BREAKING: Bennet Will Vote No On Gorsuch’s Confirmation

UPDATE: The Hill:

Bennet initially opposed a Democratic filibuster of Gorsuch’s nomination, siding with Republicans in a failed vote to end debate. After Republicans changed the rules and lowered the procedural threshold from 60 votes to 51, he voted against Gorsuch.

Bennet has blamed both parties for the stalemate and added on Thursday that the decision to go “nuclear” does “lasting damage” to the Supreme Court…

With Bennet’s opposition, 45 senators are expected to vote against Gorsuch’s confirmation. Only Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) — who are each up for reelection in red states in 2018 — are expected to join Republicans in their support.

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Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

Sen. Michael Bennet’s long-awaited statement just released moments ago via the Colorado Independent, Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator will be voting against the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court:

Today’s changes to the Senate’s rules have done lasting damage to the Supreme Court and our process for approving nominees. With these changes, justices may now be confirmed with the narrowest partisan majority. Allowing the judiciary to become a pure extension of our partisan politics is precisely the outcome our Founders feared. Moving forward, lifetime appointments to our highest court could become just another political exercise.

We cannot ignore this new reality, and I am forced to consider President Trump’s current nominee – and all future nominees – in that context.

I am proud Judge Gorsuch is from Colorado. He is a qualified judge who deserves an up-or-down vote. That is the tradition of the Senate, and it is why I opposed a filibuster before the rule change.

Judge Gorsuch is a very conservative judge and not one that I would have chosen. For the reasons I made in my floor speech, I had concerns about his approach to the law. Those concerns grow even more significant as we confront the reality that President Trump may have several more opportunities to transform the Court with a partisan majority.

For all these reasons, I will vote no on the nomination.

Bennet’s decision to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination puts an end to weeks of pressure from both sides, and should go a long way to restoring trust in Bennet among the Colorado Democratic base. Again, Democrats had the votes needed to mount the now-crushed filibuster of Gorsuch without Bennet, which left Bennet free to argue for the preservation of the Senate’s deliberative traditions. That argument was unsuccessful, but now Bennet can claim the high ground as he casts his vote against Gorsuch on the merits.

And yes, barring something no one expects at this point Neil Gorsuch will now be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was always really a question of how that would happen, not if, and what kind of resistance would be possible on the way to that inevitability. We’d say opponents acquitted themselves as well as they possibly could under bleak circumstances.

As of tomorrow afternoon, it’s all over–except some shouting, and of course decades of Gorsuch on the court.

Neil “McPlagiarist” Gorsuch, Anyone?

Scott “McPlagiarist” McInnis.

Politico reporting on a story that could shake up the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation battle over Judge Neil Gorsuch–but may not, given that Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate have locked down in determination to confirm him come hell or high water:

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch copied the structure and language used by several authors and failed to cite source material in his book and an academic article, according to documents provided to POLITICO.

The documents show that several passages from the tenth chapter of his 2006 book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” read nearly verbatim to a 1984 article in the Indiana Law Journal. In several other instances in that book and an academic article published in 2000, Gorsuch borrowed from the ideas, quotes and structures of scholarly and legal works without citing them.

The findings come as Republicans are on the brink of changing Senate rules to confirm Gorsuch over the vehement objections of Democrats. The documents could raise questions about the rigor of Gorsuch’s scholarship, which Republicans have portrayed during the confirmation process as unimpeachable…

We learned a great deal about what academically constitutes plagiarism back in 2010, when it was discovered that GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Scott McInnis had extensively plagiarized articles on water policy authored by former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs. Like Justice Hobbs in 2010, the original author of the work allegedly plagiarized by Gorsuch is being quite gracious about it–even suggesting that Gorsuch’s reuse of her words is acceptable, which is a bit farther than Hobbs went for McInnis.

What we can tell you is that the examples of apparent plagiarism citied by Politico do not appear to be close cases:

Apparently, Gorsuch attempted to conceal the plagiarism by citing not the article he copied and pasted from, but the sources cited by the original author. That, combined with the unmistakably identical reused verbiage with only very minor changes, is a major red flag for deliberate plagiarism. If Gorsuch had been in school when this article was published, we find it hard to imagine that he would escape severe academic sanction.

