Devin Nunes' Deposition Goes Off The Rails, As He Keeps Suing (And Actually Gets A Minor Victory In One Suit)

from the omnibus-post dept

It’s getting difficult to keep up with all of the many lawsuits involving Devin Nunes and his family against the media — and that statement alone should raise your eyebrows quite high. As someone who has sworn to protect the Constitution (which includes the 1st Amendment), Nunes seems very interested in using the judicial system repeatedly to intimidate and silence critical reporting from the press. This post will cover three separate lawsuits (out of a much longer list of lawsuits) in which things happened this month. First off, he’s filed yet another lawsuit, this time against NBC Universal over claims that Rachel Maddow made defamatory remarks about him. He’s suing in Texas, which seems like an odd choice for many reasons. After all, he’s a Congressional Representative from California. NBC is based in New York. Many of his previous lawsuits have been in Virginia. Honestly, the complaint makes the most half-hearted attempt to explain why Texas is the proper venue, stating “MSNBC is at home in Texas.” What does that even mean? MSNBC is based in New York.

Oh, and the other oddity in choosing Texas? Texas actually has a semi-decent anti-SLAPP law.

That said, there are elements of the MSNBC case that may actually be more challenging for MSNBC. The lawsuit is over statements by Rachel Maddow that may have been false, regarding questions about what Nunes did with a package sent by an accused Russian agent. Nunes claims he followed the proper protocols for the handling of such a package, alerting the DOJ and handing it over the the FBI. Maddow accused him of not doing that. Still, to be defamatory, Nunes will have to show that Maddow knew what she was saying was false or had very strong reasons to believe they were false. In the complaint, Nunes’s lawyer, Steven Biss, points to some Breitbart articles as proof, which… does not show that Maddow knew them to be false. However, I will note, that of all the many wacky Biss/Nunes lawsuits, this one actually reads marginally stronger than all the others. That’s progress, I guess.

Separately, Nunes and Biss actually had a minor victory in another lawsuit — one filed in November last year against the Washington Post (not the first time Nunes has sued the Washington Post). This lawsuit argued that two marginally incorrect statements were defamatory, which seemed ridiculous. The judge, however, has taken a very broad reading of the article, and finds that there are possible readings that are defamatory, and at least a plausible argument of actual malice in the fact that the underlying mistake in the article — regarding Nunes’ position regarding claims of the Obama administration surveilling Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign — had been covered accurately in the Washington Post at an earlier date. And thus, there’s enough in here to consider actual malice:

In the article at issue here, the Post reported that Nunes made that
baseless claim himself. A newspaper?s own prior (and correct) reporting that is inconsistent with
its later (and incorrect) reporting could certainly give the paper reason to seriously doubt the truth
of its later publication?just as a source?s pre-publication recantation may be evidence that a
publisher had reason to doubt the source?s original claims….

The Post urges the Court to conclude that its November 9, 2020 article merely misattributed
the baseless claims to Nunes (rather than to President Trump) and was therefore a ?simple
misstatement of the Post?s prior reporting.?… That may very well be true. But
at this stage in the proceedings, where the Court is limited to the allegations in the Amended
Complaint and the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, the Court cannot determine
what in fact led to the incorrect statements in the article.

The judge refuses to dismiss the defamation claims, and will allow the case to move forward. This does not mean that Nunes is likely to win, but it will be costly for the Washington Post. They will have to go through discovery, and then can argue there’s no actual malice with additional evidence later (at which point they have a higher likelihood of succeeding). Nunes’ supporters have been cheering this on, and acting like some great evils will be outed through discovery, which… is generally not how this works.

However, that does take us to the final story, which is truly ridiculous. In the long-running saga involving Nunes’ family’s farm’s defamation lawsuit against Hearst publications, Esquire, and reporter Ryan Lizza, something truly bizarre happened last week. We had discussed how the case seemed to go off the rails earlier this summer as the two sides fought over depositions.

And it went even more off the rails last week at a deposition involving Nunes himself. Remember, Nunes’ own lawsuit over the article was dismissed, but a tiny, tiny part of his family’s suit lives on. However, Nunes was deposed last week, and according to a filing from Steven Biss on Friday, it did not go well. Biss claims that the lawyer for Hearst interfered with the deposition saying that lawyer “unceremoniously interrupted, threatened and stopped” the Nunes deposition.

