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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Maryland Gerrymandering Goes on Trial

Trial Set in Our Lawsuit Challenging Maryland’s Gerrymandering Abuse
Illegal Immigrant Murders Four in County of Sheriff Sued for Reporting Alien Criminals
New York City’s War on Election Fairness

 


Trial Set in Our Lawsuit Challenging Maryland’s Gerrymandering Abuse

A Maryland court has set a trial date for our lawsuit against the State of Maryland challenging the state’s 2021 Congressional redistricting plan. In moving forward with the case, the court denied the motion of the State of Maryland and its election officials to dismiss our suit. The trial is scheduled for March 15-18, 2022.

We filed the lawsuit on behalf of 12 registered Maryland voters who object to Maryland’s 2021 congressional redistricting plan on the grounds that it is a partisan gerrymander that diminishes their rights to participate in free and fair elections for the U.S. Congress on an equal basis with other Maryland voters, in violation of the Maryland Constitution (Parrott et al. v Lamone et al. (No. C-02-CV-21-001773)).

The trial will also include plaintiffs from a separate lawsuit against the Maryland gerrymander. We are being assisted by Gardner M. Duvall of Whiteford Taylor Preston in Baltimore, and by William J. Holtzinger, Esq., of Frederick, Maryland.

Our lawsuit details:

Maryland’s recent history of partisan gerrymandering is no secret. [its 2011] congressional district map … remains one of the most notorious partisan gerrymanders in U.S. history. A federal district judge openly doubted that it could provide “fair and effective representation for all citizens.”  Another called it “absurd” to suggest ‘that there is a community of interest” in a district described as a “Rorschach-like eyesore.” [A federal appeals court] famously described the same district as “a broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state.”

The lawsuit relates that a bipartisan commission recommended a map to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on November 5th that he approved, but the legislature passed a different proposal in a straight party-line vote. On December 9, 2021, Hogan vetoed this proposal, and, the same day, the state legislature overrode his veto on another party-line vote.

Outside experts agree that the plan is flawed, with the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project giving it a grade of “F” for fairness and geographic compactness. In 2020, Republicans accounted for approximately 35% of Maryland’s congressional votes, but they’re unlikely to win even a single seat under this plan. This outcome wouldn’t be possible without political gerrymandering.

Some background: In June 2015, we filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional district map. We filed on behalf of voters in each of Maryland’s congressional districts—including Maryland Delegate Neil Parrott, who is also the lead plaintiff in this new state-court lawsuit. In December 2016, we filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in response to Maryland’s attempt to retain the gerrymandered voter districting plan.

This historic challenge and trial are necessary because Democrats in the legislature abused power in setting up Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional maps. This trial is about protecting the rights of all voters and citizens. Politicians shouldn’t get to pick their voters.

 


Illegal Immigrant Murders Four in County of Sheriff Sued for Reporting Alien Criminals

The horrors of California’s coddling of illegal immigrant criminals continue to mount. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the details of the latest tragedy, this one involving three murdered children.

Months after a California sheriff got sued for reporting undocumented criminals to federal authorities, an illegal immigrant with a criminal history murdered four people in the veteran law enforcement official’s jurisdiction just days after being released from jail. The brutal crimes occurred in Sacramento, California, where Sheriff Scott Jones was recently sued by a leftist civil rights group for transferring illegal alien offenders to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for removal rather than release them back into the community under state sanctuary laws known as the TRUTH Act and the California Values Act. The first one, which went into effect in 2017, requires that local police give criminals in the U.S. illegally a written notice of their transfer to ICE. The second, which was enacted a year later, forbids all California law enforcement agencies from using funds or employees to “investigate, interrogate, detain or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.” The measure is also known as SB 54.

The Golden State’s outrageous sanctuary laws protected 39-year-old Mexican national David Mora-Rojas from deportation after at least two encounters with the law. In April 2021, the mother of his three children obtained a restraining order against him after a domestic violence incident, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, which confirms that the order specifically states Mora-Rojas cannot own or possess firearms or ammunition. On February 23, 2022, Mora-Rojas was arrested in Merced County about 115 miles south of Sacramento for driving under the influence, assaulting a police officer, and assaulting medical staff. ICE served a detainer on the jail, but state sanctuary laws prohibited Merced officials from holding Mora-Rojas or communicating with ICE about his release, so the illegal immigrant walked out of jail on a $15,000 bond.

Five days later Mora-Rojas shot his three daughters and a court-ordered chaperone at a Sacramento church before shooting himself. The girls were nine, 10 and 13 years old. Mora-Rojas used an Armalite Rifle (AR) style gun with no serial number or manufacturer makings, according to the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office, which describes it as a Privately Made Firearm (PMF). The rifle had an extended 30-round magazine inserted and 17 casings were found at the scene. The horrific crimes occurred on February 28 at around 5 p.m. at the Church in Sacramento which is located in a residential neighborhood. The church issued a statement expressing shock and sadness, “resulting in the deaths of five of our members,” which seems to include the shooter. One Sacramento news report says court documents paint a disturbing picture of verbal and physical abuse inflicted by Mora-Rojas on the mother of his three kids, yet he was allowed to remain in the country illegally.

