The supreme court will issue batches of opinions next week on Tuesday and Thursday, and, as always, the justices could release decisions on any of the cases before them, including one that could overturn abortion rights.
The nation’s highest court isn’t alone in considering abortion rights. Earlier today, the Iowa supreme court issued a ruling that would make it easier for the state to curtail or ban the procedure outright, according to the Associated Press:
The court, now composed almost entirely of Republican appointees, concluded that a less conservative court wrongly decided that abortion is among the fundamental privacy rights guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution and federal law.
Friday’s ruling comes amid expectations that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Then Iowa lawmakers could ban abortion in the state without completing the lengthy process of amending the state constitution.
The Iowa decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed by abortion providers who challenged a 2020 law that required a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could get an abortion. A judge who struck down the law cited the state high court’s 2018 ruling. The judge also concluded the law violated rules prohibiting passage of bills with more than one subject.
Meanwhile in Kansas, voters will in August be asked to decide on a new amendment to the state constitution that would also allow lawmakers in the conservative state to ban abortion. The Kansas City Star has a good report on how groups supporting and opposing the amendment are crafting their campaigns to attract moderate voters:
One of the first two TV ads aimed at defeating an anti-abortion amendment in Kansas doesn’t use the word abortion once.
“Kansans don’t want another government mandate,” the ad, titled “mandate” says while a photo of a church closure sign flashes across the screen.
The ad was released Wednesday morning by Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, a coalition of advocacy organizations and abortion providers fighting the amendment, alongside an additional 30-second spot that mentions abortion once —but only in the context of rape, incest and life of the mother.
Hours later Kansans for Life, one of the leading organizations fighting for passage of the amendment, distanced itself from its national affiliate after the organization published model legislation that would ban abortion in nearly all instances.
“In the event Roe v. Wade is overturned, states will have a significant opportunity to protect the unborn,” James Bopp, Jr., general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, said in a statement.
“In doing so, it is important that such states not only prohibit illegal abortions, but also employ a robust enforcement regime, so that these laws are sure to be enforced.”
Then there are those who refuse to cooperate with the January 6 committee, such as Peter Navarro, a former top adviser on trade to Trump. He’s just pleaded not guilty to two charges of contempt of Congress over his refusal to provide documents or testify to the House panel, Reuters reports.
Navarro was indicted and taken into custody earlier this month on the charges, despite his insistence that executive privilege protected him from cooperating with the probe.
As The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell has reported:
Navarro was referred to the justice department for criminal contempt of Congress by the full House of Representatives in April after he entirely ignored a subpoena issued to him in February demanding that he produce documents and appear for a deposition.
The top White House trade adviser to Trump was deeply involved in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election from the very start, the Guardian has previously reported, deputizing his aides to help produce reports on largely debunked claims of election fraud.
Navarro was also in touch with Trump’s legal team led by Rudy Giuliani and operatives working from a Trump “war room” at the Willard hotel in Washington to stop Biden’s election certification from taking place on January 6 – a plan he christened the “Green Bay Sweep”.
He spoke slowly and at times haltingly, but noted conservative jurist J Michael Luttig offered some of the harshest condemnations and direst warnings at yesterday’s January 6 committee hearings.
In fact, most of his toughest words were actually written down in the opening statement he sent to the committee before the hearing, which was not read during its televised session.
The Washington Post has a good rundown of Luttig’s arguments, both from that statement and from his testimony:
He spared few in public life. Though he is clear about Trump’s role in starting the war over the 2020 election that erupted into violence, he sees the broader internal political divisions, the war that preceded the insurrection, as the end result of the conduct of virtually the entire class of elected officials and their allies. In his telling, this war was “conceived and instigated from our nation’s capital … [and] cynically prosecuted by them to fever pitch, now to the point that they have recklessly put America herself at stake.”
Luttig described America as “adrift” and said he prays that it is only for a fleeting moment in the long span of American history. But his diagnosis of what he called “an immoral war” is frightening in its implications. He wrote: “We Americans no longer agree on what is right or wrong, what is to be valued and what is not, what is acceptable behavior and not, and what is and is not tolerable discourse in civilized society.”
