. Gorsuch’s profile that is raising eyebrows in some circles: A sarcastic quote from Henry Kissinger about how to get away with unconstitutional activities appears in both his prep school yearbook as well as his Columbia University yearbook.

We guess we feel a little better now! Trump and fascism, folks. Joking or not, it’s a recurring theme.

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Here’s a bizarre story coming today from reporter Michael O’Laughlin of America: The Jesuit Review via DailyKos, about Colorado’s native son U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, and his formative years at Washington’s tony Catholic Georgetown Prep School:

That’s right: in a yearbook from Gorsuch’s time at this elite conservative private school, he is identified as the “founder and president” of something called the “Fascism Forever Club.” Now, we should be very clear that we don’t have any real context for this, other than the fact that Gorsuch was described by classmates as a very conservative guy.

And of course, fascism sits on the right end of conservatism.

But look folks, maybe we should give the youthful Neil Gorsuch the benefit of the doubt. Haven’t we all said silly things out of youth and inexperience? Surely Gorsuch hadn’t, you know, thought these things through when he established joked about the “Fascism Forever Club.”

“The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Now there’s a memorable quote from America’s original Machiavellian dark prince, Henry Kissinger! And we would probably dismiss this as a joke from Gorsuch too, but for the fact that conservatives still revere Henry Kissinger. So…we’ll have to see how Gorsuch responds to these questions in confirmation hearings.

One thing’s for sure, this is not the sort of unearthed past that makes confirmations a breeze.

NO JUSTICE, NO SEAT: rally tomorrow to stop Trump and Neil Gorsuch

Last night, Donald Trump made another horrible mistake in nominating far-right Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Join us tomorrow at noon at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in downtown Denver as we stand together as Coloradans to reject Neil Gorsuch. Click here to RSVP via Facebook.

Gorsuch’s fringe views on health care and contraception make him an enemy of Colorado women. On the Supreme Court, Gorsuch would be a vote to roll back abortion rights, environmental protections, and hard-won protections against discrimination in the workplace. Gorsuch has even been endorsed by the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT extremist group.

We can’t forget that this Supreme Court seat was stolen from President Obama last year. No Democrat should in any way cooperate with or otherwise enable Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, including Colorado Democrats. To do so would only hand Trump another undeserved victory.

Gorsuch may hail from Colorado, but his record stands in opposition to Colorado values. Now the eyes of the whole nation are on Colorado to see if we have the courage to stand up for what’s right. We can’t let them down.

Join us at noon tomorrow to say NO to Donald Trump and Neil Gorsuch. And forward this alert to everyone you know who can make it. We have to speak out right now before the Trump administration can ram this nomination through.

President Trump Nominates Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch

UPDATE #5: LGBT advocacy group One Colorado:

“Religious freedom is a core American value that we all cherish, and it is already protected by the Constitution. Attempts to give a license to discriminate through religious exemptions are contrary to the notion that we should treat others as we wish to be treated and scores of faith leaders have spoken out against such policies — including last week here in Colorado.

“A Supreme Court that would rule in support of religious exemptions would certainly open LGBTQ Americans up to discrimination and open up a can of worms that could allow individuals to ignore child welfare, domestic violence, or other laws that someone could contend is contrary to their religion.

“The Supreme Court has the potential to shape the future of our nation for generations to come and Supreme Court Justices should be committed to upholding America’s promise of fairness and freedom for all. We call on Colorado’s U.S. Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to reject President Trump’s nominee.”

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UPDATE #4: Sen. Michael Bennet’s spox, polite but not what you’d call enthusiastic:

“As a fellow Coloradan, Michael congratulates Judge Gorsuch and his family. He takes seriously the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations. He intends to review Judge Gorsuch’s record carefully in the coming weeks.”

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UPDATE #3: A healthy dose of skepticism from Rep. Ed Perlmutter:

But Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman are predictably all smiles:

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UPDATE #2: The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in a statement Tuesday night called Gorsuch “one of our country’s brightest legal minds with significant experience as a federal judge and a private litigator.”

