On Friday, the Supreme Court, a division of the Republican Party, issued their expected decision eliminating a woman’s choice on whether to maintain an unplanned pregnancy to term. Republican justices Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett voted to end the constitutional protection provided by the Roe v. Wade decision for 60 years.
In a dissenting opinion written by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, the dissenters wrote:
“With sorrow — for this court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.
But know this — this Court, full of extremist conservatives is just getting started. What Republicans have unleashed on this country is going to be devastating for the rights of people who don’t think, look, or live like they do.
Just think, if Hillary Clinton hadn’t mishandled those emails, our personal rights and freedoms wouldn’t be under attack. American voters have to do better, but it’ll likely have to be up to white voters to make that change. Minorities are likely to have their right to vote severely restricted in the coming years.
Maybe President Biden should seriously consider demands to ‘pack the court.’
After the 3rd hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, the simple question that seems to come more clearly into focus is — did he or didn’t he fulfill the oath of his office as outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:
Article II, Section 1, 8 of the Constitution of the United States
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Predictably, Alito argues that abortion rights are unconstitutional because they aren’t specifically mentioned in the constitution. Lepore points out that the women were of little or no concern to the men who drafted the document, and in fact, for all intents and purposes of the drafters, weren’t considered “persons.”
Women are indeed missing from the Constitution, as Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion suggests. That’s a problem to remedy, not a precedent to honor.
Lepore continues by pointing out:
There were no women among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
There were no women among the hundreds of people who participated in ratifying conventions in the states.
There were no women judges.
There were no women legislators.
At the time of the Constitutional Convention, women could neither hold office nor run for office, and, except in New Jersey, and then only fleetingly, women could not vote.
In light of the shocking release of a draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Senator Susan Collins said yesterday that the draft opinion was completely inconsistent with what Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh “said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office.” Of course, since 2017 lying by high government officials is no longer considered improper.
Back in 2018, during consideration of the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, Collins spoke on several issues she confidently understood Kavanaugh’s position. On the issue of abortion and the importance of precedent, Collin’s speech included this:
There has also been considerable focus on the future of abortion rights based on the concern that Judge Kavanaugh would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protecting this right is important to me. To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article 3 of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent is not just a judicial policy, it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent. In other words, precedent isn’t a goal or an aspiration. It is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances.
The judge further explained that precedent provides stability, predictability, reliance and fairness. There are, of course, rare and extraordinary times where the Supreme Court would rightly overturn a precedent. The most famous example was when the Supreme Court in Brown vs. The Board of Education overruled Plessy vs. Ferguson, correcting a “grievously wrong decision” to use the judge’s term, allowing racial inequality. But someone who believes that the importance of precedent has been rooted in the Constitution would follow long-established precedent except in those rare circumstances where a decision is grievously wrong or deeply inconsistent with the law. Those are Judge Kavanaugh’s phrases.
As the judge asserted to me, a long-established precedent is not something to be trimmed, narrowed, discarded, or overlooked. Its roots in the Constitution give the concept of stare decisis greater weight simply because a judge might want to on a whim. In short, his views on honoring precedent would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly.
Noting that Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago and reaffirmed 19 years later in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, I asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of times is relevant to following precedent. He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence. Our discussion then turned to the right of privacy on which the Supreme Court relied in Griswold vs. Connecticut, a case that struck down a law banning the use and sale of contraceptions. Griswold established the legal foundation that led to Roe eight years later. In describing Griswold as established law, Judge Kavanaugh observed that it was the correct application of two famous cases from the 1920’s, Meyer and Pierce that are not seriously challenged by anyone today.
Finally, in his testimony, he noted repeatedly that Roe had been upheld by Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, describing it as a precedent. When I asked him would it be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed that it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said “no.”
Senator Susan Collins speech on the Senate floor, October 5, 2018
Either Kavanaugh lied to Collins, or Collins lied to the American people. One thing becomes increasingly clear — the Supreme Court is a political entity, with the Republicans now firmly in control of America’s legal system. We are heading down a seriously dark, dangerous path.
Testimony regarding non-privileged documents (including text and email communications) that Mr. Meadows has already provided to the Select Committee in response to the subpoena, and testimony about events that Mr. Meadows has already publicly described in his book and elsewhere;
Testimony and documents regarding post-election efforts by the Trump campaign, the Trump legal team, and Mr. Meadows to create false slates of Presidential electors, or to pressure or persuade state and local officials and legislators to take actions to change the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election;
Testimony and documents relating to communications with Members of Congress in preparation for and during the events of January 6th;
Testimony and documents relating to efforts by President Trump to instruct, direct, persuade or pressure Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on January 6th;
Testimony and documents relating to activity in the White House immediately before and during the events of January 6th; and
Testimony and documents relating to meetings and communications with individuals not affiliated with the federal government regarding the efforts to change the results of the 2020 election.