Biss claims that this was “obstruction” as well as “unethical” and finally claims (somewhat laughably) that “it violates every tenet of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the First Amendment.” It’s rather rich for Biss — who regularly makes a mockery of the 1st Amendment via his defamation lawsuits — to argue that a rather understandable objection to attempts to expose protected information “makes a mockery of the 1st Amendment.”

Biss helpfully includes the relevant transcript of the deposition which… does not appear to make Biss/Nunes look good. Indeed, it seems to show how Hearst’s lawyer was doing exactly the right thing.

At issue is that the reporter, Ryan Lizza, turned over some of his reporting notes and recordings as part of the discovery process, but those items were put under a protective order, saying that it is for the attorney’s eyes (and ears) only. This makes sense. Reporters need to be able to protect their sources, and turning them over in a lawsuit should include a protective order to stop them from being viewed or listened to by opposing parties… or those who aren’t even parties in the case. Again, in this case, Nunes’ himself is not a party to the suit, but is being deposed as “a witness.” It seems fairly evident that he should not be able to see Lizza’s notes nor hear his reporting recordings. Yet, that’s exactly what Biss attempted to do in the deposition. Hearst’s lawyer, Jonathan Donnellan immediately objected.

BY MR. BISS:

Q. Counsel asked you during the deposition whether you had ever listened to the audiotapes that Mr. Lizza produced. I think you said no. I want to play two of those audiotapes for you and get your response —

MR. DONNELLAN: Hold on, Steve, I’ll object to that. That goes beyond the scope of my examination. I did not ask the Congressman today about any matters that were covered by the protective order in this case, and he did not testify as to the substance of any matters covered by the protective order in this case, and I want it to stay that way.

So that’s beyond the scope of the examination, so I object to any attempt to introduce to him or to expose him to any of the evidence that’s covered by the protective order.

From there, things get pretty crazy, with a lot of it just being performative nonsense. Biss insists that he should be able to play the recordings, and Donnellan correctly points out that you can’t undo that once it’s done, and he believes it violates the protective order. And then, Nunes just starts butting in and (incorrectly) insisting that Biss can ask him anything. Anything labeled “THE WITNESS” is Nunes:

THE WITNESS: Aren’t I the one being deposed, doesn’t my lawyer have a right to ask me questions? You get to end it without my lawyer having time to ask me questions, is that how this works?

MR. DONNELLAN: It’s beyond the scope of the examination and its evidence that you’re not entitled to hear, Congressman.

MR. BISS: Why isn’t he entitled to hear it?

MR. DONNELLAN: It’s governed by the protective order.

And then… it just gets more and more ridiculous. Nunes then started to build up a head of steam. Biss claims that just because Donellan asked if Nunes had heard the recordings (which Nunes said he did not), that now means that Biss can play Nunes the recordings (which, again, are under a protective order). Nunes seems to think he’s entitled to it all, and he has some, uh, very interesting ideas about what rights he has to information in these situations:

THE WITNESS: You also asked me about some documents, and I said no, I’d like to see them. So, I have that on my testimony to you, that I would like to see them. If they exist, what you’re asking me, I have every right to see them. If not, there needs to be transparency in this process. Because if you’re hiding something from me, like you hid my response of my subpoena, that’s completely outrageous. You can’t do that.

MR. DONNELLAN: Steven, if you look at–

THE WITNESS: You have to show me. You brought it up. If they exist, I get to see them. You don’t get to ask me questions about things that you know and I don’t. You did it once, you got caught, now you’re doing it again. So, now I find out there are audiotapes and there’s — are there documents? What kind of documents have I not see for this — for this —

There’s some back and forth between Biss and Donnellan regarding the protective order, and then suddenly Nunes jumps in to — I kid you not — “object.” Then he claims that he’s going to go to the judge directly himself. That’s not how any of this works, but okay.

THE WITNESS: Wait, I object to that. I have a right, this is my deposition. I totally object to that. They definitely — I do have a reason to know. You’ve stat on this deposition going through conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, whether it’s who’s paying lawsuits, or frivolous ethics violations, and then you do that bogus little game on me where you show me a subpoena and then play some game like I haven’t complied, and now I find out that you had it sitting next to you there as one of the exhibits.

You asked me if I had seen some type of documents. I said no, but I’d like to see them, if I want to see Lizza’s notes or something like that. If there’s notes you’re damn right I want to see them. And it’s wrong, it’s not transparent, it’s totally corrupt, and I’m going to the judge. I want to go to the judge myself. And I’m not ending this deposition. I want Steve to continue to ask me questions.