“He is an ardent defender of the Constitution and he has the appropriate temperament to serve on the nation’s highest court,” Gardner said. “Judge Gorsuch also adds to the court’s Western perspective, with his understanding of uniquely Western issues like water and public lands issues. I’m enthusiastic about the native Coloradan’s nomination and will work to ensure that his confirmation process is fair, thorough, and expedient.”

But NARAL Pro Choice Colorado is decidedly less positive:

“Judge Gorsuch has a record of ruling in a way that does not reflect Colorado values on reproductive rights. This is a pro-choice state that supports the Constitutional right to abortion enshrined in Roe and the right to privacy enshrined in Griswold – beliefs that are contradicted in Judge Gorsuch’s ruling in Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters.

What’s troubling in Judge Gorsuch’s ruling in Hobby Lobby was his apparent support for “personhood”, the conferring of legal rights to a fertilized egg. He said that, “the mandate compels Hobby Lobby and Mardel to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.”

This is not only unscientific and counter to Griswold and Roe, it is counter to the will of Colorado voters. Coloradans have said in landslide numbers in the voting booth that they oppose personhood, which would outlaw all abortion and many forms of contraception.

As the first state to allow safe, legal abortion in 1967, after Griswold and before Roe, Colorado has a long, bipartisan history of supporting reproductive rights. Judge Gorsuch does not reflect the will of our state or the Constitutional rights of American women and we would oppose his nomination.”

Ian Silverii of ProgressNow Colorado is similarly talking tough:

“Neil Gorsuch is just the latest in a series of horrible choices by Donald Trump,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Gorsuch’s fringe views on health care and contraception make him an enemy of Colorado women. On the Supreme Court, Gorsuch would be a vote to roll back women’s rights, environmental protections, and hard-won protections against discrimination in the workplace. Gorsuch has even been endorsed by the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT extremist group. Gorsuch may hail from Colorado, but his record stands in opposition to Colorado values.”

“The simple fact is that this Supreme Court appointment was stolen from President Obama last year in a shameful act of Republican treachery,” said Silverii. “No Democrat should in any way cooperate with or otherwise enable Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, including Colorado Democrats. To do so would only hand Trump another undeserved victory.”

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UPDATE: It’s Gorsuch. Stand by for statements and coverage.

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Neil Gorsuch

The news has been leaking out of Washington D.C. for the past couple of hours: Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch appears to be Donald Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court vacancy.

Here’s more from National Review:

President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court will be Neil Gorsuch, a well-respected conservative whose legal philosophy is remarkably similar to that of Antonin Scalia, the justice he will replace if the Senate confirms him. He is, like Scalia, a textualist and an originalist: someone who interprets legal provisions as their words were originally understood.

For more background on Gorsuch, check out Politico and Think Progress.

Bennet Says “Hell No” To Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

A press release from Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s office earlier today, not unexpected but strongly worded in its announcement that he Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator will not support fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to serve as President Donald Trump’s Attorney General:

“The U.S. Attorney General must ensure equal justice under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Jeff Sessions has repeatedly opposed efforts to protect the rights and liberties of all Americans. I cannot support his nomination. [Pols emphasis]

“On a variety of issues, Senator Sessions falls short. He has blocked bipartisan efforts to expand voting rights, protect women from harassment and violence, and reform our criminal justice system. In 2013, when a bipartisan group of senators crafted principled and compassionate comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Senator Sessions was its most outspoken opponent. During that debate, he used fear and falsehoods to derail our best chance in years to fix a broken system.

“This week’s executive orders on immigration make clear that Senator Sessions’ views will shape the Trump administration’s policies. We need a chief law enforcement officer who protects the civil rights of every American, not one who perpetuates fear and undermines our obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.”

As a member of the so-called Gang of Eight attempt at bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, Bennet certainly should harbor some resentment toward anti-immigration Senators who gave the House cover to let the bill die after Senate passage–not to mention some particular ire for backsliders like Sen. Marco Rubio who were pressured out of supporting the effort.

But as you can see, Sen. Bennet’s criticism of Sessions goes much deeper than just immigration reform. Bennet’s inference that Sessions “perpetuates fear and undermines our obligation to ensure equal justice under the law” is one of the more scathing indictments as we’ve heard from anyone against Sessions–and considering what happened to Sessions last time he face Senate confirmation, that’s saying quite a bit.

