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Supreme Court Makes It Easier for Dems to Retake the House With Voting Rights Ruling

The court’s decision affects congressional district maps across the country, and a few Republicans are in big trouble.

Capitol building
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that Alabama’s congressional district map discriminated against Black voters could have bigger implications for several Southern states—and could help Democrats retake the House in 2024.

The biggest change and most immediate impact, obviously, will be in Alabama. But a handful of other states where racially gerrymandered districts are facing legal challenges could also see a very different map in the coming election. That includes Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia—and may affect races beyond that.

Democrats currently have 212 seats in the House of Representatives, and they would only need to reclaim six to retake the majority in the chamber.


Alabama will have to redraw its map to create two majority-Black districts, which could set a precedent for rulings in the other states. There are seven congressional districts in the state, and six of them are held by Republicans.

Here are the Republican representatives who could be most in trouble from the redistricting:

  • Jerry Carl
  • Barry Moore
  • Mike Rogers


Georgia Democrats lost a seat to Republicans during the 2022 midterms after the state GOP redrew the 6th district to include more conservative, majority-white areas. A judge could rule later this year that the new map illegally dilutes the Black vote and needs to be redrawn. The Republicans who could be at stake are:

  • Barry Loudermilk
  • A. Drew Ferguson


The Supreme Court previously blocked a lower court’s ruling to redistrict Louisiana to include a second majority-Black district, until it could issue its Alabama ruling. And now that we have a decision on Alabama, Louisiana will likely also have to redraw its maps to stop diluting the Black vote. That means Republicans who might lose their seats are:

  • Garret Graves
  • Julia Letlow

South Carolina

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the challenge to a South Carolina court ordering the state to redraw its 1st district.

Good luck to Nancy Mace.

Saudi Arabia Just Took Over Golf. Is Soccer Next?

The brutal kingdom had a very good, if not perfect, week.

Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
The Lion in Winter (Cristiano Ronaldo playing in Saudi Arabia in March)

This was supposed to be a perfect week for Saudi Arabia, but it only ended up being a very good one. Taking over pro golf, which Saudi Arabia literally did on Tuesday, is a pretty good achievement—even though the deal will likely face antitrust scrutiny. (They did, after all, literally take over golf.) But the controversial kingdom also took its biggest steps yet to taking over soccer.

Wooing Cristiano Ronaldo with a $200 million annual salary in January was only one small part of the Saudis’ larger plan. Newcastle United, the English Premier League team the country’s sovereign wealth fund owns, will play in the Champions League next season. And since the conclusion of the European leagues, Saudi Arabia has splashed money around, wooing players to its domestic league. Karim Benzema, Ronaldo’s former teammate at Real Madrid, will play for Al-Ittihad; the brilliant, diminutive, oft-injured N’Golo Kante will join him there as well. On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s ruthless dictator Mohammed bin Salman announced that the state’s Public Investment Fund—which he definitely does not control—will take over the state’s four biggest teams. Saudi Arabia, in other words, is trying to become a huge player in global soccer. They only just missed out on their crown jewel.

Lionel Messi, soccer’s greatest ever player, who rebuffed the kingdom at the last minute on Wednesday, announcing that he would be spurning what likely amounted to more than a billion dollars to spend his twilight years in Saudi Arabia to instead take (probably) far less money in a far more convoluted deal to play in Miami. Messi is serving as a “cultural ambassador” for Saudi Arabia and is seen as a key cog in its effort to win the 2030 World Cup; his decision to spurn its offer was seen as a slap in the face. It was also a reminder that for all the money Saudi Arabia is kicking around, it is still a long way from becoming a major player in soccer.

Saudi Arabia has vast account surpluses and is investing heavily in sports as part of its efforts to launder its dismal human rights record—and as a way of transitioning its economy. It desperately wants the 2030 World Cup and is doing everything that it can to win it—and will spend billions to bring European stars to its domestic league.

It has already made huge strides in the world of golf and boxing, in particular. But it’s clear that the globe’s most popular sport is next. Bringing in soccer’s biggest stars—though many are well past their prime—may simply be part of the larger push to secure the 2030 World Cup. And yet Saudi Arabia’s ambitions seem to surpass hosting one global tournament. The larger effort is toward something like LIV Golf but for soccer. As with LIV, the Saudis are using their competitive advantage—they can pay many players exponentially more than many European clubs can—to build an empire. The next step will be taking on the global soccer elite directly.

