Just in case you may have been led to believe that the pending U.S. Supreme Court challenge from Mississippi is a singular, heartfelt moral argument over abortion, a legal brief filed in the case last week attempts to broaden the challenge to an attack on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights as well.
Indeed, the argument from the guy who designed the recent Texas law that has all but banned abortions in that state is a broadside against judges making any decision not specifically in black ink of the Constitution.
The author of the brief is Jonathan Mitchell, a one-time clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, the former Texas Solicitor General and conservative attorney, who argues in the abortion case brief that not only is Roe v. Wade unconstitutional, but that the cases underscoring LGBTQ rights are "as lawless as
Roe" and should be eliminated.
So, the people who brought you anti-abortion laws now want to re-open gay rights – another settled legal precedent. Or so we have thought.
Judges Shouldn't Judge
As MSNBC's Jessica Levinson argues in a column last week, "After scoring an initial victory in their mission to eviscerate women's constitutionally protected right to obtain access to an abortion, some in the conservative movement have already explicitly moved on to attacking LGBTQ rights, which suggests they're gunning for all your constitutionally protected rights — at least those not dealing with guns."
Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, also the director of its Public Service Institute at Loyola Law School, co-director of Loyola's Journalist Law School and former president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, explains that Mitchell, who now runs his own one-man law firm, is dead set against both Roe and the cases governing same-sex rights because "they're based on judges, well, judging."
The same Jonathan Mitchell who is seeking termination of abortion as legally valid argues in his Mississippi abortion case challenge due for hearing in December that women can have no protected right to abortion because it was never written in the Constitution.
Further, in the same brief, Mitchell suggested he's coming for Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that laws that criminalize sodomy are unconstitutional, and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling in which the court concluded that the Constitution protects the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Mitchell describes these outcomes as creating "court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage." He concluded, "These 'rights,' like the right to abortion from Roe, are judicial concoctions, and there is no other source of law that can be invoked to salvage their existence."
One Man, One Influence
Apparently, it was the deeply religious Mitchell who advised Texas lawmakers to devise their anti-abortion law with a legal loophole – essentially giving enforcement powers to file damaging lawsuits to ordinary people rather than to state officials. With its ideological balance recast by Donald Trump, the Supreme Court refrained from blocking a new law in Texas that all but bans abortion — a potential turning point in the long-running fight over the procedure, as The New York Times explained.
Mitchell said that people should stop complaining about the Texas law he designed to restrict abortion because if women don't want to worry about needing an abortion, they can just stop having sex. Apparently, women should also not be raped or become victims of incest or use birth control.
Literalist Mitchell would say nothing governing such behaviors is written in the Constitution.
Likewise, the Constitution, brilliant as it may be among constitutional democracies, does not specifically grant rights to same-sex couples or lots of other issues. That's of course why we have judges and courts to apply broad principles to specific cases. Of course, one could argue the same about guns for use by anyone other than "regulated militias," but why insist on consistency?
The 14th Amendment guaranteeing citizen protections, cited to allow for Lawrence and Obergefell, talks of privileges and of equal rights against undue government restrictions. It doesn't include a list of those rights and leaves it to judges to err on the side of stopping undue intrusions.
Clearly Mitchell is among those who think judges have gone too far in interpreting the Constitution.
The point for today is that what is really at stake here goes well beyond the specific time-limitations of various state abortion laws or even the methods for enforcement. Hollowing out rights is a danger to democracy, and the same thinking that created the Texas abortion law is now being aimed at LGBTQ communities. You don't even have to squint to see equivalent concerns for transgender rights, voting rights, affirmative action, and civil rights of all kinds. Just whose rights are we protecting under these theories?
Who's the next target for these people?
A 'cartoonish' level of corruption: Kyrsten Sinema blasted for fundraising from business groups opposed to Dem agenda
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema faced blistering rebuke Monday following reports that the right-wing Arizona Democrat will solicit large campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists staunchly opposed to her party's flagship $3.5 trillion Build Back Better budget reconciliation package.