Rep. Tim Leonard Works Out His Personal Problems Legislatively

State Rep. Tim Leonard (R-Evergreen) in his off-season attire.

Last December, GOP Rep. Tim Leonard had the unusual dishonor of being an incumbent state legislature sent to jail for two weeks on a contempt of court charge–a ruling that reportedly stemmed from Leonard’s defiance of court orders giving his ex-wife full educational decisionmaking authority over their minor children.

Well, as the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports, Leonard is working the “problem” that resulted in his incarceration from an end most citizens don’t have access to–the legislative end:

State Rep. Tim Leonard, who spent a couple weeks in jail last month on contempt charges stemming, in part, from his effort to opt his children out of certain state tests, has introduced a bill to eliminate some of those same tests for all Colorado public school students.

The tests are known as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS. They are given to students in grades three through 11.

Leonard’s bill would eliminate CMAS testing in social studies and do away with all CMAS assessments for ninth-graders…

House Democrats have not yet made a decision on whether to sanction Leonard for his problems in family court. He was Colorado’s first sitting lawmaker in at least four decades to spend time in jail.

They have, however, protested that Leonard was appointed to the House Education Committee, pointing out that he would be making decisions about public education despite the fact that he is barred by court order from making educational decisions for his own children.

After Rep. Leonard was ruled in contempt of court last October, he complained bitterly about the supposed problems in state law he blamed for the situation, such as the fact that “the school requires two signatures on a form” to opt children out of state tests. Of course, the real issue was Leonard refusing to comply with the court order to stay out of his kids’ educational matters, including his wife’s decision to not opt his children out of testing.

Isn’t Leonard a lucky guy to have this kind of recourse after being sent to jail? The questions this chain of events invites are why some observers speculated that Leonard might not want to be a lawmaker anymore after his release. But as Joey Bunch at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, Leonard apparently feels no conflict about voting on education policy, even now:

[Rep. Sue] Lontine is sponsoring a bill to impose a statewide ban on corporal punishment in public schools, state-licensed child care facilities and specialized group homes. House Bill 1038 passed the House Education Committee Monday afternoon, 11-2. Republican Reps. Justin Everett of Littleton and Tim Leonard of Evergreen voted against it.

With all due respect, here’s hoping that vote was not motivated by experience.

GOP Shower Stall Showboating Backfires

UPDATE: Denver Post reporting, Jerry Sonnenberg says let ’em hang:

The three GOP lawmakers who voted against the project were Sonnenberg, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and Rep. Jon Becker, R- Fort Morgan.

The department’s request is part of an ongoing suicide mitigation program and came after a patient unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide last year using a pair of pants and the shower head in a bathroom at the Pueblo facility.

Moments after the committee meeting ended, Gherardini said the agency remains committed to the project and will continue to push its case to the Joint Budget Committee, despite the negative recommendation from the Capital Development panel.

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Rapper Birdman’s golden toilet.

The Denver Post’s Jennifer Brown reports on a Colorado budget line-item raising hackles among Republican lawmakers:

A request for $235,109 to make nine bathrooms at a state mental-health hospital suicide-proof is prompting outrage from Republican lawmakers who suggest it is evidence of wasteful government spending.

The reaction to the proposal in the context of a $28 billion budget illustrates the intensity of the spending battles expected in the 2017 session as Colorado lawmakers negotiate a deal to find more money for big-ticket priorities, such as a potential $500 million bond to improve roads and transit…

“Are you using the same contractor that the feds and military does that costs us a million (dollars) a toilet?” asked Sen. Jerry Sonneberg, R-Sterling. “You simply do the math, it’s $20,000 a shower. Couldn’t you remodel a whole bathroom for that?”

Sonnenberg later took to Twitter to say of the request: “You can’t make this stuff up.” He included a photo of the budget request document and wrote “NO” at the top.

