Category Archives: elections

Dobbs 1. Egregiously Wrong

As expected, the Republican Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and for the first time in history took away a right the American people believed they had. The vote in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was six to three. The case challenged a Mississippi law that in effect changed the deadline for getting an abortion to 15 weeks. The standard set previously by decisions in Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey was 23 weeks.

The six voting to uphold the Mississippi law were the Republican appointees to the Court. Five of the six, Chief Justice John Roberts not going along, decided to go further than Mississippi asked. Ignoring the tradition of keeping their ruling as narrow as possible, the majority of five decided in addition to upholding the Mississippi law they would rule that the entire doctrine in Roe and Casey should be overturned as improperly decided in 1973. That strips American women of their right to control their own bodies and determine the course of their own health care.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, did not deviate much from Alito’s original draft, circulated weeks ago in a dramatic leak from the Court. It is clear Alito relished his assignment, writing, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” adding, the reasoning in Roe “was exceptionally weak.” The key points:

  • The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.
  • Roe and Casey are overruled.
  • The authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.

There is a lot to unpack here so let’s get on with it. First, there is no surprise. Decades ago, Republicans decided Evangelical Christians were an essential part of their base. They have been pandering to them ever since. This is the one issue at the top of the Evangelical’s wish list, and they are thrilled Roe has been overturned.

Senator Republican leader Mitch McConnell has made overturning Roe his life’s crusade. He calls the Dobbs decision, “courageous and correct.” McConnell, aided and abetted in the last chapter of the saga by Donald Trump, who praised Dobbs, got three right wing conservatives on the bench during Trump’s one and only, so far, term. He first deprived President Barack Obama of a nominee by refusing, for nearly a year, the longest delay in history, to consider Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to succeed Anton Scalia.

McConnell then hypocritically rammed through the Senate the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by Trump to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before the 2020 election. While Democrats dicker and negotiate amongst themselves, Republicans believe the end justifies the means. They don’t care how hypocritical their position is or who they hurt. And they win.

If you think the Dobbs decision is correct. Then you can go ahead and celebrate. This column is for those who do not. If you want to assign blame, start by looking in the mirror. Every single voter who just couldn’t bring themselves to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in 2016 is to blame. You voted for a monster, or at least, by sitting on the sidelines, allowed a monster to occupy the Oval Office. We are still fighting the destruction Trump left in his wake.

And if you don’t think the Republicans appealed to those with racist motives, watch first-term Republican Representative Mary Miller of east-central Illinois thank Trump for “the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.” Later, a campaign aide said she meant to say, “right to life,” but misspoke. Just days after taking office in January 2021, Miller was facing calls for her resignation after she cited Adolf Hitler in a speech to a conservative women’s group in referring to the political indoctrination of youths.

You have to put some blame on the notorious Ginsburg herself. She should have resigned, giving a Democrat the opportunity to name her successor. It must be very painful for a justice of the Supreme Court to have to consider such things. But that is where we are today. Justice Stephen Breyer, who joined in the Dobbs dissent and wrote the dissent in the New York gun law case, has resigned effective at the almost upon us end of term.

Breyer will be succeeded by Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Breyer is in good health, but the 83-year-old resigned now rather than having to retire due to health reasons after the 2022 election, when the Democrats may well lose control of the Senate. For that Breyer is a hero. Ginzburg, who died at the age of eighty-seven while still on the bench, was a multiple cancer survivor who was obviously in poor health. She resisted many calls to step down. Her death allowed the conservative Republicans to gain their sixth seat and change the balance of the court, dooming Roe.

A special shout out in the blame game goes to Joe Manchin, the Senator from West Virginia who runs as a Democrat, votes as a Republican and in general acts as though he is the most important person in the country. Manchin has acted repeatedly since the start of President Joe Biden’s term in office to block the progressive legislation Biden promised and the American people, by a margin of more than seven million votes, said they wanted. In 2018, the last time he ran for election, Manchin won 290,510 votes. Only 586,034 people voted in the whole damn state of West Virginia.

Manchin was one of only three Democrats to vote to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, who stole Garland’s seat and the only Democrat who voted to confirm the incompetent drunk Brett Kavanaugh. Both voted to overturn Roe after testifying that they believed the case was settled legal precedent during their confirmation hearings.

Manchin tweeted he is “deeply disappointed” in the Court’s decision:

“I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.”

While Manchin now says he would support legislation to codify the rights guaranteed by Roe into law, he voted last month against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have enshrined abortion protections into federal law, arguing the bill would have gone too far. You can get whiplash following Manchin around Washington.

But when it comes to mealy-mouthed wishy-washy oratory it is hard to beat the Senator from Maine, Susan Collins. The self-proclaimed moderate Republican, who always seems to vote the hard right line, is also upset. She also voted to confirm Trumps’s right-wing judges proclaiming to all who would listen, which means about every television camera in Washington, that she had gotten their support for a women’s right to choose.

Collins is in hiding someplace but her office has issued a statement on the Dobbs decision:

“The Supreme Court has abandoned a fifty-year precedent at a time that the country is desperate for stability. This ill-considered action will further divide the country at a moment when, more than ever in modern times, we need the Court to show both consistency and restraint. Throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative. It is a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to political chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government.

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon.”

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me over and over again, maybe I’d better admit that I’m the fool. When will the people of Maine stop sending us Senator Collins?

To be continued….

#####

In Memoriam

Memorial Day, along with Veterans Day, are the days on which we honor the men and women in uniform who have given their lives to defend our nation. I have always had respect for those who wear the uniform. And I wonder if I would have been able to show their courage and dedication had I been called to do so.

I mean no disrespect, and I certainly hope our soldiers and veterans will not think ill of me, but I find myself moved to commandeer their day to mark another memorial and to write, for what seems the umpteenth time, about a mass killing in America. The twenty-one souls whose faces appear at the top of this columns died at the hands of an eighteen-year-old killer at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Read more

First Amendment Hypocrites

It was the end of the term, 2014, when the headlines blared, “Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Clinic ‘Buffer Zone’ Law. At issue was a Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot zone around clinics that provided abortion services. Both supporters and opponents of abortion rights were not allowed within that buffer zone, where some were harassing women going in and coming out while others tried to shield and protect them.

Read more

Republicans Engage in “Legitimate Political Discourse”

There was a time when our two major political parties took policy matters seriously. I remember my first political convention, the Democratic meeting in Miami in 1972 which nominated George McGovern to face, and be pummeled by, the incumbent Richard Nixon. One of the things that impressed a then young reporter was the work of the platform committee.

The committee met and considered the issues of the day. They heard presentations, took testimony, and in the end voted on a position to take. At first, I wondered how valuable the exercise was. While the platform represented a compromise position so the party could say what it stood for, it could not bind all its members. And with opposition when it came time to govern, there is no way to expect the positions of the platform committee to translate directly into policy.

Read more

Want to Steal the 2024 Election?

It may not be likely that Republicans will steal the 2024 Presidential Election, but it is certainly possible. A new paper by a Yale Law School expert in election law, Professor Matthew Seligman, says all it would take is a single corrupt Republican governor and a Republican controlled House of Representatives. Anyone want to bet that won’t happen?

Let’s make something clear here. I am not generating an ambiguous set of facts. I’m dealing with the universe where a fair and legal election, as determined by state election officials and courts, has occurred, been reviewed, certified and the results have been published. None the less, a Republican majority in the House of Representatives votes to challenge the Electoral College votes from a state and that state’s governor, without any legal authority, then sends to Congress an “alternate” set of EC votes, changing the outcome of the election for President of the United States.

Read more

Tids and Bits


Thirty years. Ten billion dollars. Launching on Christmas morning, the Webb telescope is finally off the earth and on its way to a point in space one million miles away where it will point its eighteen gold-plated mirrors into deep space, hoping to look back in time to the beginning of the universe. The Webb is far more sensitive, especially at the low infrared radiation frequencies than the Hubble Space Telescope. It is hoped it will succeed and surpass that amazing instrument to study the formation of the universe and the most distant worlds. It will take about six months to maneuver into position and be calibrated, ready for its first observations. Bon Voyage Webb.

Read more

The First Monday in October

The first Monday in October does not get a special note on most calendars, unless you are in the government or parts of the legal profession. This is the day the Supreme Court of the United States usually begins its term. And this term is expected to be more notable than most for the government’s least visible branch.

The expectations are probably the reason several of the usually reticent judges who sit on the court have been unusually public in their comments and complaints in recent weeks following a three month “recess” which was also unusual for the amount of news it made.

Read more
« Older Entries