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Wisconsin"s governor vetoed 5 Republican anti-abortion bills in a single day after conservative Supreme Court justices seemed willing to overturn Roe v. Wade

"I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that's a promise," Gov. Tony Evers said. Protesters, demonstrators and activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, vetoed five anti-abortion bills on Friday. The bills had been supported and passed by the Republican-led state legislature. The vetoes came just two days after the conservative US Supreme Court justices heard arguments in a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed five separate pieces of anti-abortion legislation passed by the state's GOP-led state legislature. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again today: as long as I'm governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that's a promise," Evers, a Democrat who has served as governor since 2019, said Friday in a tweet.Republicans in the state legislature do not hold the votes to overturn Evers' vetoes, according to a report from the Associated Press.One of the bills, which Evers previously vetoed in 2019, would impose criminal penalties — up to six years in prison — should an abortion provider fail to provide critical medical care in the case an aborted fetus is born alive. This is extremely rare, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 143 of these cases nationwide between 2003 and 2014, according to the CDC, and doctors say the bill sets out to solve a problem that doesn't exist, since they're already ethically and legally required to care for any babies born under such circumstances, according to the AP.—Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) December 3, 2021 Evers also rejected a bill that would require medical providers to provide information to parents of fetuses or embryos that test positive for a congenital condition, the AP reported. Another bill that Evers rejected would've prohibited a pregnant person from seeking an abortion on the basis of sex, race, or national origin.Another vetoed bill would've reduced state funding to abortion providers by prohibiting the state from classifying them as a Medicaid provider, and Evers vetoed an additional bill that would've required an abortion provider tell a patient it was possible to reverse a medication-induced abortion after taking the first dose, according to the report.According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, such claims are not supported by science and are "unethical." The numerous vetoes in Wisconsin came Friday, just two days after the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that has safeguarded abortion access in the US for decades. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, focuses on a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Insider's Oma Seddiq reported. The conservative justices on the court appeared open to throwing out Roe v. Wade during oral arguments Wednesday.With a conservative majority on the court secured under former President Donald Trump, Republican-led state legislatures across the US this year targeted abortion access. An all-out ban on abortion after six weeks in Texas was allowed to take effect in September after the Supreme Court declined to stop it.The Texas law incentivizes Texans to sue fellow other residents involved in abortion care performed after 6 weeks of pregnancy, and it does not include exceptions for rape or incest, as Insider previously reported. Other states, including Ohio, have proposed similar measures.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

The Mississippi abortion case going before the Supreme Court is the most consequential challenge to Roe v. Wade in decades

If Roe is overturned, it's "going to create just a perfect storm of concentrated human misery," an expert told Insider. A view of the U.S. Supreme Court at sunset on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear a case concerning a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.Drew Angerer/Getty Images The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear the biggest challenge to abortion rights in almost three decades. Mississippi is asking the court to overturn the 1973 landmark ruling Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. Abortion-rights supporters say overturning Roe would set the country backwards. The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a case that directly challenges the constitutional right to an abortion established nearly 50 years ago.Mississippi has called on the nation's highest court to overturn that 1973 landmark ruling, Roe v. Wade, a decision that would dramatically transform the country's abortion laws. The GOP-led state passed a law in 2018 that prohibited abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, much before the standard held in Roe, which is that states cannot ban abortion before roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy, the point when medical experts say a fetus can survive outside of the womb, commonly referred to as viability. After the state's sole abortion provider, Jackson Women's Health Organization, sued Mississippi, lower courts struck down the law as unconstitutional. But Mississippi Department of Health state health officer Thomas Dobbs appealed to the Supreme Court, now stacked with a 6-3 conservative majority, which agreed to take up the challenge."It reflects the will of the people of Mississippi to protect life and women's health by limiting elective abortion after 15 weeks. Working together, we can find ways to both empower women and promote life," the state's Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in a recent video about the case.Mississippi has also asked the high court to overrule a subsequent 1992 Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which maintained that states cannot impose an "undue burden" on abortion rights."Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. They have proven hopelessly unworkable. They have inflicted profound damage. Decades of progress have overtaken them. Reliance interests do not support retaining them. And nothing but a full break from those cases can stem the harms they have caused," the state wrote in its brief to the court. Wednesday's arguments on the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, represents the high-stakes battle between anti-abortion advocates and pro-abortion rights supporters that has divided the country for generations. Should the Supreme Court fulfill Mississippi's demands, the door would open for a slew of states to enact abortion restrictions or near-total bans on the procedure, substantially limiting abortion access to large swaths of the population. Twelve states, including Mississippi, have "trigger" laws to ban abortion that would automatically take effect if the court overturns Roe. In that scenario, a patient seeking an abortion in Mississippi would have to travel 428 miles to the nearest provider, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health data organization that supports abortion rights. Those bans are likely to affect vulnerable populations like women of color, low-income women, and young women, who are less able to travel the long distances to obtain the care they seek if Roe is overturned, Kimberly Kelly, a sociologist focused on abortion politics at a Mississippi college, told Insider.Women of color in the US already experience more unintended pregnancies because of factors such as racial and income inequalities and a lack of access to affordable healthcare, the Guttmacher Institute found.A post-Roe future is "going to create just a perfect storm of concentrated human misery," Kelly said, adding that reversing the decades-old ruling would harm women, rather than "empower" them, as Mississippi has claimed.The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion-rights organization set to defend Mississippi's abortion provider at the Supreme Court, hopes the justices will follow precedent to avoid that potential reality."It would really create chaos and fear and heartache for many people who are making serious and thoughtful decisions about their bodies, families, lives and futures, and really create two Americas, especially for folks who would be able to get out of state versus those who cannot," Jenny Ma, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told Insider."This is a pivotal moment for the rule of law," she added. "The Supreme Court has recognized and protected this right for over 50 years under the Constitution. Myself as a lawyer — who's been trained to know that the rule of law will be followed — that part of me is optimistic because I know that the court has been asked several times to overrule Roe, including the same arguments that Mississippi has made, and rejected those arguments every single time. I think it would be very backwards if this case were to reach a different decision."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 30th, 2021

Mississippi banned most abortions to be the "safest state" for the unborn. Meanwhile, one in three Mississippi kids live in poverty

Mississippi will defend its abortion ban before the Supreme Court on December 1. Back home, one in three Mississippi kids live in poverty. Drusilla Hicks, a single mom in Mississippi, with her two youngest kids.Rory Doyle for Insider Mississippi lawmakers said the ban on most abortions after 15 weeks would make Mississippi 'the safest state in the country' for the unborn.  The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Mississippi's abortion law on Dec. 1. Advocates say Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, offers little support for children 'once they're here.' Brandon, Mississippi – Drusilla Hicks sinks into her couch. A week ago, she and her three young kids moved into their new home. After unloading the moving truck herself, unpacking all the boxes, and hanging photos on the wall, she's exhausted. All around her, stacks of folded laundry are perched on every available surface. Hicks wakes at five o'clock every morning and doesn't get home from work until dark. Between her daughter's cheerleading practice, her son's homework, and the baby's bath time, she rarely gets time to herself. The only reason she was home alone on a late October morning was because she'd been in a car accident the day before. Her body aching, Hicks, who's 28, was supposed to be resting. But the laundry won't fold itself. As a single mom with no child support, Hicks struggles. Her mother and the kids' grandmothers help out with childcare when they can. But the salary she earns from her job as an office manager for the county isn't enough to cover her bills. Her income is just a bit over the threshold for her to qualify for state aid. After trying repeatedly to request some kind of assistance, she's stopped asking. Instead, a friend helps her pay the bills each month. Without him, she's not sure where she and her children would be living. Right now, she's worried about how she will pay the $1,000 deductible to repair her car from the accident. To provide for her children, she often "pinches," or goes without."I'm trying to give my children a better life than I had," Hicks says. "It's hard because I'm trying to make sure they do the extra stuff they want to do, as well as make sure my bills are paid. If I don't have something, I go without and they'll just never know."After a moment, she gets up again. Soon, it will be time to pick up the kids. The children that are hereIn March of 2019, Mississippi drew national headlines when Governor Phil Bryant signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country, making Mississippi – as backers of the bill frequently put it – "the safest place in the country for unborn babies." A challenge to the law, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks, has made it to the US Supreme Court and oral arguments are scheduled for Dec 1. It will be the first major challenge to abortion rights that the court has heard since Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative Trump appointee, was seated. Drusilla Hicks walks with her son.Rory Doyle for InsiderIn the meantime, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has been making the rounds on the national Christian media circuit—she rarely speaks with media in the state—touting the "empowering" options and opportunities that would stem from overturning Roe v. Wade.  "You have the option in life to really achieve your dream and goals, and you can have those beautiful children as well," Flynn said in September. But community leaders and organizers left with filling in the gaps left from the absence of state aid tell another story. They point to past legislative sessions where Mississippi leaders have repeatedly passed laws that make it harder for families to access aid, while stonewalling on bills that are designed to address income gaps. All of this puts Mississippi on the path to forcing women to have children, then providing little to no safety net once the children are born."We've had so many state leaders who have talked about wanting Mississippi to be the safest state in the country for unborn babies. Every time I hear that, I think, 'Oh my god, let's make this state the safest in the country for born babies,'" said Carol Burnette, executive director of the nonprofit Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative. "They're so determined about their anti-abortion stance; there's just no similar match to being concerned about children once they're here."A domino effect Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation. Around 600,000 people here, nearly 20 percent of Mississippians, live in poverty. It's even higher for kids: one in three Mississippi children live in poverty.In Mississippi, maternal deaths occur in 33.2 of every 100,000 births – nearly twice the national average of 17 deaths per 100,000 – and the state has the highest rate of infant mortality. Mississippi classrooms teach abstinence as sex education; there is no promotion of safe sex or contraceptives. The state has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the nation. Additionally, Mississippi is the only state without a law requiring equal pay, which advocates say especially disadvantages Black women and single moms. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a  consistantly lists Mississippi last in its annual state ranking of overall child well-being. The issues facing poor Mississippi families are interconnected, creating a domino effect, so one issue exacerbates another.A wall of family photos at Drusilla Hicks' new home.Rory Doyle for InsiderAccording to Lea Anne Brandon, a former spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Children and Families, the overwhelming majority of children removed from their homes were living in poverty. "It wasn't 'I don't want to take care of this child,'" Brandon said. "It's 'I don't have the resources to or I don't have money to put them in daycare,' or 'I don't have enough money to buy them food or clothes or medicine.'"Based on the thousands of children and families she's seen, Brandon said the state often swoops in to "rescue" children instead of addressing the issue on the front end. "We're pro-birth. Are we pro-life? We want them born but once they're born, what do we do? 'Here's a pack of diapers' and 'Isn't your child cute?'" Brandon said. Nakeitra Burse, a maternal health advocate who works with pregnant women and mothers, has a unique vantage point of seeing both the administrative hurdles and the myriad of consequences that stem from a patchwork of care. Hospital closures in rural areas, and funding issues at hospitals across the state, for example, puts pregnant women at greater peril, she said.Burse points to a recent tragedy, where a young pregnant woman suffered a heart attack. The family lived in a rural part of the state that doesn't have a county hospital, and so the woman's husband attempted to drive her to a neighboring county. They didn't make it. The husband performed CPR on his dying wife on the side of the road. She and the baby died four days before her due date. "When you think about rural Mississippi, those access and quality issues are a big problem," Burse said. She continues: "Mississippi is so small, I know people that know her."A brigade of helpersThe tight group of activists, organizers and policy experts who work in this area come together to provide, in many instances, what the state does not. Born out of necessity, they've formed a unique brigade. Cassandra Welchlin with the Black Women's Roundtable is the voice in the room when it comes to equal pay and how the disparity impacts Black mothers. She'll defer to Burse when it comes to maternal health; Burse rattles off statistics with barely a breath in between, and can talk for hours about the importance of doulas. Cassandra Overton Welchlin (right) at a 2018 event to boost voter participation in Mississippi.Rogelio V. Solis/AP PhotoAnd childcare once those babies are born? That's Burnette's wheelhouse. If childcare isn't available or a mom needs help paying her bills that month, it's over to Laurie Bertram Roberts, co-founder of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund and executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, which also advocates for abortion access. Each of the women has dedicated their life to helping Mississippi women and families. Each of them also express frustration that the state isn't doing more, and, they feel in some instances, making it harder for women to get the help they so desperately need. Republican lawmakers in the state say their thinking comes down to responsible and sustainable budgeting. Burnette says that she spends a lot of her days navigating the red tape that state lawmakers have put up that makes it more difficult for Mississippians to access federal services. Take the Child Care Certificate Program, a federal block grant. More than 100,000 Mississippi children should be eligible, but in 2019 – the most recent year for which there's data – just 20,900 benefited from the program. The federal program is most commonly used by single mothers, but the state added an additional requirement: single parents have to cooperate with child support enforcement in order to enroll, meaning they have to provide information about the children's father so the state can track him down. Many are reluctant to do so. Laurie Bertram Roberts, left, confronts an abortion opponent blocking the driveway at Jackson Women's Health Organization in 2013. It's the sole abortion clinic in the state.Rogelio V. Solis/AP PhotoPrudent spending and a fair sliceWhile those on the ground have no shortage of suggestions to help push the state forward, on the top of almost everyone's wish lists is expanding access to Medicaid, a federally funded health care program for the poor. But it remains a major, if unreachable, priority for state Democrats. Currently, low-income women in the state can qualify for Medicaid coverage during their pregnancy and for 60 days after the birth of the child, and two thirds of births in the state are covered by Medicaid.Under the Affordable Care Act, states could opt-in to expand Medicaid coverage. But Mississippi lawmakers opted against it, joining 11 other states to date. In the 2021 legislative session, a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage to mothers for one year after the birth of the child postpartum failed to make it out of committee. From the top down, Mississippi Republican leaders have repeatedly spoken out against Medicaid expansion, including the state's current governor, Tate Reeves, and Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn. In his budget proposal for the 2022 fiscal year, Reeves said, "I remain adamantly opposed to Medicaid expansion in Mississippi. I firmly believe that it is not good public policy to place 300,000 additional Mississippians on government-funded health care."His spokesperson Bailey Martin told Insider, "Governor Reeves remains opposed to the expansion of Obamacare and Medicaid in Mississippi."Other issues impact affordability, too. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Mississippi is short 42,000 affordable housing units for families in need. Single-mother households with children under the age of 18 are in the most danger of facing eviction within the next few months, according to Matthew Carpenter of the NAACP. "We see the linkage between quality affordable housing and pretty much everything," he said. "The state being a low-income, low wage state, that impacts housing prospects for a lot of people, and it impacts the well-being of the kids.In Mississippi, eight out of ten Black women are heads of household, and many of the state's problems, from poverty to bad health outcomes, would be made more manageable if women's work – and especially Black women's work – was made more valuable, Welchlin said.Drusilla Hicks collects her youngest child from the car.Rory Doyle for InsiderTo push that debate along, every year members of the Black Women's Roundtable take slices of pie to the state legislature and leave them on the desks of representatives and senators. The message: we want our slice of the pie.For Burnette, The resistance to bolstering the state's social safety net is "inextricably tied to race" and a false narrative of the "welfare queen.""Mississippi has a long history of resisting federal programs and federal funding that comes in with the intent to improve things for poor people," she said. In fact, she said, "single moms have incredible work ethic." But they have to make ends meet with minimum wage jobs, while navigating the lack of affordable housing and affordable and flexible childcare. "They're working, they're just working in jobs that pay too little and because they're a single mom and the sole earner, they're hampered – not only by low wages but being the only wage earner," Burnette said.A full house Back in Brandon, it's been a week since Hicks' car accident. After work, she picks up the kids, and a pizza for dinner. Settled at the kitchen table, each of the older children grab a plate. Hicks does not, feeding the baby instead. Hicks has been in her new house for a week but already it has a warm, lived-in look, like they've been there for years. There are framed photos of the children on the wall, mirrors are hung just so, and a pumpkin is arranged on the front porch for fall. They clear the plates. In the living room, Hicks' daughter practices a cheer routine, which Hicks videos on her phone. Her son circles them on his skateboard. He's energetic, a showman. Later, as she helps him with homework, she worries about his grades.The worrying never really goes away. Hicks wonders if she's doing enough as a mom, and what more she can do to provide for her kids. Dinnertime at the Hicks home.Rory Doyle for InsiderDrusilla Hicks making a cellphone video of her daughter's cheer routine.Rory Doyle for InsiderDrusilla Hicks with her three kids.Rory Doyle for InsiderDrusilla Hicks gives her youngest kid a bath while her daughter looks on.Rory Doyle for InsiderDrusilla Hicks putting her son to bed.Rory Doyle for InsiderDrusilla Hicks getting a rare moment to herself.Rory Doyle for InsiderThe night winding down, she bathes the baby in the kitchen sink and tucks her son into bed in his Spiderman sheets. For a moment, it's quiet and Hicks takes a minute to herself, sitting with her phone in the dark. Hicks is stressed, but she's too exhausted at the end of each day for it to keep her awake at night. "I go to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow," she says. She has to sleep sometime. In just a few short hours, it starts all over again. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2021

