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Huge news from the Peace Garden state this morning: Sanford Hospital has agreed to grant admitting privileges to the doctors at the state's only abortion clinic.  

Last year North Dakota passed a raft of abortion restrictions in the state, all signed by Governor Jack Dalrymple.  Among them were restrictions on medication abortions, a 20-week(life begins at conception) abortion ban, a 6-week abortion ban, and most relevant here, and most relevant to today's discussion, a bill requiring hospital admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions in the state.  

The Red River Women's Clinic has sued to block all of these laws, and has won victories both in state court, and in federal court.  Those cases are still ongoing, however, but in the meantime, this article from WDAY provides welcome relief on one front:

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Few details have emerged yet, but there does appear to have been a shooting at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.  

One person is in custody it sounds like and the police are doing a room by room search of the Electrical Engineering building, where the shooting may have occurred.

I'll try to post updates as they come in.

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:35 PM PDT

Preclearance is not dead

by Adam Blomeke

I do not mean in any way to minimize the impact of today's decision.  It is a terrible ruling that sets an arbitrary standard for coverage.  It also sets southern states free to pass restrictions on voting and get rewarded in the next election while the litigation against it proceeds.  

However...

While southern racists may-in a perverse turn of history given how close we are to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech- be shouting, "Free at last!", they shouldn't be jumping to pass mountains of new voter restrictions.  Preclearance is not dead, at least not yet...

Follow me over the flip for the glimmer of hope that still exists for voting rights in this country.

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Ok, maybe, but if nothing else, he has exposed more conservative judicial hypocrisy...

Recently I listened to Oral Argument in the case, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a very interesting, and incredibly contentious case out of South Carolina.  There was a part of the conversation during Oral Argument that caught my eye, which shows either the hypocrisy of the conservative side of the bench, or where at least one conservative Justice might be looking is looking to go in one of the gay marriage cases.

Follow me below the fold for the rub...

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Not that I think it should by any means, but I sat down on Thurdsay and realized, "Hey, Jack Dalrymple should have either signed or vetoed North Dakota's "heartbeat" bill by now."  Like every state constitution, North Dakota gives the Governor a limited amount of time to either sign or veto a law before it becomes law:

While the legislative assembly is in session, a bill becomes law if the governor neither signs nor vetoes it within three legislative days after its delivery to the governor. If the legislative assembly is not in session, a bill becomes law if the governor neither signs nor vetoes it within fifteen days, Saturdays and Sundays excepted, after its delivery to the governor.

ND Const Article V § 9.

The North Dakota Senate passed H.B. 1456 on March 18th, last Friday.  Three legislative days have passed (yes, the State House and Senate have both adjourned each day this week.  I checked the journals).  Why hasn't the bill become law without his signature yet?  

Find out why below the orange gnocci(h/t to the other Adam B)

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Crossposted from North Decoder

I have word that Rick Berg called Heidi Heitkamp at noon Central time to concede the election and congratulate her on winning the race. Sources confirm North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg will be appearing before the Fargo Cass Republicans at 12:45 pm today to announce he is conceding the race for the United States Senate to former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. Heitkamp's campaign, which fivethirtyeight blogger Nate Silver characterized as a sure thing for Berg, was a perfectly executed masterpiece, run by first rate professionals. I know because I consider many of them to be friends.

You read it here first.

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My co-blogger at North Decoder has written the following post. Below is the crosspost of Chad's original story.

Crossposted from North Decoder.com

This question was presented to me not too long ago:  "Is there any chance Jack Dalrymple is accepting bribes from big oil in exchange for special favors and, specifically, approval of the Corral Creek Bakken Mega Unit unitization?" A couple law-trained gentlemen in Grand Forks have looked at the issue pretty closely. Until someone in law enforcement conducts a legitimate investigation, the answer has to be "I don't know."  But, considering North Dakota's state government's history of ignoring (or round-filing) investigations of crimes committed by friends and donors of Republicans, we shouldn't expect such an investigation to happen.  Until that happens, though, all I can say is, "Something smells rotten."  Because the timing of nearly $82,000 in campaign contributions to Jack Dalrymple as he pushed a lucrative administrative proceeding along to benefit some of his oil industry donors, is nothing if not disturbing.
Someone should address the question, and invite an investigation; whether by law enforcement, or by our state's weak mainstream media. If bribes are being made, this should be a national story, as one of the players in this story has been described by the New York Times as "Mitt Romney's top energy advisor," Harold Hamm. But North Dakotans might never know whether there's been any bribery here unless something drastic changes in the control of some component of our state's one-party-dominated government. We need a Democrat in a position of authority to look into things like this.

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I am absolutely flabberghasted.  I have never seen a politician say something so completely inept.  Kevin Cramer, Republican candidate for U.S. House has just shown himself to be completely out of touch with North Dakota's largest industry.  I'll explain below the fold.

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Crossposted from North Decoder

This is pretty amazing.

Dem-NPL Public Service Commission candidate Brad Crabtree is starting to make an issue out of the fact that members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission are violating the spirit of state laws that prevent public officials from taking bribes.  He's arguing that commissioners accepting campaign contributions from people associated with organizations that have business before the commission create a conflict of interest for commissioners, or at least the appearance of one.  When asked, Crabtree stated that he said he wouldn't necessarily call for an investigation into the matter though.  This seems reasonable since the law doesnt speak about campaign contributions per se, and it's also extremely hard to prove a direct link between campaign contributions and corruption, particularly in a post-Buckley and a post-Citizens United era. Republican U.S. House Candidate and Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer apparently thinks otherwise though. When asked to comment about this, Cramer said the following:

"He's asking for the trust of the people, but he's not willing to turn in criminals that he knows are breaking the law? That's pretty pathetic, quite honestly,"

AP--Source: SFGate, emphasis mine

So set aside for a second that he completely mischaracterized what Crabtree was getting at, Kevin Cramer just called himself a criminal.  His words, not mine.  Not Crabtree's either.  Not only did he call himself a criminal, he's a known criminal, and he thinks someone should have the guts to arrest him.

Hey, man if the shoe fits...

Discuss

Yesterday, North Dakotans went to the polls and sent the batshit insane tea partiers and the idiot establishment in the legislature packing(for the most part.

Follow me below the fold for the analysis

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Many of you know that Forum Communications, the parent company of the Fargo Forum, released an extremely flawed poll showing--among other things--that Heidi Heitkamp was 7 points behind Rick Berg, and that Pam Gulleson was waaaaaaaaay behind both Kevin Cramer and Brian Kalk.  

The poll was roundly criticized by all sides for extremely flawed methodology.  Both SayAnythingBlog, the conservative tea party blog criticized the results of some constitutional measures, and Democrats have beaten the poll up for its take on the general election numbers.

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With permission, I'm crossposting this story, written by my co-blogger, Chad Nodland over at North Decoder.  Chad has been working for years tirelessly pursuing the story of corruption at North Dakota's worker's compensation agency, Workforce Safety and Insurance.  

Recently, Chad made a break in the story that has managed to expose an act of fraud that has shown the level of rot and corruption at the agency that has permeated nearly every corner of the agency.

With his permission, I am publishing his story of the victim's run-in with the agency.

It begins below the fold:

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