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    ‘SCOTUS’



    McCutcheon Who?

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2014


    McCutcheon who? FEC what? What’s this all about?

    You can take my word on it: it’s a pretty big deal. We were hoping our friends on the Supreme Court bench would stick to their democratic principles and rule against McCutcheon. But they didn’t. And the consequences of the decision could fundamentally change the way elections work in our country.

    So who exactly is McCutcheon?

    McCutcheon is basically your run-of-the-mill Rich Uncle Pennybags. He’s a conservative businessman from Alabama who likes to donate thousands of dollars to political candidates. But he was a little sore after the last election when federal authorities told him he couldn’t donate more than the legal limit, which is set at $123,200.

    I know, bummer right? I can definitely relate. NOT!

    These limits, by the way, exist because of a rule in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, which aimed to limit corruption in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. In democracy-speak, that’s a good thing. It keeps our leaders honest (somewhat).

    So Mr. McCutcheon decided to take his case to the Supreme Court to overturn these limits. The case went to trial last October and we’ve been waiting since then for news on the Court’s decision.

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced its decision in a 5-4 vote to overturn the legal limits on campaign donations. This is a victory for Mr. McCutcheon and a loss for democracy.

    What does this decision mean for young people in America? Actually, quite a lot:
    • Rich people can give more money to help influence the outcome of elections. The wealthiest 1% now has even more power than before to throw money around and influence election outcomes. Is that fair?
    • Those of us (ahem, young people) who don’t have a ton of money will now have an even harder time getting our voice heard. With the youth unemployment rate hovering around 16%, there are few young people who could even come close to the existing donation limit.

    So what can we do about it?

    The Supreme Court overturned the limits because it believes that donating money to a political candidate is an expression of free speech. But if that’s the case, and money really does equal free speech, then doesn’t that suggest that people with more money have more freedom? I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t sound like democracy.

    If we stay informed, register to vote, and show up on Election Day, we can reclaim our inalienable right to participate in our democracy and influence our elected leaders. The power shifts to us.

    You with me? Visit www.rockthevote.com and register to vote today.

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    The SCOTUS comes to a decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case; a powerful earthquake strikes off the coast of Chile; Muriel Bowser defeats incumbent in DC mayoral primary; and bombings hit Cairo University in Egypt. Meanwhile, the Broadway cast of The Lion King does an epic rendition of the “Circle of Life” in an unexpected place; Michael Strahan shares some big news with the TV world; and Anna Kendrick preps for her SNL appearance.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    DEVELOPING STORY: Justices strike down political donor limits: http://rtvote.com/1dN6htc
    The Supreme Court of the United States has determined the outcome of the McCutcheon v. FEC case.  With a vote of 5-4, individuals are no longer faced with a limit on how much they can donate to political campaigns. The winning argument determined that individual donor limits and regulations violated the First Amendment rights of the donor.

    Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile, triggers tsunami: http://rtvote.com/1pL0c20
    A massive, 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck directly off the coast of Chile on Tuesday. Fortunately, damage was minimal; landslides wiped out roads in some places and phone and power lines were also knocked out. Tsunami warnings were also in effect as tsunamis hit at various beaches, generating 6 to 7 foot waves. Five people died: two had heart attacks while the others were crushed by debris. People fled to higher ground as soon as the quake was felt, creating some traffic jams. Some are still without any source of power or phones, not knowing if they are able to return to their homes. There is no danger for the United States coastline.

    Muriel Bowser defeats Gray in DC mayoral primary: http://rtvote.com/1hhuFO7
    DC Councilmember Muriel Bowser defeated incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray in yesterday’s mayoral primary. Gray had been hit with scandals and a federal investigation relating to potential monetary felonies that helped him get elected in 2010. The Democratic primary winner has won every official election in Washington because 75% of registered voters in the district are Democrats; however, the Republican challenger, David Catania, is a definite contender. Despite Bowser’s win, many voters were discouraged with the candidates running and the election experienced a low voter turnout.

    Regulators did not properly track complaints on GM switches, inspector general says: http://rtvote.com/1oqcDTM
    According to the Department of Transportation’s inspector general Calvin L. Scovel III, “federal auto safety regulators lacked effective procedures for tracking consumer complaints” about the flaw in the ignition: the issue that has spurred the recall and resulted in thirteen deaths. General Motors’ Chief Executive, Mary T. Barra, says she was unaware of the issue until this year and did not answer questions relating to GM’s failure to fix the flaw. GM has recalled 2.6 million Chevy Cobalts deemed at risk for the ignition switch flaw. According to lawmakers, the ignition switch problem could have been solved by GM for a cost of .57 cents per vehicle.

    Bombings rock area near Cairo University: http://rtvote.com/1mKyRhw
    Two bombs planted outside of Cairo University in Egypt exploded, killing an Egyptian police officer and wounding five other security officers. Violence like this has been prevalent since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi last year, and is expected to escalate as Election Day grows closer. The current Egyptian leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is expected to win with almost no contest, as the Muslim Brotherhood, the political party behind Morsi, and Egypt’s most organized party, have been banned. No one has claimed responsibility for this attack, although people speculate that Islamic militants are responsible. 