As the Post reports, this budget request stems from a suicide attempt last year at the Pueblo state mental hospital. That attempt identified a need to change the design of showers at the facility to make it harder to tie off a noose. Of course we’re not talking about your home bathroom, which would likely cost less than $20,000 to remodel. These are bathrooms in a secure facility, designed to be tamperproof and to protect mentally ill Coloradans from self-harm. The changes would continue existing suicide-proofing that has already occurred at other state facilities.

Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, suggested the price tag is too much and remains unconvinced it is necessary, even as he acknowledges that preventing suicide “is a great thing.” [Pols emphasis]

We haven’t heard yet if this request was approved today by the Capital Development Committee, but we’ve heard that Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg’s public disparagement of this line-item is making at least some fellow Republicans politically uneasy. The amount may sound excessive at first glance, but in the proper context it’s not really unreasonable at all.

And suicide prevention is just not something we would advise grandstanding against.

Gardner Disses Obama Hard One Last Time

As caught on camera by The Hill yesterday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is snarling mad at outgoing President Barack Obama over the commutation of whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s sentence as the clock ticks down toward Donald Trump’s inauguration:

REPORTER: And what about the Manning commutation?

GARDNER: The, I’m sorry?

REPORTER: The Chelsea Manning commutation.

GARDNER: Uh, look. The last actions Barack Obama has made is to stab Israel in the back with passage of the U.S. resolution, now he’s stabbed the American people in the back by pardoning a traitor. [Pols emphasis]

It could have been worse, we suppose. We’ll refrain from speculating how lest we give Gardner any ideas.

Jeff Session Gets Grilled/Coddled In First Confirmation Hearing

UPDATE: This won’t inspire confidence from Colorado’s cannabis industry:

No word yet about recreational marijuana–but if the debate is about whether to prosecute medical marijuana patients, that’s not a good sign.

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Fake KKK protesters before being escorted out of today’s hearing.

CNN reports from today’s contentious hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, as fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama faces hard questions from his Democratic colleagues and softballs from Republicans–not that anyone expected differently, of course:

Sen. Jeff Sessions confronted one of the biggest criticisms surrounding his nomination to become the next attorney general, insisting he’s not a racist.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Sessions diverged from his prepared remarks to address “head on” the very allegations that helped sink his nomination for a judgeship in 1986.

“I abhor the Klan and its hateful ideology,” Sessions said…

Sessions said he would respect the 1973 Supreme Court decision allowing abortion and the more recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage — even if he doesn’t agree with the court’s decisions.

“I believe it violated the Constitution,” Sessions said in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein about whether he stands by his past statements calling Roe a “colossal” mistake.

The hearings to confirm Sessions are expected to be some of the most controversial, with Democrats hoping to break Sessions’ composure and expose what they insist are disqualifying political views. It’s going to take something fairly dramatic to move the rock-solid Senate GOP majority away from confirming their longtime colleague, but these hearings are the only real chance to get it.

We’ll update, for example if Sessions gives any clue what he plans to do about Colorado’s weed.

Former Jeffco DA Busted For DUI

Scott Storey.

Former Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey, who returned to the ranks as a deputy DA after being termed out of the top job, had a little too much to drink on New Year’s Eve as FOX 31 reports:

Former First Judicial District Attorney Scott Storey was arrested on New Year’s Eve on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to court records.

Storey, who served two terms as district attorney for Jefferson and Gilpin counties, was cited for a misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol early Saturday morning by the Littleton Police Department, according to court records.

There isn’t much more being reported as of now, except that there was reportedly an accident that preceded Storey’s arrest. One interesting sidenote to this case is that Storey’s prosecution will presumably be handled by the office of his former subordinate, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler. It’s widely rumored that there is no love lost between these two prosecutors, and Brauchler likely hasn’t forgotten his former boss’s conspicuous failure to endorse him in his own run for elective office in 2012.

Also, don’t drink and drive.

Aurora Post-Election Hate Crime Spree Continues

As the Denver Post’s Bruce Finley reports:

Three more hate attacks targeting African-American families in Aurora have upset residents and compelled police on Monday to step up patrols and appeal to the public for help…

The attackers may be posing as missionaries and carpet cleaner salespeople, moving door to door, to learn racial information about residents who then are targeted, the resident said. In addition to spray-painted scrawls on doors, the attacks this past weekend included threatening messages on notes, she said.