MR. BISS: You asked him a question —

(Speaking simultaneously)

THE WITNESS: Who do the hell do you think you are?

The sheer entitlement oozing out of Nunes in that exchange is quite eye opening, isn’t it? And while he claims it’s a conspiracy theory about who is funding all of these lawsuits, as far as I can tell there still hasn’t been any public explanation, and there was a request from a watchdog group for the Congressional Ethics Office to investigate if it’s being done legitimately.

Biss then starts grandstanding, claiming that Donnellan is trying to hide the audiotapes from becoming public as if that’s some conspiracy, rather than a key part of journalism. Not revealing journalist sources is not about secrecy. It’s how you have effective journalists who can actually find out things that those in power would like to remain secret. Forcing a journalist to reveal their sources is not about transparency and accountability — it’s the opposite. It acts as an intimidation system to silence whistleblowers.

It goes back and forth this way over and over again, with Donnellan pointing out repeatedly that if Biss’ actual concern is about Lizza’s audiotapes being made public, the proper place to do that is before the judge to remove the protective order and unseal them — not to just randomly play them to Rep. Nunes. There are so many back and forths on this it’s not worth it to cover them all, but here’s a sample that certainly suggests this is much more about getting a narrative out into the public about there being some sort of “hidden” information by Lizza and Hearst that “they just won’t tell you,” rather than doing what’s right here.

MR. BISS: This witness has a right to know what’s on those audiotapes, just like the public does.

MR. DONNELLAN: No, he does not.

MR. BISS: The public has a right —

MR. DONNELLAN: It is subject to a court order —

(Speaking simultaneously)

MR. DONNELLAN: It’s subject to a court order and it should be taken up with the court.

MR. BISS: Jon, what I find most astounding is, you represent a member of the press, and here we have a classic example, maybe another classic example of the press trying to keep the truth from the people, and including this witness, trying to keep the truth from this witness. And he’s entitled to know what’s on the audiotapes and to respond to what’s on the audiotapes, as part of his testimony in this case, including on the question of damages, on the question of —

MR. DONNELLAN: This witness is not even a party to this case —

MR. BISS: He’s a witness.

MR. DONNELLAN: — Steve.

MR. BISS: He’s a witness. He’s a witness and —

MR. DONNELLAN: He has not entitlement under this order to have access to these materials. If you would like to have a discussion offline about lifting the protective order so that all materials subject to the protective order are disclosed, let’s have that discussion.

But for right now, we have a protective order, it’s in place, it’s signed by the judge, and if you were to play this tape right now it would be a violation of that order.

At that point, Biss brings out his proverbial fainting couch.

MR. BISS: Well, I can tell you this, I am– I’m shocked by this response. I’m shocked by it, but I’m not surprised. And I’m not going to put myself or my clients, or the witness, in the position of violating a federal court order. I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of preparing a motion for sanctions, but I will tell you this:

We are definitely, definitely going to the judge on this, and we’re going to seek attorney’s fees and costs for you tying up this deposition.

It goes on in this way for a while, with Biss repeatedly mischaracterizing the point Donnellan is making, and even accusing him of threatening Biss.

And, of course, that gets Nunes himself worked up into a frenzy as well:

THE WITNESS: So, just so I’m clear, so now, Steve, you don’t get to ask me any questions, and anything that he asked of me, he gets to decide whether or not it’s relevant or not. So, I’m being treated differently than all the other people that got deposed, which is totally ridiculous and wrong.

And I don’t know what the hell you guys at Hearst are trying to cover up, but you asked me about audiotapes, you asked me about notes, you asked me about documents, so I get a right to see those documents and hear those tapes, that I now know exist. And if not, you’re keeping them from me, a witness, who you’ve made a witness. And you’re the one that called me for a deposition, not Steve.

You asked me 90 percent of questions that are not relevant at all to this case, that are completely just fishing, things that you want to try to push out to all your fake news people. And now you’re threatening my lawyer with me on the line. You threatened me a couple times with going to the judge. And then you said I didn’t answer your questions and you’re going to the judge, so you’re full of threats.

But I know this much, those tapes need to get out. If you continue to hide them, I don’t know what my legal remedies are, but as far as I’m concerned, this deposition is not complete because of your illegal cover up and activity here, that continues to cover up your lies for the sex predator that you sent out to harass my family.

