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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Federal court temporarily blocks criminal bond law change in Georgia

Federal court temporarily blocks criminal bond law change in Georgia

Legislation signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on May 1 is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, which says it cruelly hampers charitable efforts to help cash-strapped defendants get bail. (Ariel Hart/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

“A federal court judge temporarily blocked part of a new Georgia law set to go into effect July 1 that created limits on charitable funds and individuals paying criminal bond for detainees who cannot afford to post bail.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Marie Calvert issued the 14-day block on Section 4 of Senate Bill 63 to give time for both sides in the lawsuit to argue over whether it should be stopped for the duration of the lawsuit. The bill was passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this year.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia sued to stop the limits from going into effect, alleging they are cruel and unconstitutional. The provision restricts charity organizations or individuals helping others make bail from doing so more than three times each year.

That section of the bill was spurred by frustration with bail funds that helped Atlanta Public Safety Training Center protesters get out of jail while awaiting trial.

The ACLU of Georgia is representing Barred Business, an Atlanta nonprofit that has a program for those who can’t afford bail, and two members of the Oconee Street United Methodist Church in Athens, which also has a charitable bail fund.

The bill also adds 30 other offenses, many of which are often misdemeanors, that will now require cash bail, including failure to appear in court for a traffic citation.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis also denounced the bill this week. She said is considering a legal challenge of her own because it “criminalizes being poor and those good Samaritans who attempt to help the poor.”

Supreme Court Justices TURN AGAINST Each Other, It’s UGLY

A String of Supreme Court Decisions Hits Hard at Environmental Rules

A String of Supreme Court Decisions Hits Hard at Environmental Rules

“Four cases backed by conservative activists in recent years have combined to diminish the power of the Environmental Protection Agency.

A single tree stands in a grassy field and in the background are two smokestacks blowing white smoke into the blue sky.
A coal-fired power plant in Robertson County, Texas. One court ruling this week said the E.P.A. could not limit smokestack pollution that drifts across state lines.Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A spate of decisions over the past two years by the Supreme Court has significantly impaired the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit pollution in the air and water, regulate the use of toxic chemicals and reduce the greenhouse gasses that are heating the planet.

This term, the court’s conservative supermajority handed down several rulings that chip away at the power of many federal agencies.

But the environmental agency has been under particular fire, the result of a series of cases brought since 2022 by conservative activists who say that E.P.A. regulations have driven up costs for industries ranging from electric utilities to home building. Those arguments have resonated among justices skeptical of government regulation.

On Friday, the court ended the use of what is known as the Chevron doctrine, a cornerstone of administrative law for 40 years that said that courts should defer to government agencies to interpret unclear laws. That decision threatens the authority of many federal agencies to regulate the environment and also health care, workplace safety, telecommunications, the financial sector and more.

But more remarkable have been several decisions by the court to intervene to stop environmental regulations before they were decided by lower courts or even before they were implemented by the executive branch.

On Thursday, the court said the E.P.A. could not limit smokestack pollution that blows across state borders under a measure known as the “good neighbor rule.” In that case, the court took the surprising step of weighing in while litigation was still pending at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The court also acted in an unusually preliminary fashion last year when it struck down a proposed E.P.A. rule known as Waters of the United States that was designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands from pollution, acting before the regulation had even been made final.

Similarly, in a 2022 challenge to an E.P.A. climate proposal known as the Clean Power Plan, the court sharply limited the agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, even though that rule had not yet taken effect.

That kind of intervention has little in the way of precedent. Usually, the Supreme Court is the last venue to hear a case, after arguments have been made and opinions have been rendered by lower courts.

“This court has shown an interest in making law in this area and not having the patience to wait for the cases to first come up through the courts,” said Kevin Minoli, a lawyer who worked in the E.P.A.’s office of general counsel from the Clinton through the Trump administrations. “They’ve been aggressive on ruling. It’s like, we’re going to tell you the answer before you even ask the question.”

Collectively, those decisions now endanger not only many existing environmental rules, but may prevent future administrations from writing new ones, experts say.

“These are among the worst environmental law rulings that the Supreme Court will ever issue,” said Ian Fein, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “They all cut sharply against the federal government’s ability to enforce laws that protect us from polluters.”

