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GOP Must Adapt to New Voting Landscape
by Matt Murphy with help from Keith Regan, MASSterList
As it stands, there will be five new senators and 22 new representatives when the Legislature gavels into a new session in January.
All but one – Wrentham’s Marcus Vaughn – are Democrats.
Secretary of State William Galvin, himself a Democrat who is poised to begin his eighth term as the state’s top elections official, said Sunday that in both Massachusetts and other states around the country Republicans need to adapt to the changing voting landscape.
In Georgia, for instance, Galvin said U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock benefited in his runoff victory from strong voter turnout, which was aided by opportunities for voters to cast ballots early.
Early voting participation, particularly mail-in voting, has been lower among Republicans in Massachusetts than with Democrats. You can thank Trump for that. Some in the MassGOP are now pushing for the party to drop its opposition to mail-in voting and instead develop a strategy to use it to their advantage, as Democrats have.
“Republicans, whatever their resistance in the past, they have to overcome it if they’re going to compete,” Galvin told WCVB during his Sunday appearance on “On the Record.”
Despite the use of mail-in voting dropping off in the 2022 election from 2020, Galvin predicted it will only grow in popularity as the system becomes more refined and accepted. He also said he will renew his push in the new session for same-day voter registration, which would add another wrinkle to the process for parties and candidates to adjust to.
Thirty-seven percent of the ballots cast in November arrived by mail, while another 8 percent were cast early in-person.
“Most people here and around the country, I think, are choosing to be unaffiliated with any major party and vote, which reinforces the idea that people should have the right to vote any way they can,” Galvin said.
The Brighton Democrat also repeated his calls made last week for the Legislature to sequester funds raised through the voter-approved “millionaires tax” in a trust so that voters can see exactly how it gets spent on education and transportation. He also would like to see lawmakers create exemption from the new tax for senior, income-eligible residents on the value of a home sale.
He hasn’t even started his eighth term. But already the questions have started about the 72-year-old seeking an unprecedented ninth four-year term in 2026.
“I couldn’t answer that question,” Galvin said.
Boston Pays High Price for Religious Viewpoint Discrimination
Nov 28, 2022
BOSTON, MA – Today, Liberty Counsel received a check from the City of Boston for $2,125,000 in final settlement of the Christian flag case.When the Christian flag finally flew on the Boston City Hall Plaza public forum flagpole after five years of litigation and a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Shurtleff v. City of Boston, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver stated, “When I argued this case before the U.S. Supreme Court on January 18, I realized that the city was in deep trouble. Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan asked the city attorney arguing the case ‘why did you not settle this case?’ I knew we had a big win.”
Now the City of Boston has finally “settled” this case after the 9-0 Supreme Court ruling and paid Liberty Counsel $2,125,000.00 for attorney’s fees and costs for the unconstitutional religious viewpoint discrimination of the Christian flag.
The Shurtleff case is having a big impact nationally. Many municipalities are reconsidering their flag policies. But far beyond the flag, Shurtleff set in motion the overturning of a 51-year-old case known as Lemon v. Kurtzman.
The Justices commented on the longstanding “Lemon Test” which has been used to determine if a law violates the First Amendment. This test has proven to be unworkable and has led to inconsistent and contradictory decisions on the constitutionality of 10 Commandment monuments and cross monuments like the “Peace Cross.”
Justice Gorsuch joined in a concurrence with Justice Thomas and stated, “It’s time to let Lemon lie in its grave.”
Justice Gorsuch continued, “How did the city get it so wrong? To be fair, at least some of the blame belongs here and traces back to Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602 (1971). Issued during a ‘bygone era’ when this Court took a more freewheeling approach to interpreting legal texts, Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 588 U. S. ___, ___ (2019) (slip op., at 8), Lemon sought to devise a one-size-fits-all test for resolving Establishment Clause disputes. That project bypassed any inquiry into the Clause’s original meaning. It ignored longstanding precedents. And instead of bringing clarity to the area, Lemon produced only chaos. In time, this Court came to recognize these problems, abandoned Lemon, and returned to a more humble jurisprudence centered on the Constitution’s original meaning. Yet in this case, the city chose to follow Lemon anyway. It proved a costly decision, and Boston’s travails supply a cautionary tale for other localities and lower courts. The only sure thing Lemon yielded was new business for lawyers and judges.”