Americans cannot agree on how to be governed or by whom or on a set of shared values, beliefs and goals. The attack that Trump instigated, he argued, was a natural “and foreseeable culmination” of the broader war for America. Trump was prepared to execute a plan to overturn the election to cling to power “that the American people had decided to confer upon his successor.”
The partner of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, has a message for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Speaking on CNN following Thursday’s hearing of the House committee investigating the attack, Sandra Garza took the couple to task for not speaking up as Trump made clear his plans for that day.
Yes, it’s hard to stand up to a family member, a father, a father in law, but you could have done something. You could have avoided the bloodshed that took place, including the suicides that took place after.
You can watch the interview here.
It’s Biden’s White House today, but yesterday’s January 6 committee hearing made clear that things could have turned out very different that day in 2021 if Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence had decided to act differently, as my colleague Joan E Greve reports.
The January 6 select committee showed on Thursday that Mike Pence withstood an intense pressure campaign from Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s advisers repeatedly tried to convince Pence to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory on January 6, even after they themselves acknowledged that there was no constitutional basis for the vice-president to do so.
Pence ultimately refused to interfere with the certification process, despite facing threats to his personal safety from Trump’s supporters who stormed the Capitol. But if Pence had acquiesced to Trump’s demands, the US could have faced an unprecedented constitutional crisis, the committee warned on Thursday.
There was a lot in Biden’s interview with the Associated Press, which was in and of itself notable for happening at all, since the president doesn’t sit down with reporters that often.
Biden retold the story of how the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and then-president Trump’s response to it, spurred him to jump into the 2020 race:
I made a commitment and I think I can say that I’ve never broken, if I make a commitment. I wasn’t going to run again, this time. I mean for real. I was not going to run. I just lost my son, I was teaching at Penn, I liked it, until all those guys came, come out of the woods …
BIDEN: … the Charlottesville folks and this other guy said “good people on both sides” when an innocent woman was killed, etc. And, I made a decision. I’ve been doing this too long to do anything other than to try to do what was right.
He went on to defend the America Rescue Plan, his $1.9 trillion spending bill signed last year which is the subject of debate among economists over the degree to which it has contributed to the economy’s current overheating.
Zero evidence of that. Zero evidence of that, number one. Number two, we’ve reduced the deficit by $350 billion last year. We reduced the deficit by a trillion, 700 billion this year. We grow the economy. Today, today, we have more people employed than, in a long, long time and we gained another 8.6 million jobs. And guess what? We still have hundreds of thousands of job openings.
Finally, he acknowledged that the fallout from the death, job losses and disruptions to normal life caused by Covid-19 had damaged the national psyche:
Think about what it’s like for the graduating classes of the last three years. No proms. No graduation. No, no, none of the things that celebrate who we are. Think about it across the board. How isolated we’ve become. How separated we’ve become. Even practical questions like, you know, can you go out on a date? I mean (inaudible) the normal socialization, how does that take place? There’s overwhelming evidence it’s had a profound impact on the psyche of parents, children, across the board. And we lost a million people.
And nine for every, according to a study, of those million people, nine significant family or close friends were left alive after they’re gone.
AP: So you’re talking about a country that has undergone profound psychological trauma.
AP: What can you as a president do to address that psychology …
BIDEN: Be confident.
AP: … to make people feel more optimistic. Be confident?
BIDEN: Be confident. Be confident. Because I am confident. We are better positioned than any country in the world to own the second quarter of the 21st century. That’s not hyperbole. That’s a fact.
Good morning, US politics blog readers. What does Joe Biden want his presidency’s legacy to be? It’s a question worth asking, given the many challenges facing his White House, and a hint into Biden’s thinking was revealed during an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday. “I’d say to the American people I’ve done foreign policy my whole career. I’m convinced that if we let Russia roll and Putin roll, he wouldn’t stop,” the president said. Perhaps seeing Russia defeated in Ukraine is the answer.
America’s support for Ukraine isn’t all that’s on the agenda in Washington today: