Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Last Call For The Road To Gilead: Endgame, Con't

Wednesday's Supreme Court oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization makes it very clear that there are five votes to overturn Roe v. Wade and end access to safe abortion for half of American women.
Midway through arguments in a case that could end with the Supreme Court abolishing the constitutional right to an abortion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked a pointed question about the Court’s future: “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception, that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?

There are early signs Sotomayor is correct that the public is turning against the Court as the Court turns against Roe v. Wade. But during Wednesday’s oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, all six of the Court’s Republican appointees appeared eager to push ahead anyway and overrule at least some key parts of the Court’s prior decisions protecting abortion.

The justices were asked to consider a Mississippi law that prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a law that violates the Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) that pregnant people have a right to terminate their pregnancy up until the point when the fetus is “viable,” meaning it can live outside the womb. A majority of the Court appeared very likely to overrule this part of Casey.

At least four justices seemed inclined to go even further, eliminating the right to an abortion altogether. And though Justice Amy Coney Barrett played her cards a little closer to her chest than her colleagues, it seems more likely than not that she will join them. In other words, there could be a majority for overturning Roe.

And even if the Court does not explicitly overrule Roe, it could easily announce a new legal standard that renders Roe an empty husk. A decision like that might leave Roe nominally alive, but that would also leave states free to restrict access to abortions to the point they’re nonexistent in the state, or come up with other creative ways to effectively ban them.

It is still possible the Court will surprise the myriad of legal analysts predicting the end of a constitutional right to an abortion. In 1992, when the Court heard Casey, even Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe, expected his landmark opinion to be overruled. Instead, Casey weakened, but didn’t overrule, Roe.

But after Wednesday’s oral arguments, no one should bet Roe will receive another stay of execution. The two political parties are too well-sorted on questions of abortion rights, the Republican Party has grown too sophisticated in picking judges who will hew to the GOP’s policy preferences, and a majority of the sitting justices were exceedingly skeptical of Roe at Wednesday’s argument.


There is now an almost certain chance that by this time next year, the right to an abortion will depend entirely on the state you live in, and for the majority of women outside of New England and the West Coast, it will not only be illegal to get an abortion in those states, but to cross state lines to get an abortion. If that's not made explicit, the next GOP-controlled Congress and President will outlaw it nationally. 

Depending on the reasoning behind the death of Roe, a lot of other rights now hang in the balance, not to mention the looming Damoclean blade of the end of most federal regulatory agencies. It would be a fundamental change in America.
In the past, Kavanaugh has sometimes pushed for more incremental attacks on Roe. In June Medical Services v. Gee (2019), for example, he argued in favor of placing complicated procedural barriers in the way of abortion plaintiffs that would make it difficult for them to bring their cases to federal court or to receive a meaningful remedy.

But on Wednesday, Kavanaugh seemed no less eager to overrule Roe than Thomas, Alito, or Gorsuch. At one point, Kavanaugh rattled off a long list of landmark — and largely celebrated — Supreme Court decisions, including its school integration decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), its first one person/one vote decision in Baker v. Carr (1962), and its marriage equality decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which all overruled previous decisions.

The clear implication was that if the Court could overrule precedent in those cases, why can’t it overrule Roe?

That leaves Barrett, who often implies at oral argument that she might take a more centrist approach than her most conservative colleagues, but who also votes with the Court’s right flank much more often than not. Though Barrett’s questions were less revealing than Kavanaugh’s, they left little doubt that she disagrees with essential parts of Roe and Casey.

Among other things, Barrett repeatedly brought up so-called “safe haven” laws, which allow someone who recently gave birth to immediately give up their child for adoption (Barrett herself is the adoptive mother of two children). “Both Roe and Casey emphasized the burdens of parenting,” she noted, before asking why safe haven laws don’t “take care of that problem?”

In one particularly remarkable moment, Barrett appeared to argue that being forced to carry and birth a child is no big deal. “It doesn’t seem to me to follow that pregnancy and parenthood are all part of the same burden,” she said. “It seems to me that the choice, more focused, would be between, say, the ability to get an abortion at 23 weeks or the state requiring the woman to go 15, 16 weeks more” before terminating their parental rights after giving birth.

Barrett, in other words, appeared quite determined to erase Casey’s viability rule. And, while she was less explicit about whether she would eliminate Casey’s undue burden standard, the tone of her questioning was extremely dismissive of both Roe and Casey.

So the right to an abortion is in deep trouble. At the least, the Court appears very likely to overrule Casey’s viability standard — and there’s a good chance it will go all the way to overruling Roe entirely
After that, well, here there be dragons. We're not about to turn back the clock, we're about to outlaw the last 70 years of modernity.

The Kids Are Alright (But They're Worried)

The latest Harvard youth poll of 18-29 year-olds finds that many Zoomers and young Millennials are not in a real great headspace in 2021.
A majority (52%) of young Americans believe that our democracy is either “in trouble,” or “failing.”

