Happy Hispanic Heritage Month
Planet on Fire: Focus on Michigan’s Climate Change
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Water Resources Division (WRD) is concerned about our state’s outdated stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. Based on pre-1992 rainfall data, our 20th century structures are not adequate for the historic levels of rain and severe storms brought by climate change. They’ve made alarming research-based predictions: “Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) finds annual precipitation up 14% in the Great Lakes region since 1951 and projects that the region will experience a larger increase in total precipitation than most other regions in North America.”
Unless action is taken, historic levels of rainfall will cause unprecedented damage to private and public property and, possibly, human life. WRD offers a list of protective strategies for the future. Their most important recommendations seem to be the improvement of stormwater and wastewater infrastructures in order to accommodate 10% more volume in the future. WRD is also concerned with dam safety and heightened protection of Michigan’s lakes, streams, and wetlands.
Help us protect Michigan roads
Please help us convince Republican members of the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee to approve the Drive SAFE bill to reinstate the right for all eligible residents to apply for a driver’s license. Under current Michigan law, inability to prove legal residency results in inability to drive legally. This affects undocumented immigrants as well as up to 7% of US citizens who lack access to documentation, including older African Americans whose births were never registered due to discriminatory practices, U.S. citizens born abroad to American parents (common in military families), and foreign adoptees. The dearth of public transportation in Michigan means that many of these folks drive anyway, but without going through the skill check that the licensing process provides – which puts us all at risk. If your Member of the Michigan House of Representatives is a Republican, please call them and urge them to support the Drive SAFE bill when it gets to the House floor to make our roads safer.
Representative ____________. Please support the Drive SAFE bill that will reinstate the right of all people living in Michigan to apply for a driver’s license. Then, please vote YES on this bill when it comes to the House floor for a vote. There are many legal residents of Michigan that are unable to provide documentation. These folks live, work and often drive in our state and it is to ALL of our benefit for them to be tested to make sure that they have the training to be safe drivers. Additionally, passing the bill will strengthen our economy by increasing mobility for workers, and Michiganders will reap extra financial benefits when the increased size of car insurance pools decreases the cost of insurance. It will not endanger election security, because the licenses provided to residents without documentation cannot be used as voting ID.
Supporting the bill puts you in good company: law enforcement organizations, the Farm Bureau, many religious organizations, the Chamber of Conference and the Association of Builders and Contractors all agree it’s in Michigan’s best interests.
Thank you for your time and I hope you vote YES on Drive SAFE.
Representatives to call:
- Joseph Aragona, District 60: 517-373-1785
- Matt Bierlein, District 97: 517-373-8962
- Graham Filler, District 93: 517-373-1778
- *Mike Mueller, District 72: 517-373-0840
- Jerry Neyer, District 92: 517-373-2646
- Pauline Wendzel, District 39: 517-373-1799
*Representative Mueller is the Minority Vice Chair of the House Regulatory Reform Committee
2024 Election Uncertainty
Will Trump Make the Ballot in Key States? The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
History of the Amendment
The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, which represents our nation’s second founding and a new birth of freedom post-civil war, contains within it a protection against the dissolution of the republic by a treasonous president. The clause was designed to protect our democracy and operate directly and immediately upon those who betray their oaths to the Constitution, whether by taking up arms to overturn our government or by waging war on our government by attempting to overturn a presidential election through a bloodless coup.
Can Section 3 Keep Trump Off the Ballot?
There have been several significant articles from various constitutional scholars opining that Trump both could and should be kept off the ballot.
A Washington Post Opinion article discusses a University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 172, article published by two prominent originalist law professors, William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen. They assert that Donald Trump’s disqualification under the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 is an “automatic” consequence, not contingent on congressional or criminal proceedings. They not only delve into the original intent of Section 3, but also present a call to action, contending that officials must use their powers to prevent Trump from future office. They acknowledge potential concerns about First Amendment rights, but insist on constitutional necessity. The abstract is compelling.
It is important to note that the two aforementioned scholars are members of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies (Federalist Society) which is an American conservative and libertarian legal organization that advocates for a textualist and originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
In response to the Law Review paper, The Atlantic published an article by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe and former federal appellate judge J. Michael Luttig, a prominent conservative. They jointly argue that the 14th Amendment disqualifies former President Trump from seeking the presidency again. According to Luttig, officials responsible for candidate ballots must assess Trump’s eligibility under the Constitution. They contend that Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the ensuing attack on the Capitol fall under the disqualification clause, rendering him ineligible for the presidency. They point to his actions on the day of the insurrection, where he fueled baseless election fraud claims and incited the crowd to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
However, the Congressional Research Service holds a different view, disagreeing with the scholars’ interpretation. They argue that the political notion of an insurrection differs from the constitutionally binding definition. They point to the Insurrection Act’s criteria, which don’t seem to apply to the January 6 violence. Additionally, to be constitutionally disqualified, an official must aid “enemies” of the nation, a term historically linked to opposing governments, not U.S. citizens opposing the U.S. government. This divergence highlights the complex legal debate surrounding Trump’s disqualification.
Process for Keeping Trump Off the Ballot and State Actions
The question of whether Donald Trump will appear on the ballot in the 2024 election is gaining prominence, with the Constitution potentially barring him from the presidency. State election officials, typically responsible for candidate qualifications, are now in the spotlight. Although the constitution provides the language for disqualification, it does not spell out how to enforce this ban.
Election officials, both Democrats and Republicans, in key states have recently rejected calls to unilaterally remove former President Trump from the 2024 ballot, and are saying courts should decide whether he’s disqualified by the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.”
In Michigan, a lawsuit was recently filed to disqualify Trump. However, the authority of election officials to make such decisions hinges on state law. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a Washington Post op-ed that this unilateral approach was “misguided” and “the courts” should decide.
The secretaries of state who oversee elections in Michigan, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Minnesota have recently said they don’t have the power on their own to invoke the 14th Amendment and block Trump from the presidential ballot.
Ramifications of Trump Not Being on the Ballot
While the articles from legal scholars amount to opinions at this time, it is clear that disqualifying Trump from appearing on a ballot or declaring him eligible will most certainly be challenged in court.
It’s easy to see how this 14th Amendment effort could backfire. Since the indictments against Trump have only made him stronger with GOP primary voters so far, how would these voters react to secretaries of state or state attorneys general using the 14th Amendment to keep him off the ballot? Disqualification from the ballot could easily give rise to momentary social unrest and even violence. But so could the failure to engage in this constitutionally mandated process.
Should the case go to the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, how would they decide? In addition, if the court holds that Trump is qualified, could a Trump-friendly prosecutor charge those who attempted to block him from the ballot with election interference? Regardless of what is done, the question remains, how will this harm U.S. law and democracy?
According to the Atlantic article, the most pressing constitutional question facing our country at this moment, then, is whether we will abide by this clear command of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause.
Events and Opportunities
Serve on a Board or Commission for Michigan
Our state government is listening! Be heard in a major way by applying for one of the 100 open appointments on various committees and boards. Search the online portal by interest area here.
Thursdays, through October 26. A Short History of Structural Racism
Join the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice (ICPJ) for a series on Structural Racism by Ayo Magwood and Uprooting Inequity. In the final session, ICPJ Co-Directors Desiraé Simmons and Eleanore Ablan-Owen will host a reflection and action-planning conversation. Join us for all of the virtual sessions, or join the ones that you are able. Registration will allow you access to the materials that are shared. Register here. 5:30–7:30 pm EST
Fridays, through October 15. Legacy in Action: A Storyteller’s Journey to Civic Engagement
Join Leslie McGraw as she will be featured as a guest co-host on Latina HerStory with Talia, 91.3 WBNY based in Buffalo, New York. Topics and guests for this Radio Miniseries include Voter Education Week, community leaders and storytellers from Michigan, Tennessee, and New York, as well as team members of the Elbert Williams Voting Corner. The five Fridays lead up to October 15, which is Elbert Williams Voter Engagement Day.
- Friday, Sept. 15. Sankofa: with Emmanuel Kulu, African Historian (Review livestream here.)
- Friday, Sept. 22. Parenting Values: with Antoine Johnson, Fatherhood Practioner and Dr. Starita Ansari, Founder of The New 3R’s
- Friday, Sept. 29. Storytelling and Civics: w/ Jonise Hall and Drew Khan of the Anne Frank Project at SUNY Buffalo State University
- Friday, Oct. 6. Digital Storytelling: w/digital creatives from Elbert Williams Voting Corner
- Friday, Oct. 13. Gathering the Full Story of Elbert Williams: w/ John Ashworth, Historian and Founder of the Carver-Dunbar Museum of Brownsville, Tennessee
To listen live, visit 91.3 FM at https://www.facebook.com/91.3WBNY on Fridays at 10. 10:10 am EST each Friday
Encourage Young Voters on National Voter Registration Day (NVRD)
Friday, September 22. The Past, Present and Future of Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic
The Opioid Research Institute will welcome Dr. Scott Weiner, Harvard Medical School, to the University of Michigan for a visiting faculty lecture for a discussion on The Past, Present and Future of Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic. You can register for this event here! 1:30-3 pm
Tuesday, September 26. Deep Canvass Institute 101: How to Have a Deep Canvass Conversation
The Deep Canvass Institute is offering this bi-monthly 101 training where you will be trained to have deep canvass conversations. Deep canvassing is about working to create mutual understanding grounded in lived experience, instead of in debate or talking points. It has become one of the only tactics scientifically proven to be able to lastingly reduce prejudice, inoculate people against fear-based messaging, and change hearts and minds on our most divisive issues.
** PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A THREE-SESSION TRAINING. You must be signed up for all three sessions in order to receive your certificate of completion. Sign up here for this virtual training:
- Tuesday, September 26 and Wednesday, September 27, 6–9 pm, and
- Saturday, September 30, noon–3 pm
Thursday, September 28. DemCast Michigan “Happy Hour”
Join DemCast Michigan for a casual gathering to talk about messaging, learn about the growing number of social media platforms (and our take on which matter most) and how we can all tap into helpful resources. TOGETHER we can make a difference in ever-critical local elections. Email questions to Michigan@DemCastUSA.com RSVP here. 4:30 pm
More things to do, read, watch, and listen to
Catholic Medical Clinic Denied Care to 14-year Old Transgender Teen
Michigan Radio reported that a Catholic medical clinic in Ann Arbor recently denied medical care to a 14-year old transgender teenager seeking treatment for her ADHD. The child’s mother reported that a physician told her that Emmaus Health Partners is a religious health clinic, and “we don’t feel comfortable with Tiffinny’s presence in our office.” He apparently later backtracked and said, “We’d be happy to see your daughter if she had a cold.” Though the clinic is denying the allegation, the family has filed a complaint with the Department of Civil Rights based on the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Governor Whitmer earlier this year signed an expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights making it “illegal for individual citizens or secular business owners to deny services, housing, employment, or other public goods to someone based on their gender identity — even if it violates their religious beliefs. But religious organizations, like schools and clinics, are another issue.” Now some religious groups are going to court to argue they’re exempt.
At this time, Emmaus Health Partners is not seeking a religious exemption to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. But the clinic does follow the Catholic church’s guidance on medical issues, including not providing patients with birth control or abortions. Apparently the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has signaled it could soon revise its guidance, banning gender-affirming care (including hormone therapy and surgical procedures) in Catholic hospitals and clinics.
Three other religious organizations have already filed lawsuits claiming the state’s civil rights protections for transgender people violate their religious freedoms. The issue of whether religious health care providers can refuse care to transgender people is yet to be determined by the courts.
One Person/One Vote Initiative: Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote – by Joy of Framing of Washtenaw County
Many Americans believe that we live in a democracy and that the presidential candidate with the most votes wins. Unfortunately, this is inaccurate. Although national, state, and local officials and initiatives are counted by direct popular vote, the president is elected by electoral votes. This indirect process is often referred to as the winner-take-all model. Read More
Contact your state representatives to urge them to vote for the One Person/One Vote pending bills
Michigan’s law, HB 4156, which is the agreement among the states to elect the President by national popular vote was introduced by Representative Carrie Rheingans on 3/2/23 and was referred for a second reading on 6/6/23. Contact your legislators to encourage the passage of the bill. Check out the script below.
My name is _____ and I am a voter in your district.
I want to be sure that my vote counts towards the presidential election. I believe that the president, like our other elections, should reflect the one person one vote. Two presidents in the last six election cycles (2000 and 2016) have been elected by the electoral college vote, in spite of having won the popular vote. Since it is unlikely that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College will happen, I believe the next best solution is to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).
I understand that HB 4156 will allow Michigan to join the other states that have endorsed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).
DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.