Trump"s Supreme Court picks Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh could decide the fate of Roe v. Wade

"If we're trying to figure out who's going to cast the deciding vote, it's going to be one of them," a legal scholar told Insider. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh; Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.Chip Somodevilla; Sarah Silbiger via Getty Images The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear the biggest challenge to abortion rights in decades. Legal scholars told Insider that Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are the ones to watch. Either of the two justices could cast the deciding vote to overturn or uphold Roe v. Wade, they said. Mississippi on Wednesday will ask the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade, the law of the land for nearly 50 years. Nine justices will hear arguments on whether to preserve or undo abortion rights, but experts say Americans should pay close attention to two members of the court: Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.Legal scholars anticipate that either one of them could have an outsize impact in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and determine the fate of reproductive rights in the United States."If we're trying to figure out who's going to cast the deciding vote, it's going to be one of them," Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University and an abortion historian, told Insider.The closely followed case centers on a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, challenging the standard held in Roe, which declared that states cannot prohibit abortion before roughly 24 weeks. After the law was passed, the state's sole abortion provider, Jackson Women's Health Organization, sued Mississippi, and lower courts struck down the law as unconstitutional.But Thomas Dobbs, state health officer for the Mississippi Department of Health, appealed to the Supreme Court, which is now stacked with a 6-3 conservative majority. The Republican-led state contends that Roe and a subsequent 1992 landmark decision that upheld the ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, are "egregiously wrong" and has urged the Supreme Court to overturn them. The Supreme Court is poised to deliver a ruling on the case by next June, and a combination of guesswork and simple math could leave Kavanaugh and Barrett — both appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump — holding all the cards, according to legal scholars.How the numbers stack upFive votes are required for a majority Supreme Court ruling. The court's three liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, have long voted to protect abortion rights and are expected to do so again in the Mississippi case. "It's very clear where Justice Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Breyer are," I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School, told Insider. "They are going to vote to strike down the Mississippi law as unconstitutional … They don't want to reverse Roe v. Wade. This has been consistent in their jurisprudence."Of the bench's conservative wing, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have explicitly disapproved of the court's decades-long precedent. Thomas, often described as the court's most conservative member, said Roe was wrongly decided in the Casey ruling almost 30 years ago."Justice Thomas and Justice Alito are pretty clear from their prior votes that they are on the side of thinking that the right to abortion in the Constitution is wrong. It doesn't exist," Cohen said. "So their votes are pretty set."Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed in 2017 to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, has a sparse judicial record on the issue. But, in his few years on the high court, he's sided with abortion restrictions and leans heavily conservative, leading experts to project that he'll likely be in favor of Mississippi's law.By this calculation, three justices are inclined to leave Roe in place and three justices are open to upending it.Chief Justice John Roberts.Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesThen comes Chief Justice John Roberts, who leans more toward the center than his conservative colleagues. Still, in 2016, he sided with a Texas law that the court's majority voted against, arguing that it imposed an undue burden on abortion rights. More recently, he ruled against the court's decision to uphold an "unprecedented" law in Texas that bans abortion after just six weeks of pregnancy. But Roberts tends to be a believer in stare decisis, a legal principle that translates to sticking with precedent. He is also widely considered an institutionalist, protective of the court's reputation and wary of perceptions that it is partisan or politicized. Legal scholars say it's difficult to predict what side of the Mississippi case he'll land on, but either way, "he's no longer the swing vote" because of Barrett's addition to the court last year, Ziegler told Insider."We'd still be watching for that, essentially to see if he can persuade Kavanaugh and Barrett to come along with him. But he doesn't actually have control. It's more just the possibility that he'll be able to convince his colleagues. He's a lot less powerful than he was," Ziegler said.Roberts could join the liberal justices to block Mississippi's law, but he could still be outvoted 5-4 by the conservative majority, Mark Kende, a professor at Drake University Law School, told Insider. That scenario could be "a little bit of a judicial nightmare" for Roberts, he added. "What gets really interesting," Kende said, is that the crucial vote could then come down to Barrett and Kavanaugh.Kavanaugh and Barrett on abortionThe possible threat to abortion rights hung over Kavanaugh's and Barrett's confirmation hearings after Trump campaigned in 2016 on picking "pro-life" nominees for the Supreme Court.Democrats scrutinized Kavanaugh for his 2017 decision on the DC federal appeals court to postpone an abortion sought by a 17-year-old immigrant held in federal custody, and a 2003 memo he wrote as a Bush administration lawyer speculating whether all legal scholars agreed that Roe was "settled law of the land."President Donald Trump, right, smiles as he stands with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, left, before a ceremonial swearing in the East Room of the White House on Oct. 8, 2018.Susan Walsh/AP PhotoKavanaugh attempted to tread lightly vis a vis abortion during his confirmation hearing, calling Roe "an important precedent of the Supreme Court" that's "been reaffirmed many times," and describing Casey as "precedent on precedent."Once Trump nominated Barrett in September 2020 to succeed the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, abortion-rights supporters criticized her past comments on abortion rights.In 2006, Barrett, then-a law professor at Notre Dame University, signed on to an advertisement by an anti-abortion group to "oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death." Ten years later, Barrett spoke publicly about abortion at an event, saying Roe's "core holding that women have a right to an abortion" isn't likely to change but questions exist about late-term abortions and restrictions on abortion providers. In her confirmation hearing, Barrett was vague about her position on Roe. "All nominees are united in their belief that what they think about a precedent should not bear on how they decide cases," she said at the time."These justices were appointed with the abortion question looming very strongly in the background," Cohen told Insider. "My sense is that it's very much on people's minds as to these justices' legacies, and I'm sure very much on these justices' minds as to their legacies."Barrett has so far only voted once on abortion, when she ruled in favor of keeping Texas' recent six-week ban in place. That case concerns a technical question related to the law's unique mechanism that calls on private citizens rather than state officials to enforce the law. The justices did not review the constitutionality of the anti-abortion law.However, she appeared skeptical of the law during the case's arguments earlier this month. Kavanaugh, too, seemed reluctant to embrace Texas' position, although he previously voted to temporarily maintain the law. "There's a loophole that's been exploited here or used here," Kavanaugh said of the Texas law. "It could be free speech rights. It could be free exercise-of-religion rights. It could be Second Amendment rights."Cornell Law School professor Sherry Colb, for her part, said the justices' questioning did not indicate any support for abortion rights and pointed to Kavanaugh's comments as evidence."They were concerned about gun rights and about religious freedom," she said. "It had nothing to do with abortion, and they were simply asking those questions because of how the Texas law was written expressly to avoid judicial review."Justice Amy Coney Barrett.Jim Lo Scalzo - Pool/Getty Images'Crystal ball-type speculation'Despite widespread concern over what their appointments would mean for the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh and Barrett have steered toward the middle in recent rulings. They voted to uphold Obamacare against a GOP-backed challenge. In a religious liberty ruling, they stopped short of overturning a previous decision that fellow conservatives Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch argued was necessary. And they also have signaled some hesitancy to move the law quickly, opting for smaller decisions rather than sweeping ones. Kavanaugh and Barrett are "somewhat cautious justices who have indicated at times that they want to go along with Roberts," Kende said, and "have shown some reluctance to go as far, for example, as Alito and Thomas."Consequently, legal scholars are divided on how the two justices might vote in the Mississippi abortion challenge."It's quite clear that Justice Thomas and Justice Alito are of the view that they'll write an opinion that says Roe v. Wade is not good law, it was never good law. There's no constitutional right here," Cohen said. "It's less clear whether Coney Barrett and Kavanaugh are as interested in writing an opinion like that at this stage of their career, but who knows."Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law, said the newest members of the court are likely to follow Roberts' lead on the Mississippi abortion law. He described the court as a 3-3-3 split, made up of liberals Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, conservatives Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch, and moderates Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett."The three moderates will ride together, altogether. They'll do it jointly," Blackman said, but added that the direction they could vote in remains uncertain."I think they're motivated by things that aren't entirely law and that makes them unpredictable. If this was a question of law, then they'd be overruling in five seconds because they think that Roe is wrong. I think they're affected by other factors that are not law, by public perception, by the court's reputation, by whatever you want to call it," he said.Reading the tea leaves of the Supreme Court is a tricky endeavor, experts said. The justices' judicial backgrounds and their questioning on Wednesday could reveal some of their thinking, but it's more of a "crystal ball-type speculation," according to Kende."Candidly, I think the court is going to divide," he said, warning that "predicting the court is always a bit risky."But for Colb, the votes that Barrett and Kavanaugh will cast are crystal clear."Both of them are opposed to Roe. They won't say it … but there's no mystery," she told Insider. "It's just a question of whether it's going to be 5-4 or 6-3."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

The Supreme Court"s new term has officially started and the future of abortion rights are on the line