Kathy Hochul Wants a Republican to Lead New York’s Energy Sector

There’s reason to be concerned about Justin Driscoll’s nomination as head of the New York Power Authority.

Kathy Hochul
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul

New York is enveloped in a dense, ominous haze of smoke, a looming reminder of what may come without a green transition. Meanwhile, Kathy Hochul is trying to push through a Republican and climate-denialist donor to lead the state’s energy and power operations.

Justin Driscoll is the current interim CEO of the New York Power Authority, earning the recommendation of the NYPA board last year (a board that is appointed by the governor). Now, the state Senate will hold a confirmation vote this week on whether he should become a permanent fixture in the role.

Driscoll has a long résumé working in energy, but a closer look reveals a mixed record of concern to anyone who might specifically care about clean energy.

For starters, Driscoll is a registered Republican with a history of donations to Republican candidates and organizations.

That includes the New York Assembly Republican Campaign Committee, then–New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, and Texas’s John Cornyn, during his first bid for the Senate in 2002. At the time, Cornyn had been criticized for accepting nearly $200,000 in political contributions from Enron, the energy company infamously wrapped up in corporate fraud. Driscoll nevertheless apparently found the Texas Republican—now a member of Congress who doesn’t believe climate change is real—to be compelling.

Driscoll’s record on actual policy also brings cause for scrutiny. Last year, he opposed the Build Public Renewables Act, legislation that sought to expand NYPA’s green energy production.

State lawmakers have passed the bill anyway, and many have hailed it as the “biggest Green New Deal win in U.S. history,” providing a model for how states can set course for strong transitions toward greener energy while creating jobs.

That is the kind of success Driscoll went out of his way to oppose.

“The NY State Senate voted to pass the BPRA this session because we know how crucial it is for climate action in New York,” state Senator Julia Salazar tweeted last year. “We cannot then turn around and vote to confirm a NYPA CEO who isn’t up to the task, which is why I wouldn’t be able to support Justin Driscoll’s nomination.”

And even on his actual leadership, there is reason to be concerned.

On Tuesday, Buffalo News reported that Driscoll oversaw an alleged racially discriminatory NYPA environment while serving as its general counsel from 2014 to 2021.

One senior power plant operator, Christopher Carey, was accused of berating, belittling, and discrediting the late Shirley Hamilton, the former president of the Niagara Falls NAACP and NYPA employee of 44 years.

Carey allegedly said no one could have Hamilton fired because she was “Black and untouchable,” but threatened that he would “get her fired and be the first.” Carey reportedly held Hamilton to standards he would not hold white employees to and said he had “management so bamboozled that I could run around the control room nude with Shirley and no one would believe her.”

The complainant, NYPA employee Nick Gilewski, claimed he was denied a raise and disciplined by Carey in retaliation for making the accusations. Gilewski resigned, citing how Carey’s pay just kept increasing despite the allegations, which grew to include another Black employee, Rudolph June.

In 2015, Buffalo News reports, June wrote a letter directly to Driscoll, who was general counsel for NYPA at the time. In it, June cited the hostile work environment, including threats of violence and even an incident where drawings that depicted African Americans as Black minstrels were found on site.

“While I can appreciate your frustration, I want to assure you that the Authority conducted a thorough investigation into your claims,” Driscoll wrote back.

June was fired from the agency in 2019, which he maintains was due to his complaints related to discrimination.

Perhaps Driscoll’s nomination makes sense when you look at Hochul’s own dodgy record on energy. In April, she granted an economic development award to Amazon, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, giving it special access to low-cost power. She put the Build Public Renewables Act on the negotiating table while finalizing next year’s budget, allowing it to be slightly watered down.

Hochul also pushed a pro–fossil fuel bill that would have the state measure methane emissions impacts over 100 years, rather than 20, absurdly decreasing accountability. And she even appointed Caitlin Halligan to the state’s Court of Appeals; Halligan was part of Chevron’s legal team that aimed to take down environmental lawyer Steven Donziger, who stood up to the company for profiting off polluting the Amazon rainforest.

Just months after Hochul’s unsuccessful bid to push through a court nominee widely unpopular with much of the Democratic base—liberals, progressives, workers, pro-choice voters, and more—she is now trying to push through a Republican who has donated to climate denialists and who allegedly oversaw a racially discriminatory workplace to lead New York’s public power operations.

