February 17, 2016
By Roger Pilon 'A larger-than-life presence on the bench," said President Obama shortly after Justice Antonin Scalia's death was reported. And so it seems he'll be in death as well, as his legacy looms over the battle already underway to fill his seat. The constitutional vision Scalia left us is so opposed by the president that any nominee he finds agreeable should be summarily dismissed by the Senate's Republican majority. Could there be a better example than the court's unanimous decision a term ago that the president cannot make recess appointments to offices requiring Senate confirmation when the Senate is not in recess, and that the Senate decides when that is?
February 15, 2016 |
It was perhaps a new low in political discord when the mayor of Willingboro sued his deputy mayor for defamation last month. But then a process server interrupted a town council meeting and stunned the standing-room-only crowd when he approached the dais to deliver the legal summons. "He was trying to embarrass me. . . . People were outraged, saying it was unprofessional, disrespectful, and grandstanding," said Deputy Mayor Chris Walker, who was served with the legal papers at the Feb. 4 council meeting.
February 8, 2016 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The third time was the charm for Marvin Harrison. The Roman Catholic High School product was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday in his third year of eligibility. The former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver had been a finalist in each of his previous two years on the ballot. Harrison was one of eight people voted into Canton Saturday by the Hall's 46 selectors during a nearly nine-hour meeting. The others in the 2016 class are quarterback Brett Favre, linebacker Kevin Greene, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, former Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, guard Dick Stanfel, and quarterback Ken Stabler.
February 5, 2016
President Obama says Americans should demand a better political system by clearing out the undue influence of money. But voters have been making that demand for years only to see a smug political class ignore them. The Federal Elections Commission, evenly divided with three Democratic appointees and three Republicans, is supposed to enforce campaign finance laws. But it has been hopelessly deadlocked along partisan lines for years. Before 2008, according to Public Citizen, the FEC voted on about 727 enforcement actions a year.
February 3, 2016 |
Since the disputed 2000 presidential contest and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore , the law governing elections has become ever more contentious as the political parties vie for the slightest advantage. Seeing a growing market for legal advice on everything from campaign finance to congressional redistricting, Center City's Ballard Spahr law firm has created a practice group with 15 lawyers to guide political candidates, parties, and corporations through the thickets of case law, statutes, and regulations that govern political contests.
February 2, 2016 |
History has shown us that chaos follows the fall of a strongman. A power vacuum sparks competition among the ambitious, who often lack the juice to adequately replace the deposed despot. Which brings us to the first floor of Philadelphia's City Hall, where the three elected officials who supervise the city's elections are enduring their own version of an Arab Spring. It has been four years since Margaret Tartaglione, a politician so well-known that you can still just say "Marge" and everyone in City Hall knows who you're talking about, ended her reign as chairwoman of the City Commissioners after losing her bid for a 10th term.
January 29, 2016 |
City Commissioner Lisa Deeley's push to have all three Philadelphia election commissioners keep daily work logs - and have their pay docked if they do not - was stalled Wednesday morning for lack of support from the two other commissioners, Al Schmidt and the board's chairman, Anthony Clark. When Deeley offered motions to explore the work-log rule and four other arguably less controversial steps, she could not get either colleague to second her motions at the board's meeting. Clark, whose pattern of not showing up at the office has drawn wide criticism, and Schmidt, who backed Clark's renomination as chairman earlier this month, both sat silent, looking down at paperwork in front of them.
January 28, 2016 |
One of the three city commissioners who run Philadelphia elections is proposing new rules that would make her and her two colleagues publicly account for their working hours - and lose pay if they don't. Lisa Deeley said she was reacting in part to the outcry over the reported work habits of the other Democratic commissioner, Anthony Clark, the board's $138,612-a-year chairman. "Since I've been here, Chairman Clark has been to work every day. However, it has been well documented . . . in the past, he has not been here," Deeley told The Inquirer.
January 26, 2016 |
WASHINGTON - Republican anxiety is growing in Pennsylvania and corners of New Jersey over the possibility that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will win the party's presidential nomination. Tough races loom down the ballot in both states - most prominently Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's re-election bid in Pennsylvania - and establishment figures worry that the bombastic New York billionaire or acerbic Texas senator could make the GOP toxic to critical swing voters in both states. "Their presence at the top of the ticket would create serious problems," said former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican.
January 24, 2016 |
A day after the Committee of Seventy called for replacing Philadelphia's elections board and bashed its chairman for not voting, the board's sole Republican hit back, saying the watchdog group's leaders don't practice what they preach. He said they don't always vote. Al Schmidt, one of the three city commissioners, who oversee elections, pointed Friday to records showing Committee of Seventy executive director David Thornburgh had not voted in the 2013 elections - and that the previous head of the civic group, Zack Stalberg, missed elections as well.