Thursday, May 19, 2022

Melissa Carone Kicked Off the Ballot

Melissa Carone has been disqualified from running for Michigan state legislature for the second time.

Carone was a contractor for Dominion voting systems in 2020 and became a witness at a Michigan house hearing on voter fraud allegations.  She became infamous due to her strange performance, which was parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Carone soon announced her intention to run for state legislature.  She moved out of Wayne County to do so.  She initially explored running in north Oakland County, but eventually settled on central Macomb County.

Carone created a campaign finance committee in February 2021.  She failed to file the July 2021 report on time, and was fined.  She failed to file the October 2021 report on time, and accepted a donation that was above the maximum allowed.  She was also fined for this.  She then failed to file the January 2022 report on time as well.

In February 2022, Carone tried to dissolve her campaign committee, but was denied because she had not resolved these issues.  She filed for state rep in district 60 on March 21, 2022.  She didn't pay the fees until March 24, 2022.  She filed amended July and October reports on April 19, 2022.

Carone was disqualified from running for state rep due to falsely stating that she had no outstanding campaign finance problems.  Soon after, she sent out the following email.

Anthony Forlini just "disqualified" me from the ballot for something his staff advised me to do- I have retained counsel and will be challenging this decision, I WILL be on the ballot in August!

Forlini claims "Mellissa Carone submitted a faulty affidavit of identity and id now disqualified from the ballot".

Anthony Forlini is claiming that I am disqualified from the ballot for submitting an Affidavit of Identity that his staff advised me to submit- they claimed it takes 3-4 days to process and as long as the fees were paid before the end of the week everything would be fine- I HAVE THE CONVERSATION RECORDED.

The fines were paid less than 36 hours later- Forlini has not responded back to my calls or requests for an appointment.

My primary opponent is Forlini's former State House staffer and good friend Joseph Aragona, who believes the seat is going to be handed to him.

I have retained legal counsel and will continue challenging this decision, I WILL NOT GIVE UP!



Even if this is true, it was still very foolish to take advice from people she knew were not friendly to her cause.

Carone then filed for state senate, challenging R incumbent Michael MacDonald.  However, she was disqualified again for not having fixed her campaign finance reports.

Someone who is unable to follow basic rules well enough to get on the ballot is not a credible source.  Unfortunately, many cranks have come out of the woodwork to promote election fraud conspiracy theories following the 2020 election.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

2022 Michigan Election Preview

This post was last updated November 6, 2022.

Michigan's top constitutional offices, congressional seats, and the entire state legislature will be up for election November 2022.

Governor: Lean D
Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer of Ingham County defeated Bill Schuette 53-44 in 2018.  Whitmer ran on the slogan "fix the damn roads" without raising taxes, and after the election, she proposed a massive gas tax increase that her own party wouldn't introduce.  She had difficulty working with the R-controlled legislature, often attempting to abuse her powers and making false accusations against her critics.  When the pandemic hit, Whitmer used emergency powers to enforce lockdowns in ways that often made no sense while often avoiding them herself.  This led to a major backlash on the right.  Whitmer rolled back most restrictions in early 2021.

Businesswoman and political commentator Tudor Dixon won R nomination thanks to support from the Devos family and President Trump.  She defeated auto dealer Kevin Rinke, chiropractor Garrett Soldano, former Allendale Township planning commissioner Ryan Kelley, and pastor Ralph Rebandt.  Five candidates were removed from the ballot due to lack of signatures: businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, Michigan State Police captain Michael Brown, former Detroit police chief James Craig, businessman Perry Johnson, and financial adviser Michael Markey Jr.  

Whitmer is running heavily on abortion, while Dixon has struggled with fundraising.

Attorney General: Tossup
Progressive lesbian attorney Dana Nessel defeated Tom Leonard 49-46 in 2018.  She has had a rocky tenure, including getting so drunk she had to be wheeled out of a football game.

The R nominee is attorney Matt DePerno, who beat Tom Leonard and Ryan Berman at an April endorsement convention thanks to Trump's endorsement.  DePerno is a "Stop the Steal" lawyer who filed many suits related to the 2020 election that were all thrown out.  He also has been involved in many ethical controversies.  These liabilities appear to make him a weak candidate.