Supreme Court Surprises Us All and Delivers Major Win for Voting Rights

The 5–4 decision ruled in favor of Black voters.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of voting rights for Black residents of Alabama, in a total shock to everyone.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the three liberal justices, ruling 5–4 that Republican-drawn congressional districts in Alabama discriminated against Black voters under the Voting Rights Act.

This means that the seven congressional districts will now be redrawn. More than a quarter of Alabama residents are Black, but only one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts is majority-Black. Black voters are scattered throughout the other districts, dramatically reducing their ability to elect their preferred candidates. As a result of the racial gerrymandering, the state only has one Black representative.

A three-judge district court ruled unanimously in January 2022 that the map violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting Black votes, and ordered a new map be drawn. The judges ruled that Alabama’s Black population was large enough, and concentrated enough in one area, that there could be two majority-Black districts.

The state appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in October. While the case was ongoing, the map was used during the 2022 midterm elections.

Roberts wrote the majority opinion, and repeatedly rejected Alabama’s arguments in favor of keeping the current map as “unpersuasive” or of “little merit.”

“The Court’s opinion does not diminish or disregard the concern that [the Voting Rights Act] may impermissibly elevate race in the allocation of political power within the States,” he wrote. “Instead, the Court simply holds that a faithful application of precedent and a fair reading of the record do not bear those concerns out here.”

Alabama’s new districting map could prove crucial to Democrats’ ability to retake the House of Representatives in 2024.

This post has been updated.

GOP Congressman Says It’s Too Soon to Talk About Climate Change, Amid Raging Wildfires

Stop politicizing the weather, says man whose state is living under an air quality warning.

Marc Molinaro
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

More than 100 million people are under air quality alerts, with numerous American cities experiencing among the worst air quality in the world, as heavy, hazardous smog from raging Canadian wildfires swallows much of the United States. And while people are putting their masks on to navigate their new reality, a Republican has come out to bravely say it’s too soon to talk about climate change.

“AOC can save her lecturing for the floor of the House,” New York Republican Marc Molinaro said on Fox. “Right now, there are countless firefighters, there are families being impacted, senior citizens, folks with respiratory issues,” he continued, listing off a laundry list of people his party has left behind by not caring about environmental protection. “There is little question that Canada obviously needs to focus on forest management, but this isn’t the moment to start lecturing people about the science of climate change. Right now it’s about putting out a fire and keeping people safe,” he finished, as if honoring the science of climate change is not intrinsically part of keeping people safe.

Note that Molinaro’s own state, New York, has among the worst air quality in the world right now. His district (one that Biden won) also includes much of the state’s most beautiful areas: the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson Valley, and parts of the Finger Lakes. And yet voicing concerns about how we are degrading these landscapes, and harming our people’s health, is “lecturing” to this New York Republican.

It’s almost comical the extent Republican politicians will go to deny reality. It’s not enough to cast doubt on the broader scientific fact about human-induced climate change—and all the subsequent effects, like wildlife and habitat loss, or the upending of our food and water systems—and how expensive that all is. While nearly a third of the country is at risk of breathing in a dark haze straight out of dystopia, Republicans are still lecturing us for having the nerve to say enough is enough.

There has been a great deal of focus on how Republicans, in their vicious agenda against education, LGBTQ people, and immigrants, are massively out of touch with most of America. It’s high time we externalize the fact that they are just as out of touch when it comes to climate and the environment. Pretty much everyone enjoys or appreciates our natural world: aesthetically, spiritually, recreationally, or simply by virtue of its being where their food and water comes from. But the conservative movement has no answer to protect it all—and wants to blame those of us who are trying to find one.

A Compendium of Statements That St. Peter Might Be Asking Pat Robertson to Explain

Farewell to a man who blamed LGBTQ people and people of color for virtually everything.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Pat Robertson

Televangelist Pat Robertson, who founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, died Thursday at age 93.

Robertson was one of the main drivers behind Christian conservatism’s entry into mainstream politics, introducing what would become some of modern Republicans’ favorite talking points, including blaming LGBTQ people and people of color for pretty much everything.

Here are nine statements Robertson made that he will probably have to explain at the pearly gates.

1. Gay people and abortion caused 9/11

Robertson hosted fellow televangelist Jerry Falwell on his show The 700 Club just days after the 9/11 attack. At one point, Falwell said, “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”

Robertson replied, “I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government.”

