Day 524: "Bedrock constitutional principles."
1/ A Louisiana judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a statewide “trigger law” ban on abortion, allowing the state’s three remaining abortion clinics to continue operating. Louisiana is one of 13 states that had trigger laws on the books in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. In several states, including Louisiana, those laws took effect immediately, halting abortion care across the state. The order followed a lawsuit by abortion providers alleging that the state’s “trigger” bans are “vague” because they don’t have a “clear and unambiguous effective date” and “lack adequate standing for enforceability.” A hearing is pending next week. (Axios / CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post / The Hill)
- 📌 Day 521: In a historic reversal, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion after 49 years. The 6-to-3 decision to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban follows the leak of a draft opinion in May indicating that the court was poised to overturn Roe, which first declared a constitutional right to abortion, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which re-affirmed that right in 1992. The ruling leaves states free to restrict or ban abortions. At least 26 states – where roughly 33 million women of child-bearing age live – are expected to ban or restrict abortions, including battleground states like Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which have pre-Roe bans on abortion on the books. Georgia has a six-week ban in place. More than a quarter of the country’s 790 abortion clinics are estimated to close, and women in those states will have to travel an average of 552 miles to access the medical procedure.
2/ Attorney General Merrick Garland indicated that the Justice Department will protect the right to seek abortions across state lines, calling the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade “a devastating blow to reproductive freedom.” Garland said “bedrock constitutional principles” protect a women’s rights to seek reproductive care, and that the “Constitution continues to restrict states’ authority to ban reproductive services provided outside their borders.” Both Texas and Oklahoma recently passed abortion bans that allow private citizens to sue people who perform abortions or who otherwise help someone get one. In Texas, lawmakers have signaled that they want to make it illegal for people to travel out of state to get the procedure. In his concurring opinion, however, Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that women who travel to another state to receive an abortion would be protected by the constitutional right to interstate travel. Garland also said the department is “ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care,” noting that the FDA has approved the use of Mifepristone and that states cannot ban the medication based on disagreement with the FDA’s judgment. (Bloomberg / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)
3/ A coalition of 22 state attorneys general reaffirmed their commitment to defending abortion rights and expanding access to reproductive care in their states. “If you seek access to abortion and reproductive health care, we’re committed to using the full force of the law to support you,” the attorneys general wrote. “We will continue to use all legal tools at our disposal to fight for your rights and stand up for our laws,” they wrote. The coalition is comprised of the attorneys general of New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. “When it comes to abortion care,” they wrote, “it’s your body and your right to choose.” (CNN / New York Times)
4/ Justice Clarence Thomas indicated that he believes the Supreme Court should reconsider defamation laws as the court declined to revisit the First Amendment decision in New York Times v. Sullivan – a landmark 1964 ruling that set a high bar for public figures to sue news organizations for libel. The Coral Ridge Ministries Media unsuccessfully sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling it as a “hate group” for broadcasting a television program that describes homosexuality as “lawless,” “an abomination,” “vile,” “against nature,” “profane,” and “shameful.” Thomas was the only justice to say he would have heard the case, saying the “actual malice” standard established by Sullivan has “allowed media organizations and interest groups to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.” (Axios / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
5/ The Jan. 6 committee unexpectedly scheduled a hearing for Tuesday to present “recently obtained evidence” and take witness testimony. The committee did not reveal the witness list or topic but said it would “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony.” The committee previously said the next set of hearings would take place when Congress returns from its two-week July Fourth recess, sometime in mid-July. Tuesday’s hearing starts at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be the panel’s sixth hearing this month. (NBC News / New York Times / CNN / CNBC / Washington Post)
6/ More than 1 million voters from 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year compared to about 630,000 who became Democrats. While Trump was in office, Democrats enjoyed a slight edge in the number of party switchers nationwide. (Associated Press)
poll/ 59% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, including 67% of women. 78% of Republicans were in favor of the decision, 83% of Democrats disapproved. (Bloomberg / NPR)
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