And now there’s actual tapes that exist of this? I’ve never heard of them. So, why do I not get to hear them? I don’t know what the court’s going to say about this, but this seems totally unfair, that my lawyer doesn’t get to ask me any questions. This is absurd. I don’t know what game you think this is, but maybe you should send ICE out to Hearst Winery and Hearst ranch or something. What a joke.

Almost everything Nunes says above is either wrong or misleading, though the most concerning seems to be him — the former head of the House Intel Committee, and current ranking member of it — appearing to potentially suggest that he can send ICE out Hearst properties. But as for the rest, the nature of the deposition is that the lawyer who called it does get to ask questions, but that doesn’t mean that the lawyer for the other side (who is also the lawyer for the witness) gets to reveal stuff that is under a protective order.

There’s more back and forth, and Donnellan says to wrap things up and tells Biss to take it all up with the judge, leaving Biss to trot out this inane statement:

MR. DONNELLAN: No, no, no, no, if you can get off your soapbox right now, I think we have said what we have to say for the record, let’s close the deposition, we can take it up with the court, and anything that you want to say to the court in terms of playing attorneys’ eyes only material that was not covered by this deposition, you can make those arguments to the court.

MR. BISS: Hey, Jon, so much for the First Amendment.

I am unaware of any reading of the 1st Amendment that requires the exposure of content that was put under a protective order by a judge to a witness in a case, but perhaps I’m missing something. I’m also unaware of any reading of the 1st Amendment that requires a deposition to continue, but again, I may have missed the proper precedent. Unfortunately, Biss doesn’t do much in the way of citing one in his motions to the court. The only citations are to broad statements in cases regarding how the litigation process is “a search for truth.” And while that may be true, that does not speak to the practice of revealing the content of something under a protective order.

Finally, rather than type it out like I typed out all of the above quotes, I’ll just screenshot how the deposition closes, because it’s just the perfect closing. I want John Oliver to get people to re-enact this deposition.

The judge has already seemed somewhat annoyed about how this case is going, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to all of this…

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Comments on “Devin Nunes' Deposition Goes Off The Rails, As He Keeps Suing (And Actually Gets A Minor Victory In One Suit)”

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44 Comments
Davidsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, yes there are, thanks the the GQP efforts at gerrymandering.

That would be the opposite, wouldn’t it? Gerrymandering allows you to maintain electoral majorities with down to 25% of supporters in a two-party system, assuming districts with similar numbers of voters: you make almost half the districts purely supported by the other party and make your own supporters have slight majorities in a slight majority of districts, thus getting break-even at 75% to 25% of support.

Of course you can still shift numbers within a district by making it harder to vote in precincts typically dominated by the other party: you’ll find that the party affiliation distribution of voters spending 5 minutes to vote without problems will be decidedly different from the average party affiliation of voters spending 8 hours only to be told that their registration has been pulled.

Chozensays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That's Kind of the Thing with Gerrymandering

That’s kind of the thing with gerrymandering. Everyone thinks the other side is doing it. Democrats believe that districts should be proportional to the vote. So they like to cut their districts like a pie. With the city being at the center of the pie cut and widening out to the suburban and rural. This spreads their heavily democrat urban vote around many districts when the actual urban city would have far fewer districts.

Illinois does this. By population the city of Chicago would be included in 4 districts. Instead because of pie cutting the city is part of 9 of the states 18 congressional districts. Some of these districts look ridiculous with a narrow bands going through the suburbs and then expanding like tumor in the city.

Democrats consider this "fair". They dont think its gerrymandering.

Republicans on the other hand view congressional districts as geographic communities representing the communities interest not parties. They prefer to see districts drawn around community boundaries. Democrats think that his is gerrymandering because their vote is largely centered in urban communities.

Now I got with the republican view. We don’t have proportional representation in our system. If you want proportional representation you are welcome to amend the constitution but manipulating districting to create proportional representation is an unconstitutional end around something that should only be done by constitutional amendment.

Stephen T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re:2

That’s kind of the thing with gerrymandering. Everyone thinks the other side is doing it.

The problem for you is, we know Republicans are doing it??and they?re not shy about that fact, either.

Democrats believe that districts should be proportional to the vote. ? Republicans on the other hand view congressional districts as geographic communities representing the communities interest not parties.

Two things.

  1. Yeah, no, Republicans view districts as partisan power grabs; read the story I linked above.
  2. Land doesn?t vote??so districts should be determined by nonpartisan factors such as population and county lines, not by ?communities? (and the landmasses that would best encompass them for the sake of a partisan advantage).
Chozensays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"That’s kind of the thing with gerrymandering. Everyone thinks the other side is doing it."

