Trump Ally Gets A Taste Of MAGA’s Medicine

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That’ll Do It

The attorney general in the state of Missouri, Andrew Bailey, is making a bunch of headlines for announcing on his podcast Thursday that he intends to sue the amorphous state of New York and officials there for what he describes as “their direct attack on our democratic process through unconstitutional lawfare against President Trump.”

The Guardian reported that the lawsuit will be part of a series of legal actions that he intends to take against New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, both for what he describes as wrongful prosecutions of Donald Trump.

“Radical progressives in New York are trying to rig the 2024 election. We have to stand up and fight back,” he later told Fox News Digital, before his office acknowledged to the news outlet that the suit hadn’t been filed yet — but when it is it will be titled “Missouri vs. New York,” they say! — and because it’s a state versus state action, it’d have to go straight to the Supreme Court.

It’s a Trumpian move by a MAGA fan meant for an audience of one — or six, if he ever actually files it.

Here’s what else TPM has on tap this weekend:

  • Hunter Walker digs into what happens when Trump’s enemies also try to Stop the Steal.
  • Kate Riga expands on how conservative justices may have been shamed into their ruling on Rahimi this week.
  • Khaya Himmelman reports on a federal judge in Nevada shutting down the RNC’s effort to cause voter roll chaos in the state.
  • Emine Yücel highlights GOP hypocrisy on IVF.

Let’s dig in.

— Nicole Lafond

Stop My Steal

Donald Trump’s chosen candidate in Virginia’s 5th congressional district is getting a taste of MAGA medicine. 

The Republican primary race there devolved into a full on grudge match with former GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Trump both backing upstart state Sen. John McGuire over incumbent Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), the current chair of the House Freedom Caucus. Trump’s beef stemmed from Good’s initial endorsement of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary race. McCarthy wanted revenge of his own because of the role Good and the right-wing caucus played in ousting him from the speakership last year. 

Thanks in part to the interventions from Trump and McCarthy, McGuire finished ever so slightly ahead of the incumbent. As of Friday afternoon, according to NBC News, McGuire was up by 328 votes with 96 percent of the result in. Local papers have noted the race could be headed for a recount. 

McGuire declared himself the victor and Good reacted exactly how you might expect someone who voted against certifying the 2020 election to respond: with baseless conspiracy theories and anger. In an appearance on Steve Bannon’s podcast on Thursday, Good vowed to have “a full investigation” of the matter and touted his readiness to mount legal challenges with “a tremendous number of lawyers.”

The thing is, Good (and Bannon, who backed him) aren’t the only 2020 deniers in this race. McGuire admittedly attended the Jan. 6 protests against that election. And, of course, McGuire’s biggest backer, Trump, is the leading promoter of the election conspiracy movement. 

Trump is already preparing to question and challenge the next election if he loses. This Virginia race shows how his refusal to accept reality opens the door to his enemies doing the same thing. Apparently, allowing a political party to be consumed by internecine feuds and conspiracy theories makes things messy. 

— Hunter Walker

Roberts Tries To Put The Bruen Toothpaste Back In the Tube

Five different justices wrote concurrences in Friday’s United States v. Rahimi, a case about whether domestic abusers can keep their guns. 

That’s five separate opinions, on top of Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion and Clarence Thomas’ dissent (only Justice Samuel Alito, who joined the majority alone, and Justice Elena Kagan, who also joined Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s concurrence, did not write individually). That amount of over-explanation does not exactly speak to a majority confident in the ruling most of them signed on to in 2022, from which this one stems.  

Thomas’ dissent, in which he argues that there is no historical analogue to a law taking firearms from a domestic abuser under a protective order, is (horrifyingly) probably closer to the truth of what Bruen established. Roberts stretches the need for a historical predecessor into generalities, finding laws from the founding that took a bond as punishment if someone committed violence, or that removed weapons from those who’d menaced others. It’s clear that the Court’s sanctified history and traditions test is more flexible than it appears; when it comes to a drug dealing respondent who has fired his gun at his ex-girlfriend, at cars in traffic, in a fast food restaurant, and kept his weapons in his home nearby a copy of the restraining order forbidding him to have them, our history becomes much more forward-looking. 