“Ultimately, Lemon devolved into a kind of children’s game. Start with a Christmas scene, a menorah, or a flag. Then pick your own ‘reasonable observer’ avatar. In this game, the avatar’s default settings are lazy, uninformed about history, and not particularly inclined to legal research. His default mood is irritable. To play, expose your avatar to the display and ask for his reaction. How does he feel about it? Mind you: Don’t ask him whether the proposed display actually amounts to an establishment of religion. Just ask him if he feels it ‘endorses’ religion. If so, game over,” wrote Gorsuch.
Liberty Counsel represents Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution. Shurtleff and Camp Constitution first asked the city in 2017 for a permit to raise the Christian flag on the “public forum” Boston City Hall flagpole to commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17) and the civic and cultural contributions of the Christian community to the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, religious tolerance, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution. For 12 years, from 2005 to 2017, Boston approved 284 flag raisings by private organizations with no denials on the flagpoles that it designated a “public forum.” However, the city official denied Camp Constitution’s application in 2017 to fly the Christian flag on Constitution Day.
The policy stated that the flagpole was open to all applicants, but the City of Boston denied Hal Shurtleff’s application for the sole reason that the application form referred to the flag as a “Christian” flag. Had the application used any other non-religious word, Boston would have granted the request.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The City of Boston has learned a costly lesson and paid a high price for religious viewpoint discrimination. Government cannot censor religious viewpoints under the guise of government speech. The freedom to express religious viewpoints has been made easier thanks to the Christian flag case. And the ‘Lemon test’ can no longer be used as a sword of censorship.”
Liberty Counsel provides broadcast quality TV interviews via Hi-Def Skype and LTN at no cost. http://lc.org
Second Opinion Show Highlights 4 Candidates: Dean Tran, Raymond Xie, Kenneth Hoyt, & Rayla Campbell
Dean Tran, Candidate for U.S. Congress:
Raymond Xie, Candidate for State Representative:
Ken Hoyt, Candidate for State Senate:
Rayla Campbell, Candidate for Secretary of State:
Despite being a Federal holiday, radical “progressives” in Westford want to cancel Columbus Day
This destructive agenda only serves to divide our community
The Westford Select Board voted to add a ballot question to the May ballot. Westford’s so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) Committee is pushing to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
In a joint session of the Select Board and DEI Committee, the topic of how to best provide an opportunity for community input regarding this ballot question renaming Columbus Day was discussed.
The Westford community spoke against this three times already! First, the motion failed at Town Meeting. Second, a community survey resulted in 64% opposed. And third, a “community listening session” yielded 80% disapproval from residents who spoke.
All people are imperfect, yet Christopher Columbus is being targeted and attacked while Indigenous Peoples are being glorified. This is imbalanced and destructive. This move to replace one holiday with another is actually inequitable and divisive.
An unhinged vandal decapitated the statue of Christopher Columbus
in Boston on June 9, 2020. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Christopher Columbus is famous for being a brave navigator and explorer who completed four challenging voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for European exploration and colonization of America.
In Columbia magazine, Carol Delaney, former professor at Stanford and Brown universities, explained that Columbus gave strict instructions to the settlers to ‘treat the native people with respect,’ though some of his men rebelled and disobeyed his orders.”
Robert Royal, author of Columbus and the Crisis of the West, wrote, “Contrary to the view that Columbus is the source of later mistreatment of Native Americans, he tried to get help in restraining that very abuse. At one point, he complained to the Spanish monarchs about the way that Spaniards were exploiting natives for gain and taking indigenous concubines. He asked them to send Christian missionaries to the Spaniards.”
Regarding indigenous peoples, let’s not overlook some horrible practices. Royal described “evil practices … among native populations… For example, there was human sacrifice in the Caribbean and even cannibalism when Columbus arrived there.”
Sadly, people are imperfect and capable of doing horrible things that deserve condemnation. At the same time, people, including Christopher Columbus and Indigenous Peoples, are blessed with worthy attributes and actions. Let’s not forget this fact by demonizing one and glorifying another.
Besides, a simple internet search reveals that there is already a day for Native Americans, the Friday after Thanksgiving. And, there is a whole month in November devoted to Native American Heritage.
Finally, advocates of this proposal demonstrate a complete disregard, even contempt, for Italian Americans and members of the Catholic community, for whom Christopher Columbus is a figure of respect and admiration. Canceling Columbus Day will be an affront, which sends a message of exclusion and inequality to many citizens of Westford.