"The problem for you is, we know Republicans are doing it??and they?re not shy about that fact, either."

Thank you for proving my point.

"Yeah, no, Republicans view districts as partisan power grabs; read the story I linked above."

I didn’t say republicans don’t also gerrymander. They dont do it nearly as bad as the democrats do and they don’t really have to. If we proportioned districts by local community boundaries republicans wound never lose the House. Like I said above proportioned by community lines Chicago would get only 4 districts, not 9.

This is true over most of the country. Democrats self select. They prefer to live in ideologically homogeneous communities.

If you apportioned as intended you would have a minority of extremely far left representatives representing a minority of extremely far left communities.

We don’t have proportional representation. Parties don’t run for election in our country, people do. If your community is ideologically homogeneous and extremely left-wing you get an extremely left-wing representative. You dont get two. You dont get to divide your community that has the population to get 1 representative into two districts to spread your vote around.

That disfranchises whatever 2 districts your district was cut into to spread your vote around.

The guy who lives in the city art district cant represent the suburban soccer mom. But this is how democrats zone their districts. Large portions of the suburban community are disenfranchised.

Stephen T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re:4

They dont do it nearly as bad as the democrats do and they don’t really have to.

Please provide proof that Democrats gerrymander to a worse degree than Republicans. A court case saying an explicitly Democratic gerrymander was done for nakedly partisan powergrabbing would be an ideal start.

If we proportioned districts by local community boundaries

Please define ?local community boundaries?.

Democrats self select. They prefer to live in ideologically homogeneous communities.

If they do it, so do Republicans. Projection, thy name is Chozen.

If you apportioned as intended

According to whose intent???yours, the GOP?s, God?s, or someone else?s? Be specific.

If your community is ideologically homogeneous and extremely left-wing you get an extremely left-wing representative.

You don?t seem to have a problem with things being the other way around, seeing as how you?re all but begging on your hands and knees for that sweet, sweet ?community districting? to be poured into your mouth. I mean, it?s like you said: ?If we proportioned districts by local community boundaries republicans wound never lose the House.?

That dis[en]franchises whatever 2 districts your district was cut into to spread your vote around.

Congratulations, you understand gerrymandering. So why aren?t you against it when Republicans do it? For what reason aren?t you calling for non-partisan redistricting with neutral, objective, non-partisan criteria that won?t seek to disadvantage any given political party? (?Community boundaries? doesn?t count.) You?re whining your ass off about Democrats and gerrymandering, but last I checked, Republicans??the party that is slowly losing its sole major voting base to both the march of time and demographic changes??are doing the same damn thing and you?re seemingly delighted by the fact. Hell, ?community boundaries? might even be a dogwhistle for ?boundaries that keep conservative white people as the largest demographic in a district so they keep to get running the show?.

The guy who lives in the city art district cant represent the suburban soccer mom. But this is how democrats zone their districts.

By this logic, the suburban soccer mom can?t represent the artist in the city. Your plan for ?community boundaries? districting would likely give her that power anyway. Hell, that?s exactly how gerrymandering works.

Large portions of the suburban community are disenfranchised.

Again: Please provide proof that Democrats gerrymander to a worse degree than Republicans. A court case saying an explicitly Democratic gerrymander was done for nakedly partisan powergrabbing would be an ideal start.

Chozensays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Please provide proof that Democrats gerrymander to a worse degree than Republicans. A court case saying an explicitly Democratic gerrymander was done for nakedly partisan powergrabbing would be an ideal start"

Benisek v. Lamone, Maryland is one of the worst gerrymandered states in the country. Nothing North Carolina did comes anywhere close to Maryland ridiculous districts.

You are trying to make a you did it too argument because you aren’t a smart person. You you are just linking to a single court decision thinking that this is the only such case ever. It isn’t and its not even the most recent.

"Please define ?local community boundaries?

You are clearly a man-child. You have no experience in the real world what so ever. Somewhere on your city and state websites there are these things called plat maps. I suggest you look at one. You counties, cities, and communities actually exist, are named and have defined boundaries. People who have actual lives have looked at these at some point in their life.

"I mean, it?s like you said: ?If we proportioned districts by local community boundaries republicans wound never lose the House.?