It's the first time in almost 30 years that a major abortion case will come before the Supreme Court. Abortion-rights activists and anti-abortion activists protest alongside each other during a demonstration outside of the Supreme Court on October 4, 2021. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images The Supreme Court term started on Monday. The biggest case on the docket concerns abortion. The dispute involves a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court will hear arguments on the case on December 1. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Supreme Court kicked off its new term on Monday as abortion-rights activists and anti-abortion activists alike protested in front of the building. While the nine justices will hear a number of high-profile cases in the coming months, a challenge to abortion rights is widely expected to take the national spotlight. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, concerns a Mississippi law that ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Then-Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law in March 2018 as part of a wave of Republican-led states seeking to enact abortion restrictions across the country. Immediately afterward, Mississippi's sole abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, sued the state. That year, a federal district judge struck down the law, saying it "unequivocally" violates the constitutional right to an abortion established nearly 50 years ago in the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. That 1973 landmark ruling legalized abortion until around 24 weeks of pregnancy, the point at which a fetus can survive outside of the womb, otherwise known as viability.Mississippi appealed, but in 2019, a federal appeals court affirmed the lower court ruling and likewise blocked the 15-week ban."In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's abortion cases have established (and affirmed, and re-affirmed) a woman's right to choose an abortion before viability," Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote in the majority opinion.The state took its challenge to the Supreme Court, which in May agreed to take up the case and review the central question of whether state laws that prohibit pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional.The justices will hear arguments on the legal battle on December 1. A final decision will come next summer.It's been almost 30 years since a major abortion dispute has come before the high court. The last case was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1992, when the Supreme Court declared that states cannot impose an "undue burden" on abortion rights.Abortion-rights advocates, the Biden administration and hundreds of national- and state-level Democratic lawmakers have urged the Supreme Court to uphold abortion rights, in fear that the court's current 6-3 conservative majority will throw them out.On the other hand, anti-abortion activists and Republican leaders have called on the court to overturn Roe, as part of their longtime effort to limit access to abortion nationwide. Abortion access is already limited in Texas due to a law that prohibits the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, which took effect last month. The statute has so far withstood legal challenges because of its unique enforcement mechanism that calls on private citizens, rather than state officials, to enforce the ban. The Supreme Court in a narrow 5-4 vote last month refused a request from abortion providers to block the Texas law, arguing that it did not want to weigh in on the case as its still being litigated in the lower courts. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito along with former President Donald Trump's three appointments - Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett - voted in the majority.Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative considered a crucial swing vote, dissented, as did the court's three liberal members, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan."The statutory scheme before the Court is not only unusual, but unprecedented," Roberts wrote in a dissenting opinion on September 2.Abortion-rights groups and national leaders have since slammed the Supreme Court's decision. President Joe Biden said it unleashed "unconstitutional chaos" and his Department of Justice has sued Texas in an attempt to block the legally tricky law. Critics have also pointed to the Texas law as a sign that the court's expanded conservative majority will likely overturn Roe v. Wade in the upcoming Dobbs case. Yet some legal experts say that despite the ideological differences of the justices, how they choose to decide remains unpredictable, given longstanding Supreme Court precedent. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

The Progressive Logic Of "Build Back Better"... And Its Dangers

The Progressive Logic Of 'Build Back Better'... And Its Dangers Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClearPolitics.com, “Build Back Better” is far more consequential than the earlier COVID relief packages. That’s why Democrats are so angry at those who blocked its passage and so determined to push it forward. Why is BBB more important than the COVID legislation? Because pandemic relief was essentially a massive stimulus program, with the usual smorgasbord of treats for favored groups, but little more than that. Although BBB is also a massive stimulus, its real importance lies in the permanent entitlement programs it would launch, everything from universal pre-K and Medicare expansion to mandated paid leave from private employers. Those are major building blocks in the Democrats’ long-term plan to construct a full-fledged social-welfare state along European lines. Achieving that ambitious, transformational goal — while making irreversible changes in how America governs itself — is why the party is fighting so hard and why the left is so furious about the Senate stalemate, personified by West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, a Democrat who refuses to go along, either to pass the bill or eliminate the filibuster to pass President Biden’s non-budget initiatives. Enacting these massive, new entitlements is one reason the House bill is rightly called “progressive.” The second, equally important reason is that nearly all Democrats, except Manchin and his Arizona colleague Kyrsten Sinema, are willing to break the Senate’s longstanding rules and procedures to achieve their desired outcome. This determination to override traditional governing procedures and the institutions that embody them has been a hallmark of capital-P Progressivism since Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette came roaring into the Senate in 1906. By 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was running for president as the Progressive Party nominee. Woodrow Wilson, the man who gained the Oval Office by TR’s third-party candidacy, had embraced progressivism while a professor (and later college president) at Princeton. Wilson and progressive public intellectuals such as Herbert Croly explained their rationale far more candidly than their political descendants do. The Constitution, they rightly noted, encumbered our national government with its enumerated powers, decentralized federalism, multiple veto points for any new policies, and strong protections for private property, contracts, and minority-party rights. Progressives argued that those restraints may have been fine for the 18th and 19th centuries but not for the 20th, which needed a far more active state. Although 21st century progressives are uncomfortably standing in Woodrow Wilson’s shadow on account of his racial policies, their basic contention is the same: The “old” Constitution is outmoded. Its restrictions stand in the way of a more powerful, activist, centralized government. Creating that government is what progressive legal scholars mean when they advocate for  a “living Constitution,” which achieves desired outcomes by ignoring restraints in the “old Constitution.” They have largely succeeded. Progressives have gradually remodeled America’s government, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. During FDR’s first term in the White House, the Supreme Court ruled that most of those programs violated the Constitution. Roosevelt found that intolerable and on the heels of his 1936 landslide reelection, threatened to expand the court and pack it with pro-New Deal justices. The blowback caused FDR to retreat, but the mere threat helped achieved his desired results. Sitting justices began approving his programs or retiring, replaced by FDR’s nominees. It proved to be an inflection point for the high court and for American government. Since then, the Supreme Court has successively loosened the old Constitutional restrictions and approved major accretions to centralized power, much of it located in Washington bureaucracies. Whether the current court, with its conservative majority, will continue to do so is one reason nominations are now so hotly contested. The fight is over fundamental issues. Washington’s centralized power, substantially engorged by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, is how America is governed today, less by statutes and more by executive diktat and bureaucratic rules, which are enforced and adjudicated mainly by the very agencies that promulgate them. Congress now sees its role mainly as overseeing those agencies. It’s not very good at it. This centralized administrative state with its expansive powers is why Washington bureaucracies presume they have the authority to require private businesses with over 100 employees to fire workers who refuse COVID vaccinations. It is why the Department of Education can demand private universities comply with a vast range of federal rules and regulations if any of their students or faculty receive federal loans or grants (as all universities do, except Hillsdale). It is why Washington bureaucrats can tell K-12 schools what kind of lunches to serve, a task once handled solely by local school boards and seized from them without any congressional debate. Washington money means Washington rules. Those regulations go well beyond statutory laws or constitutional protections against discrimination. They have suppressed the Constitution’s basic federal structure and gradually erased the line between “public” and “private” enterprises. This web of centralized control and bureaucratic rules has “progressively” usurped control over most aspects of American public and private life, making civil society subordinate to the administrative state. Expanding this centralized state and endowing it with still more cradle-to-grave programs is the main aim of Build Back Better. Achieving that won’t be easy because the Democrats didn’t run on that platform and didn’t win enough votes to enact it. Joe Biden won mainly because he wasn’t Donald Trump, because he promised to return the country to normality after four turbulent years and outlined a vague center-left agenda to do it. Those promises went out the window after Biden took office. The window opened wider when Democrats captured Georgia’s two Senate seats in runoff elections. Those victories in early January cost the Republicans control of the upper chamber. Since Democrats already controlled the House, just barely, they now held both branches of Congress, as well as the White House. Only the Supreme Court was beyond their grasp, and they are threatening to take it, too, by going where even Franklin Roosevelt dared not tread. Nonetheless, the Georgia victories gave the incoming Biden team an opportunity, and they seized it. They opted, in their words, to “fundamentally transform America.” What they failed to acknowledge was that Biden was in a far weaker position to do that than Roosevelt in 1936 or Johnson in 1964. Those presidents carried overwhelming majorities into the White House and Congress. Biden did not. His position was weak at the beginning and has gone downhill ever since. It’s not surprising, then, that the White House has such trouble passing Build Back Better. What’s seems odd is that Biden has refused to change course. He is still hellbent on passing an ambitious, left-wing agenda. The budgetary elements can pass the Senate with a simple majority under budget reconciliation rules. But that requires the support of all 50 Democrats since Republicans are united in opposition. Vice President Kamala Harris could then break the 50-50 tie and pass the gargantuan bill. But Joe Manchin has proved an immovable object, objecting to the legislation’s accounting tricks, the massive deficit it creates, and the fuel it pours onto an overheated economy. Since Biden won less than 30% of the West Virginia vote while losing every single county in the state, he has no leverage over the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation. Budget reconciliation rules don’t cover all of Biden’s proposals. These additional proposals could be blocked by filibuster, unless the filibuster itself were eliminated. That could be done by a simple majority vote, but it would fundamentally change the Senate by ending its traditional protections for the minority party. That’s why then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused President Trump’s demand to do it. That’s why Democratic Sens. Manchin and Sinema refuse to change the rules now, despite pressure from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The debate over the filibuster rule has received a lot of attention, and properly so. So has the flip-flop by Democrats who stoutly defended the rule when they were in the minority. But the real issue here is not Schumer’s blatant hypocrisy. The deeper issue — one that has largely been missed — is how the effort to overturn Senate rules and pass BBB fits so neatly into the larger sweep of progressive politics. That’s not just because Democrats want to permanently expand the social-welfare state and “fundamentally transform America.” It’s also because they are willing to smash venerable institutions and procedural safeguards to do it. The same logic applies to their effort to nationalize election laws. That, too, is probably doomed because of the filibuster. If it did pass, it’s also likely that the Supreme Court would strike it down because the Constitution specifically delegates election lawmaking to state legislatures, with national courts stepping in only to protect individual rights. The latest initiatives by Biden, Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi may fail, but they won’t be the progressives’ last hurrah. They’ve been winning for over eight decades and came within two Senate votes of winning this time. They’ll keep trying until voters send them a clear message that the administrative state is already too big, too intrusive, too far removed from control by citizens’ elected representatives. Its continued growth and unchecked power threatens our oldest institutions, our freedoms, and our liberty under law. The voters’ message must be unambiguous: Stop trying to fundamentally transform America. We never asked for it, we don’t want it, and we never gave you permission. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

A guide to the most important primary elections of the 2022 midterms, which will test Trump"s influence over the GOP