The march of environmental cases is not over: The court has agreed to hear a case next term that could limit the reach of National Environmental Policy Act, the 1970 law that requires federal agencies to analyze whether their proposed projects have environmental consequences. Businesses and industries have long complained that the reviews can take years, inflate costs and be used by community groups to block projects.

For a coalition of industries, conservative advocacy groups and Republican attorneys general and their campaign donors, the recent decisions are a victory in a multiyear strategy to use the judicial system to influence environmental policy.

Many of the petitioners on the cases overlap, including the Republican attorneys general from at least 18 states, the National Mining Association, the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The lead plaintiff on last year’s wetlands protection case, the Pacific Legal Foundation, is part of the network of conservative research organizations that has received funding from the billionaire Charles Koch, who is chairman of the petrochemical company Koch Industries and a champion of anti-regulatory causes.

“You see much more coordination now than you used to, coalitions of states and trade groups to change administrative law,” said Damien M. Schiff, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation. “Trade groups, the chamber, P.L.F., we very consciously take cases that we hope will win in a precedent-setting way. The strategy, the tactics are the same. It’s coordinated internally.”

The Supreme Court has “shown a greater willingness to exercise its authority earlier in the litigation process,” Mr. Schiff said.

The plaintiffs are also strategizing for the future.

President Biden has pledged that the United States will cut its carbon dioxide pollution in half by 2030 and eliminate it by 2050, which scientists say all major economies must do if the world is to avoid the most deadly and costly impacts of climate change. This year, the E.P.A. has rushed to finalize new rules to slash pollution from carstruckspower plants and methane leaks from oil and gas wells.

If he wins a second term, Mr. Biden wants to cut emissions from steel, cement and other heavy industries that have never been required to reduce their planet-warming emissions.

But the string of recent losses before the Supreme Court could make it difficult for the E.P.A. to follow through on those plans.

“There has been a steady erosion of environmental law,” said Patrick Parenteau, an expert on environmental law at Vermont Law School. “These decisions mean that Biden, if he gets a second term, is not going to be able to do much else on the environment, particularly on climate.”

Christine Todd Whitman, a onetime Republican and former governor of New Jersey who served as the administrator of the E.P.A. during the George W. Bush administration, said that environmental regulations sometimes could go too far and needed to be tempered by courts. But she said she saw the Supreme Court’s recent decisions as an alarming new precedent.

“What this activist conservative court is now doing, which really upsets me, is trying to implement a political agenda,” Ms. Whitman said. “They are looking for an opportunity to make a statement. And it circumvents and undermines the agencies. It’s as if they take the attitude that all regulations are bad and we’re going to stop them all before they go too far.”

That will have harmful consequences, she said.

“If you don’t have clean air to breathe and water to drink it’s going to cost a lot,” Ms. Whitman said. “This is putting a lot of people’s lives in jeopardy.”

For example, the court’s decision to curtail the E.P.A.’s authority to regulate wetlands and so-called ephemeral streams means that about half the nation’s wetlands could be polluted or paved without federal penalty, potentially harming thousands of species of plants and animals. In addition, new research has shown that the court’s decision also makes major American river basins vulnerable to pollution.

Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, said in a statement that the legal decisions properly shift authority over decisions with great economic impact from the executive to the legislative branch.

“For too long, unaccountable bureaucrats in D.C. have been imposing destructive regulations that harm farmers, fishermen, and countless small business owners who are already struggling to survive in our global economy, and the Supreme Court has an opportunity to restore accountability to that process by putting power back in the hands of Congress where it belongs,” she said.

On that last point, environmentalists and conservatives say they agree: If the federal government wants to protect the environment, Congress should update existing laws and pass new legislation.

The nation’s bedrock environmental laws, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, were both written more than 50 years ago, before the effects of climate change and a global economy that has reshaped the environmental and economic landscape.

Since then, Congress has passed one major law to address climate change, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. It includes more than $370 billion in incentives for clean energy technologies, including wind and solar power and electric vehicles. Climate experts call it a strong first step in cutting the nation’s emissions, but say that far more is needed to eliminate them entirely in the next 25 years.

“The agencies for more than 30 years have needed to use old, existing laws to deal with new environmental problems,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “And this new court is now making that extraordinarily difficult. Unless Congress is extremely specific, agencies can’t act. But since Congress is largely immobilized, this in turn freezes what they can do.”

Friday, June 28, 2024

Trump PANICS as Justice Jackson ANNIHILATES Trump Puppets Alito & Thomas!

Supreme Court Says Prosecutors Overstepped With Jan. 6 Charge - The New York Times

Supreme Court Says Prosecutors Overstepped With Jan. 6 Charge

"The ruling that the Justice Department misused a 2002 law in charging a pro-Trump rioter who entered the Capitol could have an impact on hundreds of other cases, including one against Donald Trump.

People waving flags and standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The ruling may lead lower courts to dismiss charges against some Jan. 6 defendants, although most of those charged or convicted under the 2002 law also face other charges.Jason Andrew for The New York Times

By Adam Liptak

Adam Liptak has reported on the Supreme Court since 2008.

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that federal prosecutors had improperly used an obstruction law to prosecute some members of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The ruling could affect the prosecutions of hundreds of rioters out of the more than 1,400 who have been charged with an array of offenses for taking part in the effort to block certification of the 2020 election results.

It could also have an effect on part of the federal case against former President Donald J. Trump accusing him of plotting to overturn his 2020 loss at the polls. But the precise impact on those cases will not become clear until trial courts review them in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Prosecutors had argued that the law applied to efforts to obstruct an “official proceeding” — the joint session of Congress that took place on Jan. 6, 2021, to certify the Electoral College results.

But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, read the law narrowly, saying it applied only when the defendant’s actions impaired the integrity of physical evidence.

Lower courts will now apply that strict standard, and it may lead them to dismiss charges against some defendants, although most of those charged or convicted under the obstruction law also face other charges.

The vote was 6 to 3, but it featured unusual alliances. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, a liberal, voted with the majority and filed a concurring opinion. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, wrote the dissent.

None of the opinions in the case discussed the charges against Mr. Trump, which rely only in part on the obstruction law.

Justice Jackson said the Jan. 6 attack was an assault on democracy. But that was not, she wrote, the question before the court.

“On Jan. 6, 2021, an angry mob stormed the United States Capitol seeking to prevent Congress from fulfilling its constitutional duty to certify the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election,” she wrote. “The peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental democratic norm, and those who attempted to disrupt it in this way inflicted a deep wound on this nation.”

“But today’s case is not about the immorality of those acts,” she wrote. “Instead, the question before this court is far narrower: What is the scope of the particular crime Congress has outlined?”

A broad reading of the law, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “would criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyists alike to decades in prison.”

Most Jan. 6 defendants have not been charged under the obstruction law, which prosecutors have reserved for the most serious cases, and most of those who have been charged under it face other counts as well.

Federal prosecutors have downplayed the significance of the obstruction charge, saying it was an important but not essential part of their overall strategy to prosecute the 1,427 people charged thus far in the attack on the Capitol. Of that number, 350 were charged under the section of the law challenged in the case, according to the Justice Department.

The biggest unknown is the fate of the 52 people who have been convicted exclusively under the law, with no other charge — 27 of whom are currently serving sentences in federal prison.

It is almost certain that those behind bars will immediately petition the court for their release. But investigators in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington have continued to accumulate a vast trove of evidence, much of it in the form of new electronic communications from people who have already stood trial.

That additional evidence might implicate some of the Jan. 6 defendants on other charges, which could lead to new trials, according to law enforcement officials.

The defendant in the case before the justices, Joseph W. Fischer, for instance, faced six other charges.

Justice Jackson stressed that reading the law narrowly did not necessarily mean that Mr. Fischer would prevail.

“It might well be that Fischer’s conduct, as alleged here, involved the impairment (or the attempted impairment) of the availability or integrity of things used during the Jan. 6 proceeding,” she wrote. That question, she wrote, is for lower courts to decide.

The effect of the ruling in Mr. Fischer’s favor on Mr. Trump’s case could also be limited. Jack Smith, the special counsel who brought the federal election interference charges against the former president, has said Mr. Trump’s conduct could be considered a crime under even a narrow reading of the obstruction law. Mr. Smith used the law in connection with Mr. Trump’s effort to create slates of electors pledged to vote for him from states won by President Biden.

A brief passage in the majority opinion may lend support to that view. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that it is possible to violate the obstruction law “by creating false evidence — rather than altering incriminating evidence.”

That statement might well encompass Mr. Trump’s efforts to create slates of fake electors.

In any event, the former president faces two other charges unrelated to the law, part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

In a separate case, the justices appear poised to rule on Monday on whether Mr. Trump is immune from prosecution for actions he took as president. The court’s ruling could render moot questions about whether the 2002 law covers his conduct.