The New York Times reports Sinema is scheduled to host a Tuesday fundraiser with five influential business lobby groups. According to the paper:
Under Ms. Sinema's political logo, the influential National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the grocers' PAC, along with lobbyists for roofers and electrical contractors and a small business group called the S-Corp Political Action Committee, have invited association members to an undisclosed location on Tuesday afternoon for 45 minutes to write checks for between $1,000 and $5,800, payable to Sinema for Arizona.
These organizations vehemently oppose the Build Back Better bill, which Robert Yeakel, the director of government relations at the National Grocers Association, recently called a "laundry list of tax hikes."
Sinema also rejects the bill as proposed. Along with a small coterie of conservative Democrats including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, she has defied her party—and the wishes of a majority of U.S. voters—by rejecting the proposal's $3.5 trillion price tag.
"So Kyrsten Sinema is using the reconciliation fight to collect $5,800 checks from corporate PACs opposing the bill?" tweeted Sawyer Hackett, executive director of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro's People First Future PAC.
"Each of these PACs overwhelmingly support[s] Republicans over Democrats," Hackett added.
Sinema and others also came under fire over the weekend for opposing tax hikes on corporations and the super-rich to finance Democrats' reconciliation package, with Demand Progress campaign director Robert Cruickshank accusing right-wing Democrats of "carrying water for big corporations and billionaires who don't want their taxes to go up."
You only really need to know two things about the reconciliation battle: 1. It’s not a fight between progressives… https://t.co/0n0qrLfVpW— David Sirota (@David Sirota) 1632776350.0
As Sinema gets ready to collect checks from opponents of the Build Back Better bill, House Democrats are preparing to pass the sweeping social welfare, infrastructure, and climate measure later this week. House progressives are threatening to block bipartisan infrastructure legislation unless conservative Democrats support the full $3.5 trillion proposal.
"So Kyrsten Sinema is using the reconciliation fight to collect $5,800 checks from corporate PACs opposing the bill?"
—Sawyer Hackett, People First Future
On Saturday, The Daily Beast reported that the Arizona Democratic Party passed a resolution vowing that if Sinema "continues to delay, disrupt, or vote to gut the reconciliation package of its necessary funding" and keeps opposing filibuster reform, it will "go officially on record and will give Sen. Sinema a vote of no confidence."
Democratic organizer Kai Newkirk told The Daily Beast that "the Arizonans who did the work to elect Sinema have had enough of her betraying the voters who put her in office. It's time for her to show the bare minimum of accountability and stop obstructing the agenda that Democrats, including her, campaigned on and were elected to deliver."
"Sinema is setting her political future on fire," Newkirk added. "If she doesn't change course drastically and soon, it will be too late."
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is taking a page out of Donald Trump's book, hiring a an attorney who has represented convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. In 2020 Trump "poached" two Epstein attorneys, Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. According to The Daily Beast, the embattled Florida Republican Congressman hired another ex-Epstein attorney, one who has also defended the drug lord "El Chapo," as the Dept. of Justice investigation into Gaetz's alleged possible sex trafficking and sex with a minor grows.
"The probe has reportedly expanded from sexual misconduct to include campaign finance issues," The Independent reports.
"Quoting a "person familiar with the matter,' The Daily Beast reports that Marc Fernich is representing the campaign in connection with the investigation into the Republican Congressman," according to The Independent. That investigation "reportedly includes sex trafficking, prostitution, obstruction of justice, and campaign finance issues."
Gaetz has not been charged and denies any allegations.
Citing his "mastery of precedent," Fernich's website says that enables him "to construct subtle, novel and creative arguments that other attorneys may miss. These arguments can make potential winners out of seemingly hopeless cases, spelling the difference between victory and defeat."
It lists some of his "notable" clients, including former acting Gambino crime family boss John A. “Junior" Gotti and other "Alleged Crime Bosses"; "Alleged Cult Leader" Keith Raniere; and "Pharmaceutical Executive and Socialite Charged with Killing Allegedly Autistic Son," Gigi Jordan.
Under "notable clients," it also lists "Friends of Matt Gaetz, Campaign Committee for U.S. Congressman."
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