Secretary of State: Lean D
Incumbent democrat Joscelyn Benson was elected 53-44 in 2018.  Benson attracted controversy for unsolicited mailings of absentee ballot applications prior to the 2020 election.  She also faced widespread criticism for mismanagement of SOS offices, including closures and months long waits for appointments.

The R nominee is activist Kristina Karamo, who beat state rep Beau LaFave and township clerk Cindy Berry at an April endorsement convention thanks to Trump's endorsement.  Karamo is a "Stop the Steal" activist without election or administrative experience.  She has struggled to raise money for her campaign.

Michigan Supreme Court Lean R/Lean D
Democrats currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court.  There are two full-term seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. They are those of conservative R incumbent Brian Zahra and liberal D Richard Bernstein.  Bernstein attracted controversy for voting to uphold Whitmer's lockdown measures and then leaving the country to work from Dubai for months during the pandemic.  The R nominee against Bernstein is Paul Hudson, an attorney who clerked for Ray Kethledge (6th Circuit).  Democrats nominated State rep (18-P) Kyra Harris Bolden of Southfield to face Zahra.

Other Statewide Offices
Two seats on the state Board of Education and boards of trustees of U of M, MSU, and WSU will be up for election. Only one seat up is held by Republicans. Democrats have swept these elections in 2006, 2008, and 2012, while Republicans swept in 2010.  Incumbents are denoted with *. The candidates are
State Board of Education:
Republicans: Tami Carlone, Linda Lee Tarver
Democrats: Pamela Pugh*, Mitchell Robinson
UM Board of Regents:
Republicans: Lena Epstein, Sevag Vartanian
Democrats: Kathy White*, Mike Behm*
MSU Board of Trustees:
Republicans: Travis Menge, Mike Balow
Democrats: Renee Knake Jefferson*, Dennis Denno
WSU Board of Governors:
Republicans: Craig Wilsher, Christa Murphy
Democrats: Marilyn Kelly*, Danielle Atkinson

Ballot Propositions
Proposal 1 was put on the ballot by the legislature.  It would extend term limits to a total of 12 years in the legislature, and mandate some financial disclosure from candidates.
Proposal 2 would make a variety of changes to voting laws that would be beneficial to democrats.
Proposal 3 would create a 'right' to abortion, almost without limit.

Michigan Congressional Seats
Michigan's congressional delegation is split 7-7 since 2018. Michigan has a new district map, and it lost one district.  There are several competitive districts (3, 7, 8, 10) on the new map.

2022 Michigan Congressional Races

Michigan Senate
The Michigan state senate is up for election, and 26 have no incumbent due to term limits and retirements. Republicans currently hold a 22-16 majority.  There is a new district map that favors Ds by splitting several metro areas.  Districts 9, 11, 12, 30, 32, 35 are likely to be competitive.  There are several competitive primaries, including several challenges against incumbents.

2022 Michigan State Senate Elections

Michigan House
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up for election. Republicans won a 58-52 majority in 2020.  There will be many open seats due to term limits and candidates running for other offices.  Both parties have potential targets to pickup.

2022 Michigan State House Races

Kalamazoo County Commission
Ds hold a 7-4 majority on the Kalamazoo County Commission.  There is a new district map that eliminates two seats.  It is likely to lead to a 6 D, 3 R split, but districts 4, 5, and 9 could be competitive.  Six of 11 incumbents are not seeking reelection.

Kalamazoo County Judges:
8th District Court (1 position):  Conservative Lana Maria Escamilla faces liberal Becket Jones.
9th Circuit Court (2 positions):  Conservatives Rebecca D'Angelo and Julie Jensen face Ken Barnard and liberal Josh Hilgart.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

May 2022 Judiciary News

Congratulations to the third Justice Jackson.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Jackson:  Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed 53-47, Republican senators Collins, Murkowski, and Romney joining all Ds voting to confirm her.  Romney's support is particularly odd, as he voted against her confirmation to the DC Circuit in 2021.

Jackson may be the first black woman on the Supreme Court, but I cannot be sure, since "I’m not a biologist".

