Allow Me to Re-Introduce LPC

constitutional law, culture, law, voting

September happens to be a great month to begin something new, to recommit to prior tasks or assignments, and to refocus. September marks the beginning of fall (only for East Coasters, lol); school for many children; football season; and the beginning of the new year for my Jewish friends.   I also thought that it was significant to re-launch Law, Politics, and Change(LPC) this month. September is my favorite month of the year, and the political scene has been HOT, interesting, and relevant over the last nine months. I felt that this was the best time to hop in, and talk about some of the issues.

In an effort to re-introduce, Law, Politics, and Change it is imperative that I give a brief history lesson on LPC’s humble beginnings. I began LPC with the intention and desire to inform, educate, empower, and engage both politicos and those aspiring to become more involved in the political process by creating thought-provoking and informative content. Also, it was my desire to bring folks into the world of political compliance, policy, lobbying, and legislation.

The purpose and goal of LPC remains the same.  It will remain a space where I desire to invoke thoughtful conversations and discussions about politics on a local, state, and federal level, and to help others understand how REAL and RELEVANT politics is in our lives.  I have LOTS of new content that I will be adding daily, including discussing policy,    political campaign compliance and ethical concerns, new laws and updates within the campaign world among other things.

Politics is culture, and it permeates every realm, from the C-suite to the football field it is present.  Most of us have an opinion and there are many individuals who give voice to politics.  Our democratic values and First Amendment protections make the dialogue and discourse much more interesting, raw, and candid.  So, welcome once again to LPC, and come to be informed, engaged, and to share your thoughts in this space.  Visit often and regularly and comment too.  Engagement in this space is essential.

Lastly, Today is National Voter Registration Day!  This is a holiday where we can celebrate democracy, voting, and voting rights. Today marks the  5th year that the holiday has observed. If you aren’t registered to vote, or want to learn more about the holiday, visit www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org.   Also, spend today finding out who your elected officials are and what local, state, and federal legislative districts you live in.  Know those numbers and those you represent you!

 national voter registration day

Happy Reading,

Nia

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Election 2016: Donald Trump, and Historic Wins

2016 Presidential Election, elections, law, politics

Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 marked an incredible day in America’s history. Voters took to the polls and elected candidates on local, state, and national levels. Of course, the country was seemingly in a state of shock after Donald J. Trump was elected as our 45th president. Additionally, Republicans retained control of the Senate and House of Representatives. It is likely that the Supreme Court nominee and next justice will also be a conservative jurist. This means that all three branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial will likely be conservative.

Trumps victory was a shock to much of the nation as the media, pollsters, and many political pundits predicted that Secretary Hillary Clinton would be our next Commander-in-Chief. Some theorists have suggested that Clinton was not likable, failed to capture the attention and votes of millennials, and minority voters. Others have suggested that minority voters and millennials are to blame for Clinton’s painstaking loss. Potentially, it was the redundant email scandal or the Bengazi attack issue. In hindsight, she loss by a lot and the election showed a sharp divide of support between the two candidates.

What many thought was illogical or impossible happened and we as a nation witnessed  what many did not expect. Although, protests have started in many cities across the country and on social media against Trump as our next President, Hillary Clinton and President Obama have respected the voice of the voters. They have encouraged Americans to embrace him and respect him as our next President. Hillary Clinton gave a graceful and poised concession speech yesterday, where she admonished her supporters and the country to give Donald Trump an “open mind and a chance to lead.”

President-Elect Trump has outlined what he plans to do during his first 100 days in office, where he hopes to impose term limits for members of Congress; impose greater lobbying bans, cancel some executive orders; select a nominee for the Supreme Court;  work on this country’s infrastructure; and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Some Americans are happy, while many are terrified about the outcome of the election. Regardless of how we feel about Mr. Trump time will only tell what his legacy will be, and how he will impact our country as our 45th President. It is incumbent that we as Americans focus on how we can contribute to improving the current state of our country and communities. We must recognize that a Trump presidency may not  be what we wanted, hoped for, or even anticipated; but it is now our reality. So, it is time for all of us to work to improve our condition and pray for the best.