So what does it mean for Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee? That depends on how Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate respond to these revelations. Obviously Democrats already lined up to filibuster need no further convincing–so the question is whether any Republicans Senators recall from their college days that plagiarism is a really bad thing for scholars and especially Supreme Court nominees to do.

And who have the courage to speak up at the eleventh hour.

Bennet Won’t Filibuster Gorsuch And It’s Not Time To Panic (Yet)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

UPDATE: Senate Democrats apparently have enough votes to sustain a filibuster against Gorsuch, even without Bennet.

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The story this morning from the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews is not going to make Sen. Michael Bennet’s Democratic base here in Colorado very happy:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet won’t support a filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch, describing Democratic efforts to block the Colorado native as taking the Senate in the “wrong direction.”

But the Colorado Democrat still won’t say whether he’ll actually vote to put the 10th Circuit of Appeals judge on the U.S. Supreme Court — even though a full Senate vote is expected Friday.

“Using the filibuster and nuclear option at this moment takes us in the wrong direction,” Bennet said in a statement.

The Colorado Independent’s Mike Littwin was first to report the news:

“I don’t think it’s wise for our party to filibuster this nominee or for Republicans to invoke the nuclear option,” Bennet says.

That makes him the fourth Democratic senator to break from the ranks, and the only one from a state that voted against Donald Trump. Republicans still need four more Democrats to defect to block a filibuster, and, at this point, it seems unlikely they’ll get them.

This vote was always going to be a lose-lose proposition for Bennet. He would either have to enrage the Democratic base with a decision that looks like heresy — which is what he’s done — or vote against a fellow Coloradan who is strongly supported by the downtown legal and business establishment, which, not coincidentally, generally supports Bennet. Gov. John Hickenlooper laid out the case when he said he wouldn’t blame Democrats for trying to delay or block Gorsuch after the Merrick Garland fiasco, but that he was “honored” a Coloradan as talented as Gorsuch was nominated.

There’s no question that the left in Colorado, who has put tremendous pressure on Bennet to set aside the geographic and other ties to Neil Gorsuch and oppose his nomination, will be irate over his decision not to join the filibuster. But as Littwin points out, it appears that Democrats will have the forty-one votes they need to proceed without him, and if that count is secure it’s entirely possible that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave Bennet a pass–to appease locals who don’t want him to block Gorsuch outright.

With all of that in mind, the real question for Bennet becomes how he will vote in the likely event Republicans crush the Democratic filibuster by invoking the so-called “nuclear option,” which will bypass the 60-vote requirement to proceed to the Senate floor for the confirmation vote. Gorsuch’s judicial record and well-documented right-wing political views put him so far at odds with Bennet and Democrats that a vote to confirm him would be a very serious breach of faith with his base, and would leave Bennet vulnerable to attack from his left every time Gorsuch makes an adverse ruling.

It’s not our intention to shield Bennet from criticism over what most Democrats will consider to be the wrong decision–some egregiously. It’s just important to keep all the moving parts in this battle in their proper perspective. This was an important moment for Bennet to stand up for his stated values, and he didn’t.

But it’s not his last chance to do so. So stay tuned until the end.

Boulder To Jeff Sessions: Keep The Change

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Boulder Daily Camera’s Alex Burness reports:

The city and county of Boulder stand to lose a small amount of budget funding if the Justice Department makes good on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s threat to withhold grant money from so-called “sanctuary” communities.

In a short appearance at Monday’s White House press briefing, Sessions said the Justice Department would require cities seeking some of the $4.1 billion available in grant money to verify that they are in compliance with a section of federal law that allows information sharing with immigration officials.

Boulder, a self-proclaimed sanctuary city, is slated to receive DOJ funding this year, as in 2015 and 2016, in grants that go toward the salaries of two officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office…

Boulder’s “sanctuary” policy, passed shortly before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, promises “no city employee shall inquire into a person’s immigration status,” and formally bans city employees from cooperating with federal authorities with regard to any investigation of a person’s immigration status.