There is no need to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Save Columbus Day!
– Kathy Lynch, Republican State Committeewoman
FIRST AMENDMENT UPHELD IN SUPREME COURT 9-0 RULING￼
Christian Flag To Fly At Boston City Plaza
By Brendan McDonald, New Boston Post, August 2, 2022, 16:29 EDT
This week, a Christian flag is expected to fly at Boston City Plaza.
The event, taking place on Wednesday, August 3, is roughly five years in the making. In 2017, Harold “Hal” Shurtleff, director and co-founder of Camp Constitution, applied to fly a “Christian flag” bearing a cross on a flagpole in front of Boston City Hall. The city denied the request. Shurtleff applied again with no response.
Camp Constitution seeks “to enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage” and “our American heritage of courage and ingenuity.”
Typically four flags fly in front of Boston City Hall: the United States Flag, the POW/MIA flag, the Massachusetts state flag, and the Boston city flag.
On occasion, the city has allowed private organizations to apply to fly a different flag in place of the Boston flag. Between 2005 and 2017, the following flags flew above Boston City Plaza, according to court papers filed by Shurtleff’s lawyers:
- The flag of Boston Pride, a homosexuality-advocacy group (5 times)
- The flag of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Progressive flag (16 times)
- The transgender flag
- The LGBT Pride Flag (7 times)
- The national flag of Cuba (11 times)
- The flag of Turkey (10 times)
- The Unity Flag, which is the pride flag with a space dedicated to black homosexuals and transgender people
- A flag commemorating Juneteenth (2 times)
- The flag of Venezuela (9 times)
- The flag of the United Nations (9 times)
There have been 284 ceremonies involving flag raisings at Boston City Plaza, according to court papers. Previously the city had never denied a request.
Shurtleff sued the city, arguing that since any private organization could apply to fly a flag, the city, in singling his flag out, violated his freedom of speech. Shurtleff received legal aid from Liberty Counsel, an advocacy group for religious liberty.
State and federal judges ruled in favor of the city four times, on the basis that the flag would constitute government speech and violate the Establishment Clause, which prevents the government from “establishing” a religion.
Shurtleff and Liberty Counsel appealed each time. The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
On May 2, 2022, the federal Supreme Court, in a 9-0 decision, ruled in favor of Shurtleff that the city of Boston “did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint ‘abridg[ed]’ their ‘freedom of speech.’ ”
Stephen Breyer, one of the court’s three liberals, wrote the decision.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Biden Administration lent support to Shurtleff, urging the court to overrule the lower court decisions.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed on November 22, 2021, the American Civil Liberties Union argued that “The First Circuit not only misapplied the public-forum doctrine but also extended this court’s government-speech precedents beyond their appropriate reach.”
The United States Justice Department also filed an amicus brief in November 2021, saying that the ability to fly an alternate flag “is not government speech, but instead a forum for private speech.”
The Justice Department did issue a caveat, adding that in overturning the case, “the court should reaffirm that the First Amendment affords the city and other governments ample latitude to craft expressive programs — including programs involving contributions from private parties — without relinquishing their right to control the message or exclude other private speakers.”
Camp Constitution’s flag is slated to fly on Wednesday, August 3.
Boston, as of October 19, 2021, is no longer accepting applications from third parties to fly flags on Boston City Plaza.
In a recent email message to NewBostonPost, Shurtleff said this decision by the city was neither his nor Liberty Counsel’s intent but that “we are very pleased” with the federal Supreme Court decision “and that our suit will be used to prevent religious viewpoint discrimination around the U.S.”
“As a Christian, I have to say that God’s Hand was in this from the beginning,” Shurtleff added.
On Monday, August 1, Liberty Counsel released a statement, saying that “the sole reason for the denial was that the application form referred to the flag as a “Christian” flag. Had the application used any word other than “Christian,” the City of Boston would have granted the application.”
Kathleen Lynch, a Republican state committeewoman, praised Shurtleff and Liberty Counsel, saying their work “shows that steadfast persistence in pursuit of justice and good cause is worth it.”
“Disallowing the raising of the Christian flag was a clearcut First Amendment violation and should never have been met with such resistance from Boston officials,” Lynch said in an email message to NewBostonPost. “I’m thrilled that the Supreme Court delivered a 9-0 ruling!”
The decision to deny Shurtleff’s request was made during former Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration.