The 2022 primaries, starting in March, will test former President Trump's power over the GOP and could reshape both parties' bases in Congress. The U.S Capitol is visible at sunset as a man plays fetch with a dog in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Critical primary elections for the 2022 midterms are kicking off in March.  Primaries will hold greater importance in 2022 with fewer competitive districts in Congress. The 2022 primaries will also test Trump's influence over the GOP and shape both parties' futures.  The 2022 midterm elections are just 10 months away, and primaries for key congressional and statewide races will be more crucial and decisive than ever for both political parties. The 2022 primaries will test the power of former President Donald Trump's endorsement — and his status as the leader of the Republican Party. This year's primaries could substantially reshape the composition of Congress and each party's bases. And the unprecedented effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election will loom large in 2022's elections, which will determine who runs and oversees future elections. In Congress, Republicans have their sights set on winning back the US Senate, currently evenly split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, by flipping Democratic-held seats in Arizona and Georgia and holding control of competitive open seats in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Republicans are well-positioned to win back the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold just a slim three-vote majority, due to President Joe Biden's poor approval ratings and the historical norm of the president's party losing seats in midterm elections. But not all majorities are created equal. On the GOP side, more Trump-style conservatives could replace moderate and establishment Republicans, especially in the US Senate, where five such Republicans are retiring.  And Democrats could see more young candidates and candidates of color, who are underrepresented in both chambers of Congress, replace retiring members. In this June 5, 2021, file photo, former President Donald Trump, right, announces his endorsement of North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd, left, for the 2022 North Carolina U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Richard BurrChris Seward/APAs of January 5, 36 House members and counting are retiring, setting off a nationwide reshuffling that will play out during the primary season. Over two-thirds of already-announced retirements are from the Democratic side of the aisle, a possible indication of how Democrats view their prospects of holding the House majority. Complicating matters further, the national House primary calendar is still in flux due to the ongoing process of states drawing new congressional lines following the 2020 Census, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term trends of negative polarization, partisan self-sorting, and a decline in voters who split their tickets between parties are being exacerbated by states shoring up incumbents at the expense of competitiveness in redistricting. This means the 2022 elections are likely to see a historically low number of competitive House districts in general elections, making primaries even more important. Many states have yet to complete their congressional redistricting, and some key states that have finalized maps, like Ohio and North Carolina, are facing lawsuits over congressional and state legislative lines that could delay their filings periods and primary dates. North Carolina has already pushed back its primaries, and Pennsylvania could be next, delays that also affect marquee Senate and gubernatorial contests.Here are the most important and most competitive primaries happening over the next nine months as currently scheduled: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, left, next to his wife and Texas State Sen. Angela Paxton, speaks to anti-abortion activists at a rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMarch: The 2022 primary cycle is set to kick off in Texas on March 1. Embattled Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing multiple high-profile primary challenges from Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and former State Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Gov. Greg Abbott will also face primary challengers including former state Sen. Don Huffines, who has been endorsed by several Trumpworld figures, and Allen West, the former state party chairman. Democrat Beto O'Rourke is likely to secure the Democratic nomination for the governorship in Texas, which hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in three decades. Texas also gained two House seats in post-2020 Census reapportionment and has three members of its delegation retiring, setting up competitive primaries in some House districts. Texas will hold runoff elections in May for any contests where no candidate earns a majority of the vote outright. May: On May 3, Ohio is holding a hotly-contested Republican primary for US Senate to replace longtime retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The candidates include former state party chair Jane Timken, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, state Sen. Mike Dolan, venture capitalist and author JD Vance, and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. Rep. Tim Ryan and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser Morgan Harper are the two main contenders for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Mike DeWine is facing primary challenges from former Rep. Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone, who are appealing to Trump's supporters.May 10 will see the first confirmed House primary between two incumbents with Trump-endorsed Rep. Alex Mooney facing off against Rep. David McKinley for West Virginia's 1st Congressional District. The two Republicans were drawn into the same district as a result of the state losing a congressional seat after the 2020 Census. May 17 is set to see primaries for high-stakes statewide races in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina (if either state's primaries don't get delayed).In Pennsylvania, competitive Republican and Democratic primaries will determine the nominees for the open US Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. Physician and television personality Mehmet Oz, hedgefund executive David McCormick, former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and real estate developer Dave Bartos are competing for the GOP nomination.Rep. Conor Lamb, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Montgomery County Commissioner and physician Val Arkoosh are the lead contenders vying for the Democratic nomination for Senate to flip the seat. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, left, and Rep. Conor Lamb, right, are two of the Democrats seeking to flip control of a key US Senate seat in PennsylvaniaAP Photo/Marc Levy, AP Photo/Dave DermerNorth Carolina is holding primaries for an open US Senate seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. The Republican field includes Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, Rep. Mark Walker, and former Gov. Pat McCrory while Cheri Beasley, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, appears poised to secure the Democratic nomination. North Carolina, home to some of the most contentious partisan and legal battles over redistricting in recent history, is back in court defending its congressional maps after GOP lawmakers drew an aggressive Republican gerrymander, a case with significant implications for the state's House primaries. On May 19, Idaho's Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin is waging a Trump-backed primary challenge against incumbent GOP Gov. Brad Little.On May 24, Trump-backed congressman Mo Brooks and former Senate chief of staff Katie Britt are the leading candidates in the GOP primary for the Alabama US Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.While Brooks has Trump's support (for now, at least), Britt has received the backing of Shelby, her former boss, and quietly gotten financial support from several members of the Senate Republican caucus. Lynda Blanchard, former US Ambassador to Slovenia under the Trump administration, was also initially in the running for Senate but dropped out of that race and is now mounting a primary challenge to incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey.Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Decatur, GaBrynn Anderson/APAlso on May 24, a series of blockbuster primaries in Georgia will set the battle lines for November's elections in the key battleground state which after years as a reliable GOP stronghold, voted for Biden in 2020 and handed control of the Senate to Democrats in 2021.Former NFL star Herschel Walker, endorsed by Trump, is the frontrunner in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who was elected in a 2021 special runoff election, for a full term. Two top Republicans who endured Trump's wrath for defending the integrity of the 2020 election in Georgia are now contending against Trump-backed primary challengers.Gov. Brian Kemp will face primary challengers from former US Senator David Perdue, who has been endorsed by Trump, and state Rep. Vernon Jones. Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenge from GOP Rep. Jody Hice, one of the congressmen who led the charge to object to counting electoral votes on January 6. Stacey Abrams is the strong frontrunner in the Democratic primary for a potential rematch against Kemp. In the House, two Democratic incumbents, Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, will also face off in the primary for the new 7th District. North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama all hold runoff elections later in the summer for races in which no one candidate earns a plurality or a majority of the vote outright. In this Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, photo Republican Adam Laxalt, flanked by pictures of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, talks to a supporter at the Douglas County Republican Party Headquarters on the final day of his Senate campaign's statewide tour in Gardnerville, NevAP Photo/Sam MentzJune:The battleground state of Nevada will hold primaries for races including its competitive Senate contest, on June 14, where former Attorney General Adam Laxalt is the frontrunner to run against Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto.South Carolina is holding House primaries on June 14 in which GOP Reps. Nancy Mace and Tom Rice, who vocally criticized Trump over the January 6 insurrection, could both face Trump-backed primary challengers.California, Illinois, and New York, key Democratic strongholds which all lost one House seat each in post-2020 reapportionment, are also holding their House primaries in June. California's independent redistricting commission drew a Democratic-friendly map that, along with four House retirements, avoided pitting incumbents against each other but sets the stage for some competitive primaries on June 14.On June 28, Illinois, where state lawmakers drew an aggressive Democratic gerrymander, will see two member-on-member primaries: one between Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newmanin the Chicago suburbs and downstate between two Republicans, Trump-endorsed Rep. Mary Miller, and Rep. Rodney Davis.New York's congressional lines aren't close to being finalized yet. But further up the ballot, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who ascended to the office in August 2021, is seeking the nomination for a full term against challengers including Rep. Tom Suozzi, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and likely New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democratic candidate for governor, addresses the members of Arizona's Electoral College in Phoenix.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, FileAugust:August will be a significant test of Trump's ability to punish high-profile members of Congress who voted to impeach and convict him for inciting the January 6 insurrection, and to shape competitive Republican primaries. And two more Trump-backed candidates are running for key election administration positions in the presidential swing states of Arizona and Michigan.The month starts on August 2 with competitive primaries in Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, and Washington.  In Arizona, Trump-endorsed candidate and former TV anchor Kari Lake is seeking the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Doug Ducey, who is term-limited, against State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, state Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, former Rep. Matt Salmon, and businessman Steve Gaynor. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who gained a national profile for defending the 2020 election results and rebuffing the partisan review of the 2020 election results in Arizona, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor along with former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman. A crowded field of candidates, including Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Thiel Foundation president Blake Masters, and businessman Jim Lamon, are competing for the GOP nomination for US Senate to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. Trump-endorsed state Rep. Mark Finchem, who has echoed Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen, is competing for the Republican nomination for secretary of state against fellow state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita. Former Maricopa Recorder Adrian Fontes and Arizona's House Minority Leader Reginald Bolling are running in the Democratic primary for the top election job. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, left, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt, right, are the leading candidates for the GOP nomination for US Senate in MissouriAP Photo/Jeff RobersonIn Missouri, a crowded field of Republicans, including former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, and personal injury lawyer Mark McCloskey, are competing for the nomination for US Senate to replace retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt in the now solidly-Republican state. Trump has not yet endorsed candidates in either the Arizona or Missouri Senate primaries. In the key swing state of Michigan, Republicans will select nominees to run against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Trump-endorsed Kristina Karamo is seeking to challenge Benson for the state's top election post.Due to redistricting, Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin will face off in the primary for Michigan's new 11th Congressional District. Rep. Peter Meijer, one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over January 6, is also set to face a Trump-backed primary challenger.Two Washington State House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Rep. Dan Newhouse and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has a Trump-endorsed primary challenger, are also seeking reelection on August 2.On August 9, voters in battleground Wisconsin will select a Democratic nominee for Senate to run for the seat currently held by GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who hasn't yet confirmed whether he's running for election, and a Republican nominee to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Rep. Liz Cheney speaks with U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell after a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill. Cheney is facing a primary challenger endorsed by Trump.Jim Bourg/Pool via AP, FileOn August 16, two of Trump's most high-profile Republican foes in Congress will face primary challenges. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will face off against Trump-endorsed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka under Alaska's first-ever top-four primary election system. And Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the House Select Committee probing the January 6 insurrection, will face Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in Wyoming's at-large House seat. Florida rounds out the month with its August 23 primaries. Democrats will decide on a nominee to take on GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis between Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Rep. Charlie Crist, and State Sen. Annette Taddeo. Voters will also pick a Democratic nominee to take on Sen. Marco Rubio out of a field currently led by Rep. Val Demings.September: New England will finish out the primary cycle. Republicans, who have struggled to recruit a candidate to run against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, will select a nominee on September 13. And in the House, a crowded field of GOP candidates including Gail Huff Brown, former TV anchor and wife of former Sen. Scott Brown, former State Department spokesman Matt Mowers, and former Trump White House spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt are competing to take on Rep. Chris Pappas. Massachusetts will select nominees to replace outgoing GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, whose decision not to run for a third term creates a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 5th, 2022

Tick, Tick, Tick...: The Supreme Court Readies An Explosive Docket For 2022

Tick, Tick, Tick...: The Supreme Court Readies An Explosive Docket For 2022 Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the Hill on upcoming year for the Supreme Court. The Court’s docket is likely to put the institution at ground zero of a heated election year. Major decisions on abortion and gun rights are expected by June 2022. Even with Chief Justice John Roberts denouncing attempts at “inappropriate political influence” on the Court, the threats of Court packing and other measures are likely to become even more shrill as these decisions rollout in the new year. Here is the column: The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once observed that “it’s hard not to have a big year at the Supreme Court.” However, there are some years that are bigger than others. That’s what 2022 is likely to be. The court has accepted a series of transformative cases with few available exit ramps. It recently added to that list. In other words, it is likely to issue historic rulings on abortion, gun rights and an assortment of other issues. The fact that the Supreme Court is going to hand down such decisions in a major election year is also noteworthy. The court tends to be more conservative in the selection of cases before major elections, but 2022 will put the court at ground zero in one of the most heated elections in history. For those calling to pack the court to ensure a liberal majority, the already furious commentary is likely to reach near hysteria if the conservative majority rules as expected in some of these cases in the first half of 2022. Here’s just a partial list of what is coming in the new year: Abortion The country is awaiting a decision by June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. At issue is whether Mississippi can impose a 15-week limit on abortions. That is earlier than previously allowed by the court, but the United States is one of only seven among the world’s 198 countries to allow abortions after 20 weeks. While the court could simply overturn Roe v. Wade and return the area to the states, it is more likely that the court will increase the authority of the states while recognizing constitutional protections for such reproductive rights. That could result in a major reframing of “previability” cases. After Dobbs was accepted, advocates sought to enjoin a Texas law that banned abortion after just six weeks. The court ruled 5-4 to allow the Texas law to be enforced. The Biden administration and other litigants then forced a reconsideration of that decision. The court — as expected — allowed the appeal to go forward for some of the litigants in the lower court but again refused to enjoin the law. To make matters worse, it declared the Biden administration’s appeal to be “improvidently granted.” Gun rights If Dobbs is a frightening thought for abortion advocates, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen is a virtual heart attack for gun control advocates. In the latest badly drafted gun law to go before the court, New York has forced a challenge that could result in a major ruling reinforcing individual rights under the Second Amendment. The case deals with the Sullivan Act of 1911, giving local officials discretion over who can carry concealed guns based on a showing of “proper cause.” Bruen is likely to reinforce rights for concealed carry permits — negating a host of laws across the country. Agency deference While not often discussed with the “matinee” cases of the term, one case on the docket could bring sweeping impacts across various areas — from the environment to financial regulations to public health. American Hospital Association (AHA) v. Becerra raises a highly technical question of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule that cut outpatient drug reimbursements to hospitals. The rule is based on an agency interpretation of vague statutory provisions — an interpretation that was defended under the deference afforded to agency decisions. (Notably, the court has accepted a variety of other cases that could curtail agency authority, including West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, which could also curtail efforts on climate change.) The case is technically about outpatient care for Medicare Part B recipients; however, for some justices, particularly Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, it is all about Chevron and agency deference. Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc. is a 1984 administrative law case that has come to embody the role of federal agencies in not just enforcing but creating law. The “Chevron Doctrine” has insulated agency decisions for decades from substantive review, giving federal agencies an overwhelming degree of authority in our system of government. For some of us, the dominance of federal agencies has become equivalent to a fourth branch of government. The question is whether a critical mass has formed on the court to substantially curtail that decision. If so, AHA v. Becerra could be a torpedo in the water for the Chevron Doctrine. New cases With these and other important cases on the docket, it is hardly necessary to add anything new to such a momentous year. Yet the court is not done — by a long shot. At the end of 2021, the Supreme Court dove into the raging debate over vaccine mandates. It ordered an expedited argument in three such cases for Jan. 7. The appeal raises the legality of the emergency temporary standard issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requiring a vaccine-or-test mandate for private employers with more than 100 employees. The case, again, raises core issues of agency deference as well as federal authority in this area. Courts have split on what White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain admits was a “workaround” of the limits on the president’s authority. The court is still mulling the case of Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, a Title VI case in which Harvard University is accused of rigging its admissions process against Asian American students. It’s the flip side of past racial preference cases in college admission, an area that has remained a morass of fractured or conflicting decisions for the court. This is just a partial listing of what is coming in the new year. It is perhaps not surprising that Democratic members of Congress and liberal groups are threatening the justices of “consequences” or even a “revolution” if they do not vote with the left of the court. Such threats, however, may backfire. Not only is Chief Justice John Roberts the most popular public official today, but even liberal justices have chafed at the claim that this is a “conservative” or biased court. The new year will test the design of our constitutional system in insulating the court from such public pressures, even direct threats to the court or individual justices from politicians. With some of the most important decisions coming by June 2022, there will be plenty of time to weaponize the opinions for the midterm elections. Former President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft once observed that “presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” That may be reassuring to some justices as the Supreme Court enters one of the most existential years of its history. Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 12:42.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

Elizabeth Warren blasts "Republican hijacking" of the Supreme Court and supports adding at least 4 more justices to the bench

"Without reform, the court's 6-3 conservative supermajority will continue to threaten basic liberties for decades to come," Warren said. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Sen. Elizabeth Warren has come out in support of expanding more justices to the Supreme Court. The Massachusetts Democrat criticized the court's 6-3 conservative majority. "To restore balance and integrity to a broken institution, Congress must expand the Supreme Court by four or more seats," Warren wrote. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday fiercely condemned the Supreme Court's current 6-3 conservative majority and came out in support for expanding the number of justices on the bench."I believe it's time for Congress to yet again use its constitutional authority to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court," the Massachusetts Democrat she wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed. "I don't come to this conclusion lightly or because I disagree with a particular decision; I come to this conclusion because I believe the current court threatens the democratic foundations of our nation."Warren said that adding more justices would help "rebalance" the court, which she claims in recent years has undermined its legitimacy and independence because of a slew of "radical right-wing" decisions, particularly concerning voting rights, labor unions, and corporate power."This radical court has reversed century-old campaign-finance restrictions, opening the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to buy our elections. It has reversed well-settled law that once required employers to permit union organizers to meet with workers," Warren wrote. "And it has gutted one of the most important civil rights laws of our time, the Voting Rights Act, not once but twice."The progressive lawmaker also called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the highest-ranking Republican senator, for refusing to consider former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, nine months before the presidential election, but then four years later, swiftly confirming former President Donald Trump's pick, Amy Coney Barrett, eight days before the 2020 election.McConnell, who was Senate majority leader in 2016, has repeatedly defended his decision to block Garland's nomination, arguing that the last time the opposite party of a president confirmed a new Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year was in 1888.As for what happened in 2020, McConnell said because both the White House and Senate were controlled by Republicans, they could move forth with a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year. In his one term in office, Trump appointed three justices to the bench: Barrett in 2020, Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, and Neil Gorsuch — Scalia's replacement — in 2017.Warren blasted the move in her op-ed as "Republican court-packing" and "Republican hijacking of the Supreme Court.""To restore balance and integrity to a broken institution, Congress must expand the Supreme Court by four or more seats," Warren wrote.The senator also cited recent low public approval ratings the court has received as a reason to push for reform. A new Quinnipiac University poll last month found that more than 6 in 10 Americans say the Supreme Court is motivated primarily by politics."Rebalancing the court is a necessary step to restore its credibility as an independent institution, one that works for the American people and not just for the wealthy and the powerful," Warren wrote.Warren tied her stance to the possibility that the Supreme Court may overturn abortion rights guaranteed nearly 50 years ago in the landmark ruling, Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court is set to make a decision to that major abortion challenge by next June."Without reform, the court's 6-3 conservative supermajority will continue to threaten basic liberties for decades to come," Warren wrote.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 15th, 2021