Apparently, the total amount of funding Attorney General Jeff Sessions has the power to threaten Boulder with is somewhere between $23,000 and $25,000. In terms of the total budget for the city of Boulder, somewhere around .007%–small enough to be a rounding error. It’s safe to say the potential loss of those funds will not be enough to deter the city from what it considers a much larger humanitarian obligation.

In fact, it’s a small enough number to serve as a punchline. Chalk it up as the latest Trump administration grandstand that ended with a whimper.

Democrats Will Filibuster Gorsuch–All Eyes on Michael Bennet

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) hasn’t responded to the growing calls within his party to try to block President Donald Trump’s first pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised a filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation vote, which sets the stage for Republicans to use the so-called “nuclear option” to confirm Gorsuch with a simple majority…

“Michael has not decided on how he will vote on the nomination or a potential filibuster,” Bennet spokeswoman Laurie Cipriano told 9NEWS. “He is closely watching this week’s hearings and carefully reviewing Gorsuch’s record before he makes a decision.”

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Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

Washington Post via Denver Post:

As the Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing from witnesses for and against Judge Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nomination was delivered a critical blow: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced he would oppose Gorsuch and join other Democrats in filibustering the nomination, making it likely that the judge will struggle to find the support needed to clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle.

Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on President Donald Trump, Schumer said in a Senate floor speech.

Gorsuch is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” Schumer added. “He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”

The resolve by Senate Democrats to proceed with a filibuster of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination sets off a battle that may end in the long-feared “nuclear option,” short-circuiting Senate rules to eliminate the 60-vote requirement to end debate on a Supreme Court nomination. Or, it’s possible that Republicans could blink–the “nuclear option” is already a fact of life for Senate-approved nominations other than the Supreme Court, but to take this step for the nation’s singularly important lifetime appointment would be a radical step with portentous consequences.

And the one question that Colorado needs answered, right now: will Sen. Michael Bennet join his fellow Democrats? This is the question that will drive the news in our state today (well, aside from that healthcare thing).

And depending on what Bennet does next, maybe across the nation. Stay tuned…

Hickenlooper: Dems Should “Slow Down” Gorsuch Nomination

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Quotable quotes from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper today via the Denver Post’s Brian Eason, in which Hickenlooper shows a flash of contempt for President Donald Trump–and the treachery that led to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court that former President Barack Obama tried to fill over a year ago:

“If someone commits an offense against you, generally, if there’s no consequence — if you just walk away and there’s no consequence — if you have another opportunity, you can be pretty much assured that he’ll do that same thing again,” Hickenlooper said during a press conference. “I don’t think I would hold it against Democrats to say, ‘Maybe we should slow this down.’ Because there are real questions about what happened to Merrick Garland, and I think that those actions — just like elections — have consequences.”

But he stopped short of taking a position himself on the nomination, saying he was “honored” that Colorado had someone as talented as Gorsuch nominated to the nation’s highest court…

Hickenlooper also suggested that the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia could give Democrats another reason to hold off. [Pols emphasis]

“We’re already beginning to hear people say, ‘Hey, if this is a legitimate cloud about the legitimacy of this president, should he be appointing the next Supreme Court, until we get this resolved?’” Hickenlooper said. “Somehow it was OK to wait 10 and a half months without having a candidate stand for the Supreme Court — maybe we should wait another four or five months and see what this investigation proves.”

Shorter Hick: if you let the bullies win, all you’ve done is ensure the bullying happens again. Oh and by the way, Trump’s presidency is just a headline away from full-blown constitutional crisis, so maybe you don’t have to be so, you know, deferential? In terms of Gorsuch’s nomination, this is a message that seems to be directed at one particular U.S. Senator from Colorado.

Democrats should like this tougher side of Hickenlooper, and ask for more.

BREAKING: Ex-Colorado GOP Chair Charged With Voter Fraud

Former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis.

As the Denver Post’s John Frank reports, former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis, now a radio host on 560 KLZ talk radio, has been charged with felony forgery and one misdemeanor count of voter fraud:

Former Colorado Republican party chairman Steve Curtis, 57, has been charged with voter fraud and forgery, prosecutors say.

Curtis, an AM radio talk show host, appeared Tuesday in Weld County District Court, where he was advised that he faces two counts in the case: forgery, a Class 5 felony, and misdemeanor voter fraud.