To be clear: Thank God. Anyone with half a brain already knows that this Court is almost entirely results-oriented, and if the conservatives need to pretend that the founders cared about wife-beating to stop domestic abusers from so easily murdering their victims, so be it.  

But it also amplifies the mortification all of the right-wing justices should feel for signing onto Bruen in the first place, in which Thomas made abundantly clear that virtually all gun regulations were now at existential risk. 

I’m glad the conservatives were shamed into this ruling; it’ll mean fewer dead women. But it’s yet more proof that these justices are fundamentally political actors, and that their supposedly ironclad interpretive tests are worth no more than the paper they’re written on.

— Kate Riga (Credit to John Light for the headline)

Federal Judge Dismisses Nevada Voter Roll Challenge Case

A federal judge dismissed a case filed by the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party, who alleged there were inconsistencies with the state’s voter rolls and argued that the state’s maintenance of its voter rolls violated the National Voter Registration Act. The judge ruled on Tuesday that the plaintiffs lacked standing to file the lawsuit.

Campaign Legal Center in conjunction with the ACLU of Nevada filed a friend-of-the-court brief in May of this year asking the court to dismiss the case, which they argued in their brief, “rests entirely on implausible theories that courts have repeatedly debunked for years.”

“These dubious efforts sow unwarranted and harmful doubts about election officials’ diligent efforts to maintain Nevada’s voter rolls and administer free and fair elections, including the upcoming 2024 election,” the brief further argues. 

Justin Levitt, a professor of law at Loyola Law School, in an interview with TPM, said he isn’t surprised that this case has been dismissed, noting that this case, and cases that similarly perpetuate the false narrative that voter rolls aren’t properly maintained, are merely a way to perpetuate the false narrative that elections are not safe.

“They’re not actually pointing to any problem with the way that states are actually maintaining the rules. And so of course they’re not going to win,” he said. 

The RNC filed a similar lawsuit in Michigan in March of this year.

— Khaya Himmelman

Words Of Wisdom

That’s what Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), an obstetrician, told me last Thursday when I asked him if he was worried about the possibility of states taking away access to IVF.

He is not the only Republican who expressed this sentiment to me. A handful of other Senate Republicans gave me similar answers indicating they don’t think access to the widely popular procedure is under threat — or they’re just pretending not to.

I already debunked that. But as further proof, I reported this week on the Idaho Republican Party affirming its support for the fetal personhood ideology when the party proclaimed that they oppose “the destruction of human embryos.”

It’s common practice for doctors to create more embryos than are needed as part of the IVF process. Later, unused embryos are discarded either because they are not viable or because storing them for long periods of time is often too expensive. So, using the concept of fetal personhood to describe embryos as people with all the same rights as children or adults is dangerous to IVF and those who rely on the procedure.

We’ve already seen how the Alabama Supreme Court interpreted a similar idea limiting access to the procedure. It’s not a big leap to think that the same may happen in Idaho.

— Emine Yücel

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Notable Replies

  1. Err…trump IS NOT PRESIDENT.
    Second you have no standing in NY court I am aware of, Mr Bailey.
    Your suit will get nowhere.
    And further trump was duly convicted by a jury as our system does it. It does not affect my vote in any way so there is no attack on democracy here.
    Mr Bailey, you embarass your office.

  2. “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ― George Orwell

  3. Maybe the press can press these advocates of fetal personhood ideology then who pays for the frozen embryos to stay in stasis? Do frozen embryos get counted during census? And yet these frozen embryos do not consume food, air or water.

  4. Avatar for fgs fgs says:

    Children obviously don’t ask to be born. Considering the millions of Americans who either commit suicide, attempt it, or seriously contemplate it each year, it’s awfully arrogant of Idaho to presume to know what its surplus IVF embryos, which it calls “people” after all, want.

    It’s just another aspect of life over which rightists want to lord control.

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