The Supreme Court has said that the purpose of the obstruction law, prompted by accounting fraud and the destruction of documents, was “to safeguard investors in public companies and restore trust in the financial markets following the collapse of Enron Corporation.”

The question for the justices in the case, Fischer v. United States, No. 23-5572, was whether the law could be used to prosecute Mr. Fischer, a former Pennsylvania police officer.

According to the government, Mr. Fischer sent text messages to his boss, the police chief of North Cornwall Township, Pa., about his plans for Jan. 6. “It might get violent,” he said in one. In another, he wrote that “they should storm the capital and drag all the democrates into the street and have a mob trial.”

Prosecutors say that videos showed Mr. Fischer yelling “Charge!” before pushing through the crowd and entering the Capitol around 3:24 p.m. on Jan. 6. He used a vulgar term to berate police officers, prosecutors said, and crashed into a line of them. He was, the government’s brief said, “forcibly removed about four minutes after entering.”

Mr. Fischer’s lawyers, by contrast, stressed that he had attended the rally on the Ellipse but was not part of the initial assault.

“When the crowd breached the Capitol, Mr. Fischer was in Maryland, not Washington, D.C.,” his lawyers wrote in their brief. “He returned after Congress had recessed.”

“His earlier Facebook posts about violence, when read in context, refer to his belief that antifa planned to disrupt the rally,” they continued. He had yelled “Charge!” in “obvious jest,” they added.

In disrupting the certification of Mr. Biden’s electoral victory, prosecutors said, Mr. Fischer had obstructed an official proceeding in violation of the 2002 law, which was principally concerned with the destruction of evidence.

At least part of what the law meant to accomplish was to address a gap in the federal criminal code: It had been a crime to persuade others to destroy records relevant to an investigation or official proceeding but not to do so oneself. The law sought to close that gap through a two-part provision. The first part made it a crime to corruptly alter, destroy or conceal evidence to frustrate official proceedings. The second part, at issue in Mr. Fischer’s case, makes it a crime “otherwise” to corruptly obstruct, influence or impede any official proceeding.

The heart of the case is at the pivot from the first part to the second. The ordinary meaning of “otherwise,” prosecutors said, is “in a different manner.” That means, they said, that the obstruction of official proceedings need not involve the destruction of evidence. The second part, they say, is a broad catchall.

Mr. Fischer’s lawyers countered that the first part must inform and limit the second one — meaning that the obstruction of official proceedings must be linked to the destruction of evidence. They would read “otherwise” as “similarly.”

Justice Jackson largely agreed. “There is no indication whatsoever that Congress intended to create a sweeping, all-purpose obstruction statute,” she wrote.

In dissent, Justice Barrett, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, wrote that “Congress meant what it said.”

Glenn Thrush contributed reporting."

Supreme Court Says Prosecutors Overstepped With Jan. 6 Charge - The New York Times

Thursday, June 27, 2024

In a scathing dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson says Idaho abortion ruling is 'not a victory for pregnant patients'

In a scathing dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson says Idaho abortion ruling is 'not a victory for pregnant patients'

“WASHINGTON — In a scathing dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson warned Thursday that the Supreme Court’s Idaho abortion decision is “not a victory for pregnant patients,” even though it allows emergency abortions for now.

“It is delay,” she wrote in her dissent, which she read from the bench. “While this court dawdles and the country waits, pregnant people experiencing emergency medical conditions remain in a precarious position, as their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires.”

Jackson said the court had the opportunity “to bring clarity and certainty to this tragic situation, and we have squandered it.”

“And for as long as we refuse to declare what the law requires, pregnant patients in Idaho Texas, and elsewhere will be paying the price,” she continued. “Because we owe them — and the nation — an answer to the straightforward pre-emption question presented in these cases, I respectfully dissent.”

A Biden campaign adviser later Thursday warned that "women’s health, lives, and freedoms remain in peril across the country because of Donald Trump."

Women are being turned away at emergency rooms, the adviser continued, because "Trump’s Supreme Court majority overturned Roe v. Wade" in 2022. The White House said this has forced pregnant patients to "the brink of death before receiving the care they need."

"If Trump returns to the White House, he and his allies will ban abortion in all 50 states — without the help of Congress or the courts — putting even more women’s lives at risk," the campaign adviser said.