Weld County District Attorney’s spokesman Tyler Hill confirmed the charges, but said he couldn’t discuss details of the allegations, which were first reported by KDVR-Channel 31.

However a criminal complaint filed Feb. 1 says the forgery charge stems from “intent to defraud” a woman on the 2016 general election mail-in ballot. The complaint says Curtis lives in Aurora.

As Frank reports, Curtis was the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party through 1999–far back enough that the kids won’t remember him, but excepting TABOR mastermind Doug Bruce’s tax evasion conviction related to an electioneering nonprofit he operated, this is the highest-ranking politico we can recall to be charged with a felony election crime.

And it should go without saying, if Colorado Republicans want to be taken seriously on the issue of election fraud, they really need to stop being literally the only people who actually commit election fraud in Colorado.

Seriously, folks.

CNN reports political background of Gorsuch critic but not of his defender

(It’s a two-way street – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CNN reported this morning that Jennifer Sisk, who complained that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch made disparaging comments about women during a lecture to his law school class, was “a registered Democrat who once worked for former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado.”

Fair enough.

But the political background of a former Gorsuch law student who defended the SCOTUS nominee was not provided.

CNN quoted former Gorsuch law student, Catherine Holtgrewe, as saying Gorsuch never spoke “disrespectfully to or about anyone” — without identifying Holtgewe as a former Romney staffer and the volunteer coordinator of the failed 2006 gubernatorial campaign of Bob Beauprez. She works for a conservative think tank.

CNN quoted a letter, first reported by NPR, that Sisk wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee, claiming that Gorsuch told her class that “companies must ask females about their family and pregnancy plans to protect the company,” CNN reported.

Sisk writes that she was “distressed by the tenor of his comments” and made her concerns known to the law school’s administration.

Sisk, a registered Democrat who once worked for former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, confirmed to CNN that she authored the letter.

In discussing Holtgrewe, CNN reported:

Another former student, Catherine Holtgrewe, said she “never heard Judge Gorsuch ever speak disrespectfully to or about anyone.”
“As a former student, I am a witness to the respect that he showed towards his female students and fellow professors at Colorado Law,” she said in a statement. “The supposed remarks he made in his 2016 Legal Ethics class are completely out of character, and I find very hard to believe are accurately relayed.”

Obviously, Holtgrewe’s political operative background is relevant to the story, as is Sisk’s. CNN need not have included Sisk’s political party.

I did not immediately receive a response to a tweet to Ashley Killough, a CNN political producer, whose byline appeared on the piece.

Gorsuch’s Bizarre Unforced Error on Partisan Judges

Seth Masket, political science professor at the University of Denver, calls out U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for a fairly surprising misstatement during confirmation hearings:

Masket is correct: the states of Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia all hold partisan elections to their state supreme courts. In addition, 20 states hold partisan elections for trial court judges. Several other states have a “hybrid” system of partial partisan elections for the judiciary.

So, what’s the deal with this? We don’t think it rises to the level of perjury, being an apparently innocent misstatement. But Gorsuch is being sold as one of the nation’s greatest legal minds, and there’s just no excuse for him not knowing full well that many parts of America indeed have “Republican judges” and “Democratic judges.”

This is not the minor leagues, folks. We are talking about a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court for a 49-year-old judge. Gorsuch’s platitudes about judicial partisan independence may sound good, but they are factually not correct.

And that doesn’t sit well with us.

Colorado Christian U: Gorsuch Our Kind of Hater

Neil Gorsuch.

A fundraising email from Jeff Hunt, vice president of Colorado Christian University, extolls Judge Neil Gorsuch’s “conservative values”–and makes predictions about Gorsuch’s values on the U.S. Supreme Court that Gorsuch probably won’t want to validate during confirmation hearings:

Judge Gorsuch has proven he’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty, which is exactly why the radical Left is rallying against him.

His rulings are very promising from a conservative perspective, which is why it’s critical we rush to his aid immediately and ensure he’s confirmed…

As a native of Colorado and a devoted follower of Christ, we couldn’t be more excited about what Judge Gorsuch will do to help overturn Roe v. Wade, uphold traditional marriage, and protect our religious freedom. [Pols emphasis]

When our past president, Bill Armstrong, was serving in the U.S. Senate, a young Neil Gorsuch even interned for him.