Jackson:  The Office of Legal Counsel of the DOJ claims that President Biden is able to appoint Jackson to a future vacancy, even though there is currently no vacancy.  It seems Biden issued a commission early to prevent a hypothetical R-controlled Senate from voting to reconsider her nomination.

Appointments:  Ed Whelan examines exactly how a Supreme Court justice announces retirement and whether the president could appoint a confirmed nominee to a different seat.

Hearings:  Senator Lindsey Graham suggested that Judge Jackson "would not have been before this committee" if Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee.  Politico claimed he meant that she would be denied a hearing, but Ed Whelan argues that he meant that she would not have been nominated in the first place.

Leftists:  The left seems oddly bitter in the wake of Jackson's confirmation.  Perhaps it is due to the realization that the right is likely to have the upper hand on the Supreme Court for a while, and court packing remains a fantasy.

Nominations:  Harsh Voruganti of the Vetting Room argues that President Biden has fallen behind on circuit court nominations, and that nominations made later than early May risk not being confirmed.

6th Circuit:  The White House is vetting two candidates to fill the seat being vacated by Judge R. Guy Cole Jr.  They are "Rachel Bloomekatz, a public interest lawyer and former state counsel for the Biden-Harris campaign, and Alexandra Schimmer, Denison University vice president and general counsel who served as Ohio’s solicitor general".

11th Circuit:  Carrie Severino exposes the extreme record of 11th Circuit nominee Nancy Abudu, who works for the corrupt smear merchants of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

SD-NY:  Jennifer Rearden is the first Biden judicial nominee to be unanimously endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  This comes after more than 20 progressive groups are urged that she be rejected due to her work representing corporations against leftists.  She was previously nominated by Trump in 2020 on the recommendation of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D).

ED-NY:  Nominee Nusrat Choudhury claimed in 2015 that "the killing of unarmed black men by police happens every day in America".  Under questioning by Senator John Kennedy, she thrice cited her "role as an advocate" to suggest that she was not required to tell the truth.

SD-IA:  US Magistrate Judge Stephen Locher is the first Biden nominee for a district court in a red state (two R senators).  There have been only three confirmed nominees in a purple state (Ohio).

D-CO:  Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper recommended three candidates to fill a future vacancy.  They are "U.S. Magistrate Judges S. Kato Crews and Gordon P. Gallagher, as well as Sundeep K. "Rob" Addy, an attorney in private practice".


The Federal Judiciary:

Ethics:  The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to advocate for an ethics code and "recusal reforms" for the Supreme Court.  Congress cannot impose a code on the Supreme Court, which is a separate branch of government.  Justice Thomas was a target of the hearing due to his wife's text messages related to the 2020 election.

Ethics:  Congress has passed a bill to improve financial disclosure for the judiciary.  The goal is to reduce conflicts of interest where judges rule on cases involving companies in which they have a financial interest.

5th Circuit:  Chief Judge Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit) has wedded Chief Justice Nathan Hecht (Texas Supreme Court).  To avoid having opinions by Chief Hecht referencing opinions by Chief Hecht, Priscilla Owen will go by Priscilla Richman.

9th Circuit:  Judge Johnnie Rawlinson has suggested she may take senior status, but only if her preferred successor is nominated.  She wants her former clerk Berna Rhodes-Ford, who is now the wife of Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford (D).  Some observers consider Rawlinson's actions inappropriate.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 115 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
ND-AL: Abdul K. Kallon (Obama) 8/31 (resigned)
D-NJ: Noel Lawrence Hillman (W) 4/4 (senior)
ED-MI: Denise Hood (Clinton) 5/1 (senior)
MD-PA: Robert Mariani (Obama) 9/30 (senior)
ND-IL: John Lee (Obama) TBD (elevated)
ED-WA: Salvador Mendoza Jr. (Obama) TBD (elevated)

State Supreme Courts:

Connecticut:  Governor Ned Lamont appointed Judge Joan K. Alexander to the state Supreme Court.  Alexander, age 59, has been on the Appellate Court for two years.  She replaces Justice Christine Keller, who will leave the court due to reaching the age limit of 70 in October.  Keller was appointed to the court by Lamont in 2020.