Former ACLU lawyer running for Texas Attorney General on a pro-choice platform says her pregnancy inspired her campaign

Rochelle Garza tells Insider that her pregnancy helped inspire her bid for Texas attorney general, an office Republicans have held for 30 years. Former ACLU lawyer Rochelle Garza is running to be the first Latina attorney general in Texas.Verónica G. Cárdenas for Insider Rochelle Garza tells Insider that her pregnancy helped inspire her bid for Texas attorney general.  If she wins, the former ACLU lawyer could become the first Latina elected to statewide office in Texas.  Republicans have held the office for 30 years.  In early November, former civil liberties attorney Rochelle Garza went from vying for an open congressional seat in a safe Democratic district along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas to entering the race for Texas Attorney General,  an office that Republicans have held for 30 years. A political novice, Garza is best known as the former American Civil Liberties Union attorney who successfully sued the Trump administration on behalf of a detained teenager who was seeking an abortion, and for testifying against Justice Brett Kavanagh, who had ruled against her in that case, at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.Weeks earlier, in October, Republican lawmakers in Texas had seemingly upended Garza's political prospects when they unveiled new redistricting maps that diluted the power of communities of color, which accounted for 95% of the state's population growth, and increased the number of majority-white Republican districts. The newly drawn maps made the neighboring seat more competitive, leading the Democrat who represented that district, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, to run in Garza's home turf. (In early December, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Texas over the maps, calling them discriminatory.)In response, Garza decided to aim for an even bigger job. Garza reached the decision, she told Insider, after discovering she was pregnant. "It's so much more personal. I think a lot about what the future holds and what's at stake for democracy, civil rights, the Constitution," said Garza. News of the pregnancy, which she and her husband welcomed as a "blessing," only strengthened Garza's conviction that abortion is a healthcare issue between a person and their doctor. "I don't think anyone understands pregnancy unless they have gone through it. That is a lesson learned from all the things that are happening to my body," said Garza.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (right) at his 2015 swearing-in, alongside outgoing Attorney General Greg Abbott (seated) who is now the Texas governor.Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty ImagesShe describes choice as an issue of respecting a pregnant person's humanity, adding, "I can't imagine what some of my clients were going through."  For decades, the Texas attorney general has been at the forefront of conservative and right-wing policy priorities nationally. Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's in his second term, has waged legal battles against vaccine and mask mandates; challenged the 2020 presidential election results, with tactics that included suing other states; and defended Texas' the states' recent abortion law, the nation's most restrictive, which bans abortion after six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant, and allows private citizens to sue anyone who "aids and abets" someone getting the procedure. Paxton took office in 2015 after Greg Abbott, who became Texas governor. Paxton has faced felony fraud charges for thr past six years, but has not yet faced trial. Jane Doe and the 'Garza Notice'In 2017, Garza represented a 17-year-old immigrant teenager, later known as Jane Doe, who was seeking a legal abortion while in government detention. After officials with U.S. Health and Human Services, which oversees the shelter system, refused to release her to undergo the procedure, Garza sued on the teen's behalf. A federal judge ruled in favor of Jane, but the Trump administration appealed. A panel of judges at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, but when the case was heard by the full appeals court, Garza's side prevailed.  Paxton, the Texas attorney general, would later argue to the U.S. Supreme Court that the appeals court had been wrong and that immigrants have no constitutional right to abortion. One of the judges who had ruled against Garza was Brett Kavanaugh, who argued that at issue was allowing access to "a new right" for unlawful immigrant minors. The following year, Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.Garza's client underwent the procedure. The case also led to the establishment of what is now known the "Garza notice," a government policy for informing pregnant teens in shelters and detention centers of their rights to abortion services and regulations for abiding by the court ruling in the context of Texas' restrictive abortion ban. Rochelle Garza testifying at Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee about how she helped an undocumented teenage girl fight for an abortion.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoTo Garza, a clear line connects her work with teenage immigrants and the abortion cases the Supreme Court has considered this session."The erosion of rights begins with the most marginalized. With the Jane case, she was someone who, clearly, the Trump administration, Ken Paxton, and Brett Kavanaugh, did not think she mattered, and that her rights didn't matter, but they did," Garza told Insider. "And that's what we have to focus on, because if we don't protect someone like her who is the most vulnerable, what chance is there for the rest of us?"On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion providers could challenge the Texas law, which is considered the most restrictive in the nation, but left it in effect. A 'women's full pursuit'A recent Politico article drawn from interviews with dozens of Democratic strategists suggested that abortion rights are unlikely to galvanize the party's base "unless — and perhaps not even then — Roe is completely overturned."Until then, voters are more motivated on issues of employment and healthcare, and wealthy people in states that have blocked abortion access will be able to travel out of state for services. A recent Texas Tribune poll found that 46% of Texas voters disapproved of how "state leaders have handled abortion policy, while 39% approved. Garza disclosed her pregnancy on the day the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to Mississippi's abortion law, which bans abortion services after 15 weeks. Unlike the Texas law, which was written to evade federal review by placing the onus on private citizens, advocates believe the Mississippi case could lead to the court overturning Roe v. Wade. In a court briefing, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote that the precedent protecting abortion "out-of-date.""Innumerable women and mothers have reached the highest echelons of economic and social life independent of the right endorsed in those cases," Fitch continued. "Sweeping policy advances now promote women's full pursuit of both career and family."Protesters march down Congress Ave outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, after the governor signed a bill banning most abortions.Sergio Flores/Getty ImagesGarza seemingly embodies Mississippi's argument. With a supportive husband, she has leveraged her legal practice into a political career. All while pregnant.But in Garza's view, individual success does not erase the constitutional right to reproductive care or persistent systemic inequities. For Garza, abortion rights go hand in hand with expanding access to healthcare, child care,  and family leave. Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured and one of the highest rates of children living in poverty. The maternal mortality rate is above the national average. After a state committee recommended the state expand Medicaid coverage to pregnant people from 60 days to one year, the state legislature extended coverage to six months.  At Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, Garza invoked her client, Jane Doe: "She was alone and completely under the physical control of the federal government and at the mercy of decision-makers that knew nothing of what it was like to be her." 'They have the confidence'Garza hails from one of the poorest counties in Texas, the daughter of two teachers. Her father, the son of farmers, later became a state district judge. Her great-grandmother was a mid-wife and country doctor, informally trained to attend to people living on nearby farms. At Garza's ancestral house where red chili plants bloom in the front yard and pomegranates ripen from the vine, Garza's uncle Jesus Reyes Garza, a Vietnam Veteran, searches for a thread about the women in his family, and says matter-of-factly, "legends."Garza's campaign is built around taking on what she views as the entrenched structural inequities that transfer power into the hands of the few. Jesus Reyes Garza, the candidate's uncle.Verónica G. Cárdenas for InsiderJust one Latina, Lena Guerrero Aguirre, has ever held statewide office in Texas, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials – and she was appointed. Most of the state's top officials are white, even though white and Latino Texans account for about the same percent of the population.There are structural impediments to any Latina who seeks office in Texas, and researchers have found that women of color "fare worse" in statewide contests. In addition to the redistricting maps that come from the Republican-controlled state legislature, politics experts say that Latina Democrats who run for office must also overcome a host of impediments, including from their own party. "Democratic party leaders may not coalesce around a candidate of color out of fear of alienating white voters,." she writes, Kira Sanbonmatsu, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics in "Why Not a Woman of Color?: The Candidacies of US Women of Color for Statewide Executive Office." Texas Democratic consultant, James Aldrete, places Garza among the small but growing ranks of Latina maverick candidates that also includes Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo, who unseated a veteran incumbent to become the administrator of a county that includes Houston. "No one encouraged Lina, no one recruited her. She won and she is amazingly talented," said Aldrete. "If we are going to change things in Texas, it's going to take courage." There are also generational differences at play that can impede Latina voters from coalescing being a Latina candidate.Sharon A. Navarro, a professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says some of this harkens back to the civil rights era, before Roe vs. Wade, when Latinas were expected to volunteer with grassroots causes while the men ran for political office. "When they meet older generation Latinas they often get asked the question, 'who is taking care of your children?'" she said. "The younger Latinas are ready. They have that confidence, they have law degrees. They are just the missing support and that structure."Rochelle Garza (second from right) talks to voters in Brownsville, Texas during her congressional campaign on Sept. 24, 2021.Eric Gay/AP PhotoGarza is the only woman and only Latina in a crowded March 1 Democratic primary. She is expected to face off against Galveston mayor, Joe Jaworski, who launched his campaign a year ago, and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt who represented the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was murdered by white vigilantes while he was jogging in Georgia. While right-to-life groups that have sounded the alarm about Garza's candidacy, Garza is likely the least well-known. This week, Emily's List, which supports candidates who back abortion rights, endorsed Garza.  Former state supreme court justice Eva Guzman, also a Latina, is running on the Republican ticket. Guzman has billed herself as a tough law enforcement officer whose life history is rooted in an aspirational immigrant story. She is challenging Paxton, alongside candidates that includes George P. Bush, the Latino son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew of George W. Bush, the former president and Texas governor. University of Houston researcher Brandon Rottinghaus, author of the report "Six Myths of Texas Latinx Republicans," says the party has expanded its Latino constituency, in part, by side-stepping issues of inequity, to appeal to aspirational and pro-business sentiment. "Republicans never talked about racial impact of policy or how structural racism exists in many policies that exist," he said. Garza says that her pregnancy has made the disparities more evident. She noticed the pregnant women working at the grocery store, the ice cream shop, the fast-food drive thru. In them she thought about issues of access to health care, family leave, and child care that cut across class and race. "We expect women to bear children, rear children and maintain jobs," said Garza. "But we don't expect that job to be Attorney General of Texas and that's obviously wrong and that's why we get laws that are harmful to women and that's what I'm trying to change." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 12th, 2021

Supreme Court Will Have To Decide California Gun Law

Supreme Court Will Have To Decide California Gun Law Authored by John Seiler via The Epoch Times, “We are filing to stay the issue, to get cert with the Supreme Court,” Rich Travis told me. He’s the director of development at the California Pistol and Rifle Association, based in Fullerton. I had asked about the association’s case Duncan v. Bonta, which an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal recently held in favor of California’s ban on magazines containing more than 10 bullets. “Get cert” means “certiorari,” in which at least four justices of the U.S. Supreme Court agree to hear a case. In August 2020, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit had held against the restrictive state laws, from 2000, 2013 and 2016. The panel held the limit violated the “strict scrutiny” of any gun law mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, which upheld the Second Amendment’s “right to keep and bear arms” was not just for militias, but for persons. That decision by the panel then was appealed by Attorney General Rob Bonta to the en banc panel of 11 judges. Travis said the vote to uphold the ban was 7-4. All seven of those on the Ninth Circuit voting for the law were appointed by Democratic presidents, and all four voting to uphold the Second Amendment were appointed by Republicans. The case was decided against the association “only when strict scrutiny was lowered by the seven democratic judges,” Travis said. Potentially, the Tuesday ruling could have been appealed to the full Ninth Circuit, with 29 judges. On it, 16 are Democrat and 13 Republican, thanks to 10 appointments by President Trump. But Travis said neither his association nor Bonta wanted to take that detour. Instead both wanted to go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Another factor here is the Supreme Court already has a gun case on its docket this fall—New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. It could overturn that state’s strict conceal-carry laws. That likely would mean California’s similar laws also would become unconstitutional. AP reported Nov. 3, “During two hours of arguments conservative members of the court, where they have a 6-3 majority, suggested New York’s law and perhaps others like it in half a dozen other states go too far. Why, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, does a person seeking a license to carry a gun in public for self defense have to show a special need to do so.” Roberts said, “The idea that you need a license to exercise the right, I think, is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights.” However, Travis said the New York law’s outcome, whatever it is, would not directly affect whatever happens at the court to the California law. California Anti-Gun Laws The magazine limits are three of many anti-gun rights laws passed in California in recent years. But magazine limit is especially silly because there’s almost no difference in using a 10-round magazine and, say, a 20-round magazine. It only takes a fraction of a second to pop out one magazine, then pop in another. The main difference is you save a few ounces by carrying the same number of bullets in larger magazines. And if you’re humping a backpack and rifle 30 miles in the military, every ounce counts. Neither Gov. Newsom nor Attorney General Bonta ever served in the military. So they don’t know such things. Moreover, large magazines are more likely to jam because the spring inside can get weak. That’s what happened in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. back in 2012, in which James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70. His 100-round barrel magazine jammed, ending the mayhem. Gun expert John Lott wrote, “A magazine, which is basically a metal box with a spring, is trivially easy to make and virtually impossible to stop criminals from obtaining.” He noted California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s 1994 federal law banning magazines holding more than 10 bullets, which expired a decade later, “had no effect on crime rates.” Anyone intent on causing mayhem in California also would not be concerned about following the magazine ban and could easily buy larger magazines in Arizona or other pro-gun states, then bring them back illegally across the border. Mass murder is a lot more serious charge than the $100 fine the magazine ban brings for a first offense. Finally, there’s the old saying, “The Supreme Court justices also read the newspapers.” They know what’s going on in the country with the crime increases in cities that have reduced police funding. They know the murder rates in many cities have soared during the past two years. Washington, D.C., where the Supreme Court is located, has suffered 205 murders so far in 2021, up 10 percent in one year. It’s the highest rate in 16 years. The court also has read about the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisc., after he defended himself using an AR-15-style rifle by killing two attackers and wounding a third. It’s difficult to predict what the Supreme Court will do, even if comments by the justices seem to indicate how a case will be decided. So we don’t know what will happen with the New York or California gun cases. But what we do know is California’s continued grandstanding on the gun issue is yet another restriction on citizens’ constitutional rights. And appealing decisions like this one is another expense, when the money could be used by Bonta’s department to, say, prosecute the flash mobs robbing California stores. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/10/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 10th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Part of the right learns to love Putin