The late Senator Bill Armstrong helped mentor this brilliant conservative legal mind, and now he has the chance to ascend to the nation’s highest court where he will defend our values for decades to come.

We wouldn’t say that any of this is a surprise, although traditionally Supreme Court nominees don’t give specific answers on how they might rule on specific cases. What this message does do, however, is give some perspective on the origins of Gorsuch’s political views.

And if CCU is to be believed, that would be Gorsuch’s anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-bigotry political views (no word on how Gorsuch feels about the new Beauty and the Beast movie).

Bennet Introduces Gorsuch With Praise For Merrick Garland

TUESDAY UPDATE: Sen. Michael Bennet’s introduction of Neil Gorsuch appears to impressed somebody notable:

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Word spread late last week that Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet would join GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in introducing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch of Colorado to the Senate Judiciary Committee today. This afternoon that took place–with Gardner giving his widely-expected glowing endorsement of Gorsuch, and as for Bennet…well?

 

In short, Bennet warmly praises Gorsuch, saying he “exemplifies some of the finest qualities of Colorado.” That and several other statements by Bennet praising Gorsuch in terms that seem to gloss over very serious policy differences between these two men will be enough to make Colorado Democrats quite nervous.

Niceties aside, Bennet did speak out strongly against the treatment of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee who was denied a hearing by Republicans for almost a year. Bennet makes it clear that he considers “Judge Gorsuch a nominee to fill the Garland seat on the Supreme Court.” With that said, Bennet says that “two wrongs don’t make a right,” and that Gorsuch should receive a fair hearing.

Sen. Bennet didn’t give any definitive indication on how he intends to vote on Gorsuch, and it’s a longstanding tradition for a nominee’s home-state Senators to introduce them. But the first blush of reactions we’ve heard from Democrats are lukewarm at best. Bennet’s vote for or against Gorsuch represents what may be the greatest test of his values since his appointment in 2009, and it will be remembered.

Stay tuned, this drama is just warming up.

Gorsuch/Anschutz Exposé Puts Bennet on Hot Seat

Phil Anschutz.

The New York Times put out a story late yesterday that’s driving a lot of discussion in Colorado–detailing very close ties between U.S Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz that raise a number of previously unasked questions:

Mr. Anschutz’s influence is especially felt in his home state of Colorado, where years ago Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, a Denver native, the son of a well-known Colorado Republican and now President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, was drawn into his orbit.

As a lawyer at a Washington law firm in the early 2000s, Judge Gorsuch represented Mr. Anschutz, his companies and lower-ranking business executives as an outside counsel. In 2006, Mr. Anschutz successfully lobbied Colorado’s lone Republican senator and the Bush administration to nominate Judge Gorsuch to the federal appeals court. And since joining the court, Judge Gorsuch has been a semiregular speaker at the mogul’s annual dove-hunting retreats for the wealthy and politically prominent at his 60-square-mile Eagles Nest Ranch.

“They say a country’s prosperity depends on three things: sound money, private property and the rule of law,” Judge Gorsuch said at the 2010 retreat, according to his speaker notes from that year. “This crowd hardly needs to hear from me about the first two of the problems we face on those scores.”

As an outside counsel for Anschutz’s business empire, Gorsuch reportedly worked on a number of high-profile cases. But the big news in this story, something we and we’re pretty sure most Coloradans were not aware of, was Anschutz’s apparent heavy lobbying for Gorsuch’s appointment as a federal judge in 2006. Since his appointment, Gorsuch has apparently recused himself from some–but not all–cases that came before his court with a relationship to Phil Anschutz.

A surprising omission from this New York Times story is the fact that Gorsuch’s service as counsel to Anschutz overlaps with Sen. Michael Bennet’s tenure as Managing Director of the Anschutz Investment Company. Bennet’s employment by Anschutz is of course a matter of record, but obviously disclosure of these ties between Neil Gorsuch and Phil Anschutz invite new questions about how that association might affect Bennet’s vote to confirm Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sen. Bennet has been very reserved about Gorsuch’s nomination, and is publicly undecided on whether to support him.