Because that is just the way it is. You choose to be the urban party. That doesn’t mean the urban centers get more representation. It is not fair when 2.7M person Chicago has 9 representatives representing the city in the House of Representatives when its population entitles it to 4.

"By this logic, the suburban soccer mom can?t represent the artist in the city. Your plan for ?community boundaries? districting would likely give her that power anyway. Hell, that?s exactly how gerrymandering works."

She doesn’t live in the city and the artist doesn’t’ live in the suburbs that is the point. They should not be zoned together because too many democrats live in the city. Its not the House of the Parties. Its the House of Representatives they represent their local community. Those communities with boundaries found on any city and state plat map that you had no idea existed because you are a man-child.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:6

Benisek v. Lamone

An actual citation? Good for you!

You are trying to make a you did it too argument

No, I?m not. Republicans gerrymander; this is a known fact. That Democrats do it too is also a known fact. But Democrats aren?t nearly as bad about it as the GOP??because the Dems would have control of more state legislatures and far more seats in the House of Representatives if they were.

You are clearly a man-child. You have no experience in the real world what so ever.

That doesn?t answer my question.

Somewhere on your city and state websites there are these things called plat maps. I suggest you look at one. You counties, cities, and communities actually exist, are named and have defined boundaries. People who have actual lives have looked at these at some point in their life.

This does. Now explain why these maps, and not non-partisan factors such as county lines, should determine whether one party has a distinct (and often insurmountable) advantage over the other.

You choose to be the urban party. That doesn’t mean the urban centers get more representation.

Land doesn?t vote; people do. I?m all for giving those in suburbs and rural areas a voice and a vote, don?t get me wrong??I?d just like to know the reason why their concerns should get to at least nullify those of the people living in the areas where the most people live.

They should not be zoned together because too many democrats live in the city.

Let?s assume that in a given district, more people live in the combined suburbs and rural areas than live in the ?urban center? of the district??and that same combined populace makes the district effectively lean Republican. Would that be fair to you because such an imbalance would cancel out the Democrats of the ?urban center??

(Incidentally: Don?t think I don?t see you what you?re likely trying to do by using ?urban?.)

Its not the House of the Parties. Its the House of Representatives they represent their local community.

Then why do the Republicans, to a greater degree than Democrats, try to pick and choose which communities they get to serve by gerrymandering districts in ways that make them look completely illogical? Seriously, what makes Republican gerrymandering more acceptable to you?

Oh, and if you use ?man-child? one more time, I?m going to report you to the Feds for spreading NAMBLA propaganda.

Chozensays:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

"But Democrats aren?t nearly as bad about it as the GOP??because the Dems would have control of more state legislatures and far more seats in the House of Representatives if they were."

That isnt proof. Blue states are heavily gerrymandered with districts that look far worse than anything North Carolina did. Democrats control larger states which gives them greater opportunity to gerrymander. There isn’t really that much of an opportunity to gerrymander when you are splitting all of Iowa’s 4 electoral votes.

"This does. Now explain why these maps, and not non-partisan factors such as county lines, should determine whether one party has a distinct (and often insurmountable) advantage over the other."

Jesus its like talking to a wall. Plat maps are non-partisan. Many of those communities are hundreds of years old. You started thinking these communities are arbitrary, they are not. The legal address of your parents house, the basement which you live in, is most likely Community, Block #, Lot #. That you don’t know any of this just proves you have no life.

"Land doesn?t vote; people do. I?m all for giving those in suburbs and rural areas a voice and a vote, don?t get me wrong??I?d just like to know the reason why their concerns should get to at least nullify those of the people living in the areas where the most people live."

People within land vote. We don’t have a direct democracy. We have an representative republic. Our communities vote for who we want to represent us in government. Currently with the size of the House that’s 711,000 people voting for a representative. The suburbs aren’t canceling out the vote of the urban.

Your entire frame of reference comes from political parties. We don’t vote for political parties we vote for people. Okay district A’s candidate won with 95% of the vote. Distinct B won with 55% of the vote. Now the people who live in district A want 44% of district As population wants to vote in district B’s election instead. This is democrat gerrymandering. You flat out steal community representative by zoning your community into theirs because you have spare votes. Again Chicago has the population for 4 districts. But the city is zoned into 9, more than double the representation its population entitles it to.

"Let?s assume that in a given district, more people live in the combined suburbs and rural areas than live in the ?urban center? of the district??and that same combined populace makes the district effectively lean Republican. Would that be fair to you because such an imbalance would cancel out the Democrats of the ?urban center??"

