‘RIP Roe v. Wade’: Legal experts warn on SCOTUS decision to take up ‘biggest abortion case in more than a generation’
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday morning announced it will take up a Mississippi case that bans abortion after 15 weeks. Legal experts say with a 6-3 conservative majority, and after years of right wing pressure including spending tens of millions of dollars to get those conservatives onto the Court, Americans are likely to see the end to women's right to choose to have an abortion.
SCOTUSblog says the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, "could be the biggest abortion case in more than a generation."
The Mississippi case is clearly unconstitutional, based on the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, as The New York Times notes today:
Judge Carlton W. Reeves of Federal District Court in Jackson, Miss., blocked the law in 2018, saying the legal issue was straightforward and questioning the state lawmakers' motives.
“The state chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade," Judge Reeves wrote. “This court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature."
Many conservative groups spent a tremendous amount of money to get America to the point where the Supreme Court would overturn what its own justices have said is "settled law." Tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
Slate's Mark Joseph Stern explains why this is likely the end.
"There is no split in the lower courts over a state's ability to ban abortion at 15 weeks (or earlier)," he says via Twitter. "It seems likely that the Supreme Court took this case to change the rule."
And he suggests, as have others, that conservatives on the court waited until they had a strong majority to take up this case.
"The Supreme Court has sat on Dobbs since September 2020. There was clearly a battle behind the scenes between the justices over the decision to take this case. It is an extraordinarily ominous sign for reproductive rights that the anti-abortion faction apparently won out."
Stern says "the court may effectively greenlight total bans on abortion. Reproductive rights advocates have been dreading this day for a long time."
Other legal experts agree that a woman's right to have an abortion is likely nearing the end.
Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman, who now teaches constitutional law at the University of California Los Angeles and San Diego, and is an LA Times Legal Affairs Columnist, says this is a "Frontal assault on constitutional reproductive rights."
Lower courts said the law was plainly unconstitutional under Roe, which forbids states from banning abortions before fetal viability. Mississippi district court called issue “straightforward." Frontal assault on constitutional reproductive rights.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) May 17, 2021
Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America:
Breaking: #SCOTUS to hear direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Never forget that McConnell and others mocked us and gaslit us through the Kavanaugh fight for claiming that legal abortion was in jeopardy. They knew. They lied. We knew. We fought. And we're so far from done fighting.
— Ilyse Hogue (@ilyseh) May 17, 2021
"It is clear," Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman says, the Supreme Court "will erode Roe. Kavanaugh is likely the decisive vote whether to overturn Roe."
Stern says the conservative justices "seem ready to end Roe head-on," and Barrett is the reason:
To be clear, the Supreme Court is only poised to overturn Roe because of Amy Coney Barrett. Roberts sided with the liberals in a 5–4 abortion decision last summer (albeit begrudgingly and with qualifications). With Barrett's confirmation, the court flipped against Roe and Casey.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 17, 2021
Vox Senior Correspondent Ian Millhiser, author of two books on the Supreme Court, sums it up succinctly:
RIP Roe v. Wadehttps://t.co/7OtvlCMBKk
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) May 17, 2021
'Matt Gaetz is about to go through some things': Social media reacts to guilty plea by GOP lawmaker's pal
An associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and other charges after agreeing to cooperate with investigators, and social media users hoped that might spell legal trouble for the lawmaker.
Joel Greenberg entered a guilty plea Monday morning on six charges and agreed to assist prosecutors in other cases, including an investigation against Gaetz -- one of the most polarizing figures in politics.
Matt Gaetz is about to go through some things.— finely GET VACCINATED ✍️ (@finely GET VACCINATED ✍️)1621264655.0
@KaivanShroff So how long now until Matt Gaetz is arrested? #MattGaetzIsGoingToPrison— • Bull • (@• Bull •)1621264886.0
There’s no way Greenberg would get this deal if he wasn’t bringing Gaetz down with him. https://t.co/EmpNeHd1v9— John T (@John T)1621264628.0
I wonder if Gaetz’ll have the same smile on his face when he goes up the river for statutory rape https://t.co/fMUf9Dd5qV— Gary Michael Shephard (@Gary Michael Shephard)1621264649.0
@TheRickWilson All I want from Matt Gaetz is that I get to see that "Jim Bakker" moment with the handcuffs and the Crying lol— Jerry Beaudoin (@Jerry Beaudoin)1621264653.0
@JudiciaryGOP So Liz cheney get censured for voting to impeach former guy but Matt Gaetz can have a sexual relation… https://t.co/56rL5bvopN— DIALLO PHILIPO (@DIALLO PHILIPO)1621264885.0
@funder Let's get ready to roll (on Gaetz).— District 9 (@District 9)1621264882.0
👇👇Let’s hope Gaetz pays the price. https://t.co/LDLYDdEwtO— CeCe (@CeCe)1621264877.0
@AdrienneLaw I woke up in a GREAT mood, this morning, because I’M NOT MATT GAETZ.— 𝐌𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐡 (@𝐌𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐡)1621264875.0
@kylegriffin1 Golly, I hope this doesn't interrupt Matt Gaetz's current tour. We would all just hate to see him get… https://t.co/m3Feog2KH4— Michael (@Michael)1621264874.0
@BettyBowers “But I’m rich and know people!!” - Matt gaetz as they’re dragging him out in handcuffs— Jeff Fallert (@Jeff Fallert)1621264868.0
how it started how it’s going https://t.co/TkYXM0CTC0— KTYGraphics cartoonist🇺🇸✍🏻 (@KTYGraphics cartoonist🇺🇸✍🏻)1621264119.0
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney hit the Sunday shows to reiterate her position that former President Donald Trump is a danger to the republic. It's impossible to argue with her on this particular issue. If there is going to be a popular front to fight the GOP's crude usurpation of democracy, it's going to take people like Liz Cheney to join up. Unfortunately, there aren't many of them left in the Republican Party.
