We’re officially in the final days of Roe v. Wade
A leaked draft opinion shows the Supreme Court is primed to allow states to criminalize abortion care — a move that will imperil low-income and nonwhite pregnant people the most.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
It happened in an instant: Twitter went from a stream of quick-witted fashion commentary on the Met Gala red carpet to a torrent of distressed reaction to a bombshell report that the Supreme Court this summer stands poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that protects a person’s right to choose to have an abortion, this summer.
The decision was revealed in a draft majority opinion written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, circulated inside the court and obtained by Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward of Politico.
If true, the decision would be a stunning and infuriating rejection of almost five decades of precedent. And the ruling would do little to make abortions less frequent, as the anti-abortion movement says is their ambition. Instead, obtaining abortion care would become dangerous for low-income and nonwhite pregnant people.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito wrote in the document in reference to the two landmark cases that ruled the right to an abortion was constitutionally protected. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Justice Alito is referring to the states in this context. But despite eight in 10 Americans who think abortion should be legal and nearly 70 percent of people who do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion would immediately become illegal in 13 states if Alito and four other conservative justices prevail as it appears they will.
Supercreator has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the document. It is also unclear if the document has been or will be amended or accepted prior to the announcement of a final decision in late June or early July. Politico did not explain how it obtained or authenticated the draft opinion. In an internal note to its newsroom, executive editor Dafna Linzer and editor-in-chief Matthew Kaminski wrote that Politico published the unprecedented view into the justices’ deliberations because it’s of public interest.
“Our journalism speaks for itself,” Linzer and Kaminski wrote. “And that’s no different here.”
A spokesperson for the Supreme Court did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Abortion care is obviously health care. But America is especially crooked in the fact that a powerful movement wants to ban abortion without guaranteeing paid family leave, universal child care, gender pay equity or a litany of other social services that inform whether a pregnant person is economically suited to bring a baby to term.
Economic implications aside though, it’s also an election year. And few issues are as divisive as abortion.
So as expected, several Democratic politicians and activists issued full-throated endorsements of eliminating the filibuster, a legislative mechanism that requires 60 votes to pass most bills, so Senate Democrats can codify abortion care with a simple majority. But the reality is that Democrats, even without the filibuster, currently lack the 50 votes to make the right to abortion care the law.
Some honesty about this could help manage people’s expectations and organize voters around the hard work of electing more Democrats this fall instead of hoping the same elected officials who refused to make an exception to pass voting rights, raise taxes on the wealthy or save kids from falling back into poverty will find a moral cause in preserving a person’s right to choose.
Ahead of the Politico scoop, three major advocacy groups — Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List — on Monday announced a $150 million investment to support pro-choice candidates in the 2022 midterms this November.
The organizations will run their own programs but the groups say their expression of solidarity is a response to the unprecedented attacks on sexual and reproductive rights and abortion rights across the country and raise voters' awareness of the lawmakers who are to blame.
“With a direct challenge to Roe before the Supreme Court and a coordinated effort by extremist politicians across the country to block abortion access, our fundamental rights face an existential crisis,” Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. “Electing lawmakers who will ferociously fight for reproductive freedom is essential to ensuring that we’re prepared for what comes next, and that’s exactly why we’re joining our partners in this critical, unprecedented effort.”
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TODAY IN POLITICS
President Biden this morning will travel to Alabama to visit a manufacturer of weapons systems that his administration is providing to Ukraine in the war against Russia. Then he will speak on his request to Congress for $33 billion in additional funding for additional Ukrainian aid. Biden will return to the White House this evening.
Vice President Harris is back to work in person after testing negative for COVID-19. Her office said she will wear a well-fitting mask while around others for 10 days, per CDC guidelines. This evening, she will speak at an event for EMILY’s List.
The House is out.
The Senate is in and will continue debate on a nominee to lead the Treasury Department’s Financial Markets office.
IN THE KNOW
— New York City moved into the medium-risk category for virus transmission in a development that could trigger the return of public health restrictions. Case levels in New York and around the country are probably much higher than the official statistics because many residents are testing at home and positive at-home tests are not typically included in official tallies. (Sharon Otterman and Emma G. Fitzsimmons / NYT)
— The Department of Energy announced $3.16 billion in funding to make more batteries and components in America and compete in the global lithium-ion market in the upcoming decade. The funds are from a $7 billion investment in the battery supply chain from the bipartisan infrastructure law President Biden signed last November.
— A judge ruled that a lawsuit seeking reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre could to move forward after the defendants sought a motion to dismiss the case. An attorney for the plaintiffs said the decision means America could be held accountable for a previous injustice and could lay the groundwork for similar cases in the future. (Amir Vera, Omar Jimenez, Ashley Killough and Leonel Mendez / CNN)
— A 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department was convicted by a federal grand jury of assaulting an officer during the US Capitol riot. He was the first Capitol riot to be tried on an assault charge and the first to argue self-defense. (Michael Kunzelman / AP News)
— The Supreme ruled that Boston violated the First Amendment rights of a group seeking to briefly raise a Christian flag atop a city flagpole outside of City Hall as a part of a city program celebrating Boston’s greater community in 2018. The decision was unanimous but three conservative justices said they had different reasons for ruling against Boston. (Ariane de Vogue, Tierney Sneed and Devan Cole / CNN)
— Republican Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee announced a pause in state executions to complete an independent review into the lethal injection process. The investigation comes after testing procedures for a set execution last month weren’t followed. (Dakin Andone and Tina Burnside / CNN)
— The California Assembly is holding a hearing for a bill that would make tech companies pay damages for the harm their social apps cause children. If passed, the bill would make California the first state to pass a law designed to protect children from addiction to social apps. (Common Sense Media and The Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego’s School of Law)
— The European Union accused Apple of abusing its dominant position in mobile wallets on iOS by excluding rivals from Apple Pay. The behavior, according to the EU, “leads to less innovation and less choice for consumers for mobile wallets on iPhones.” (James Vincent / The Verge)
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Avery Connolly on why we should put therapists in charge of prisons and jails:
People with serious mental illness are booked into jails in the U.S. about 2 million times a year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, effectively making jails and prisons among the nation’s largest mental health facilities. Yet health care professionals who work in corrections will tell you they are visitors in someone else’s home—keeping on their best behavior, so as to be invited back. Simply questioning the logic of a security policy from a health care perspective could get you flagged as a threat to security operations and escorted out of the building, with no invitation to return. The result is a precarious dynamic in which mental health care professionals lack authority, and security officials are making health care decisions they’re unqualified to take on. To move carceral health care from triage to treatment, mental health professionals need to occupy leadership roles at the administrative level, where top-down decision-making can translate to bottom-up change.
Stephen Noonoo on the pandemic mental health crisis causing teachers to quit:
For months, advocacy groups—including the National Education Association, the country’s largest union—have been driving home the point that teachers are not OK. In January, when the NEA polled more than 3,000 of its teachers, nearly all of them said burnout is a serious problem, and more than half indicated plans to leave teaching earlier than expected. The last time the association surveyed its teachers, back in August, only 37 percent were looking to leave. Most favored simple fixes like hiring more teachers, adding more mental health support for students, and, of course, raising pay, which is generally abysmal for teachers.
Researchers have even coined a term—the “teacher pay penalty”—to refer to the fact that the average teacher earns about 20 percent less than accountants, journalists, inspectors, and computer engineers—professions that require a similarskill set and education. In a RAND survey of nearly a thousand former public school teachers, nearly two-thirds of those who left during the pandemic said their salary was a factor.
If Republicans have reasons to feel paranoid about liberal companies stomping on their values, Democrats certainly have reasons to feel paranoid about conservative lawmakers flirting with authoritarianism as revenge. Looking around at their political leadership, Democrats are bereft. The president is feckless, the Senate is pathetic, the House of Representatives is powerless, and the courts are strewn with Republican appointees. What lever of power is left? The cultural lever. This is the context in which LGBTQ Disney employees find it necessary to urge their executive team to act as their proxy army in Florida politics.
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