The current mayor of Boston is Michelle Wu.
NewBostonPost sent an email to Wu’s press office requesting comment on Monday, August 1. A spokesman for Wu did not respond by deadline.
The Christian flag case is not the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has overruled the city of Boston on a matter of free speech.
In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the city of Boston in the case Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston. In that case, a pro-homosexuality advocacy group sought to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, organized by the South Boston Allied War Veterans. Parade organizers turned them down. The group sued. Massachusetts courts — including the state’s Supreme Judicial Court — ruled against the organizers, saying that they must accommodate the group on the grounds that the parade was a public accommodation.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parade organizers, saying that freedom of speech includes the ability to exclude messages that parade organizers don’t want to send.
The decision was 9-0. The opinion was written by then-justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
MassDems convention delegates were required to present identification prior to vote
ID requirement initiated to preserve integrity, so why do they refuse to consider it for Massachusetts elections?
The Massachusetts Democratic Party’s nomination convention Saturday in Worcester included a requirement their own standard-bearer, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, calls a “discriminatory policy taken from the same playbook as Jim Crow.”
According to the Boston Herald, Democrats “wanted a level of legitimacy with voting” and employed the use of a voter identification smartphone application, with delegates “ordered to complete the voter identification process by 11:30 a.m. Saturday or they were banned from voting.”
The level of hypocrisy was not lost on Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons.
“The Democrats deployed a voter identification requirement on Saturday they’ve long smeared as being racist, even though it’s a policy that an overwhelming majority of Americans support,” Lyons said. “It’s obvious they can’t trust themselves to conduct an honest election so they turned to a voter ID requirement as a safeguard against fraud.
“It all boils down to this: If the Democrats are requiring voter ID to participate in their intraparty elections, why won’t they support the same requirement to ensure the integrity of Massachusetts elections?”
It’s Tran vs Trahan for 3rd Congressional District
Inflation and Gas Prices Threaten State’s Democrat Monopoly in Washington D.C.
Tran said: “the prompt submission of my signatures was the result of an eager, aggressive and hard-working grass roots effort to mobilize support throughout the district to end the incompetent and corrupt polices of the Biden administration which are supported by Congresswoman Lori Trahan.” Tran said that his prompt submission was “a result of an effort that will continue to build as we move toward November.”
Tran has attacked Congresswoman Lori Trahan’s dismal record in Washington on a host of issues ranging from the economy, public safety and civil rights. He said that the people of the third district are suffering from inflation and rising gas prices with many facing an economic breaking point, all the result of Biden-Pelosi-Trahan’s inept and incompetent leadership. Tran said that this dire situation can be reversed by reducing inflation through gaining better control over Federal spending, encouraging and supporting small business, ensuring fair trade policies and encouraging energy independence.
Republican Dean Tran has announced his bid to take the third district congressional seat away from incumbent Democrat Lori Trahan. Tran a two term Republican State Senator from Fitchburg has made the November 2022 state election ballot, submitting close to 3,000 signatures, 1000 more than required. Upon certification today, Tran became the first congressional candidate to make the ballot in Massachusetts, edging out his incumbent opponent.
Dean Tran has a long record of service to his community starting as a member of the Fitchburg Planning Board, then as City Councilor and finally as State Senator. He is married with four children. He has no primary opponent and will be on the ballot challenging incumbent Congresswoman Lori Trahan of Westford, on November 8, 2022.
Westford H.S. Seniors invited to apply for Republican Freedom Scholarship
High School Seniors are invited to apply for the Westford Republican Town Committee Gunars Zagars Freedom Scholarship.
This monetary award is given to a graduating senior who is a Westford resident and who understands and actively supports traditional Republican principles. All graduating high school seniors are eligible including public, private, parochial and home-school students whether or not they plan to attend college, a trade school, the military, start a business or join the work force immediately.
The scholarship is named after Gunars Zagars (1935-2018), an active Republican resident of Westford for close to 40 years. In 1944, when Gunars was 9 years old, he and his family escaped the Soviet communist occupation of Latvia as did thousands of Latvians during WWII. Experiencing the oppression of a communist government and following the plight of Latvia’s struggle to gain independence, Gunars was a strong proponent of freedom.
Part of the application for the award is to submit a typed essay explaining what freedom means to you.
Graduating Westford high school seniors can fill out an application by following the directions at: https://westfordmagop.org/freedom-award/