Florida:  Carlos Muniz will be the new Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, succeeding Charles Canady.  The court broke with the usual pattern of choosing the next most senior justice, Alan Lawson.  Muniz, who is seen as more conservative, reportedly won a behind-the-scenes battle with Lawson.  Muniz was appointed by Ron DeSantis in 2019.

Florida:  Justice Alan Lawson will retire from the Florida Supreme Court on August 31.  Lawson, age 60, was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Jeb Bush in 2005 and to the Supreme Court by Rick Scott in 2017.  Governor Ron DeSantis will get his fourth appointment to the court.  Judge Renatha Francis, who DeSantis tried to appoint to an earlier vacancy, but was rejected due to insufficient experience, may now be a top candidate to replace Lawson.

Indiana:  The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission selected "Justin Forkner, the court’s chief administrative officer, Judge Dana Kenworthy of the Grant Superior Court and Judge Derek Molter of the Court of Appeals of Indiana" as the finalists to fill the vacancy caused by the upcoming retirement of Justice Steven David.

New Jersey:  The stalemate over the New Jersey Supreme Court continues.  There are two open seats, and a third seat will open on July 7 when Barry Albin is age-limited.  Governor Phil Murphy nominated Rachel Wainer Apter to an open seat in March 2021, but state senator Holly Schepisi (R) is holding up the nomination.

Virginia:  There are two vacancies on the Virginia Supreme Court due to the retirements of Justices Donald Lemons and William Mims.  The Virginia legislature is supposed to pick their replacements, but the R-controlled house and D-controlled senate are deadlocked.  If they cannot agree, Governor Glenn Youngkin will appoint temporary replacements.

West Virginia:  Governor Jim Justice appointed C. Haley Bunn to the West Virginia Supreme Court seat vacated by Evan Jenkins.  Bunn has worked as a federal prosecutor and in private practice.


Overview:  Business Insider has a three-part series (1, 2, 3) on state supreme court elections.  In summary, they think it's bad that conservatives try to influence the judiciary.

Alabama:  On May 24, there are partisan primaries for two seats.
Place 5: Justice Mike Bolin is age-limited.  Alabama GOP counsel Greg Cook appears to be the favorite over Anniston Circuit Judge Debra Jones for the R nomination. Judge Anita L. Kelly will be the D nominee.
Place 6: Justice Kelli Wise (R) is unopposed for reelection.

Arkansas:  On May 24, three justices face a nonpartisan election.
Position 2: Justice Robin Wynne faces District Judge Chris Carnahan and attorney David Sterling.  Sterling was an R candidate for AG in 2014 and lost a Supreme Court race in 2018.
Position 6: Justice Karen Baker faces Judge Gunner DeLay, who is an R former state rep and senator.
Position 7: Justice Rhonda Wood is unopposed.

Georgia:  On May 24, justices Verda Colvin, Shawn LaGrua, and Carla McMillian face a nonpartisan election.  LaGrua and McMillian are unopposed.  Colvin, who was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp (R) in 2021, faces Veronica Brinson, who lost a race for state senate in 2020 as a D.

Idaho:  On May 17, justices Robyn Brody and Colleen Zahn are unopposed for reelection.

North Carolina: On May 17, there are partisan primaries for two seats.
Seat 3: Justice Robin Hudson (D) is retiring, as she is near the age limit.  North Carolina Court of Appeals judges Lucy Inman (D) and Richard Dietz (R) are unopposed for their parties' nominations.
Seat 5: Justice Sam Ervin IV (D) is running for reelection.  Candidates for the R nomination are Trey Allen, general counsel for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Court, Court of Appeals judge April C. Wood, and Victoria Prince.

Ohio:  On May 3, a partisan primary will be held for three seats.  All primary candidates are unopposed for their nominations.  Justice Sharon Kennedy (R) will face Justice Jennifer Brunner (D) for the seat of Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.  Justice Pat Fischer (R) will face appeals court judge Terri Jamison (D).  Justice Pat DeWine (son of Governor Mike DeWine) will face appeals court judge Marilyn Zayas (D).