…Aurora residents have reported at least nine bias-related crimes since the Nov. 8 election and [APD Chief Nick] Metz has said he believes other incidents may be happening that haven’t been reported.

The spike in hate crimes in Aurora since the November elections is not unique; nationally a dramatic increase in such activity has occurred since Donald Trump won the presidency. Not long after the election, Trump made a two-word statement in response to questions distancing himself from these crimes, telling those responsible to “stop it.”

But they haven’t stopped. The empowerment America’s racist underbelly feels after Trump’s victory requires more of a response than a half-hearted scolding. And at this point, it’s reasonable to ask if Trump is not standing up to the spike in hate crimes since his election because he does not think it is a problem.

And that could be scarier than all these little acts of hate combined.

Brown People, Marijuana Industry in Colorado Sweat Jeff Sessions

UPDATE: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver says “hell no” to Sen. Jeff Sessions:

“As the president’s top advisor on matters of law and justice, the man or woman in this position must possess a firm commitment to civil rights,” DeGette said. “However, Senator Sessions’ regressive record on immigration, LGBT equality and civil liberties, along with his shocking comments on the NAACP and the KKK, make him unequivocally unfit to serve in this role. I urge President-elect Trump not to make this nomination, and instead to make good on his promise to unify our divided nation. And if he does not, members of the Senate must reject Senator Sessions for this critical role.”

Sessions is the U.S. Senate’s leading anti-immigration voice, urging severe restrictions on visas and drastically expanded immigration enforcement while blocking practical reforms to our country’s outdated immigration system. While in the Senate, he has vigorously opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Earlier in his career, when nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be a federal judge, he was turned down by the Senate amid repeated allegations of racist language, criticism of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, and a purported joke about the Ku Klux Klan. While advising the campaign earlier this year, Senator Sessions supported Trump’s suggestion to institute a ban on Muslims entering the United States and his opposition to the 14th Amendment, which confers citizenship on people born in this country.

“This proposed nomination is another disturbing sign of where the Trump administration is headed,” DeGette noted. “If Senator Sessions was not fit to be a federal judge, he’s not fit to be Attorney General. His actions and attitudes on civil liberties make him completely wrong for the job.”

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Westword’s Michael Roberts reports, as news breaks today that GOP President-elect Donald Trump wants Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. Attorney General:

In an interview with Westword, Marijuana Majority chairman and founder Tom Angell also expressed concern about the marijuana views of the person who Trump would choose to fill the position of attorney general in his administration. Among the names floated at the time were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’d vowed to crack down on Colorado’s marijuana system during his own failed run for the presidency, and onetime New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, another well-known weed hater.

In the end, neither Christie nor Giuliani made the cut. Instead, Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of his earliest supporters in the U.S. Senate and among those who stuck by him even after the release of an Access Hollywood recording in which the president-elect joked about groping women.

Sessions has plenty of political baggage, much of it owing to what NPR has described as his “history of racially provocative remarks” — one of which had to do with marijuana. After his 1986 nomination as a federal district judge by then-President Ronald Reagan, he was said to have maintained that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan “were okay until I found out they smoked pot.”

It’s expected that Sessions will strongly deny any racist sentiments during his confirmation hearings in the Senate–where he will face many friendly fellow Republicans, but could also fail spectacularly if the questions about his long record from Democrats get the better of him. As for marijuana, we doubt Sessions will offer the same defense despite the growing number of states that have legalized. Despite Sessions’ conservative ideology at least nominally in favor of “states’ rights,” he can be expected to blissfully ignore the Tenth Amendment when it comes to stopping the spread of the evil devil-weed.

Obviously, Sessions’ history of racism is much more disturbing than Sessions’ opposition to marijuana, but neither is likely to make him a very popular figure in Colorado. Or for that matter California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, or any other state that has legalized marijuana in recent years.

In a perfect world, the racism would be enough to disqualify Sessions, as it did when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in the 1980s. But perhaps Trump can be persuaded to reconsider Sessions by the money being made on weed?

After all, he is a businessman.

Um, You’re Not Helping, RMGO

Excerpt from RMGO mailer dated October 17, 2016.