And the Senate voted to repeal President Joe Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate for private employers. Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Before we get to the news, a quick announcement: Tomorrow will be our last edition before the newsletter goes on hiatus.I'll have more to share Friday (including a new role for me at Insider), but for now please fill out this quick survey to help us improve what we're doing.Now, here's what we're talking about:Tucker Carlson justifying an invasion of Ukraine is where he has been heading all alongSenate votes to repeal Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate for private employersHow America's top startup fell from grace after its Zoom layoffs went viralThe Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday.Fox News1. THE BEAR MARKET: Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression toward Ukraine has garnered him some new fans. The Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended Putin's decision to amass troops near the border of the former Soviet republic. Many Republican lawmakers are calling out Putin and urging the White House to dig its heels in, but Carlson's praise underlines an element of the conservative movement that is happy to find common cause with strongmen.Here's some background on the situation:Carlson defended his views by saying there's a good chance of a "hot war": President Joe Biden on Wednesday said the US had no plans to deploy troops. During his show Tuesday night, Carlson also lit into NATO, another frequent Putin target. Ukraine is a partner of the alliance, but it's not a full-fledged member — an important distinction since an attack on Ukraine would not trigger NATO's mutual-defense pact.What is on the table: Biden, per reports, told Putin earlier this week that the US would impose a heavy economic cost in response to an invasion. The White House is said to be considering options including sanctions as well as canceling Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline.Putin wants Ukraine under his thumb: "One way or another, he wants Ukraine neutralized," Fiona Hill, who served as the top Russia advisor on the National Security Council under the Trump administration, recently told Insider.More details: Putin, who is driven by the image of a renewed Russia, has long been the aggressor in the relationship dating back to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. Russia has also claimed no involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine that has dragged on since that year, but the West and Ukraine point to evidence that Kremlin has sent troops and weapons.Read more about why Tucker Carlson's support of Putin isn't all that surprising.2. Senate votes to repeal Biden's broadest vaccine-or-test mandate: Every Republican and two Democratic senators — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana — voted to overturn Biden's mandate for private businesses with more than 100 employees. But the effort is probably doomed, as the measure is unlikely to pass the House and would almost certainly face a presidential veto. In the meantime, a federal appeals court has already halted the policy. More on the growing frustration among some lawmakers to Biden's mandates.3. Mark Meadows is suing Nancy Pelosi and the Capitol riot committee: Meadows, President Donald Trump's final chief of staff, is suing the House select committee investigating the insurrection and the lawmakers serving on it. Meadows' suit came on the same day lawmakers announced they'd go forward with plans to hold him in contempt following his refusal to cooperate with their subpoenas. Meadows' suit describes the committee's subpoenas as "overly broad" and claims a subpoena to Verizon for his phone records violates his First Amendment rights. More on what is now the largest challenge to the House's investigation into the January 6 insurrection.4. Biden is expected to call on world leaders to reverse democracy "recession": Biden is expected to kick off the long-awaited White House Summit for Democracy later today and ask his counterparts to continue to ensure, as one White House representative put it, that "democracies deliver for their people," the Associated Press reports. Not everyone is happy with the gathering. "The ambassadors to the US from China and Russia wrote a joint essay in the National Interest policy journal describing the Biden administration as exhibiting a 'Cold-War mentality,'" the AP noted. As The Washington Post points out, there are also numerous questions about which countries were and weren't invited. Here's what you need to know ahead of the summit.5. Judge sets rough trial date for John Durham's prosecution of a former Clinton campaign lawyer: Michael Sussmann, a onetime lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign, will most likely stand trial in late spring 2022 on charges brought by the Trump-era special prosecutor investigating the origins of the Russia investigation, a federal judge said. Sussmann's indictment and coming trial represent some of the first public signs of activity out of the Durham investigation in months. Here's what else we're learning about the case.Niphon Subsri EyeEm/Getty Images6. Better employees reveal turmoil within the once lauded startup: Vishal Garg, the CEO of the digital mortgage company Better, laid off 900 people on Zoom last week. Former employees described the haphazard and sudden way Garg broke the news, saying it was particularly shocking given that recent internal communications had portrayed the business as healthy and growing. Read more about how America's top startup fell from grace.Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File7. Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will become an abortion "sanctuary" if needed: Newsom told the Associated Press he thought out-of-state patients were likely to flock to California if the Supreme Court were to overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision. A majority of Supreme Court justices signaled earlier this month that they would like to change how the nation treats abortion rights, and some conservative justices seem interested in overturning Roe entirely. More on California's response.8. Pfizer says its booster offers protection against Omicron: Pfizer and BioNTech said that their coronavirus vaccine appeared effective against the Omicron variant after three doses but that two doses alone produced a much lesser response. More early data on how the shot holds up against the new variant.9. A person involved with planning Bob Dole's funeral nixed over January 6 ties: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell complained to Dole's family about the involvement of Tim Unes, an event planner, whom the Capitol riot committee has subpoenaed for his work in organizing the pro-Trump rally held the day of the insurrection, The New York Times reports. In response, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation cut ties with Unes. Read more from this only-in-Washington type of story.Later today, Dole will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda.10. Finland's prime minister apologizes for clubbing amid COVID-19 scare: Prime Minister Sanna Marin was out clubbing past 3 a.m. last weekend, hours after an advisor she had contact with tested positive for COVID-19, according to local reports. Marin said she had been instructed not to quarantine, but government officials are told they should isolate themselves in such a circumstance. The prime minister, who is vaccinated, later tested negative. More on the story.Today's trivia question: Where did Bob Dole live in the 1970s while serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee during Richard Nixon's presidency? Incredibly, he was out of town when history happened.Yesterday's answer: The Library of Congress has buildings named after Presidents Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison. After the British torched much of Washington during the War of 1812, Congress took Jefferson up on his offer to sell his personal book collection to replenish what was lost in the blaze.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 9th, 2021

Court On A Hot Tin Roof: Airing Out "The Stench" From The Oral Argument Over Abortion

Court On A Hot Tin Roof: Airing Out "The Stench" From The Oral Argument Over Abortion Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is a version of my column in The Hill on the statement of Justice Sonya Sotomayor on the “stench” of politics in the oral argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to the Mississippi abortion law. The statement seemed directed at Sotomayor’s three new colleagues and the effort to use the new court composition to seek the reduction or overturning of Roe v. Wade. Here is the column: In Wednesday’s Supreme Court oral argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Sonya Sotomayor got a whiff of something she did not like. She said many abortion opponents, including the sponsors of the Mississippi abortion law at issue, hoped her three new colleagues would allow for the reversal or reduction of Roe v. Wade. With Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett listening, she asked, “Will this institution survive the stench” created from such political machinations — and then answered: “I don’t see how it is possible.” Of course, when justices begin to declare their disgust at the very thought of overturning precedent, there is another detectable scent in the courtroom. Indeed, it felt like a scene from Tennessee Williams’ play, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” The only thing missing was the play’s central character, “Big Daddy” Pollitt, asking: “What’s that smell in this room? … Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room? There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity.” Justices Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer insisted that overturning Roe in whole or in part would bring ruin upon the court by abandoning the principle of stare decisis, or the respect for precedent. Yet neither showed the same unflagging adherence to precedent when they sought to overturn conservative doctrines. Notably, Sotomayor pointed out another allegedly “political” decision in the court’s recognition of an individual right to bear arms; she and Breyer both indicated a willingness to overturn the ruling in that case, District of Columbia v. Heller. After that decision, both continued to dissent and arguing that “the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense.” Indeed, they may reaffirm that position this term. Sotomayor’s nose for judicial politics was also less sensitive when she recently called upon students to campaign against abortion laws — a major departure from the court’s apolitical traditions. After telling the students that “You know, I can’t change Texas’ law but you can and everyone else who may or may not like it can go out there and be lobbying forces in changing laws that you don’t like.” She added: “I am pointing out to that when I shouldn’t because they tell me I shouldn’t.” That was more than a whiff of politics, but the same legal commentators applauding her “stench” comment were entirely silent in condemning her direct call for political action on abortion. There also were no objections to the stench of politics when the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly opposed a presidential candidate. They are not the only figures showing such selective outrage. During the confirmation hearing for Justice Kavanaugh, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) demanded that Kavanaugh promise to respect stare decisis on cases like Roe, but then called for overturning cases like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Democratic groups often decry the conservative majority as “partisan” while demanding the packing of the court to guarantee an immediate liberal majority. On Wednesday, Kavanaugh and other justices balked at claims that Roe is somehow untouchable due to the passage of 50 years. The 1896 ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, roughly 58 years after it was written; the court ruled that its Plessy decision was egregiously wrong — one in a long list of reversals celebrated today. This includes Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned prior precedent allowing the criminalization of homosexual relations. There is a major difference, though, between the oral arguments in Brown and those in Dobbs. In Brown, the court had extensive discussion of the constitutional foundation for the “separate but equal” doctrine; in the oral argument on Dobbs, there was comparably little substantive defense of the analysis in Roe or its successor case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  Indeed, the thrust of much of the pro-choice argument was that, even if Roe was incorrectly decided, it takes more than being wrong to overturn such an “established” precedent. When it was released, Roe was widely ridiculed as being extraconstitutional and excessive. That includes some who are now calling to pack of the Court criticized Roe. For example,  Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe objected  that “behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.” Even Justice Ginsburg once criticized it, declaring: “Roe, I believe, would have been more acceptable as a judicial decision if it had not gone beyond a ruling on the extreme statute before the court. … Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.” In the Dobbs hearing, Roe was the opinion that many wanted to preserve but few seemed willing to defend. Part of the problem is that Roe died long ago. In Casey, the Supreme Court gutted Roe and adopted a new standard barring state actions that impose “an undue burden” on abortions. So it is hard to tell what precedent is being defended as “established” beyond a de facto right to abortion. Moreover, Casey was a mere plurality, and the court has often split 5-4 on later abortion cases. While defending abortion as a “liberty interest,” efforts to explore the actual basis for Roe were largely brushed aside. Even when justices tried to push pro-choice advocates to defend the key “viability” standard, counsel defended it as a “principled” or “workable” line but did not actually say how it was constitutionally compelled. That seems odd, since this case is about whether Mississippi can impose a 15-week limit. (The United States is one of only seven among the world’s 198 countries that allow abortions after 20 weeks.) It appeared particularly frustrating to Chief Justice John Roberts, who finally stated: “Viability, it seems to me, doesn’t have anything to do with choice. If it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?” He never received an answer, and the pro-choice counsel effectively declined to offer a meaningful alternative test when it was repeatedly requested by the justices. Likewise, rather than defending the analysis underlying Roe, most legal commentators prefer to attack justices as ideologues for questioning such “established precedent.” Even Sotomayor portrayed the arguments against abortion as little more than a “religious view,” a statement that is wildly off-base and ignores the many secular critics of Roe as a legal case or of abortion as a medical practice. Others picked up on that theme, and one law professor demanded that Barrett recuse herself because of her own religious beliefs. It was a continuation of the disgraceful attacks on Barrett’s faith during her confirmation hearing by senators like Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). That is the problem with both politics and mendacity: They are a stench that one tends to smell only in others — and tends to be more pungent when one is in dissent. There is no problem with changing one’s rationale for reproductive rights, or even changing one’s views on constitutional interpretations; that is part of honest intellectual development. However, the mere fact that a case is constitutional precedent — or even “super precedent,” according to some — is no substitute for constitutional principle. Breyer and Sotomayor are known for often profound, detailed opinions. I expect both will ably defend reproductive rights in Dobbs, even if they do not defend the actual analysis in Roe. But Roe should stand or fall on constitutional merits — not on feigned outrage over changing constitutional precedent. Tyler Durden Sun, 12/05/2021 - 17:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 5th, 2021

Mitch McConnell would eliminate the filibuster if he was in Democrats" shoes, Jim Acosta says

