TPM News

A federal appeals court struck down Proposal 2 on Friday, a 2006 ballot initiative in Michigan that banned Affirmative Action in college admissions and government hiring.

In a 2-1 decision, the Appellate panel ruled that Prop 2 violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. "The majority may not manipulate the channels of change in a manner that places unique burdens on issues of importance to racial minorities," Judges R. Guy Cole and Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote in the majority opinion.

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South Carolina Lt. Governor Ken Ard (R) has settled his 107 ethics violations with the State Ethics Commission, and agreed to pay a $48,400 fine, cover the cost of the investigation, and reimburse his campaign for $12,121 in illegal expenditures.

Among those expenditures, Corey Hutchins of the South Carolina Free Times reports, was Ard's wife's phone bill and more than $3000 at Best Buy for a "Playstation 3, a flat-screen TV, an iPod Touch 8G, and two 3G iPads." Ard initially claimed the purchases were "computer equip" for "campaign and office-related purposes."

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A Dane County judge has ruled against Wisconsin GOP state Rep. John Nygren's effort to get onto the ballot to challenge Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, after state election officials disqualified Nygren due to a lack of sufficient petition signatures. It leaves the GOP with only one other candidate in the race -- who brings some personal baggage.

As WisPolitics reports, Nygren has now announced that he will not further contest the decision, and as such is dropping out of the race. "While I disagree with the court's decision, I respect the process and will cease any further actions to appeal this decision," Nygren says. "It's unfortunate that my candidacy in this recall election has been determined by Democrat-appointed GAB staff that has constantly worked against me as I defended myself from the Democratic Party's frivolous challenges."

When he filed his petitions, Nygren only turned in 424 signatures, just over the 400 minimum. Candidates are allowed to turn in up to 800 signatures, twice the minimum, in order to have a buffer against signature disqualifications (and in nearly all cases, they do submit a significant buffer). After Democrats challenged errors and qualifications for some signatures at the state Government Accountability Board -- which oversees elections in the state -- he was busted down to 398, two short of the threshold, thus keeping him off the ballot.

Some perspective: Republicans were able to gather over 18,000 signatures to trigger a recall against Hansen (and even though some of them were fraudulent, this was still an accomplishment overall) -- yet did not make enough of an effort to get 400 signatures plus a decent-sized buffer for their preferred candidate.

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The process of making net neutrality enforceable took a tiny step forward Thursday when the Federal Communications Commission sent off its semi-final draft of proposed rules to the White House for approval.

The FCC has to send its rules to be vetted by the White House Office of Management and Budget as the agency is requiring high-speed internet service providers to collect data. The OMB's role is to co-ordinate and consult between government agencies to address any concerns that the collection requirements might be too onerous.

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Running for president is hard. Candidates have to be focused, dedicated and possess an almost unfathomable amount of vanity. It also takes a healthy appetite for shoe leather -- you're gonna put your foot directly in your mouth, usually on national television, more than few times before all is said and done.

At the end of June, campaign 2012 is coming along nicely on that front. We've seen candidates (and potential candidates) choke up on a debate stage, claim Paul Revere rang bells, scream at reporters on camera, flip-flop mightily and even misspell their own names at their own kickoffs. If the first six months of the presidential campaign trail are any guide, it's going to be an exceptionally fun year.

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Voters in New York's 9th Congressional District will head to the polls to choose disgraced Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's replacement on Sept. 13, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced today.

That makes the second Tuesday in September a kind of mini-Super Tuesday for special election fans and sex scandal observers: voters in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District will also go to the polls to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Dean Heller (R) when he was appointed following disgraced Sen. John Ensign's (R) resignation earlier this year.

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