They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Want to pack your state’s Supreme Court? Well, Arizona has provided a model.

Arizona Republicans are about to get two more justices on the state Supreme Court thanks to a bill approved by the legislature and heading to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk that will expand the court from five to seven members and allow the Republican Ducey to appoint the new justices.

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A 40-year-old Florida man accused of plotting a terror attack on a local synagogue wanted to pin the blame on ISIS and allegedly recorded a video warning "ISIS is in the house.” To cement the ISIS connection, he allegedly considered leaving "a note or a banner ... that ... resembles the letters of Arabic."

"We could make it up," he was allegedly caught saying on tape.

What the man, James Medina, didn't know was that he was the target of a FBI sting. He was arrested Friday, according to the Miami Herald, after buying a dummy bomb from an undercover agent and approaching the synagogue with it, authorities said. The affidavit alleged that Medina repeatedly expressed his desire to attack the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center in the Miami area and had no problem with killing women and children in the process, according to the transcripts.

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Update at 5:13 p.m.: ACLU attorney Julie Ebenstein confirmed to TPM that the group and other organizations involved in the challenge to North Carolina's 2013 voting restrictions have filed an appeal with the the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of a district court's decision upholding the law.

The voting right groups involved in a legal challenge to a bundle of North Carolina voting restrictions say they will move quickly to appeal the district court decision issued Monday that upheld the 2013 law.

An appeal, which could be filed as soon as today, would go to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2014 ruled in favor of the voting rights groups when they sought a preliminary injunction on some provisions of the law, a decision that was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

In his decision Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder upheld the law on the basis that North Carolina has "provided legitimate State interests" in implementing the restrictions. He said that when it came to those who said the law burden their ability to vote there was "strong evidence that some other reason is at play for the failure of these persons to register and/or vote."

His 485-page decision was a exhaustive examination of the evidence presented in the high-profile trial the unfolded in July 2015 and January 2016

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Ammon Bundy is previewing his legal defense, and it is just as crazy as his rationale for the Malheur Wildlife Refuge takeover in the first place.

His defense team is expected to argue in federal court that the federal government has no jurisdiction over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and therefore cannot prosecute Bundy and dozens of others for their 2016 takeover of the preserve.

The defense is the same kind of bogus constitutionalist theory advocated by the extremists who took over Malheur in January. The defense strategy gives insight into just how Bundy and others may tackle a slew of federal criminal charges against them, which include conspiracy and firearms possession in a federal facility as well as others. Throughout the 41-day occupation, individuals holed up at Malheur claimed they were fighting to restore the land back to the people who rightfully owned it.

"The motion to dismiss in this case will challenge the Federal Government’s authority to assert ownership over the land that is now known as the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge," Bundy's defense attorneys wrote in a court filing Friday asking for more time to file a motion to dismiss the charges against him for lack of jurisdiction. It was first flagged by the Oregonian. "It is Defendant’s position that this authority is critical to the Federal Government’s authority to have federal employees work on that land. Jurisdiction in this case will determine whether the Federal Government can prosecute protesters for being there at all."

According to the documents filed Friday, Bundy's defense will argue that the Constitution was "only intended to give broad federal power of property in Territories, as the Founders contemplated the expansion westward."

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A former top staffer for a Republican legislator in Wisconsin suggested this week that GOP legislators were motivated to pass the state’s tough photo voter ID law because they believed it would help them at the ballot box, an account he expanded on in a Wednesday interview with TPM.

Todd Allbaugh, who served as chief of staff for state Sen. Dale Schultz (R) until the legislator retired in 2015, first made the claims in a Tuesday Facebook post that caught the attention of national voting rights experts.

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Voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging what they described as a massive voter purge in Ohio. The lawsuit accuses the state of violating the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 -- also known as the "Motor Voter" law -- by taking tens of thousand of voters off the registration rolls because they did not participate in past elections.

"As a result of these violations, numerous Ohioans have been disenfranchised in recent elections, and many more face the threat of disenfranchisement in the 2016 Presidential Election and future elections," the complaint said.

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Reports of Arizona voters waiting for as long as fives hours to cast their ballots is bringing intense scrutiny on local elections officials as well as renewed criticism of the 2013 Supreme Court decision that allowed them to make major changes to polling plans without the approval of the federal government.

Most of the coverage since Tuesday's voting problems has focused on two things: First, Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populated region, reduced polling places from 200 to 60 in an effort to save money; and second, that’s the kind of change in the voting regimen that federal officials would have blocked until the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.

But the picture is more complicated, voting rights experts and former Justice Department officials tell TPM.

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The former mayor of Bernards Township, New Jersey had a simple goal: build an Islamic Center where he and his fellow Muslim residents could worship.

What Mohammed Ali Chaudry got instead was a protracted four-year battle with the local planning board, who ultimately rejected his plan for the mosque.

Now Chaudry and his group, the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR), are suing Bernards Township and its planning board for allegedly threatening their right to worship under the guise of land use regulations.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in New Jersey, charges that the community masked a xenophobic fear of bringing an Islamic house of worship into their neighborhood with concerns about mundane land use issues, such as parking and stormwater management. Planning board members were ultimately swayed by this tide of community opposition, the suit alleges.

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