Historic Wins for Women

This election was also very special, because many women were elected to very key positions. The following women were victorious on Tuesday as they shattered glass ceilings:

  • Catherine Cortez Masto-(NV): She was elected as the first Latina Senator elected to the U.S. Senate. She was elected to succeed Harry Reid.
  • Tammy Duckworth-(IL): She was elected as the second Asian-American Senator. She is an Iraq war veteran, who lost both her legs in a 2004 helicopter accident. She is also the first Thai-woman elected to Congress.
  • Kamala Harris-(CA): She was elected as the first Indian-American woman, and the second African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. She is also California’s first African American woman Senator.
  • Pramila Jayapal-(WA): She is the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representative.
  • Stephanie Murphy-(FL): She is the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to the House of Representative.
  • Ilhan Omar-(MN): She is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman elected to a state legislature.

The election of these women shows that our country is progressive on some level, and ready for women to lead. It is important that this election serve as a reminder that there is much work for each of us to do. We need more diversity in public office, and we have to become the change we wish to see starting today. Let’s get to work!

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Reasons Why This Baltimore Judicial Race Matters

elections, judges, law, voting

This is a major election year for the City of Baltimore. The City has been in the national spotlight over the past year, after the untimely death of Freddie Gray and the City’s uprising. On April 26th , Baltimore voters will be electing a new mayor. The mayoral race has drawn much attention with eighteen (18) candidates vying for the City’s top office. However, less attention and coverage is being given to the judicial race taking place in Baltimore City. The City’s contested judicial election for Baltimore City Circuit Court is just as important, if not more important.

Judicial elections are the means by which voters elect judges to the Baltimore City Circuit Court. The judges elected serve 15-year terms on the bench and hear several types of legal matters. Under the Maryland Constitution, judicial candidates must:

  • Be a U.S. and Maryland Citizen
  • Be a qualified and registered voter
  • Be a Maryland resident for at least five(5) years
  • Be a resident of Baltimore City for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the election
  • Be at least thirty (30) years old, but less than seventy (70)
  • Be a member of the Maryland State Bar Association; and
  • Be “most distinguished for integrity, wisdom, and sound legal knowledge” to run for office.

Md. Constitution, Art. I, sec. 12 and Art. IV, sections 2,3,5A(f) and 41D.

There are six(6) Circuit Court judges who are seeking to retain their seats on the bench. The current sitting judges seeking to retain their judgeships are: Shannon Avery, Audrey Carrion, Michael DiPietro, Karen Friedman, Wanda Keyes Heard, and Cynthia Jones. In this year’s contested race, two challengers are seeking to become circuit court judges also. The challengers are: former Baltimore City Councilman James “Jim” Kraft, and former public defender, Todd Oppenheim.

This judicial race matters because:

  1. Circuit Court judges hear many complex legal matters, including:
  • child support,
  • child custody,
  • domestic violence,
  • divorce,
  • jury trials (In Maryland, jury trials can ONLY be requested in circuit court).
  • violation of probation issues,
  • felony and misdemeanor issues, and
  • business legal matters and other civil matters.
  1. It is more likely that a Baltimore resident will likely encounter or be impacted by the actions of a Baltimore City Court Judge over the next 15 years than any other elected official, because the judges serve 15- year terms after being elected.
  1. Judges interpret the law, make evidentiary rulings based upon the evidence presented, and are often called to make rulings on legal matters that impact the lives of Baltimore residents on a daily basis.
  1. Judges are triers of fact in bench trials, meaning that judges are called upon to assess the facts and law and to issue rulings impartially based upon what is presented to them. A bench trial is one without a jury that requires the judge to make a ruling on a particular legal matter.
  1. Again, the Circuit Court judges that will be elected in this year’s election will be on the bench for the next 15 YEARS.