Florida Republicans are considering a harsh new voting bill to accompany their protest crackdowns from earlier this week. This law would make it a crime to distribute water, food or any items or aid whatsoever to voters waiting in line at a polling place.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the Justice Department is investigating Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz for a possible relationship he had with a 17 year old girl.
And lastly, Joe Biden has started making his first Judicial appointments, nominating a diverse slate of judges to various federal benches in an attempt to slowly swing back Mitch McConnell’s great project to warp the nation’s courts.
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Florida’s GOP is really swinging for the fences, enacting as many drastic and repressive laws as possible while they have full control of the governorship and state house. The latest injustice is a voting law introduced by House Republicans late last week which would make it a crime to distribute aid to voters waiting in line outside a polling place, echoing a similar law in Georgia.
The law, dubbed H.B. 7041, would expand Florida’s existing ban on offering voters so-called assistance within 100 feet of polling locations.
The new distance would be 150 feet, and to make matters worse, the new bill also adds a provision that specifically bans giving a voter quote “any item” or interacting with them in any way.
NBC reports that in committee meetings, Florida Republicans specifically mentioned that this would apply to food or water. When you combine that with the GOP’s voter suppression efforts that have resulted in massive, hours-long lines, the law starts to look even more dehumanizing.
President Biden torched the similar Georgia bill, calling it, “Jim Crow in the 21st Century."
While that’s certainly true, it’s going to take more than presidential rhetoric to take these bills down, which means they’re likely to get settled in a lengthy legal process once rights groups sue, like they have for other voter suppression and protest bills recently.
Matt Gaetz Investigated for Sex Trafficking
More news from the Sunshine State: Florida man and elected Representative Matt Gaetz is in hot water, as the New York Times reports that the Justice Department is investigating the possibility that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him.
According to the Times, the DOJ is investigating whether or not Gaetz’s behavior constitutes sex trafficking, as many states make it illegal to transport someone over state lines to exchange sex for money or other items of value.
Gaetz was caught up by a broader investigation into another Florida politician, Joel Greenberg, who the Times reports was indicted last summer on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex.
But what makes this story truly wild is Gaetz’s response. On Twitter shortly after the Times’ story dropped, Gaetz offered a truly ludicrous story, claiming that his family was quote “victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name,” endquote. Gaetz then claimed that his father had been wearing a wire in collaboration with the FBI to catch these so called criminals who were extorting him.
If that’s not a “huh?” response enough, Gaetz then went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show and continued to spout off excuses, theories and denials. But he also told Axios this quote:
"I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I've dated. You know, I've paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner."
Weird thing to say! It appears that Gaetz might have seen this coming, as Axios reported earlier Tuesday he had privately told friends that he was considering ditching Congress for a job at Newsmax. It certainly seems like he’ll have a change of employment one way or another soon!
Biden Names First Judicial Picks
Joe Biden is mounting his charge against Mitch McConnell’s conservative judiciary crusade, beginning a drive to reshape federal courts with a new slate of liberal, diverse, and even progressive judges.
He’s chasing a long, long lead, however. McConnell successfully confirmed 220 of Donald Trump’s appointees, meaning Federal courts are and will be stacked with Trump judges for years to come.
But Biden’s first appointments show some definite progress. His first 11 nominees include three black women, the first Muslim federal district judge, the first woman of color to serve as a federal judge in Maryland, and the first Asian-American woman to serve in D.C.’s district court circuit.
The biggest name in the bunch is Ketanji Brown Jackson, who if confirmed by the Senate will sit on the hugely influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She’ll be filling a big seat, one vacated by former Supreme Court nominee and current Attorney General Merrick Garland, which most politicos assume makes her first in line to be Biden’s Supreme Court nominee if a seat opens up during his first term.
And even better, Biden seems to be focusing on younger judges. The average age of his first nominees is 48, which means many of them could spend decades on the bench, preserving their seats from whatever ghoul the Republicans manage to sneak into the Oval Office in the future. Let’s hope that day doesn’t come anytime soon, though.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Biden’s dog Major was involved in a second so-called biting incident, according to CNN, this time getting his jaws on a National Park employee on the White House’s South Lawn. Clearly, someone isn’t adjusting to the pressures of the White House well!
Prosecutors in the Derek Chauvin trial called a series of witnesses who described in detail the killing of George Floyd last spring, while Chauvin’s defense attorneys continued to try to deflect the blame for Floyd’s death. The core of Chauvin’s defense is still to come, when the trial shifts to examine police tactics and Floyd’s medical cause of death.
A new analysis by the New York Daily News shows that embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo took almost $600,000 in campaign contributions from just 15 billionaires, while resisting his party’s calls to raise taxes on the rich. Sounds about right.
A judge on Tuesday ruled that New York state must immediately begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to all incarcerated people in the state’s prisons and jails, saying that they had been directly excluded from the vaccine rollout. This is a major victory for activists who have been fighting for better treatment and conditions of prisoners during the pandemic.
MAR 31, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn