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Lawrence Lessig: The Equal Protection argument against “winner take all” in the Electoral College

(Medium) Most people, even Dems, can’t seem to allow themselves to even think about a constitutional challenge to the Electoral College — because they’re convinced our current Electoral College system is embedded in the Constitution. So when someone says, “what about one person, one vote,” they respond, “it’s the Constitution that creates this inequality—just as with the Senate—and the Court is not going to overrule the Constitution.”

Yet that response misses a critical point.

Yes, the Constitution creates an inequality because of the way it allocates electoral college votes. A state like Wyoming, for example, gets 3 electoral votes with a population of less than 600,000, while California gets 55 electoral votes with a population of more than 37 million. Thus, while California has a population that is 66x Wyoming, but only gets 18x the electoral college votes.

But the real inequality of the electoral college is created by the “winner take all” (WTA) rule for allocating electoral votes. WTA says that the person who wins the popular votes gets all the electoral college votes for that state. Every state (except Maine and Nebraska) allocates its electors based on WTA. But that system for allocating electoral votes is not mandated by the Constitution. It is created by the states. And so that raises what should be an obvious and much more fiercely contested question—why isn’t WTA being challenged by the Democrats in this election?


Democrats to give Trump Cabinet picks the Garland treatment

(Politico) Senate Democrats are preparing to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks through a grinding confirmation process, weighing delay tactics that could eat up weeks of the Senate calendar and hamper his first 100 days in office.

Multiple Democratic senators told POLITICO in interviews last week that after watching Republicans sit on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for nearly a year, they’re in no mood to fast-track Trump’s selections.


Breitbart War On Kellog Backfires, More Advertisers Flee The Hate

(CBS News) Breitbart News, an ultraconservative website that has served as a platform for the white nationalist “alt-right” movement, is touting its growing readership and “main street American values” as a reason advertisers should stick with it.

Some marketers, however, are heading for the exits, directing their advertising dollars away from Breitbart amid the publication’s call for a boycott against Kellogg’s (K), which has pulled its ads from the site. That prompted Breitbart to declare “war” on Kellogg’s: Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow said on the site that “to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice.”


D.C. Police arrest suspect with an assault rifle at Comet Ping Pong restaurant

(WaPo) A North Carolina man was arrested Sunday after he walked into a popular pizza restaurant in Northwest Washington carrying an assault rifle and fired one or more shots, D.C. police said. The man told police he had come to the restaurant to self-investigate an election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign.

The incident caused panic, with several businesses going into lockdown as police swarmed the neighborhood after receiving the call shortly before 3 p.m. ... Police said 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., walked in the front door of Comet Ping Pong and pointed a firearm in the direction of a restaurant employee. The employee was able to flee and notify police. Police said Welch proceeded to discharge the rifle inside the restaurant.


Trump May Not Propose A Budget Next Year

(MSN/Forbes) The Trump administration is seriously thinking about not submitting a budget to Congress next year .

Although the Congressional Budget Act requires the president to submit the fiscal 2018 budget to Congress between January 2 and February 6, Trump could easily say that it was the responsibility of the outgoing Obama administration to comply with the law before the new president was sworn in on January 20.

But while the new president not sending a budget to Congress might not be illegal, it would clearly be unprecedented.


Feds will deny easement for Dakota Access Pipeline

Tribal officials will hold news conference soon.


Mike Pence sees a real opportunity to gut health care for poorpeople

(Think Progress) There is a “real opportunity” to convert Medicaid into a block grant program, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Sunday, with the likely result that countless low-income beneficiaries could lose their health insurance or see steep reductions.

“There’s a real opportunity as we repeal and replace Obamacare to do what the president-elect also said on the campaign, which is block granting Medicaid back to the states,” said Pence during an appearance on ABC’s This Week.


President Obama Says Marijuana Should Be Treated Like Alcohol

(NORML) In a just published “exit interview” with Rolling Stone Magazine, President Barack Obama opined that marijuana use should be treated as a public-health issue, not a criminal matter, and called the current patchwork of state and federal laws regarding the drug “untenable.”

“Look, I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse,” Obama said. “And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”


A Trump Surrogate Drops the Mic: 'There's No Such Thing as Facts'

(Esquire) Is there such a thing as truth? The past 18 months posed this seemingly absurd question. It's not whether something Donald Trump says is true, but about whether anyone even cares. Trump's campaign made a bet that enough voters didn't (or couldn't) tell the difference in a deluge of information, and that bet paid off. Trump won the most important election in decades. His surrogate Scott Nell Hughes explicitly confirmed that whole strategy yesterday.

"Well, I think it's also an idea of an opinion. And that's—on one hand, I hear half the media saying that these are lies. But on the other half, there are many people that go, 'No, it's true.' And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch, is that people that say facts are facts—they're not really facts. Everybody has a way—it's kind of like looking at ratings, or looking at a glass of half-full water. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth, or not truth. There's no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.

Miles Archer

Trump Treasury pick Mnuchin's company foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman after 27-cent payment error

(Politico) In Florida, the company foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman after a 27-cent payment error. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo singled out the lender for squeezing Superstorm Sandy victims. Last month, the company’s successor, CIT Bank, was accused of discriminating against minority borrowers.

Two years ago, OneWest filed foreclosure papers on the Lakeland, Florida, home of Ossie Lofton, who had taken a reverse mortgage, a loan that supplies cash to elderly homeowners and doesn’t require monthly payments.


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