WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Interior Department, U.S. Representative Deb Haaland, secured backing from a moderate Republican senator on Wednesday, further paving her way to confirmation. The support from Senator Susan Collins of Maine comes one week after West Virginia's Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he would vote to confirm Haaland, who is poised to become the nation's first Native American in a presidential Cabinet post. Their backing is key in the 50-50 split U.S. Senate, in which Biden needs every Democrat on board to push his nominees throug...
Republican elected officials absence at a Washington, DC rally for those arrested after the January 6th rallies was noticed by those who did attend, the Washington Times reported Saturday.
""Where's McCarthy? Where's McConnell? They're all useless," one demonstrator yelled, referring to the GOP leaders in the House and Senate.
"They're cowards because they're not standing up for those constitutional rights," Steve Merkel of Baltimore said. "They're supposed to be protected. I call them political animals who are afraid of bad media coverage."
The newspaper noted several Republicans who have defended those arrested for January 6th but did not attend.
"GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Bob Good of Virginia are a handful of members who have raised concerns about the conditions of the District jail, which houses dozens of rioters," the newspaper reported.
While over 600 people have been arrested for January 6th, Capitol Police estimated the turnout at the "Justice for J6" rally at 400 to 450 people.
While no Republican officials attended, two GOP congressional candidates — Mike Collins and Joe Kent — did attend.
Trump was scheduled to attend a golf tournament in New Jersey.
Advocates for reproductive freedom and LGTBQ+ equality on Saturday pointed to a legal brief filed in a U.S. Supreme Court case that could soon overturn Roe v. Wade as a crucial example of the broader goals of those fighting to end abortion rights across the United States.
"It's never just been about fetuses. It's about controlling sex," tweeted Muhlenberg College assistant professor Jacqueline Antonovich, a historian of health and medicine.
Both Antonovich and Elie Mystal, The Nation's justice correspondent, responded to a portion of the brief flagged by New York University School of Law professor Melissa Murray that challenges previous rulings from the country's highest court on not only abortion but also LGBTQ+ rights.
"Of course" the so-called "right to life" movement is also coming after cases that established key LGBTQ+ protections, said Mystal, "because it's never about 'life' and always about 'Christian fundamentalism.'"
These attacks also show a callous disregard for the danger they put women and LGBTQ people in if they were to be su… https://t.co/pp2f8MwNMO— Mallory McMorrow (@Mallory McMorrow) 1631975115.0
The amicus brief (pdf) that Murray highlighted—co-authored by the architect of a new abortion ban in Texas—urges reversing Roe, the landmark 1973 ruling that affirmed the constitutional right to pre-viability abortions, and the related 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The brief also takes aim at Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case that overturned homophobic state sodomy laws, and the 2015 equal marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges, suggesting that the court should not "hesitate to write an opinion that leaves those decisions hanging by a thread. Lawrence and Obergefell, while far less hazardous to human life, are just as lawless as Roe."
Griswold v. Connecticut, decided in 1965, was the first in the Court's modern string of privacy cases, the bedrock… https://t.co/s9hwQEgBUe— Angus Johnston (@Angus Johnston) 1631977748.0
Zack Ford of the progressive group Alliance for Justice said Saturday that "this is hardly surprising. Conservatives know they've got the Supreme Court in the palm of their hands and they'll ask for anything and everything, including the return of sodomy laws. Remember, ALL anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice views stem from the same desire to control bodies."
The alarm over the brief—submitted for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case about a Mississippi abortion ban that the high court is set to hear this term—came exactly one year after the death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In the wake of Ginsburg's death, then-President Donald Trump nominated and the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate swiftly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's third appointee to the court—creating a supermajority of six right-wing justices.
In the last year, 560 abortion restrictions and bans have been introduced across the nation.— ACLU (@ACLU) 1631981273.0
The high court's majority sparked concerns about how justices will rule in the Mississippi case by letting a contested Texas law take effect earlier this month. Just one piece of a historic GOP assault on reproductive rights this year, Texas' Senate Bill 8 not only bans abortion at six weeks but also empowers anti-choice vigilantes to enforce it—which, as the U.S. Justice Department explained in its lawsuit challenging the measure, is an "unprecedented scheme" intended to make it harder to strike down in court.