CBS News released a poll over the weekend that showed 80% of Republican voters back the GOP's decision to oust Cheney from her House leadership position. A majority of Republican voters believe she doesn't have the right message, that she isn't supportive enough of their maximum leader, and that she's wrong about the 2020 election. 34% of them believe that "disloyalty should be punished" (a phrase that sounds better in the original German.) 66% believe that being loyal to the whiny loser Trump is "important." And they are more or less split on whether the GOP strategy going forward should be to try to get more voters with policies or ideas or whether they should just change the voting rules. Seriously.
The good news is that there is a small rump, 20%, that thinks there should be room in the Republican party for different views or agree with Cheney that Trump lost the election. Unfortunately, they also happen to be the least likely to vote in the primary elections which means that only full-blown Trump cultists will be deciding who becomes the face of the GOP. Cheney's got a very heavy burden to turn any of that around.
It's clear though that there is some discomfort among certain Republican officials who jumped on the Trump train and now have to defend it. Granted, they are few and far between as most Republicans are more than happy to just flagrantly lie or openly defend the indefensible. Take for instance Andrew Clyde, the Republican congressman from Georgia who claimed in a House hearing last week that the violent mob that stormed Capitol on January 6th was not staging an insurrection and could have been mistaken for tourists:
People like Clyde do not suffer from emotions like shame or embarrassment.
But there are some who have a bit of a difficult time completely relinquishing any claim to reason or truth so they attempt to finesse their Trumpism with a rational dialog about why it's important to let bygones be bygones. One such Republican appears to be Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw. He has tried to make a reputation for himself as a "reasonable" Republican, famously appearing on Saturday Night Live to demonstrate his generous absolution for a crude joke about him that missed. He appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday and ran up against an uncharacteristically aggressive Chuck Todd. It didn't go well:
He can run but he can't hide. Crenshaw's insipid insistence that the party just has a "disagreement" about the election being met with Chuck Todd going back in his face with "there's not a disagreement about the facts so do any of your critiques come across as credible if you can't accept the fundamental fact that our democracy held a free and fair election?" is not something I ever expected to see — but it sure is welcome.
Crenshaw was spouting the party line that says Republicans want to "move on" from all of the unpleasantness over the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection so that they can concentrate on "policy" and I'm sure many of them would love to change the subject and just quietly work on suppressing as many votes as possible without all the hoopla. But, as Todd pointed out, Donald Trump and his ecstatic followers are obsessed with "the Big Steal" and there is no escaping that fact.
Crenshaw is obviously ambitious and recognizes that this Trump folly could easily go sideways and if he plans to ascend to higher office he wants to be prepared to go in whatever direction that requires. He's from Texas so it's unlikely that his Trumpist leanings will hurt him too much. But what of Blue State Republicans who might want to run state-wide in the future?
Elise Stefanik, R-NY, the very determined congresswoman who took Cheney's place in the House leadership conference demonstrated an impressive pirouette from "moderate" to hardcore, Trumper which isn't very challenging in today's party. (They don't care about much of anything as long as you show undying fealty to their undisputed leader.) But there's another politician from New York who is making a bid for governor and is currently twisting himself into a pretzel trying to spin the other way and finesse his years of delirious Trump worship in a state Joe Biden won by 23% points.
Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island came to Congress in 2015 as a standard-issue law and order Republican New Yorker. But he became one of Trump's staunchest defenders from the moment he took office and stuck with him through thick and thin. He was a designated point man during the first impeachment, thrilling the president by calling the process a "charade" and a "clown show" and proudly becoming the congressman who spoke more in the impeachment depositions than any other Republican, at least 550 times according to NBC:
His attempts to steer the depositions away from Trump's conduct and toward a host of tangential matters— including the Biden family, a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, and even the witnesses' own credibility — have driven counsel for multiple witnesses to their wit's end.
Zeldin stuck with the president all the way through the post-election denialism, even issuing this dark warning on January 2nd:
Of course, he also voted against certifying the election.
Zeldin is now trying to walk back his Trump sycophancy and it's almost comical. He told Newsday:
"So, you had tens of millions of people that came out and voted for each of the candidates. Their votes were counted. They're counted once, and you ended up with an outcome. And that's how President Trump, uh … President Biden became the president, was by winning the November 2020 election."
"I believe in our country and the sanctity of our process, and I'm not going to participate in calling elections illegitimate ever. This isn't a Third World country, and it will tear our country apart if we end up living our lives and calling elections in the past illegitimate."
Evidently, he thinks he will be able to convince people that there is a different Lee Zeldin out there who used to say exactly the opposite of everything he's saying now.
Will it work?
Contradicting everything you've ever said and acting as if it's perfectly normal resulted in a nice promotion for his fellow New Yorker Stefanik so who knows? Maybe GOP politics are now so surreal that you can literally reinvent yourself from one month to the next without ever being held accountable for anything. How convenient?
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