Again they shouldn’t be zoned together in the first place.

"Then why do the Republicans, to a greater degree than Democrats, try to pick and choose which communities they get to serve by gerrymandering districts in ways that make them look completely illogical? Seriously, what makes Republican gerrymandering more acceptable to you?"

You keep assuming facts not in evidence. Just because republicans control more state governments does not mean they have more gerrymandered districts. Its very hard to do much gerrymandering in Iowa, Montana, West Virginia etc.

"Oh, and if you use ?man-child? one more time, I?m going to report you to the Feds for spreading NAMBLA propaganda."

You don’t even know what plat maps are. That means you have never owned your own property. You are a man-child!

Stephen T. Stonesays:

Re: Re: Re:8

Democrats control larger states which gives them greater opportunity to gerrymander.

Don?t those larger states have more ?urban centers?, which you yourself said are Democrat-controlled? ????

Plat maps are non-partisan. Many of those communities are hundreds of years old. You started thinking these communities are arbitrary, they are not.

Planning districts around ?communities? instead of county lines and other non-partisan factors is gerrymandering??because that kind of planning is how you end up with the gerrymandering party picking and choosing which ?communities? get the power to vote for who represents them. For Republicans, it often means districting in a way where ?communities? that aren?t majority-white don?t get in the way of conservative power grabs.

We have an representative republic. Our communities vote for who we want to represent us in government.

Gerrymandering makes sure those ?communities? only elect one party instead of offering a free and fair election that any party can win. If a given district still leans in one direction or another after non-partisan districting, so be it. But the ?communities? approach is partisan; let?s not pretend otherwise.

We don’t vote for political parties we vote for people.

I feel confident in saying the majority of Americans vote for political parties, even if they?re voting for different candidates inside the party. Our politics are fractured into such partisanship by design??an ?us vs. them? zero-sum game. To believe otherwise is to believe nonsense.

I?m not beholden to the Democrats, but I vote Democrats down-ticket every time. For whatever flaws a Dem candidate has, they?re not trying to actively and knowingly hurt marginalized peoples (or curry the favor of people who will). As a queer person, that shit matters to me. I?d wager a bet that such things matter to a hell of a lot of other queer people?if I took sucker bets, that is.

We might get a candidate who transcends those partisan lines every once in a while. But that is a rarity these days. The lines in the sand are drawn; we know where and on what issues. The average citizen is left to figure out who will cause the least harm to the most vulnerable among us. Given the state of Republican politics these days??the cozying up to anti-vaxxers and maskholes and racists and misogynists, the continual attempts to control women?s bodies, the refusal to enter the 21st century in regards to LGBTQ civil rights, the ?own the libs? grievance politics that underpins modern Republican policy??my vote will always go to the Democrats, even if I don?t like their candidate (coughbidencough).

You flat out steal community representative by zoning your community into theirs because you have spare votes.

Just so you know, I don?t support gerrymandering even when it benefits the Democrats. All district maps should be drawn using non-partisan factors??and that doesn?t include ?communities?.

But if you think that?s not how Republicans do their gerrymandering, maybe look up GOP-gerrymandered maps and figure out how the hell they?re doing that shit. I guarantee it isn?t based on ?communities??or, at least, not the ?communities? you want to think they?re using.

Again they shouldn’t be zoned together in the first place.

For what reason shouldn?t they be zoned together if they?re in the same county? For what reason should the city essentially be its own district and everything else gets to be a separate district? For what reason should states essentially be districted such that rural and suburban areas receive more representation in government (by virtue of having more districts dedicated to them) than the ?urban areas? where a large number of citizens live?

Just because republicans control more state governments does not mean they have more gerrymandered districts. Its very hard to do much gerrymandering in Iowa, Montana, West Virginia etc.

Have you considered that maybe it?s hard to do gerrymandering in those states because they?ve already been gerrymandered and nobody has the power to undo the damage? Have you pondered whether the parties in charge are unwilling to concede the point and re?xamine their districting maps? Have you thought about how this was the plan by the Republicans the entire time, since Democrats tend to focus on the national-level races and largely ignore state- and local-level races that Republicans treat as absolutely vital to its long-term survival?

You don’t even know what plat maps are. That means you have never owned your own property.

Neither have a lot of other Millennials. Your point is irrelevant and intentionally inflammatory.

You are a man-child!

I?m reporting you to the FBI for posting NAMBLA propaganda on a public-facing website that children can view (you sick fuck).