"If Mitch McConnell were in their shoes, what would he do? Given what we know, would we see him letting the filibuster stand?" Acosta said on Saturday. CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta speaks outside US District Court in Washington, DC, on November 16, 2018.Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images When he led the Senate, Mitch McConnell broke norms by blocking Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee. McConnell led the vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Court in 2020, reversing course. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta said that Democrats should think like McConnell and end the filibuster. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta said Saturday that Democrats have been out-maneuvered by US Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, an architect of a conservative-leaning Supreme Court that appears open to upholding a 15-week Mississippi abortion ban in a major case that would gut Roe v. Wade."If Mitch McConnell were in their shoes, what would he do?" Acosta said. "Given what we know, would we see him letting the filibuster stand? Is the filibuster more important than election rights and women's rights? Is it more important than the lives of our teenagers, the safety of our schools?"During the segment, Acosta outlined how the electoral college gave Trump the presidency, as well as the opportunity to nominate three Supreme Court justices during his term: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.He also recounted McConnell's strategy to pack the court with conservative justices, including his obstruction of President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, who would have filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court after the death of former Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. While McConnell insisted that the vacancy could not be filled during an election year, four years later he would lead the vote to nominate Coney Barrett to the court days before the 2020 election."Even though Americans have largely chosen Democrats for the presidency over the last three decades, a new hard-right Supreme Court appears poised to turn back the clock to the 1970s," Acosta said. "This has created the scenario where the minority views on a whole range of hot-button issues could carry the day for a generation."—Acyn (@Acyn) December 4, 2021Acosta also cited Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who warned earlier this week that overturning Roe v. Wade would create a "stench in Washington.""Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception, that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don't see how it is possible," Sotomayor said. "If people actually believe that it's all political, how will we survive? How will the Court survive?"The court will hand down a decision by next June on the Mississippi case concerning abortion rights. If the justices decide to overturn Roe v. Wade, at least 12 states will immediately impose near-total bans on abortion.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: SCOTUS seems likely to undercut Roe

And some Republicans are threatening a government shutdown over vaccine mandates. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:The Supreme Court seems open to undermining Roe v. WadeRepublicans may shut down the government over vaccine mandatesElizabeth Holmes' emotional testimony may have saved herProtesters, demonstrators, and activists in front of the US Supreme Court on Wednesday.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images1. AT THE SUPREME COURT: Justices appear ready to fundamentally change abortion rights in the US by reversing one of the major parts of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.Here are some of the major takeaways from oral arguments:None of the court's conservative justices appear to want the status quo: The Mississippi law that would prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks is a direct challenge to an underpinning of Roe that prohibits states from outlawing abortions before the point of fetal viability, roughly 22 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy, The Washington Post reports. Justices' comments seem to strongly indicate that line will be moved.Key quote: "Why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked during oral arguments yesterday. Roberts, who is viewed as the most moderate of the court's six conservative justices, said Mississippi's 15-week deadline was not a "dramatic departure" from Roe's red line.And some are ready to ditch Roe entirely: Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch asked questions that strongly indicated they saw no middle ground on the topic, The New York Times reports. Meaning, they would like the court to overturn Roe entirely and allow states to determine the extent of abortion bans. Just years ago, some considered it far-fetched that Roe would be completely overturned.Here's what would happen then: Many states have laws in the books that would automatically limit access to abortion once allowed by the courts. Twelve states have so-called trigger laws that would explicitly ban most abortions. Others such as Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan have currently unenforced abortion bans that predate Roe.The spotlight is on Justice Brett Kavanaugh: During his contentious confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh told senators that Roe was "settled as precedent." During oral arguments, Kavanaugh appeared to differ from those remarks, The Post reports.More details: At one point, he cited a list of instances in which prior courts had ruled against precedent, including Brown v. Board, when a unanimous court overruled the "separate but equal" doctrine that had shielded segregation for generations.2. A top aide to Vice President Kamala Harris is leaving: Symone Sanders, Harris' chief spokesperson and senior advisor, is leaving Harris' office at the end of the year, Politico reports. It's not immediately clear where Sanders will go, but she is set to be the second high-profile staffer to leave the vice president's office after a tumultuous first year. More on what's happening in Harris' orbit.3. Republicans may shut down the government over vaccine mandates: A small group of GOP senators and House Republicans are threatening to derail a government-funding bill over a push to include amendments defunding the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Their effort is reminiscent of the 2013 government shutdown when Republican lawmakers dug in their heels in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act only to cave when Democrats and President Barack Obama refused to acquiesce to their demands. Here's where talks stand ahead of Friday night's deadline.4. First US Omicron case is detected in California: The University of California at San Francisco spotted the case in an infected traveler, an adult under age 50, who had returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for the coronavirus on November 29. The person is said to be fully vaccinated with "mild symptoms that are improving." More on the news.A police road block restricting access to Oxford High School after a shooting Tuesday in Oxford, Michigan.Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images5. Prosecutors may charge the parents of the Michigan school-shooting suspect: Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said prosecutors expected to charge the suspect, identified as Ethan Crumbley, with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of felony firearm possession. She added that evidence indicated the shooting was planned. Authorities say Crumbley's father just last Friday purchased the pistol used in the shooting. Here's what else we're learning about what happened.6. Meadows says Trump tested positive for coronavirus before his chaotic first debate with Biden: Former President Donald Trump lashed out at his former chief of staff Mark Meadows over Meadows' claim that Trump tested positive on September 26, three days before his indoor, in-person presidential debate with Joe Biden, and later tested negative. Meadows also writes in his new book that Trump's doctor Sean Conley instructed the president's team to stop Trump from traveling to a campaign rally. Instead, Trump went ahead with his plans as scheduled and later talked to reporters on Air Force One without wearing a mask. Trump also went ahead with an event for Gold Star families, an event he later blamed with infecting him.7. Biden is preparing to extend a mask mandate for air travel: The White House is expected to extend a federal mandate for travelers in the US to wear face coverings on planes, trains, and buses, as well as in airports and other transit stations, Reuters reports. Here's how else things are changing in the face of the Omicron variant.8. Alec Baldwin says he never pulled the trigger before fatal shooting: "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them," Baldwin told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, his first sit-down interview since the deadly incident on the set of his Western "Rust." Baldwin said he had "no idea" how a real bullet, something experienced Hollywood hands have said should never be on a film set, was in his gun. More from Baldwin's interview.Vicki Behringer9. Elizabeth Holmes' testimony may have saved her: Holmes, the embattled Theranos founder, and one of her top lawyers, Kevin Downey, "spent four days in court singing a pitch-perfect duet that attempted to portray her as the biggest victim of the company she founded," Adam Lashinsky wrote for Insider. Her tearful appearance didn't change the case against her, he said, but did exploit her skill as a storyteller — and could be enough to sway the jury.10. MLB has begun its first work stoppage in decades: America's national pastime is facing an uncertain future after owners locked out players early Thursday morning following the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement, the Associated Press reports. Until now, the sport had experienced labor peace for over 26 years. Here's where things stand as spring training and opening day are under threat.Today's trivia question: Speaking of MLB, who is the only person to have been elected to both the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the US Senate? It just so happens this person was instrumental in the history of the MLB players' union too. Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: Henry Clay became secretary of state after the closely contested election of 1824. Andrew Jackson cried foul and rode his cries of a "corrupt bargain" straight into the White House. Historians still debate how explicit any backroom dealing was at the time.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2021

Doctors" scrubs and fetal photos: Protesters and counterprotesters gather as Supreme Court debates major abortion case

"Women are strong enough," one woman who opposes the right to an abortion told Insider. "This is not the right thing to do." Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Jacquelyn Martin/AP Protestors and counter-protestors gathered outside the Supreme Court as they began hearing arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Wednesday.  Those who oppose abortion said "every human being is equal in value" and "elective abortion is always wrong."  Abortion rights supporters said they "believe in the right to choose" and think their "view is not going to be represented."  As the Supreme Court hears arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Wednesday — a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade — protestors and counter-protestors gather to demonstrate.Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Andrew Harnik/APDobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, centers on a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Insider reported.The standard set in Roe v. Wade in 1973 said that states cannot prohibit abortion before roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy, the point when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, commonly referred to as viability.According to Insider, the Supreme Court seemed open to upholding the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. Arguments in the case — which could ultimately overturn or curtail abortion rights established in Roe v. Wade — started at The Supreme Court on Wednesday.   Abortion opponents chanted "hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go" outside of the Supreme Court.Anti-abortion protesters wear shirts that read "I am the Pro-Life Generation" as they demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Andrew Harnik/APBoth abortion opponents and abortion-rights advocates gathered outside of the Supreme Court Wednesday morning to demonstrate as arguments began in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Wednesday. One group that opposes abortion said they believe "every human being is equal in value."Anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Jacquelyn Martin/APLexie Hall from Created Equal told Insider's Bryan Metzger she is "here today to represent the preborn who has lost their lives to abortion.""We think it is always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being," she said. "Therefore, elective abortion is always wrong." She described "preborn" as a person who has lost their life to abortion who hasn't been born yet. "So that's the message we want to get across today. And we just want to say, well, yes, women are strong enough. They don't have to have abortions. This is not the right thing to do, and it's not the necessary thing to do as well," Hall told Insider. Hall said she is interested in speaking to people from both sides of the argument because her group's "whole thing" is to talk to people "who we don't agree with to have constructive dialogue."Some abortion opponents attended the protest in doctors uniforms.Anti-abortion protesters wearing doctors uniforms pray together in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Andrew Harnik/APMembers of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists also attended the protest. Dr. Christina Francis, the Chair of the Board told Insider that she believes that life begins at the moment of fertilization. "As physicians, we stand against abortion," she said. She, along with 80 abortion-opposed medical professionals joined the demonstration outside the Supreme Court Wednesday. "We're here to support the state of Mississippi and their very reasonable law that limits abortion after 15 weeks," Francis said.Her group believes that abortions in the second or third trimester of pregnancy are dangerous for women getting the procedure. "We're here because we care about our patients," Francis said, explaining that women deserve to be "empowered with information" and to understand all of the risks that come along with having an abortion. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists was founded in 1973 in response to the Roe v. Wade decision made that year. "If the justices listen to the science, they will make the right decision to support life."  Protesters who support the right to abortion also visited the Supreme Court.Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Andrew Harnik/AP"We believe in the right to choose," Betsy Malcolm from the New York group Rise and Resist told Insider. She said that while people who support abortion "represent the majority of Americans," she is "very pessimistic" about the case because she believes the Supreme Court has become a very "partisan organization" that does not represent the whole of the country. "Our view is not going to be represented, which is fundamentally unconstitutional," Malcom said. Sandy Radoff, another member of the group, told Insider: "I believe it's very hypocritical of the pro-life side when they are pro-life and anti-abortion but they are also anti-paid family leave and anti-low cost childcare."Radoff added: "Representatives are against everything that would make it easier, especially for poor women to care for these children that they want to have born."Amnesty International attended the protests to "fight for human rights for all."Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Jacquelyn Martin/APMonica Griffin, a fundraiser for Amnesty International, told Insider her group protested alongside abortion-rights advocates to "fight for human rights for all." When asked about whether she thinks Roe v. Wade will be overturned, she said "I feel very optimistic it's not going to get turned down but I am incredibly disappointed that this is something that we still have today."She continued: "I feel like it's too big of a stance for them to take. I feel like if they created this stance, the ripple effects wouldn't end today.""I'm not here to entertain people's views that I don't agree with," she said. "I'm not here to argue with anybody.""I am the face of the thirteen-year-old girl who was raped and taken for an abortion," one protester who opposes abortions told Insider.Anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.Jose Luis Magana/APSerena Dyksen, an abortion opponent and member of  She Found His Grace Abortion Recovery, told Insider that she was raped by her uncle when she was 13 and abortion was her only option. "It didn't undo my rape," she said. "It only prolonged my trauma process." She said when she meets people who are "pro-abortion," she shares her story and offers them resources.   Demonstrators who did not stay in the designated protest area were arrested by the DC Capitol Police.Protesters, demonstrators and activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesAfter three warnings, the Capitol Police began to arrest protestors that were "Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding in an area where protesting is prohibited," according to a Tweet. "This does not affect the lawful demonstrators who are in front of the U.S. Supreme Court," the Capitol Police said. These protestors were blocking Constitution Avenue in DC, according to ABC7 reporter Tom Roussey. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021

Supreme Court appears open to upholding a 15-week Mississippi abortion ban in a major case that could gut Roe v. Wade

Mississippi has asked the nation's highest court to overrule the 1973 landmark ruling on abortion rights, Roe v. Wade. Protesters, demonstrators and activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard nearly two hours of arguments on the biggest abortion challenge before the court in decades. Mississippi has asked the court to uphold its law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade. The court's conservative justices seemed open to Mississippi's position. The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed open to upholding a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi in a major case whose decision could ultimately overturn or curtail abortion rights established in the landmark 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, centers on a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That's ahead of the standard set in Roe, which declared that states cannot prohibit abortion before roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy, the point when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, commonly referred to as viability.Mississippi has asked the nation's highest court to overrule Roe, as well as another major 1992 abortion decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which established that states cannot impose an "undue burden" on abortion rights.Scott Stewart, Mississippi's solicitor general, opened his arguments on Wednesday by ripping into the decades-old rulings."They're damaged the democratic process. They've poisoned the law. They've choked up compromise," he said. "No where else does this court recognize a right to end human life."During nearly two hours of oral arguments, the justices grappled with the potential implications of a future without Roe and Casey. The court's conservative justices, through their questioning, appeared inclined to go somewhat in that direction.Conservative Justice Samuel Alito questioned the viability mark and argued that "the fetus has an interest in having a life.""On the other side, the fetus has an interest in having a life," he said. That doesn't change, does it, from the point before viability to the point after viability?"The Center for Reproductive Rights' Julie Rikelman, defending Mississippi's sole abortion provider, Jackson Women's Health Organization, responded: "In some people's view it doesn't, your honor, but what the court said is that those philosophical differences couldn't be resolved."Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, also raised the interests of fetal life versus a pregnant woman on Wednesday."You can't accommodate both interests. You have to pick. That's the fundamental problem," he said. "One interest has to prevail over the other at any given point in time, and that's why this is so challenging."Kavanaugh also pointed out a series of decisions in which the court overturned precedent, including ending school segregation and legalizing same-sex marriage, and questioned the role of the court."If we think that the prior precedents are seriously wrong, if that, why then doesn't the history of this court's practice with respect to those cases tell us that the right answer is actually a return to the position of neutrality?" Kavanaugh asked. "Why should this court be the arbiter rather than Congress?" On the other end of the ideological spectrum, the court's liberals, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, questioned Mississippi's position that the right to an abortion is not embedded in the Constitution."There is so much that is not in the Constitution," Sotomayor said. "There is not anything in the Constitution that says that the court, the Supreme Court, is the last word on what the Constitution means.""We have recognized that sense of privacy in people's choices about whether to use contraception or not. We recognize that in their right to choose who they want to marry," she added. "I fear none of those things are written in the Constitution."The court will hand down a decision on the closely watched case by next June. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021