The Supreme Court decided that it would dismiss the appeal brought by Idaho officials and, as a result, a lower court's ruling will remain in effect for now, which allows doctors in Idaho to perform abortions in emergency situations.

The decision, which leaves the legal question unresolved and has no impact in any other state, was widely expected after the Supreme Court on Wednesday inadvertently posted a copy online.

The court’s decision to not rule on the substance of the case means confusion remains on whether the federal law trumps the state bans.

This article was originally published on

Israel-Gaza war live: Israel warns it could take Lebanon ‘back to the Stone Age’ as defence minister wraps up Washington trip

Israel-Gaza war live: Israel warns it could take Lebanon ‘back to the Stone Age’ as defence minister wraps up Washington trip

"Yoav Gallant said Israel is preparing for war with Hezbollah but stressed that his government preferred a diplomatic solution

US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin and Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant meet in Washington.
US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin and Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant meet in Washington.Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Welcome and summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s continuing coverage of the Israel-Gaza war and the wider crisis in the Middle East.

Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, has warned that Israel’s military is capable of taking Lebanon “back to the stone age” in any war with Hezbollah militants, but insisted his government prefers a diplomatic solution on the Israel-Lebanon border.

Speaking to reporters as his trip to Washington wrapped up, Gallant also said he discussed with senior US officials his “day after” proposals for governance of postwar Gaza that would include local Palestinians, regional partners and the US, but that it would be “a long and complex process.”

More on that in a moment, first here’s a summary of the day’s other main events.

  • US president Joe Biden’s top aides told Gallant that Washington would maintain a pause on a shipment of heavy bombs for Israel while the issue is under review, a senior US official told the Reuters news agency. The official said the allies remain in discussions about the single shipment of powerful munitions, which was paused by Biden in May over concerns they could cause more Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza.

  • Israeli forces pounded several areas across Gaza on Wednesday, and residents reported fierce fighting overnight in Rafah. Residents said fighting intensified in the Tel Al-Sultan neighbourhood in western Rafah, where tanks were also trying to force their way north amid heavy clashes. The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said fighters attacked Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs.

  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan has accused western powers of backing what he said were Israeli plans to attack Lebanon and “spread war” throughout the region. “Israel is now setting its sights on Lebanon and we see that western powers behind the scenes are patting Israel on the back and even supporting them,” he told lawmakers from his ruling AKP party.

  • Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, on Wednesday urged warring parties in the Middle East to accept “peace proposals”, saying the region including Lebanon “doesn’t need war”. He told a press conference in Beirut, “the Middle East is going through a critical moment.”

  • The outgoing United Nations humanitarian chief warned that a spread of the war to Lebanon would be “potentially apocalyptic”. Martin Griffiths described Lebanon as “the flashpoint beyond all flashpoints”. A war involving Lebanon “will draw in Syria … it will draw in others”, he told reporters in Geneva. “It’s very alarming.”

Israel-Gaza war live: Israel warns it could take Lebanon ‘back to the Stone Age’ as defence minister wraps up Washington trip

Trump allies test a new strategy for blocking election results - The Washington Post

Trump allies test a new strategy for blocking election results

"In five battleground states, county-level officials have tried to block the certification of vote tallies — which election experts worry is a test run for trying to thwart a Biden victory.

Voters at a polling place in Atlanta cast ballots in Georgia's May 21 primary election. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

When a member of Georgia’s Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections refused to join her colleagues as they certified two primaries this year, she claimed she had been denied her right to examine a long list of election records for signs of fraud or other issues.

Now the board member, Julie Adams, an avowed believer in the false theory that the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump, is suing the board, hoping a judge will affirm that right and potentially empower others in similar positions elsewhere to hold up the outcome of elections.

To voting rights activists, election law specialists and Democrats, such actions represent an ominous sign that could presage a chaotic aftermath to the 2024 election. They are particularly worried about the threat of civil unrest or violence, especially if certification proceeds amid protests or efforts to block it.

Adams wrote in her lawsuit that she “swore an oath to ‘prevent fraud, deceit, and abuse’ in Fulton County elections” — duties that she says are not possible without examining the records she has demanded. Her detractors say she is seeking the power to block a victory for President Biden. The Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party have asked to intervene in the suit, claiming Adams’s actions are part of a coordinated effort by Trump, his allies and the GOP to sow the same kind of doubt in this year’s presidential election that led to the violent attempt on Jan. 6, 2021, to overturn Biden’s first victory.