In the tragedy’s aftermath, Sheriff Jones is publicly expressing outrage. The 33-year law enforcement veteran is currently serving his third term as the top cop in the central California county of around 1.6 million that includes the state’s capitol. In a social media post Jones writes that “there is only ONE thing that allowed this horrific tragedy to occur with certainty: the deplorable state of our national immigration policies, and California’s Sanctuary State Laws.” Jones warns that liberals and activists will try to spin the narrative, dredge up sympathy for the monster that killed the victims and focus on the horrors of ghost guns. “When I was invited to the White House by President Trump in 2018 to discuss immigration failures in our country, I described California’s Sanctuary State law as creating ‘spectacular failures’ all over this state,” Jones writes. “I was criticized in The[Sacramento] Bee and elsewhere for that statement, but I defy them now to color this tragic event any other way.”

In November Jones was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for transferring illegal immigrants convicted of state crimes to federal authorities. The group claims that collaborating with the feds—rather than releasing illegal alien offenders back into the community—compounds racial disparities in the policing, immigration, and criminal justice systems, in which black and Latinx communities are disproportionately targeted for arrest, detention, and deportation. In the federal complaint the ACLU accuses Jones and his agency of violating California sanctuary laws by reporting illegal immigrants jailed for committing local crimes to ICE upon completing their sentence. The offenders are eligible to return to their home and communities in the U.S. but instead are enduring a “cruel double punishment,” according to the ACLU attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the illegal aliens. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s “anti-immigrant agenda” harms communities, the ACLU lawyer asserts. The group has failed to issue a statement or comment on the Mora-Rojas murders, which could have been prevented if he were deported after his first encounter with local law enforcement.


New York City’s War on Election Fairness

New York City is a mess. Crime is rampant. Schools are failing. Residents are bailing out by the thousands. And the city’s officials continue their march into madness by encouraging anarchy in the electoral process. In our Investigative BulletinChief Investigative Reporter Micah Morrison outlines the problem.

Gotham’s new mayor is getting kudos for standing up to radicals on guns and crime and schools, but when it comes to election integrity the Left is taking him to the cleaners. Unchecked, it’s an electoral death sentence for Mayor Eric Adams and fair elections in New York City.

The war on election fairness is being waged on two fronts — one in broad daylight, and the other from the shadows. In both cases, the vehicle for the radical takeover of New York is the city’s failed Board of Elections (BOE).

In the daylight war, Mr. Adams in January allowed radical City Council legislation granting 800,000 noncitizens the right to vote in local elections to pass into law. Any noncitizen who is legally documented and a resident for 30 days — 30 days! — can vote in contests for mayor, City Council, comptroller, public advocate and borough presidents. The Board of Elections is tasked with managing the hundreds of thousands of new noncitizen voters.

In the shadow war, Mr. Adams is mute while possibly thousands of voters remain illegally on voter rolls. Under federal law, the National Voter Registration Act, the states must make “a reasonable effort” to remove from voting rolls “the names of ineligible voters” who have been disqualified from voting due to death or failure to provide notification of change of residence. The Board is responsible for keeping voter rolls honest.

Dirty voter rolls matter. Leaving the names of inactive voters on registration rolls creates opportunities for fraud, such as dead people voting or double voting. Sometimes it only takes a few votes to swing an election. The 2019 election for Queens district attorney, for example, was won by 60 votes.

In November, Judicial Watch sent letters to BOE officials in all five boroughs warning of apparent serious violations of the voter registration act. The law requires states to remove registrations of voters who fail to respond to an address confirmation request and then fail to vote in two consecutive elections.

In New York City, the numbers of potential violators ignored by the Board of Elections are staggering. Mining statutory reporting data, Judicial Watch found that in Manhattan, with 1.2 million registered voters, state authorities removed a grand total of two ineligible voters from voting rolls.

In Brooklyn, with 1.7 million registered voters, the number removed: zero.

In Queens, with 1.3 million registered voters, the number removed: zero.

In Staten Island, with 344,000 voters: zero.

In the Bronx, with 867,000 voters: One ineligible voter was removed.

“About 10% of Americans move every year,” notes Robert Popper, Judicial Watch’s director of voting integrity efforts. “Those counties should generate hundreds of thousands of canceled registrations. There is simply no way to comply with federal law while removing so few outdated registrations under its key provision.”

BOE’s response? A stonewall of silence on dirty voter rolls. And a punt on noncitizen voting: It sent a letter to Albany asking for a “review” of the new law.

The BOE has a long history of incompetence and cronyism, most recently badly bungling the initial ranked-choice voting rollout in last year’s municipal elections. Under the new law, it likely would have to create a dual-ballot system for election day — one ballot for state and federal races for citizens, and one for municipal races that would include noncitizen voters.

Dual ballots are an invitation to corruption. So is the 30-day residency requirement of the new law. Both open the door to all sorts of unscrupulous operatives who manipulate ballots and voters.

Legal challenges are mounting. A group of prominent New York Republicans has filed a lawsuit against Mr. Adams, the Board of Elections, and the City Council, seeking to overturn the noncitizen voting law as unconstitutional.

And Judicial Watch has warned that city officials–well as other government entities around the country–will face court action if they remain out of compliance with the voter registration act.

“New York City’s Board of Elections is a national disgrace,” says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The idea that it can manage an entirely new list of noncitizen voters when it can’t even keep ineligible voters of its current list under federal law, is absurd.”

Until next week…