Saturday, December 31, 2011

JuiceBlender // Meet Judge Kratovil, MD Redistricting Lawsuit Rejected, Roscoe Bartlett Awakens & Van Hollen on Drug Tests

Here's a random blend of political tidbits from the last week, starting with more fallout from Maryland's 2012 congressional redistricting. Several months ago, Senator Rich Madaleno told Maryland Juice readers & viewers that the first major decision facing Democrats was which Republican to attack: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in CD6 or Rep. Andy Harris in CD1. Over the course of the last few months, many of us watched the Dems quickly target Mr. Bartlett, leading to a parade of Republican and Democratic challengers in CD6. But whatever happened to former CD1 Congressman Frank Kratovil? Last week we learned that his story ends well, too.
Juice #1: Meet Judge Frank Kratovil: A few days ago, a Maryland Juice source forwarded us a press release with the following headline "Governor O'Malley Appoints Frank Kratovil to Queen Anne's County District Court." The statement noted: "Mr. Kratovil will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable John T. Clark, III.... Mr. Kratovil served as State’s Attorney in Queen Anne’s County from 2002 to 2009.  Mr. Kratovil left his post after he was elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Kratovil served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in both Queen Anne’s and Prince George’s Counties and as Deputy State’s Attorney in Kent County.... More information about the nominating commissions can be found at (shortened)."
In comments to Easton's Star Democrat, Mr. Kratovil stated one of his reasons for wanting to be a judge: "When you're a judge every decision has to be impartial and I think a courtroom is one of the best places in the world to get to the truth."

Juice #2: Redistricting Lawsuit Rejected: The big news that you've likely already heard by now is that the Fannie Lou Hamer/Roscoe Bartlett lawsuit against Maryland's 2012 Congressional Districts was dismissed last week. Had the litigation proceeded, some began to worry that the April Presidential Primaries might be delayed. But the Associated Press reported that the election will remain on track: "A three-judge federal panel on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Maryland’s congressional redistricting map, ruling that nine plaintiffs did not satisfy the burden of proof in alleging the map discriminated against African-Americans by failing to create a third majority-black congressional district in the state.... The judges also said the lawsuit failed to meet the burden of proof that the map is a partisan gerrymander. In addition, the panel rejected arguments that a recent law that counts prisoners in the communities where they are from instead of the prisons where they are confined is unconstitutional."

Juice #3: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Alive and Well? Politico yesterday noted that Congress' holiday recess was sure to bring a wave of retirements from longtime or endangered lawmakers:
Not coincidentally, most retirements happen during two main retirement seasons: during and after August recess and during and after the year-end recess," said Bob Honold, a former National Republican Congressional Committee incumbent-retention director. "Members leave town, can work less, see their families more, see their leadership less and sometimes find an angry electorate — all of which make retirement seem attractive...." The pattern also reflects the reality of the political calendar. Between the beginning of January and the end of February, eight states will have filing deadlines — meaning members in those states will have a limited amount of time to make their reelection bids official or, in the event they are not running, step aside to allow candidates to run in their place. The 85-year-old Bartlett, who has been the subject of persistent retirement rumors but who insists he is running, faces a fast-approaching Jan. 11 filing deadline.
But Roscoe Bartlett might not have been the best example of a Congressman contemplating retirement. The Frederick News-Post last week reported that Mr. Bartlett was plowing forward with fundraising:
U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has ramped up his campaigning after months of lackluster fundraising gave rise to speculation he would bow out from his race for re-election. In a Tuesday morning editorial board meeting with The Frederick News-Post, Bartlett said hours on the phone with supporters have netted him about $150,000 in pledged donations in the past couple of weeks.... Bartlett acknowledged that he revved up his money-gathering efforts a little late.... However, on Tuesday the 85-year-old representative reiterated that he was not planning to abandon the field of candidates, as some speculated he might in the face of a challenging re-election bid.
Very interesting. Maybe Mr. Bartlett wants to show the whippersnappers a thing or two OR maybe his poker face would bring me ruin at a card table. I guess we will know for sure after the Jan. 11th filing deadline for candidates has passed.

Juice #4: Rep. Chris Van Hollen Challenges GOP Drug Tests for Unemployed: Think Progress and numerous news outlets reported on a Republican proposal to require drug tests for those seeking unemployment assistance. The new indignity to our nation's suffering workforce elicited this response from Rep. Chris Van Hollen: "People are not out of work because they have substance abuse problems.... People are out of work because there are four people looking for every job that's available in America.... The Republican rhetoric has been insulting." Watch the video below:

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