October 26th, 2006

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NJ Court Gives Republicans Senate, Possibly House

Ya know, just when I thought there was no way the Republicans could possibly escape this time, another set of judicial idiots decides to hand the Republicans a gift wrapped election. Because Heaven forbid they should wait a whole TWO BLEEDIN' WEEKS until releasing this.

In the House, I think Ds still have a chance, but the hope of a sweeping D majority is now dead in the water. Probably protects Heather Wilson in NM, some of the Ohio seats, and a bunch of the seats in play in the south. But I think the upstate NY districts at risk for the Rs stay at risk. So instead of capturing 30-50 seats in the House (the prediction as of last week), we're probably looking at only a 10-25 seat shift. Ds need to pick up 15 for a majority.

So which close Senate races just got blown? TN and VA for sure. They had been a stretch to begin with, but this makes it impossible. VA has an antigay marriage amendment on the ballot, so any hope the conservatives would just stay home is now shot. you can bet the sermon for this week in every conservative VA & TN church is "no matter how much you feel the Rs have let us down, we must defend the sanctity of marriage and keep the Ds out of Congress."

MD, which has not been thought in play, may well go R. It's an open seat, with Ben Cardin (D) v. Michael Steele (R). Cardin already has significant concerns with getting out African American voters in Baltimore and PG County. They went heavily for Mfume in the primary, and are increasingly feeling taken for granted by the party as a whole. Ehrlich, our Republican Governor, is reasonably popular. And MD has a gay marrriage case pending before its state supreme court. So we will likely see a significant turn out from rural conservatives and suppressed turnout for Ds in Blatimore and PG County.

RI is probably unaffected. As is CN. Nor do I think this will help Burns in Montana. May help DeWine in OH, but probably not enough. Santorum is also probably beyond help at this point.

So yesterday, Bloomsberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWAv2MSHZGiA&refer=home, was predicting was predicting:
Seats likely to switch from R to D:

Toss ups
NJ (currently D, trending D)
VA (Currently R, trending D)
MO (Currently R, trending R)
TN (Currently R, trending R)

Open seats I think are in play:
CN (Leiberman increasingly vague on who he will support in cauacus)
MD (see above)

Dems need to hold the current seats and pick up six new ones. I think we can now write off VA, MO and TN, so the maximum pick up is now 4. If Dems lose any of the D seats in play, that offsets that any pick ups to return to status quo.

And why? Because NJ Supreme Court couldn't wait two goddam weeks.
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Milder NJ Afterthoughts

Good article in the New Republic suggesting why Lewis v. Harris will not prompt the same kind of backlash as Goodridge. http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w061023&s=clarke102606

Also, a quick flip through the decision shows that it is on sound legal ground. None of the pious crap and misapplied rational basis nonesense from the Goodridge Court that I found so infuriating. The majority here proceeds quite logically under an equal protection analysis, determines that NJ has made sexual orientation a protected class for purposes of state equal protection, and takes it to a logical conclusion.
(Although I do think the court missed a third option. The state legislature could abolish heterosexual marriage and have "civil union" for everyone. Much tidier IMO, actually, but I recognize it is a political non-starter.)

I am still annoyed that so much emphasis is put on the courts and no where do I see any effort to get pro-gay marriage initiatives on the ballot or in most state legislatures. A recent Time Magazine poll shows considerable support in NJ and in most other states for gay marriage. No one has explained to me this aversion on the part of pro-gay marriage proponents for democratic processes.

I mean good grief, most of these states have passed laws prohibitting discrimination. Instead, the movement has ceded the legislative field to the opposition in the hopes of getting a free judicial shortcut.

A movement too lazy to advocate for itself deserves to lose. I'm sorry. Stop pissing and moaning about how awful judges in NY are and get a pro-gay marriage initiative on the NY ballot in 2008. And, if necessary, again in 2010, and again in 2012. The civil rights movement wasn't just Brown or Loving v Virginia. If everyone who complains that NJ is bad because it is "separate but equal" would invest even one tenth of the time, blood, sweat and tears that civil rights activists put into overturning segregation in this country into lobbying the NJ state legislature for "marriage" rather than "civil union," then you'd win in a heart beat. But nooooooo...... it's all "whine whine whine, the court is making us do the democracy thing and work for our cause instead of just handing it to us."

Ah well. Back to real work.