    CULTURAL

    The Lion King Broadway cast gives an impromptu performance: watch the awesome video! http://rtvote.com/1ft6eRL

    Anna Kendrick’s SNL promos are a thing of beauty & hilarity: http://rtvote.com/1mKFekZ  

    Michael Strahan has some big news: http://rtvote.com/1pQYSc5

    Miley Cyrus grieving over dog’s death: http://rtvote.com/1go46Xp

    Two people debate the How I Met Your Mother finale: http://rtvote.com/1oqkwbV

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    #WeDid Unite for Marriage Equality

    Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

    Wow! What an amazing day in DC. We said we’d unite for marriage equality and we did! Rock the Vote interns were lucky enough to be outside the Supreme Court once the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings were announced. It was amazing to see so many young people uniting over a common cause and coming together towards real reform. Over the course of the morning, hundreds of supporters gathered in cheer and showed just how excited they were that the Court made this landmark decision.

    Here are some pictures that show the wave of emotion that overcame the city this morning.

    People rejoice following the Court decisions

     

    Woman cheers as DOMA is struck down

     

    People rejoice following Court decisions

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court in anticipation of the SCOTUS and Prop 8 decisions

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd shows their support of marriage equality

     

    Crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court for marriage equality decisions

     

     

     

    emma.l@rockthevote.com
    Bio: My name is Emma Loewe and I'm an intern with the RTV digital team. I attend Duke University and am pursuing a major in environmental policy and minoring in English and visual media studies. Originally from Connecticut, I am passionate about all things involving art and the outdoors!

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Why RTV Intern Chelsea Supports Marriage Equality

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

    Everyone deserves equality. It’s as simple as that statement. But that simple statement also carries the weight of thousands of real people who are affected by inequality everyday. Currently there are people across the country that are not given equal protection under the law simply because of their sexual orientation. The right to marry whomever, man or woman, is a major step in the right direction for those currently being discriminated against. But it is also important to know this is not the last step. We must keep fighting discrimination not only legally but personally as well.

    I grew up in an area where “that’s so gay” was one of the most commonly used phrases. If someone couldn’t go to the movies with you, or your parents said you weren’t allowed to do something, one’s immediate response would be: “That’s so gay.” I myself was a person who commonly used the phrase. That was, until Jason pulled me aside one day. My friend Jason is compassionate, intelligent, hard working,, and as I soon found out, gay. I was one of the first people Jason decided to come out to. He was also the first gay person I was close to. After he came out, I became hyper aware of the off-handed comments that are derogatory to homosexuals. and all of the off-handed comments I made.

    From that moment on I became determined to never let someone make a comment like that in my presence without asking them what they really meant. We are all human beings and we all deserve to feel like equal citizens. Comments like “that’s so gay” put a negative stereotype on the gay community. We should not be promoting negative stereotypes that make people feel like outsiders, and Prop 8 and DOMA are laws that make people in the gay community feel like outsiders.

    I went to the marriage equality rally at the Supreme Court today to support striking down Prop 8 and DOMA because I believe that no law should be passed that makes an entire group of people feel like there is something wrong with them. I support marriage equality because a marriage between two men or two women is no different than a marriage between a man and a woman. It is a bond formed out of love. It should not be marked as “other” and contribute to the frequent stereotyping of the gay community. Marriage equality would be a major win in the battle for gay rights. But we also need to remember that discrimination is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed.

    – Chelsea Matzen

    Rock the Vote
    Bio: Rock the Vote was founded in 1990 to organize artists and fight against censorship of musicians. Since then we've evolved to focus on empowering young people to get involved in the political process. We use pop culture, peer-to-peer organizing, and the latest technology to raise visibility of politics and demystify the process of registering to vote.
    @rockthevote
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Why RTV Intern Angela Supports Marriage Equality

    Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

    70%: that’s how many millennials support gay marriage. Almost three quarters of young people, and more than half of all Americans, have said that all Americans should be treated equally under the law, no matter who they love. The support for marriage equality has been growing stronger and stronger in recent years, and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on Prop. 8 and DOMA, the public has come out and asked them to strike down these measures and stand on the side of love.

    Politicians have changed their views and have publicly supported gay marriage. Senators Rob Portman and Claire MacCaskill, Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and many more have announced their support. Even conservatives have been changing their views. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC earlier this month GOProud spoke to a standing-room only audience of young Republican supporters; the same day only a few dozen people listened to the National Organization for Marriage attack gay marriage.

    This is an issue that is very personal for most of us, which explains the shift in opinion. We all know someone like Ryan: Ryan is a great person, he is in a committed relationship with a wonderful guy, and it seems perfectly reasonable that they want to get married. But they can’t. I want to go to my friend’s wedding, and it should not be a problem that there will be two grooms.  Marriage is a celebration of love that cannot be limited to only some couples.

    Right now there are people lined up and camping outside the Supreme Court in the snow and slush in anticipation of the arguments tomorrow. They are making a statement that loving someone can never be wrong. Visit our website to learn more about the issue and take action http://www.rockthevote.com/wewill/issues/marriage-equality/. Share your support on facebook and twitter, and join us tomorrow and Wednesday in front of the Supreme Court as we unite for marriage equality.

    – Angela Smith

    Rock the Vote
    Bio: Rock the Vote was founded in 1990 to organize artists and fight against censorship of musicians. Since then we've evolved to focus on empowering young people to get involved in the political process. We use pop culture, peer-to-peer organizing, and the latest technology to raise visibility of politics and demystify the process of registering to vote.
    @rockthevote
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com