With Democrats generally hardening in opposition to Gorsuch as confirmation hearings prepare to begin, this could be a big moment for Sen. Bennet to refute some of the persistent criticism he gets on his left. A vote against Gorsuch–and especially against cloture to proceed to the simple majority confirmation vote itself–is an opportunity for Bennet to prove he’s his own man, at a moment it would really count.

Whether he likes it or not, Bennet is now front-and-center in the Gorsuch confirmation battle. Stay tuned.

Rep. Joe Salazar Runs for Attorney General

UPDATE: FOX 31’s Joe St. George updating via Twitter that Boulder County DA Stan Garnett has also filed to run for AG, but hasn’t formally committed yet:

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Rep. Joe Salazar.

FOX 31 reporting Friday afternoon:

“I will be fearless in standing up to bullies like Donald Trump, who would use their power to restrict our freedoms and undermine our civil rights.”

This is how Democratic State Representative Joe Salazar began his informal announcement for his candidacy for Colorado Attorney General Friday.

Salazar has filed the required paperwork to establish his candidacy and plans a more formal announcement later in the year.

Salazar is in his third term representing House District 31, which includes parts of Thornton and unincorporated Adams County. He serves as Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Joe Salazar’s decision to run for Attorney General narrows the Democratic field in the 2018 gubernatorial race, where he had longed been rumored as a possible contender. Salazar would likely enjoy the support of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Colorado Democratic Party, after vocally supporting Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary.

Salazar’s chances of advancement are much better in the AG race in 2018 than a crowded gubernatorial primary in which he would have likely been overmatched by senior competitors. But don’t rule out a primary in this race either, between Salazar and one (or more) other interested Democratic contenders.

With that said, Joe Salazar is a well-qualified candidate who’s not afraid to scrap.

BREAKING: A Real Life Voter Fraud Conviction!

A press release moments ago from El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman announces one of the rarest events in American politics, even if it’s one of the most commonly feared: a conviction for actual vote fraud by an actual voter.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office is pleased to announce a conviction has been secured in one of the outstanding voter fraud cases being investigated by the District Attorney’s Office. Toni Newbill pleaded guilty to voting twice under Colorado Revised Statute 1-13-710. The penalty for this crime includes probation, community service, a fine, and other court fees. Ms. Newbill attempted to cast Ralph Nanninga’s ballot in the 2016 Primary Election. Mr. Nanninga passed away in 2012.

“I’d like to thank our District Attorney Dan May and his staff for their great work on this case,” said Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman. “Our office takes voter fraud seriously and we’re committed to combating it in every form. We’ll continue to work with various agencies to prevent voter fraud, clean up registration lists, and prosecute those who try to abuse our democratic system.”

To say that Republican elected officials “take voter fraud seriously” is a bit of an understatement, since vote fraud claims formed an outsize component of Republican pre-election messaging in the 2016 elections. It’s true that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican himself, pushed back on Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations that the “election is rigged,” but that didn’t stop the rumors from spreading within conservative media. Just as one example, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s unfounded claims of “tens of thousands” of illegal voters in Colorado were recycled by national conservative columnist Michelle Malkin with absolutely no regard for truthfulness.

But never mind all that, now we’ve got a real-life voter who has pled guilty to voting twice! Surely that confirms Republicans’ worst fears of rampant voter fraud, right? The answer is no, for two reasons. The first is that this conviction is evidence the system works. The attempt in this case by a Colorado voter to cast two ballots was not successful, because the voter in question, Toni Newbill, was caught.

And the second reason? Toni Newbill is a registered Republican. The election in which she attempted to cast two ballots was the 2016 primary election, in which the marquee contest was the Republican U.S. Senate primary–the same primary that saw frontrunner Jon Keyser’s campaign collapse under allegations of petition fraud, which later resulted in a felony conviction of a Keyser campaign subcontractor.

Far from proving the unsubstantiated claims from President Trump and others that vote fraud is a major problem, this one case against the backdrop of millions of votes legally and properly cast in Colorado proves that there isn’t a problem–at least no problem that merits clamping down on the system, impeding access to the franchise by thousands in order to prevent the exceedingly rare instance of actual lawbreaking.

If that blows a hole in your cherished conspiracy theories, we’re not sorry.

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