Only 7% of young Americans view the United States as a “healthy democracy”; 27% described the nation as a “somewhat functioning democracy,” 39% a “democracy in trouble,” and 13% went so far as to declare the nation a “failed democracy.”  
While Democrats are divided (44% healthy/somewhat functioning and 45% in trouble/failed) about the health of our democracy, 70% of Republicans believe that we are either a democracy in trouble (47%) or failed (23%). A majority (51%) of independent and unaffiliated young Americans also say we are in trouble or failed.  
Overall, 57% of all 18- to 29- year-olds say that it is “very important” that America is a democracy while another 21% say it’s “somewhat important.” Seven percent (7%) say either “not very” or “not at all important,” while 13% don’t know. Seventy-one percent (71%) of college graduates agree that it is “very important” that America is a democracy, but only 51% of those not currently in college, or without a college degree say the same

It's young Republicans, fed the nonsense of a stolen election, who overwhelmingly believe democracy is either broken or dead in America. 

It gets worse.

Young Americans place the chances that they will see a second civil war in their lifetime at 35%; chances that at least one state secedes at 25%.  
Nearly half (46%) of young Republicans place the chances of a second civil war at 50% or higher, compared to 32% of Democrats, and 38% of independent and unaffiliated voters. Level of education (27% among college students and those with degrees compared to 47% for others) and whether young people live in urban (33%), suburban (33%), rural (48%) or small town (51%) environments are all significant predictors.  
Similar patterns hold for those who think secession is likely. Overall, 25% rate the chances at 50% or greater.
Again, it's young Republicans driving this, nearly half of whom expect a civil war.  

Some 60% Women 18-29 say COVID has made them a different or very different person from what they were in 2019, it's 40% for men, and Joe Biden's approval rating among this age group is 46% (still above any point in Trump's reign).

Here's the killer though. These kids are a mess mentally, and I don't blame them one bit.

More than half (51%) of young Americans report having felt down, depressed, and hopeless -- and 25% have had thoughts of self-harm -- at least several times in the last two weeks. 
In addition to the majority of youth who express depressive symptoms, and the 25% who express thoughts of self-harm, we also found that a significant number of young Americans are bothered by traits associated with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • 38% of young Americans report feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge in the last two weeks
  • 36% have been worrying too much about different things
  • 32% have been easily annoyed or irritable
  • 30% have had trouble relaxing
  • 22% report feeling afraid as if something awful might happen
  • 20% have not been able to stop or control worrying
  • 16% have been so restless that it is hard to sit still
School or work (34%), personal relationships (29%), self-image (27%), economic concerns (25%), and the coronavirus (24%) are the five most popular responses given when asked about the impact on mental health. Politics and social media each were cited by 17% of survey respondents. Young females (22% compared to 13% for males) were significantly more likely to cite social media as a problem; young people living in the suburbs (22%) were more likely than others to say the same.  
Additionally, young Americans believe that they are more worried about the country’s future than their parents. We found that 34% believe that they are more concerned than their parents, and only 19% note they feel less concerned. Slightly more than a third (35%) indicate they think about the country in the same way, while 11% don’t know.
And I thought my generation were a bunch of cynics.

I've said all along that the young folk must really hate what's been done to them, and what the Boomers and greedsters have taken from them with climate change and austerity. We see here that's spot on, to the point where they expect a fighting war with their own generation of Americans.

The Mask Slips Once Again...

...And House Republicans are gladly saying up front that they can't wait to impeach Joe Biden multiple times for wholly manufactured offenses should they take back the House in 2023, all but promising years of torment and endless hearings for Biden administration officials and Biden's son, Hunter.


Republicans can't wait to make Joe Biden's life miserable if they take back control of the US House in the upcoming midterm elections.

Odds are high that the GOP will wrest control of the House from Democrats in 2022. They've got a decent shot of winning back the Senate, too. And House Republicans are feeling so confident that they're already drafting their playbook for taking on the Biden administration once they've got more power on Capitol Hill.

Insider asked some of the very Republicans poised to take charge what they'd do if American voters decide to put them back in the majority in Congress. Their plans: theatrical oversight hearings, investigations into Hunter Biden's art sales, and maybe even one or more Biden impeachments.

"No government agency will want to receive a letter from us," said Rep. James Comer, a Kentucky Republican who is now the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and is in position to become its next chairman if the GOP takes the majority.

Republicans are making the case that handing them majorities in the House and Senate would allow them to provide a check against the Biden administration. They argue that Democratic leadership in both chambers of Congress has failed to hold the administration accountable so far.

Democrats made the same pitch in the midterm elections during President Donald Trump's administration, and their House takeover in 2019 dramatically shifted the power dynamic in Washington and paved the way for Trump's two impeachments.

"Everyone's frustrated with the Biden administration," Comer told Insider in a recent interview on Capitol Hill. "What they see in Congress now is absolutely no oversight to the Biden administration. Like who was held accountable for Afghanistan? Who's held accountable for the lack of border security? No one," he added. "Someone needs to hold them accountable and provide oversight, and we're going to do that."
Oversight Chair James Comer, Judiciary Chair Gym Jordan, Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers, and the one-two NC GOP punch of Virginia Foxx chairing Labor and Education and Patrick McHenry in Financial Services will almost certainly be the biggest clown show in town, and they'll juggle their burning chainsaws and take the country down while they're at it.

With extreme gerrymandering alone more than giving the GOP the expected margin they'll need for the House, unless Democrats turn out in record fashion, it's all going to burn down with these idiots in charge.

The time to get serious about Democratic primaries and House races was three months ago.


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