2. Haitians deserved the earthquake in 2010

Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake in January 2010. The death toll is still uncertain, but potentially half a million people died. Robertson said that Haitians had made a “pact with the devil” and have been “cursed” ever since.

3. Feminists are evil

In a 1992 fundraising letter, Robertson wrote: “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

4. Abortion caused Hurricane Katrina

Robertson said Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 because God was angry about abortion. “I was reading … a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood,” he said. “Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected?”

5. God won’t bless America because of gay people and abortion

Robertson said at the start of 2010 that God wouldn’t bless America that year because there was too much abortion and homosexuality and not enough prayer.

“Fifty million babies slaughtered,” Robertson said God told him. “You can’t have legislation that is anti-God. You can’t foster in your midst things that I call an abomination.… If you do, sooner or later judgment’s going to come.”

6. Gay people are Nazis

In March 1990, Robertson referred to homosexuality as a “pathology” that needed to be treated. “Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals,” he said on The 700 Club. “Those two things seem to go together.”

7. Muslims are also Nazis

In 2011, Robertson compared Islamophobia to being anti-Nazi. “I was thinking, you know, if you oppose Muslims, what is said?” he asked on The 700 Club. “Well, you’re a bigot, right? Terrible bigotry. I wonder, what were people who opposed the Nazis? Were they bigots?”

8. God would overturn the 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump

Robertson told 700 Club viewers that the lawsuit filed by Texas’s then–Attorney General Ken Paxton challenging the results of the 2020 election was a “miracle.”

“They’re going to the Supreme Court to say, ‘This election was rigged and you’ve got to overturn it,’” Robertson said, pushing Trump-backed falsehoods. He also said God would intervene.

(At least on this point, Robertson seemed to correct himself, saying two weeks later that Trump was living in “an alternate reality.”)

9. Towels in Kenya transmit AIDS

In 2014, a 700 Club viewer asked whether an upcoming trip to Kenya was risky.

“You might get AIDS in Kenya,” Robertson warned on air. “The people have AIDS in Kenya. The towels could have AIDS.”

Lauren Boebert Blows by Gun Violence Survivors, Not Even Making Eye Contact

The Republican representative cannot be bothered by things like kids surviving guns.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Lauren Boebert doesn’t have the time of day for people who survived mass shootings.

On Tuesday, as gun violence survivors visited Washington, D.C., to lobby for action, they ran up against some elected officials who wouldn’t even look them in the eye, including one Republican Representative Boebert.

“Hey, there’s a lot of survivors over there if you want to …,” one young visitor started to Boebert.

“Survivors of gun violence if you want to talk to them,” another finished. “Survivors from Uvalde, Parkland.… You don’t really care?”

“It’s alright. My son died for you to just go do that,” said Brett Cross, whose son was shot and killed at the Uvalde elementary school shooting, as Boebert walked by without even looking at him.

“I heard you’re gonna be a grandmother!” the first young individual called out as Boebert and her aides marched away toward the people’s house.

Numerous other members of Congress did take time out of their equally busy days to meet with the student and parent organizers, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Summer Lee, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Mike Thompson. Senator Jon Ossoff even came out as another co-sponsor of a bill to ban assault weapons.

Also on Tuesday, when asked about gun violence by a school shooting survivor, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene simply said she supports the Second Amendment before turning her back and walking away from a child who survived a gun killing.

Republican Infighting Is So Bad They’re Messing Up Their Own Fake Biden Probe

Republicans are eating themselves from the inside out after the debt ceiling debacle.

Representatives Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Representatives Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz

Republican infighting over the recently passed debt limit law has gotten so bad that they’re undermining their own investigation into President Joe Biden to get back at each other.

Some of the most conservative House Republicans, furious that Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to raise the debt ceiling, blocked a bill on Tuesday that would have prevented gas stoves from being banned (another one of their fake culture wars). But now, Republican leadership may respond by blocking a vote, set for Thursday, to hold CIA director Christopher Wray in contempt for not complying with the Oversight Committee’s holey Biden investigation.

“I have been told that leadership teams are meeting right now,” Representative Matt Gaetz told Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast. “And they’re thinking about punishing House conservatives and just sending everybody home this week, and canceling the committee work and the contempt work as a way to stick it to us for making demands that they keep their promises.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus, the farthest-right wing of the House, accuse McCarthy of reneging on several promises he made to them when he was elected speaker. In fact, those promises were what got him elected speaker in the first place.

