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N.J. Dem. Ashley Bennett Wins Seat Held by Man Who Mocked Women’s March

Published November 8, 2017 by Tjchase

Election Day 2017 was in many ways vindication for the ascension of Donald Trump and his brand of white nationalistic, misogynistic, homophobic politics with Democrats taking back and/or holding spots like New Jersey and Virginiagovernors’ officesand Danica Roem making history for winning a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, making her one of the first transgender people to be elected to any legislature in the United States. One of the more delicious moments of vindication occurred when New Jersey Democrat Ashley Bennett, spurred by Atlantic County freeholder John Carman’s sexist Women’s March meme, ran against him and won.

During the record-breaking Women’s March last January, which drew millions around the globe to protest the presidency of “I grab them by the pussy” Donald Trump, Carman, a Republican on the board that oversees Atlantic County, shared a meme asking if the march would be “over in time for them to cook dinner.”

Bennett, who’d never held public office, infuriated that an elected official would perpetuate dangerous stereotypes at that particularly sensitive time, wrote about it on Facebook, according to the Associated Press.

“I was angry about [the Facebook meme] because elected officials shouldn’t be on social media mocking and belittling people who are expressing their concerns about their community and the nation,” Bennett, who lives in Egg Harbor Township, wrote at the time.

Following the backlash, Carman tried to walk back the meme with equally condescending remarks, implying that those who were offended by his “joke” that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not marching on the streets against men like him were humorless — as if feminists don’t hear that all the time. He said the meme was a “bad choice” but that women he knows were “strong and confident” enough not to take it personally, according to the AP.

Bennett wasn’t the only woman outraged over Carman’s “joke.” His sexist meme sparked a protest of its own that drew dozens of women to an Atlantic County freeholder meeting in late January. One woman held a box of macaroni and cheese and instructions for Carman to make his own dinner. Another brandished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book We Should All Be Feminists as a gift to him. But none went as far as 32-year old Bennett, a psychiatric emergency screener in the crisis department at Cape Regional Hospital, in making change happen.

Bennett beat Carman by 1,000 votes out of 14,000 cast for the seat, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“People want change,” Bennett wrote in a text Wednesday following her win. “I am beyond speechless and incredibly grateful to serve my community. I never imagined I would run for office.”

Senate Confirms MI Justice Larsen, Three Other Conservative Judges to Lifetime Judicial Appointments

Published November 8, 2017 by Tjchase

WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made good on his pledge to President Trump to get the Senate to confirm four highly controversial, anti-civil rights, and anti-LGBT judicial nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal courts of appeals.

Earlier this week the Senate confirmed Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and Amy Coney Barrett to the Seventh Circuit. Friday the Senate confirmed Allison H. Eid to the Tenth Circuit and Stephanos Bibas to the the Third Circuit.

Eight Democrats, including both Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, voted in favor of Justice Larsen’s confirmation despite opposition from 27 LGBTQ organizations nationwide that signed a joint letter highlighting Larsen’s troubling history of attacking LGBTQ families.

“After reviewing the records of Justice Larsen, we have concluded that her views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law,” the joint letter read. “First and foremost, we continue to have serious concerns about Justice Larsen’s willingness to comply fully with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges,” the 2015 decision granting marriage equality for all.

In a written statement Peters defended his vote saying,”(I)reviewed Larsen’s record on LGBT equality and raised it with her in person. She committed to upholding existing legal precedents and the hard fought protections the LGBT community has won.” The statement also read, “Larsen believes that Obergefell is settled law as a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court, and she has committed to faithfully follow it and all other Supreme Court precedent.”

Stabenow said she ran a thorough vetting process and heard no objections to Larsen’s appointment from the many legal and political groups she polled in Michigan.

But leaders of the national LGBTQ groups remain outraged.

“We deserve better than a Senate Majority Leader who will push through four nominees in one week with minimal opportunity for debate,” said Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal’s director of strategy. “We deserve better than a Senate Judiciary Committee who will rubberstamp anyone the President sends them regardless of their proven racist, homophobic, and misogynistic record. The trajectory of civil rights, progress and equality for the next several generations are at stake, and we all need to pay attention and demand better.”

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