Archive for February, 2016

MCPP & Mike Hurst launch Mississippi Justice Institute

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

This is great news coming from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy which has created the Mississippi Justice Institute with Mike Hurst at the helm. Here is the full release:

MCPP Launches Mississippi Justice Institute

Former Assistant US Attorney Mike Hurst to direct legal efforts

(JACKSON) – Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) today announced the creation of the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) as the Center’s legal arm to represent Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst has joined MCPP to serve as its General Counsel and as Director of MJI.

“For 23 years we’ve worked to help legislators write laws to guard the liberty of the people of Mississippi, to enhance their opportunities, and to protect their families,” said Forest Thigpen, President of MCPP. “Through the Mississippi Justice Institute, we will pursue those same goals in the judicial system by working to ensure our laws are carried out in a way that protects the liberty of our people and honors their Constitutional rights.”

Thigpen said, “We’re thrilled to have Mike Hurst join us to lead this effort. Mike’s work as a federal prosecutor, fighting public corruption in Mississippi, and his experience in constitutional issues in Washington, D.C., make him a perfect fit for this new project.”

Hurst said, “With the creation of MJI, I am excited about the opportunity to continue to pursue the interests of freedom and justice on behalf of Mississippi citizens in our courts. In the past, conservative legal groups from outside have come to Mississippi in order to fill this void - and they’ve done a fine job - but not all the violations of rights are headline grabbers. Mississippians need someone here to fight for the rights of our citizens whose life, liberty and property rights are being, abused, or limited by government. MJI will represent individuals or groups whose rights are threatened or infringed upon by the government, and we will intervene when important liberty interests or issues are being litigated in the courts, considered or decided upon by administrative agencies, or debated in the public square.”

Hurst noted MJI’s activities would include direct litigation on behalf of individuals, intervening in cases important to public policy, participating in regulatory and rule making proceedings, and filing amicus, or “friend of the Court,” briefs to offer unique perspectives on significant legal matters in Mississippi and Federal courts.

Hurst said, “America and Mississippi prosper with a limited government that allows free markets to work. Limited government isn’t just a conservative idea; it is the heart and soul of our state and federal constitutions. In practical matters, for families and businesses and citizens, an unconstitutional law or policy is only overturned if someone stands up and fights against it. MJI will be that champion for Mississippians in need.” Hurst said MJI will be announcing its first legal action “very soon.”

Prior to joining MCPP, Hurst served as Assistant United States Attorney from 2006 until 2015, when he resigned and ran as the Republican nominee for Mississippi Attorney General. As a federal prosecutor, Mike led some of the largest and most complex public corruption and white collar cases in the state’s history, including the recent bribery case against the former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner. In 2014, Hurst was awarded the Director’s Award for Outstanding Prosecution of Fraud and Service to Fraud Prevention by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office of the United States Attorneys. Previously, Hurst served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee focusing on the U.S. Constitution, and later as Legislative Director and Counsel for Congressman Chip Pickering.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy is an independent, non-profit organization based in Jackson. It works to advance the ideals of free markets, limited government, and strong traditional families. Its work, including the Mississippi Justice Institute, is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It receives no funds from government agencies for its operations. To learn more about MCPP, visit


Kasich featured speaker at Hinds-Rankin GOP fundraiser March 1

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

GOP Presidential candidate Governor John Kasich will be the guest speaker at a fundraiser for the Hinds and Rankin County Republican committees on March 1, one week before the Mississippi Republican Primary.

Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry stressed in an e-mail to committee members that this is a fundraiser for the Republican committees in Hinds and Rankin and not an endorsement  of Kasich for President:

This has to be treated as a fund raising opportunity for us and the others involved – not as any sort of endorsement of Governor Kasich.  As most of you know, I personally like and support him but I know there are others on our committees who like and/or are supporting other candidates. This event will feature Governor Kasich and his history and his experiences while serving as both a Congressman and as a Governor, so even if you are leaning toward voting for another candidate I urge you to get behind this event since it is going to be OUR fundraiser.

While not an endorsement of Kasich, the event provides him with a high profile Republican audience a week before voters go to the polls in Mississippi. The capital tri-county area of Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties made up 17.5% of the Mississippi Republican Primary vote in 2012.

In addition to the Primary on March 8, Hinds and Madison voters are also voting in a special state Senate election. Special elections are nonpartisan but it is a strongly Republican district and both candidates in the race are Republicans.

The event will be at the Jackson Hilton (1001 East County Line Road) with a reception at 6:00pm and a dinner at 7:00pm. A table of 8 costs $800. RSVP to with checks payable to Central Mississippi Republicans (975 North Street, Suite 206; Jackson, MS 39202).

160K Tennessee Republicans have already voted; how many voted for Bush?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Tennessee’s Republican Primary on March 1 will help narrow the field among the GOP’s remaining competitive candidates: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Kasich and Trump are both planning events in Memphis (to take advantage of the Arkansas & Mississippi overlap).

Tennessee is one of many states to vote that day, but what sticks out to me is that between February 10 and February 20: 162,520 Tennessee Republicans used early voting to cast their ballots. I wonder, how many voted for Jeb Bush? Bush dropped out the night of February 20.

Surely not a lot; that’s the reason Bush dropped out. He was unable to post strong numbers. But let’s say he took 5% - will 8,000 votes make a difference on March 1? Likely not, but I think most campaigns would rather have had the opportunity to compete for those votes than for them to make no difference at all.

Texas and Georgia also vote on March 1. Texas, home of George W. Bush (and Ted Cruz) has been doing early voting since February 16. Georgia started in-person early voting before the New Hampshire Primary on February 8 (in addition to Jeb Bush, Governor Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina were both still in the race then, as well).

In Ohio, if you vote early and your candidate drops out, not only do you not make a difference, your vote isn’t even counted: (NBC News)

Matt Borges, head of the Ohio Republican Party, said he predicts one-third of voters will vote early in Ohio.

Voters are heading to the polls even as the field continues to narrow.

In Ohio, for instance, any candidate that dropped out after February 4 - Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum - will still be on the ballot but their votes won’t be tabulated.

I’ve written about my opposition to early voting many times.

I believe it increases the opportunity for election fraud, lengthens the campaign season while diminishing political debate, creates logistical challenges for election officials, and substitutes a civics of convenience for our citizen fellowship. (”Rejecting early voting“)

Unlike absentee ballots, where you can show up at the poll on election day and vote and your absentee ballot is removed, you can’t change your mind. Late debates, breaking news, closing arguments - none of that matters if you’ve used early voting to cast your ballot. (“Voting early ignores debates”)

I wonder how different the results on March 1 would be if more voters waited until March 1 to cast their vote.

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