McCarthy apparently also promised to slash government spending and cap the debt ceiling. Instead, McCarthy negotiated with Biden to pass a deal to raise the debt ceiling (after a GOP-manufactured crisis that brought the U.S. to the brink of default).

The Freedom Caucus has been a thorn in McCarthy’s side since the very beginning. They’re the ones who made us sit through 15 rounds of votes for the speakership. And now, they’ve dragged the Republican Party into a weird game of tit for tat that is preventing them from actually achieving any of their goals.

Considering one of those goals is an investigation based on seemingly no evidence, maybe we should let them keep going.

Mike Pence Finally Slams Trump on January 6 and the Constitution

Could it be? A Republican criticizing someone who was impeached twice, criminally indicted, and found liable for sexual abuse?

Mike Pence
Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Don’t blink, you might miss it: a Republican actually criticizing twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Donald Trump.

During his presidential campaign announcement on Wednesday, Mike Pence did not shy away from the bare minimum of saying that Trump’s actions related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol disqualify him from the White House.

“My former running mate continues to insist that I had the right to overturn the election. But President Trump was wrong then, and he’s wrong now,” Trump’s former vice president said.

“Anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States, and anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president again.”

Pence’s remarks come while he’s also aiming to position himself as the most conservative candidate in the race—looking to ban abortion outright, openly calling for cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare, and embracing military hawkishness. Pence conceptualizes it all as a resurgent “Reagan coalition,” a plan that may only somewhat work at chipping away at Trump, who has commanded a lead over many conservatives who romanticize Reagan’s destructive legacy.

In the past, Pence has maintained some posture of benevolence toward Trump, reiterating his commitment to honoring the Constitution rather than focusing directly on Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He has also written glowing anecdotes about the former president, called Trump’s indictment “political persecution,” and repeatedly refused to testify in the House investigation against Trump.

Pence’s comments today portend some more awareness that his best shot at losing less badly, if not somehow winning, is by actually going after Trump. Time will tell whether he’ll stick to his guns or balk at the first sign of adversity.

Saudi Arabia’s Sportswashing With the PGA-LIV Golf Tour Merger Isn’t a Done Deal

Here are the ten people who could stop this merger, if they wanted to.

Rob Carr/Getty Images`
Members of Torque GC celebrate after winning the team portion of the LIV Golf Invitational–DC at Trump National Golf Club on May 28 in Sterling, Virginia.

The PGA Tour and its Saudi-backed rival, LIV Golf, have unveiled a plan to merge, but it’s not yet a done deal—and it can still be stopped.

The two golf tours have been at each other’s throats for months, with LIV offering massive paychecks to lure golfers away from PGA. PGA, meanwhile, slammed Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. LIV sued the PGA Tour for antitrust law violations, and the Tour countersued, accusing LIV of using players “and the game of golf to sportswash the recent history of Saudi atrocities.”

Then PGA and LIV suddenly announced Tuesday that they would drop all lawsuits and merge operations, a plan that came as a huge shock even to the players. As it turns out, none of the PGA’s top players were consulted about the deal.

But the PGA Tour’s policy board has to approve the deal first—and it hasn’t yet. Here are the names of the 10 people who could stop the merger:

  1. Ed Herlihy
  2. Jimmy Dunne
  3. Mark Flaherty
  4. Mary Meeker
  5. Randall Stephenson
  6. Patrick Cantlay
  7. Charley Hoffman
  8. Peter Malnati
  9. Rory McIlroy
  10. Webb Simpson

It’s also possible that if a group of the world’s top players spoke out against the deal, then it might not move forward. McIlroy and Tiger Woods were both vocal in condemning LIV, but McIlroy said Wednesday he is “resigned” to the fact of Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in sports.

He also seems to feel that the merger will happen. “I still hate LIV. I hope it goes away, and I would fully expect that it does,” McIlroy said Wednesday during a press conference at the Canadian Open. “Whether you like it or not … the Saudis want to spend money in the game of golf, and they weren’t going to stop. This is the one thing that I’ve always thought about, how can we get that money into the game, but use it the right way?”

Another option would be for the Department of Justice to block the merger by arguing it violates antitrust laws. The department is already investigating the PGA Tour over LIV’s allegations of antitrust violations. But it’s unclear if the department will step in or how long that could take.