“They are playing poker with the cards up,” said Tolulope Kevin Olasanoye, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “They are telling us exactly what they are going to do. We would be foolish if we sat on our hands and did nothing and watched this happen.”

Trump has stated plainly that the only way he can lose this fall is if Democrats cheat. His campaign and the Republican National Committee are spending historic sums building “election integrity” operations in key battleground states, preparing to challenge results in court, and recruiting large armies of grass-roots supporters to monitor voting locations and counting facilities and to serve as poll workers.

Certification of local results is a key target in this effort, a once-mundane administrative step that has become a flash point in the debate over election security — and a potential opportunity to subvert the will of voters. Election officials in the nation’s 3,000-plus counties must sign off on results, followed by a similar process at the state level. Typically, certification does not mean there were no errors — it simply reflects the votes tallied at that point. And it does not preclude lawsuits contesting those results; in fact, in some states lawsuits cannot be filed until after certification is complete.

Barring such challenges, certification allows the winning candidate’s electors to then gather in each state capital to cast their electoral college votes, with a joint session of Congress taking the final step of affirming that vote on Jan. 6.

Delaying certification at any step could hold up or halt the process, potentially preventing the rightful winner from taking office.

Since 2020, county-level election officials in five key battleground states — Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania — have tried to block the certification of vote tallies in both primaries and general elections. So far, none of the efforts have succeeded. In some cases, the actions came up against strict state rules limiting the role of county election boards in determining electoral outcomes, and critics say those rules will serve as essential guardrails this fall to thwart any coordinated efforts to set aside a state’s popular vote.

But the chaos and confusion that could result from such an effort are themselves a deep concern among voting rights advocates, who believe that unsubstantiated claims of fraud by Trump and his allies are sowing even deeper mistrust in the fall election results than they did four years ago, raising the potential for unrest and even violence on a greater scale too.

“An awful lot of people are looking at a potential parade of horrible scenarios,” said Ben Ginsberg, a longtime GOP election lawyer who is now an anti-Trump democracy advocate. “The number of people who doubt the reliability of elections has only increased. It hasn’t decreased. And that worries me tremendously.”

Growing Republican mistrust

That mistrust has taken hold from top to bottom within the Republican Party. After four years of listening to Trump’s regular drumbeat that he won the 2020 election, the GOP base is mobilizing at unprecedented levels to monitor the election this year out of a belief that the process is unfair and corrupt. Many of them, like Adams, are now serving as election officials. And many say their view that results can’t be trusted should be reason enough not to rubber-stamp local vote counts.

Top GOP leaders are stoking such activism. The Republican National Committee is launching a “Protect the Vote Tour” in swing states this month to recruit poll watchers, poll workers and legal experts.

“We are light-years ahead of where we were four years ago,” said Jefferson Davis, a leader of a conservative Wisconsin group focused on election issues that has spent the past few years studying the rules, holding events and recruiting volunteers.

In addition to Georgia, local officials in at least four other battleground states have made pushes to seize control of the certification process, heightening worries that pro-Trump forces will try similar moves in the fall.

In 2022, two commissioners from rural Cochise County in Arizona refused to certify midterm election results. The same year, local election boards in three Pennsylvania counties withheld thousands of votes from certified totals. Last month in Michigan’s Delta County, the Board of Canvassers voted not to certify local results. A similar attempt to not certify May election results occurred in Nevada in Washoe County, home to Reno. In all four states, officials cited mistrust in election machines or ballot errors but offered no evidence of widespread fraud. In all four, certification proceeded after state intervention.

Democrats accused these officials of overstepping their legal authority — and called the efforts a test run for trying to thwart a Biden victory this fall. They also moved quickly to make clear that such actions run contrary to state law. In Arizona, the two commissioners face criminal charges. In Michigan, the canvassers reversed themselves after state election leaders sent a stern letter signaling the criminal implications of not doing so. In Pennsylvania, the question of whether local boards must include ballots with certain errors in their certification totals remains tied up in court.

U.S. presidential elections operate on a tight schedule, with most states requiring county- and state-level certification within days of Election Day. Federal law in turn requires governors to declare which candidate’s electors will cast electoral college votes at least six days before Dec. 17, when they are scheduled to meet. If they fail to meet and cast votes that day, a state’s electoral votes probably would not be counted during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, the final step in determining the presidential outcome.

