On Friday, a federal trial judge in Ohio issued a temporary restraining order against the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Trump’s longtime advisor, Roger Stone. The order restrains Trump’s campaign and sleazeball Stone from following up on Trump’s frequent exhortations to his followers to go to “certain areas” to monitor voting on Election Day, which is considered an open invitation for Trump’s fans to intimidate minority voters with the intention of suppressing their vote. Here’s some dumb coming out of the Orange One’s mouth while he was speaking in Pennsylvania in August:
He argued that he has strong momentum in the state and that, “the only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on.”
Trump said: “We’re going to watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times.”
It turns out the law frowns on wingnuts going to “certain areas” to make sure “those people” stay in line at the polls. According to CNN:
A federal judge Friday warned Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican operative Roger Stone against any “voter intimidation” activity in Ohio, the result of one of several cases brought by Democrats before Election Day.
The Ohio case was filed by lawyers for state Democratic parties against the Trump campaign and Republicans, seeking early restraining orders or limits to ballot security or voter questioning efforts. Similar lawsuits were filed in Nevada, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Judge James Gwin of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled after a hearing Friday morning, mostly siding with Democrats against Trump and Stone’s group “Stop the Steal” and issuing a temporary restraining order.
The Trump campaign has appealed, because of course they have. Here’s what the campaign has to say about Judge Gwin’s ruling:
Gwin’s ruling, the campaign said, “literally imposes a comprehensive election code the court will apparently continue to invent on the fly.”
As with most things that emanate from the Trump campaign, that statement is a lie. This is not a judge inventing a brand-new election code. This is a judge applying well-established law prohibiting white candidates from organizing voter intimidation campaigns designed to suppress minority voting.
Also on Friday, a federal appeals court rejected Arizona’s law prohibiting the collection of absentee ballots and delivering them to the polls. This was a law passed by Republicans who oppose the practice of ballot collection because it is a particularly effective tactic for increasing minority voter turnout. The GOP is against non-white voters, of course. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck the law and the Republican-controlled Arizona government appealed to the Supreme Court, which promptly reinstated the ban on ballot collection until the full Ninth Circuit can rule on the measure in January, which means the ban will be in effect for the election this week. Oh well. You can’t win ’em all.
A third important ruling Friday affects three counties in North Carolina, where Republicans had literally purged thousands of blacks from the voter registration rolls, in direct violation of federal law. Federal judge C. Loretta Biggs ordered the affected voters to be immediately restored to the active rolls of eligible voters, after stating in a hearing that the process by which the voters were purged from the rolls was “insane”:
Under state law, any voter can challenge another county resident’s registration, resulting in a hearing at which the challenger presents evidence, according to a state legal filing. If local officials find probable cause, the challenged voter is given notice of a subsequent hearing. A voter who doesn’t rebut the evidence can be removed.
During the emergency hearing Wednesday, Biggs described the process as antiquated and “insane.”
In her ruling Friday, she noted that “in all three counties, a few individuals submitted mailings marked undeliverable to the County Boards, sometimes in batches up to hundreds at a time.”
So it looks like the rule of law is still in place, despite the efforts of Trump and his supporters to wipe away decades of election law and actively suppress the black vote.
Trump’s not above the law after all. In this insane election that is a win.
We’ll take it.