The legal mind behind S.B. 8, Jonathan Mitchell, "has spent the last seven years honing a largely below-the-radar strategy of writing laws deliberately devised to make it much more difficult for the judicial system—particularly the Supreme Court—to thwart them," according to The New York Times.
A former Texas solicitor general and clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Mitchell also co-authored the legal brief attacking Lawrence and Obergefell. His brief for the group Texas Right to Life—just one of several anti-choice filings submitted to the high court in late July—also states that "women can 'control their reproductive lives' without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse.'"
As The Guardian reports, the brief adds that "one can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court's decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy."
While the Biden administration is taking on S.B. 8 in court and on Friday announced another series of actions intended to assist abortion seekers and providers in Texas, both the new ban and mounting concerns about the Mississippi case have provoked calls for the Democrat-controlled Congress to immediately expand the U.S. Supreme Court and codifying Roe.
Although congressional progressives in April introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021 (H.R. 2584/S. 1141), which would add four more justices to the Supreme Court, the measure has not advanced and its low co-sponsor numbers suggest that will not change during this session.
As for lawmakers reaffirming abortion rights nationwide, the U.S. House is set to vote on the Women's Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755/S. 1975) later this month. However, unless the evenly divided Senate abolishes the filibuster, it is unlikely to reach President Joe Biden.
"[Democrats] are allowing this year probably 2 million [immigrants], that's who we apprehended, maybe another million, into this country," Patrick said on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show. "At least in 18 years even if they all don't become citizens before then and can vote, in 18 years if every one of them has two or three children, you're talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters and they will thank the Democrats and Biden for bringing them here. Who do you think they're going to vote for?"
He said President Joe Biden and Democrats had begun a "silent revolution" to take over the country by winning over the votes of migrants.
"This is trying to take over our country without firing a shot," he added.
Patrick's rhetoric mirrors a far-right theory started in France known as the Great Replacement, which says that elites are replacing white populations with nonwhite populations through mass migration and demographic growth. These writings influenced the worst mass shooting of Hispanics in recent U.S. history in El Paso in 2019. The shooter, who killed 23 people and injured 23 others, ranted about a Hispanic invasion and told police he came to the city to kill Mexicans.
Patrick has repeatedly called the increase of migrants at the border an "invasion" throughout the year.
State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, who leads the House Democratic Caucus said blasted Patrick for his comments.
"These comments are not only vile, they are incendiary and dangerous," Turner said on Twitter. "Leaders have a responsibility to not incite with their words & actions - Patrick fails that test, again."
Patrick, a two-term Republican, was responding on Thursday to the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants — most of them from Haiti — who are waiting under an international bridge in Del Rio. The Caribbean country experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last month that destroyed thousands of homes.
State and federal government butted heads on how to handle the migrants' arrival, with Gov. Greg Abbott backpedaling on an order to close the ports of entry after U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency had not asked the state to do so. Abbott has blamed the Biden administration for the increase of migrants on the border this year.
Patrick told Ingraham the state received a "call for help" from U.S. Border Patrol, which led Abbott to order the closure of the ports of entry. A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said the agency had no information on Abbott's decision to close the ports.
"Then we found out that Border Patrol did not have permission from Homeland Security or the president, and so they came out and said 'No, we didn't say we needed any help. We didn't say that,'" Patrick said. "Someone in the administration flip-flopped on the issue, Texas did not take a back step."
Patrick urged Republican-led states to tell the White House they were being "invaded," adding that Democrat-led states did not care.
"This is not authorized by the state of Texas," he said. "It's not welcome by the state of Texas or any other Republican state that I know and they're not invited."
Patrick invoked Article IV of the Constitution, which guarantees states protection from invasion.
"What's a republican form of government? It's defined as a government that focuses on citizens running their government," he said. "We now will have illegals in this country denying citizens the right to run our government. Because our government, our representatives that we elect, can't even stop them from coming."
"This is denying us our government that's run by our citizens with illegals who are here who are going to take our education, our health care, all [of it]," he said. "This is selling out our country."
Join us Sept. 20-25 at the 2021 Texas Tribune Festival. Tickets are on sale now for this multi-day celebration of big, bold ideas about politics, public policy and the day's news, curated by The Texas Tribune's award-winning journalists. Learn more.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/09/17/texas-dan-patrick-immigrants-democrats-haitians/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month