Delaying certification could swing a close election in which a single state’s electoral votes tip the balance. It also could deprive both candidates of the 270 electoral votes required under federal law to win, an unprecedented crisis that would kick the outcome to the House of Representatives, where each state’s delegation would have one vote. Currently, Republicans control 28 of the 50 state delegations in the House, but that dynamic could change with the election of a new Congress this fall.

Voting rights advocates and Democrats are on high alert for actions to slow the process down in a way that could threaten the meeting of electors. In some states, election administrators have already identified voters in each county who could serve as plaintiffs in emergency lawsuits to force county boards to certify results. In others, state administrators are sending detailed instructions to county officials laying out the limits of their power to block certification.

Although it remains unknown how widespread such efforts will be, one thing is clear: Those who are seeking to intervene in elections this fall have the backing of well-funded pro-Trump groups.

Adams, the plaintiff in the Georgia lawsuit, is active with the Election Integrity Network, a loose affiliation of pro-Trump activists nationwide who have organized drives to scrutinize voter registration databases in search of ineligible voters — and to scrutinize every step of the election process for signs of irregularities. The network is the brainchild of Cleta Mitchell, who as one of Trump’s lawyers in 2020 helped him try to overturn his defeat in Georgia and elsewhere.

The Fulton County GOP is supporting the suit, and it is being funded by the America First Policy Institute — a nonprofit think tank founded in 2021 by former Trump White House officials to advance policy ideas that he could implement if he is elected to a second term. The group has also set up a robust election-monitoring operation.

“She cannot and should not certify if she’s not given the information,” said Mike Berry, executive director of the organization’s Center for Litigation, who spoke to The Washington Post after Adams declined to do so. “And if she is given the information, there must be a meaningful opportunity to review and evaluate it. And then she’ll do whatever the results require her to do.”

At the crux of Adams’s lawsuit is how much latitude canvassers have to scrutinize the results they are required to certify. Adams and other pro-Trump election deniers say it makes no sense to ask election boards to sign off on results without examining the numbers. In her suit, she asks for access to two precinct-level numbers in particular: the total number of ballots cast, and the total number of voters who checked in. Those two numbers should match, and if they don’t, state law requires the local election chief to investigate.

But state law does not say the numbers must be resolved before certification occurs. In cases of very small discrepancies — say, one or two votes — it’s often difficult or impossible to reconcile them — and typically unnecessary because such a mismatch rarely affects the electoral outcome.

Berry said Adams has no intention of withholding certification in future elections until such discrepancies are resolved. But at the state elections board meeting last month, Adams stood in support of a proposed rule change that would require exactly that. The rule has not yet been adopted.

One worry for state election officials is that, in many states, results cannot be certified until all county results are in. If a county does not certify, voters or candidates could sue to force it — but a judge would have to take up the case quickly for it to be resolved in time for electors to meet on Dec. 17.

Election specialists are less worried that pro-Trump forces will ask state legislatures to block state certification or determine which candidate’s electors get to cast electoral college votes. Congress revamped federal law governing presidential elections in 2022 and made it clearer that state election law may not be set aside in the middle of an election. All 50 states dictate that the assignment of electors hinges on the popular vote.

The Electoral Count Reform Act, which Congress passed in 2022 in the aftermath of the Capitol attack, also makes it harder for members of Congress to protest any state’s electoral college vote during the Jan. 6 joint session, requiring 20 percent of the members of the House and Senate to vote in favor of such a challenge before the entire Congress can even consider it.

Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania’s secretary of state during the 2020 election, said she’s less concerned about these election challenges successfully altering the outcome, as long as the courts dispense with them quickly, than she is about the “human impact” of sowing doubt in the validity of the results.

“I worry a lot about the disinformation that, no matter how this plays out, is going to be rampant,” she said. “It’s so much easier to spread disinformation than it is to explain all the ways that the incorrect information is wrong. Combined with this very angry, stressed environment that we’re living in right now, it’s such a fraught time to be having a major election in.”

Trump allies test a new strategy for blocking election results - The Washington Post

Learn Why Most Asian Americans Wouldn't Be In America Without Black Civil Rights Work

“The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart–Celler Act and more recently as the 1965 Immigration Act, is a landmark federal law passed by the 89th United States Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law abolished the National Origins Formula, which had been the basis of U.S. immigration policy since the 1920s.”