On September 23, 2001, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mark Meadows, former White House Chief of Staff under former president Donald Trump. Meadows agreed to appear before the Committee to provide testimony on December 8, 2021. Meadows, on December 7, 2021 informed the Committee that he had changed his mind and would not appear the following day as originally agreed.
Instead, Meadows filed suit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Select Committee. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, asks the court to invalidate two subpoenas that the panel had issued to Meadows and Verizon, the carrier for his prior personal cell phone, calling them “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”
On December 14, 2021, the House voted 222-208 to hold the former White House Chief of Staff in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the Committee.
The most recent filing by the Select Committee asks that Meadows’ suits be dismissed
Committee Report rationale for contempt citation
In it’s report filed in the House (Report:117-216), the Committee explains it’s rationale for the charge:
“To be clear Mr. Meadow’s failure to comply, and this contempt recommendation, are not based on good-faith disagreements over privilege assertions. Rather, Mr. Meadows has failed to comply and warrants contempt findings because he has wholly refused to appear to provide any testimony and refused to answer questions regarding even clearly non-privileged information — information that he himself has identified as non-privileged through his own document production.
Mr. Meadow’s relevant documents and testimony are necessary to the Select Committee’s investigation for many additional reasons. Mr. Meadows also reportedly participated in meetings and communicated with senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials about unsupported election-fraud claims and litigation aimed at disrupting or overturning the election results. Mr. Meadows reportedly participated in a contentious meeting at the White House with private individuals and others linked to Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign during which Mr. Trump and others discussed seizing voting machines and invoking certain laws including the National Emergencies Act for election-related purposes because of purported fraud in the election. Mr. Meadows reportedly joined a January 2 call with Mr. Trump and State and Federal officials to discuss overturning certain States’ electoral college results on January 6, and later sent the former Vice President’s staff a memo drafted by a Trump campaign lawyer urging the Vice President to delay or decline the counting of votes from certain States. Mr. Meadows was also reportedly in contact with at least one of the individuals who planned and organized a January 6 rally, one of whom may have expressed safety concerns to Mr. Meadows about the event. In short, Mr. Meadows appears to have participated in, and been a witness to, critically important communications and events that took place before and on January 6, and the Congress is entitled to hear his first-hand testimony regarding his actions and knowledge. The Select Committee expects such testimony to be directly relevant to its report and recommendations for legislative and other action.”
Chief United States District Judge, Mark E. Walker, quotes liberally from the speeches and writings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in his ruling declaring Florida’s new voting law unconstitutional:
“On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In its most memorable passage, he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Many know and celebrate Dr. King’s speech — or at least its second half, given extemporaneously after Mahalia Jackson called on Dr. King to tell the crowd about his dream. But most do not know that, only three years later, Dr. King told NBC News “that dream that I had that day has in many points turned into a nightmare.” As he explained, Dr. King had “come to see that we have many more difficulties ahead and some of the old optimism was a little superficial and now it must be tempered with a solid realism. And I think the realistic fact is that we still have a long, long way to go…”
Likewise, while this Court lauds the idealism of Dr. King’s dream in 1963, this Court is not so naive to believe that the Florida Legislature would not pass an intentionally discriminatory law in 2021. We do not live in a colorblind society — not that this was ever Dr. King’s point.
The evidence bears that out. In Florida, White Floridians outpace Black Floridians in almost every socioeconomic metric. In Florida, since the end of the Civil War, politicians have attacked the political rights of Black citizens. [emphasis mine] In Florida, though we have come far, “the realistic fact is that we still have a long, long way to go.” For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents. They have done so not as, in the words of Dr. King, “vicious racists, with [the] governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification,” but as part of a cynical effort to suppress turnout among their opponents’ supporters. That, the law does not permit.”
IT IS ORDERED:
This Court declares that § 101.69(2), Florida Statutes (2021), as amended by SB 90, is unconstitutional.
This Court declares that § 97.0575(3)(a), Florida Statutes (2021), as amended by SB 90, is unconstitutional.
This Court declares that the prohibitions against “engaging in any activity with the intent to influence or effect of influencing a voter” under § 102.031(4)(a)-(b), Florida Statutes (2021), as amended by SB 90, is unconstitutional.
In Case No. 4:21cv187, Plaintiffs are entitled to no relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act on Count III of their amended complaint, ECF No. 45.