Excerpt from RMGO mailer dated October 17, 2016.

Firearm enthusiast Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) group have been a prominent voice in Colorado politics in recent years, though they have proven much more effective at swaying Republican Primary races than earning votes in a General Election. This is not entirely the fault of the RMGO; strident pro-gun rhetoric just doesn’t have the same effect in the Denver suburbs that it might have in places like Weld County.

Nevertheless, RMGO is going to continue to solicit donations and shake fists wherever it can find Republican voters…even if their outreach isn’t particularly helpful for Republican candidates. We were recently forwarded a copy of a mail pitch from RMGO on behalf of GOP Senate candidate Nancy Doty that the candidate herself probably wasn’t too enthusiastic about reading. “State Senate candidate Nancy Doty is a proven Second Amendment patriot,” says the mailer. “That is why RMGO SuperPAC is enthusiastically endorsing Nancy Doty in Senate District 26.”

State Senate District 26

State Senate District 26

The battle for Senate District 26 is one of the most competitive legislative races of 2016, where Doty and Democrat Daniel Kagan are in a close contest to fill the seat being vacated by the term-limited Democratic Sen. Linda Newell. Located just south of Denver, SD-26 encompasses Arapahoe High School and sits just east of Columbine High School. We probably don’t need to tell you that this community has dealt with two of the most infamous school school shootings in Colorado.

It’s not a coincidence that Doty’s own campaign doesn’t spend any time talking about firearms; you’re not winning undecided voters in SD-26 by telling people that you support “permitless carry, open or concealed.”

When Donald Trump Jr. Yucked Up The Aurora Theater Massacre

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank:

Sandy Phillips, the mother of Jessica Ghawi, who died in the attack, issued a statement saying “this recording shows the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

“This recording goes beyond politics — it’s disturbing and painful,” Phillips said in a statement released by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“We’ve already known that his father is a crass, blustery billionaire who cares zero about other people’s struggles or pain,” she added.

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Donald Trump, Jr.

Donald Trump, Jr.

CNN broke a story yesterday about Donald Trump Jr., who was in town yesterday campaigning for his dad, that is just now starting to trickle down into local media–and it’s outraging pretty much everyone in our state who hears it:

On shows like “Opie and Anthony,” the now-defunct “The Six Pack,” and “Opie with Jim Norton,” the younger Trump made a joke about the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, expressed regret he could no longer mock overweight people, invoked Arab stereotypes, and joked about child beauty contestants being abused by their parents…

In July 2012, on the same day a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, Trump Jr. joked about still giving the movie “two thumbs up.”

Trump Jr. made the comment on “Opie and Anthony” after soundbites were played of witnesses speaking about the tragedy.

“Everything was going good until, uh, we saw gas and sparks, and sounded like really strong fireworks, uh, and then you just hear people yelling and actually just a few, uh, rows away from me a girl gets up holding her jaw. I guess she had got shot,” a witness said.

“Overall I give the movie two thumbs up,” Trump Jr. exclaimed in reaction.

Among the first to respond to this story was Morgan Carroll, longtime representative of the vicinity of the Century Theater in Aurora and now a candidate for Congress:

She released a statement about Trump Jr’s comments saying, “The tragic Aurora shooting happened just five minutes from my house, in the district I was elected to represent. Donald Trump Jr. should apologize immediately to the families and victims affected by this terrible tragedy. The loss of life, and horror faced by this community and all in that theater that day, is no joke.”

Through his spox, incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora also expresses a measure of displeasure:

Coffman’s spokeswoman, Cinamon Watson, said of Trump Jr.’s comment, “That’s a filthy, disgusting, lewd, awful thing to say. He should be embarrassed and ashamed.”

We haven’t seen any evidence that Junior is in fact ashamed–or any reports about him at all since yesterday’s abortive whistlestop at The Sink in Boulder, which was moved after The Sink’s owners informed the Trump campaign that they need to have permission to invade their restaurant for a campaign event:

But as you can see from these crass remarks about the Aurora theater shooting and the dozens of our neighbors killed and wounded there, Donald Junior doesn’t just say the word “deplorable.”

He lives it.