Chozensays:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re: You are Just and Ignroant Wall

"Just so you know, I don?t support gerrymandering even when it benefits the Democrats. All district maps should be drawn using non-partisan factors??and that doesn?t include ?communities?.

You don’t even understand what the hell I’m talking about. Within every city there are communities. Different cities call them different things. In some places they are called communities, in some places they are called subdivisions, some places they are called districts. But they are all the same thing. They are a division smaller than a city. They have defined boundaries and legal weight. Many of them are former villages, towns, etc. that were absorbed by the larger city as it grew. I’ve been using Chicago as an example. Hyde Park is one of the 77 community areas of Chicago . It was once Hyde Park Township.

This isn’t an abstraction. You only think its an abstraction because you don’t know what you are talking about.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re:

Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of "stupid". A quick glance at his district shows that there’s only been 2 Democratic representatives since 1942, and Nunes originally represented a different district before redistricting in 2003 (although a cursory examination shows that it doesn’t appear to be considered gerrymandered).

Combine that with the tendency for some people to vote straight party line no matter who is being presented to them, alone with some people generally not caring how incompetent and embarrassing their representative is on the national stage so long as they’re OK personally, and I don’t think that you need to look into any election wrongdoing.

A quick glance at the figures shows that compared to 2014 where Nunes won 72% of the vote, there was more than double the total voter turnout in 2020 (where he only got 54.2%), so the answer as ever is to make sure that Democrat voters are as motived to turn out every time as Republicans and for the message to get out about how much of an embarrassment the guy really is.

That One Guysays:

'I'm Nunes, the law doesn't apply to me!'

What an self-entitled brat, playing up his poor ‘victimization’ because that meany opposing lawyer refuses to let him and his lawyer violate a court order. The only thing better is that he chose to release that transcript because the thought it would make him look better and the only thing more pathetic is that I’m sure it will work for a higher than zero number of suckers.

James Burkhardtsays:

I don’t understand why the court won’t sanction council (Biss) for actively trying to violate a protective order, though I am sure the court will find a reason.. Nunes is not a party to the suit, but is closely related to parties from whom the recordings should be hidden. It is impossible to read the transcript and not come away with the conclusion Biss and Nunes are hoping to subvert the protective order for the benefit of Nunes, particularly given Biss’ history of attempting to use unrelated litigation to abuse the courts authority to unmask anonymous speech. Its a pattern of behavior, and he needs to be nailed to the wall over it.

That One Guysays:

Re: 'We let them do as they wanted, why are they acting poorly?'

Judges and the respective bars have really brought the like of Biss on themselves by refusing to slap down lawyers abusing the system and in so doing making clear that it’s perfectly acceptable behavior. Judges will bend over backwards in pretending that a lawyer is acting in good faith even when they blatantly are not and as a result garbage lawyers have all the motivation they need to use and abuse the system for their own personal gain.

bhull242says:

I?ve read a number of depositions. In none of them do I recall the lawyer either for the deponent or the opposing party to have ever asked the deponent any question at all as part of the deposition, nor to show the deponent any evidence at all. That lawyer can basically just raise objections and advise their client, but those are pretty much the only things that they are supposed to do in a deposition. Well, they can also speak to the deposing attorney on certain issues, like legal issues or when addressed, but that?s basically it.

Also, I?ve never heard of a deposition where the lawyer for the deponent or for the opposing party would file a motion because the deposing lawyer prematurely ended the deposition. And public interest in something doesn?t really apply to arguments made or evidence provided within the deposition; only regarding whether or not the records of the deposition should or should not be sealed.

So, even ignoring the protection order, this is already completely bizarre.

And with the protection order, this makes even less sense. Being asked whether or not you have seen something doesn?t open the door to being able to be shown it by your attorney, period. And if you think that a piece of evidence obtained under a protection order should be publicized, that should be raised with the judge if and when asking for a protection order to be removed or amended; it?s not something to argue about in a deposition.

sorrykbsays:

Performative nonsense

From there, things get pretty crazy, with a lot of it just being performative nonsense.

This seems to be the only reason for Biss and Nunes to do this. It?s performative outrage, and they plan to use the transcript to show how they stood up against the DEMOCRAT FAKE NEWS MEDIA who CAN?T HANDLE THE TRUTH to gain support (and by support I mean money) from the GOP base.

Or they?ve both lost their freaking minds. It could go either way, I suppose. What?s that line about smoking your own supply?

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