Mike Pence is fundraising off a SCOTUS challenge to Roe v. Wade after calling for the law to be sent to the "ash heap of history"

Pence asked in a fundraising email for "devoted conservatives" to join him in the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade and "defend life." Former Vice President Mike Pence has been outspoken about his pro-life, anti-abortion stance.Sean Rayford/Getty Images Mike Pence is fundraising off a SCOTUS hearing this week that substantially challenges Roe v. Wade. Pence's team sent a fundraising email calling for "devoted conservatives" to contribute to his fund. "The pro-life movement is alive and well and is facing its biggest challenge yet," wrote Pence in a rallying call to supporters. Former Vice President Mike Pence is sending out fundraising materials on the eve of a Supreme Court hearing challenging Roe v. Wade. Pence's fundraising email was sent one day before the SCOTUS is due to hear what is projected to be the most substantial challenge to Roe v. Wade in decades — a case brought by Mississippi that is attempting to overturn the 1973 landmark ruling.Pence's team at Advancing American Freedom, a 501 (c) (4) organization for which he is the founder, sent out a fundraising email titled "will you pray with me?" on Tuesday night. "On the eve of oral arguments for a landmark decision in the Supreme Court, I shared a message of hope because NOW is our opportunity. The pro-life movement is alive and well and is facing its biggest challenge yet..." Pence wrote in the email."Now is the moment. For the tides to turn. For history to be corrected. I ask devoted conservatives like you—what kind of nation do you want to be in the balance of the 21st century? A nation that comes alongside women in their hour of need that defends life? Or a nation that leaves the unborn defenseless?" Pence wrote. "I think I know that true patriots like you want to see this nation make the RIGHT choice," he added. The fundraising email as seen by Insider came with a link under a button labeled "Defend Life," which linked out to a donation site centered around a pro-life message.  Pence has been outspoken in his anti-abortion stance but has ramped up his efforts to galvanize the pro-life movement over the last week. At an event at the National Press Club on Tuesday, he said: "The truth is nothing has been more destabilizing in our society for the last 50 years than legalized abortion." "Today, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in those hallowed halls, we are here to declare with one voice 'no more,'" Pence said at the same event, asking the SCOTUS justices to send legalized abortion to the "ash heap of history.""Life is winning in America, but now we need life to win in the highest court in the land," he added. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 30th, 2021

Locked & Loaded: Supreme Court Is Ready To Take Aim At The Second Amendment

Locked & Loaded: Supreme Court Is Ready To Take Aim At The Second Amendment Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the Hill on the makings of a blockbuster case in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the first major gun rights case before the Supreme Court in ten years.  Justices have been openly discussing a case to push back on lower courts that have been chipping away at its Second Amendment jurisprudence. They found that case with a strikingly familiar plaintiff. Here is the column: In the movie “True Grit,” federal marshal Rooster Cogburn is asked if the gun that he brandished at a crime scene was loaded. Cogburn, played by John Wayne, dryly responds, “A gun that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothing.” Something similar might be said of a Supreme Court docket, particularly when there is a Second Amendment case that could prove one of the most impactful decisions of the term. The court will soon take up New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, more than a decade after its last major gun rights decision. The case promises to be a showdown between the Supreme Court and lower courts, which have been chipping away at the high court’s prior Second Amendment rulings. In 2008, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, recognizing the Second Amendment as encompassing an individual right to bear arms. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states. The new case concerns concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts have upheld the New York law, but there are ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” The case presents a single short, direct question — whether New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment. The high court has been carefully waiting for just the right case to address states and cities that have sought to limit gun rights. Indeed, just this week, the court turned down a challenge of a Wisconsin law imposing a lifetime ban on gun ownership for former felons, including cases involving nonviolent crimes. That and other cases seemed tailor-made for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote a strong defense of the Second Amendment in a similar case as an appellate judge. It often is difficult to determine which side of the court supplied the votes to grant review in a case. That is not the situation here. The New York case was clearly accepted by conservative justices with a mind toward reversal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. The selection of a New York case is particularly poignant. Some of the justices were none too pleased with the Big Apple last year when city officials suddenly sought to withdraw a case on the court’s docket. New York politicians had passed a law that many of us viewed as unconstitutional, with its imposition of burdensome limits on the transportation of lawful guns from homes. Those politicians publicly thumped their chests about going to the Supreme Court with the law and limiting the Second Amendment precedent; professing absolute confidence, they litigated the law, and, again, the 2nd Circuit supported the dubious statute. The Supreme Court accepted the case for review and was expected to overturn the law — until New York suddenly changed the law and then quietly sought to withdraw its case before any ruling. The court ultimately dismissed the case but did so over the objections of three dissenting justices. It was a rare instance in which the court resisted such a mootness ruling after a party sought to withdraw — but, then, few litigants have had the temerity to do what New York did. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas specifically called out New York for “manipulating” the docket by withdrawing an unconstitutional law just before a final opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined in the condemnation and added menacingly that “some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court.” The court then did precisely that, by accepting a case with the very same plaintiffs: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. On this occasion, however, the court is unlikely to tolerate another bait-and-switch by state officials trying to withdraw the case at the last minute. If those four justices are still intent on pushing back on lower courts, they need only Chief Justice John Roberts or Barrett to hand down a major ruling in favor of gun rights. The briefs filed in the case include groups such the Cato Institute, which directly confronted the court about it being legally absent without leave on gun rights for more than a decade. Cato has argued that judicial “inaction has contributed to the Second Amendment’s demise. It’s no secret that many federal courts have engaged in systematic resistance to Heller and McDonald.” Many point to the court’s statement in Heller, which acknowledged that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It then listed possible “sensitive places” for denying permits to former felons. Lower courts limiting gun rights have repeated those lines like a mantra, and the high court appears poised to bring clarity to that ambiguity. Bruen has many of the same elements as Heller, including a rich historical discussion of what gun ownership has meant through history. Notably, English subjects in the American colonies were the first to receive written guarantees of the right to bear arms for self-defense; settlers of the Virginia colony in 1607 and the New England colony in 1620 were subjects under royal charters recognizing that right. In England, the right to bear arms was formally declared in the 1689 Declaration of Rights that stated that the right to arms was among the subjects’ “true, ancient and indubitable rights.” That history will weigh heavily in the court defining the right of people to carry weapons in self-defense outside of the home. In many ways, Bruen is the shot not taken last year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York. Now the same plaintiffs are back, and New York has supplied another perfect case for the expansion of gun rights. So if you are wondering if Bruen is loaded, at least four justices are likely to agree that a Second Amendment case “that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothing.” Tyler Durden Mon, 10/18/2021 - 19:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 18th, 2021

Biden"s Supreme Court commission is "divided" on whether expanding the court is a good idea

The commissioners "are divided on whether court expansion would be wise," they wrote in their draft report. The Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite President Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday. Interim findings show the commissioners were divided on a proposal to expand the size of the court. The commission will release its final report next month. President Joe Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday, ahead of its final report due next month. The commissioners wrote they are "divided" on whether a reform proposal that has sparked national debate, adding more justices to the nine-member bench, "would be wise."Biden introduced the idea of a presidential commission to study the court while he was on the 2020 campaign trail, as liberal activists and some Democrats urged him to consider expanding the number of justices to ensure that it's ideologically balanced. Biden has never publicly embraced that idea.It's "likely that a 'balanced bench' would continue to produce a significant number of divided results in contested cases, even on an evenly divided Court, keeping the Court at the center of charged political debates, for better or worse," the draft report said.The commissioners note that the conversation to expand the size of the court stems from 2016, when Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's court nominee. Garland was going to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died that February, nine months before the upcoming election. But the seat was filled in April 2017 by Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. McConnell has said it was the "single most consequential" decision he's made in his decades-long public career.Since then, Democrats have also criticized last year's swift confirmation process of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was added to the bench a little over a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and around a week before the 2020 presidential election. The move went against the wishes of Ginsburg herself, who wanted her successor to be chosen by whoever won the election.The commissioners wrote that "rather than calm the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, expansion could further degrade the confirmation process. There could be significant battles over any Justice added by a Court expansion measure."However, one court reform proposal that commissioners said has gained "bipartisan support" is setting term limits for justices, who currently serve lifetime appointments."The United States is the only major constitutional democracy in the world that has neither a retirement age nor a fixed term of years for its high court Justices," the draft report said.The draft comes as the new Supreme Court term is underway, with the justices considering a number of explosive cases, including challenges to abortion rights and gun laws.Biden will weigh in on the commission's report once its finalized in mid-November, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday during a press briefing. The commission aims to provide an "assessment" and not a "recommendation" on court reforms, she added.In April, Biden established the 36-member commission made up of a bipartisan group of legal scholars, advocates, former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court. The group has engaged in lengthy discussions over the course of three meetings to examine court reform proposals, as well as other areas of the court, including its role in the Constitution and how the justices select cases and review them. They will hold their final meeting on Friday.Critics, mainly Republicans, have blasted the proposal of adding more justices to the bench as "court packing." Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest member, has also repeatedly cautioned against the reform, warning that such a move could erode public faith in the institution."One party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and people will lose trust in the court," Breyer told Fox News last month. The commissioners in their draft materials also pointed out the importance of maintaining the legitimacy and independence of the federal judiciary, writing that the court's "standing with the public and government officials have long been regarded as crucial to the institution."The court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority after former President Donald Trump appointed three new justices to the bench. McConnell has signaled that he'll likely block a potential Supreme Court nominee from Biden if Republicans take back control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.The comments prompted liberals to amplify calls for Justice Breyer to retire immediately, so that Biden may choose a replacement while Democrats still hold the Senate. Breyer, 83, has not announced any plans to step down.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Biden"s Supreme Court commission is "divided" on whether expanding the court is the right move

The commissioners "are divided on whether court expansion would be wise," they wrote in their draft report. The Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite President Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday. Interim findings show the commissioners were divided on a proposal to expand the size of the court. The commission will release its final report next month. President Joe Biden's commission to study Supreme Court reforms released draft materials on Thursday, ahead of its final report due next month. The commissioners wrote they are "divided" on whether a reform proposal that has sparked national debate, adding more justices to the nine-member bench, "would be wise."Biden introduced the idea of a presidential commission to study the court while he was on the 2020 campaign trail, as liberal activists and some Democrats urged him to consider expanding the number of justices to ensure that it's ideologically balanced. Biden has never publicly embraced that idea.It's "likely that a 'balanced bench' would continue to produce a significant number of divided results in contested cases, even on an evenly divided Court, keeping the Court at the center of charged political debates, for better or worse," the draft report said.The commissioners note that the conversation to expand the size of the court stems from 2016, when Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's court nominee. Garland was going to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died that February, nine months before the upcoming election. But the seat was filled in April 2017 by Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. McConnell has said it was the "single most consequential" decision he's made in his decades-long public career.Since then, Democrats have also criticized last year's swift confirmation process of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was added to the bench a little over a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and around a week before the 2020 presidential election. The move went against the wishes of Ginsburg herself, who wanted her successor to be chosen by whoever won the election.The commissioners wrote that "rather than calm the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court, expansion could further degrade the confirmation process. There could be significant battles over any Justice added by a Court expansion measure."However, one court reform proposal that commissioners said has gained "bipartisan support" is setting term limits for justices, who currently serve lifetime appointments."The United States is the only major constitutional democracy in the world that has neither a retirement age nor a fixed term of years for its high court Justices," the draft report said.The draft comes as the new Supreme Court term is underway, with the justices considering a number of explosive cases, including challenges to abortion rights and gun laws.Biden will weigh in on the commission's report once its finalized in mid-November, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday during a press briefing. The commission aims to provide an "assessment" and not a "recommendation" on court reforms, she added.In April, Biden established the 36-member commission made up of a bipartisan group of legal scholars, advocates, former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court. The group has engaged in lengthy discussions over the course of three meetings to examine court reform proposals, as well as other areas of the court, including its role in the Constitution and how the justices select cases and review them. They will hold their final meeting on Friday.Critics, mainly Republicans, have blasted the proposal of adding more justices to the bench as "court packing." Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest member, has also repeatedly cautioned against the reform, warning that such a move could erode public faith in the institution."One party could do it, I guess another party could do it. On the surface, it seems to me that you start changing these things around, and people will lose trust in the court," Breyer told Fox News last month. The commissioners in their draft materials also pointed out the importance of maintaining the legitimacy and independence of the federal judiciary, writing that the court's "standing with the public and government officials have long been regarded as crucial to the institution."The court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority after former President Donald Trump appointed three new justices to the bench. McConnell has signaled that he'll likely block a potential Supreme Court nominee from Biden if Republicans take back control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.The comments prompted liberals to amplify calls for Justice Breyer to retire immediately, so that Biden may choose a replacement while Democrats still hold the Senate. Breyer, 83, has not announced any plans to step down.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021