Tuesday, April 25, 2023

The Road To Gilead Goes Through North Dakota

With a 12-week ban already on the books and facing a state supreme court challenge, North Dakota Republicans passed a more restrictive, even more unconstitutional six-week abortion ban, signed into law Monday by GOP Gov. Doug Burgum.
North Dakota on Monday adopted one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country as Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation banning the procedure throughout pregnancy, with slim exceptions up to six weeks’ gestation.

In those early weeks, abortion would be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency, such as ectopic pregnancy.

“This bill clarifies and refines existing state law ... and reaffirms North Dakota as a pro-life state,” Burgum said in a statement.

Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide has triggered multiple state laws banning or restricting the procedure. Many were met with legal challenges. Currently, bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy are in place in at least 13 states and on hold in others because of court injunctions. On the other side, Democratic governors in at least 20 states this year launched a network intended to strengthen abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that eliminated women’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy and shifted regulatory powers over the procedure to state governments.

The North Dakota law is designed to take effect immediately, but last month the state Supreme Court ruled a previous ban is to remain blocked while a lawsuit over its constitutionality proceeds. Last week, lawmakers said they intended to pass the latest bill as a message to the state’s high court signaling that the people of North Dakota want to restrict abortion.

Supporters have said the measure signed Monday protects all human life, while opponents contend it will have dire consequences for women and girls.

North Dakota no longer has any abortion clinics. Last summer, the state’s only facility, the Red River Women’s Clinic, shut its doors in Fargo and moved operations a short distance across the border to Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion remains legal. The clinic’s owner is still pursuing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Dakota’s previous abortion ban. 
It’s expected that this new ban will also be the subject of legal challenges.
I figure by November 2024, everyone will know of at least one relative, friend, co-worker or acquaintance who was forced to give birth by Republicans. Hopefully they will vote accordingly for the Democrats on the ballot.
But North Dakota is yet another one-party rule state by the GOP with supermajorities in both the state House and Senate that would have overridden Burgum even if he was a Democrat. The real problem is that in state after state we're seeing Republicans carve out permanent empires with no hope of Democrats ever getting a lick of power again, and tens of millions of citizens forced into authoritarian rule.

It's a war, and it's one we're designed to lose unless we make major changes in 2024.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

Donald Trump goes on trial today facing allegations of rape from author E. Jean Carroll, who has outlasted and persisted through every dirty trick, legal avenue, stall, quash attempt and everything else Trump has thrown at her just to get to the opening remarks in today's federal proceedings.
In a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday, a jury will begin hearing E. Jean Carroll’s allegation that former President Donald J. Trump raped her more than two decades ago in a department store dressing room, in a proceeding that seeks to apply the accountability of the #MeToo era to a dominating political figure.

The trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, expected to last one to two weeks, stems from a lawsuit and will take place amid a barrage of legal action aimed at Mr. Trump, who is running to regain the presidency and arguing that the suits and investigations are meant to drag him down.

Ms. Carroll, a former magazine columnist, said nothing publicly about the encounter for decades before publishing a memoir in 2019 that accused Mr. Trump of attacking her.

In the suit, Ms. Carroll, 79, says that one evening in the mid-1990s, she visited the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman, where she was a regular shopper. There, the suit says, she ran into Mr. Trump. The two had met at least once before, and they traveled in the same New York City circles, the suit says. He said he was shopping for a present for “a girl,” and he asked her to advise him. She says she eventually accompanied him to the lingerie department where, she contends, he maneuvered her into a dressing room and raped her.

Mr. Trump, 76, has denied that he raped Ms. Carroll, has accused her of lying and has attacked her repeatedly in public statements and on social media, both while in office and after leaving. In 2019, after she published her account, he called her allegation “totally false” and said he could not have raped her because she was not his “type.” Last October, he said again, in a post on Truth Social, that she was not telling the truth and that the case was a “complete con job.”

Ms. Carroll’s lawyers will ask the jury to find Mr. Trump liable for battery, and if he is found responsible, to award monetary damages.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Monday said she would announce this summer whether former President Donald Trump and his allies would be charged with crimes related to alleged interference in Georgia’s 2020 election.

Willis revealed the timetable in a letter to local law enforcement in which she asked them to be ready for “heightened security and preparedness” because she predicted her announcement “may provoke a significant public reaction.”

In the letters, Willis said she will announce possible criminal indictments between July 11 and Sept. 1, sending one of the strongest signals yet that she’s on the verge of trying to obtain an indictment against Trump and his supporters.

“Please accept this correspondence as notice to allow you sufficient time to prepare the Sheriff’s Office and coordinate with local, state and federal agencies to ensure that our law enforcement community is ready to protect the public,” Willis wrote to Fulton Sheriff Patrick Labat.

Similar letters were hand delivered to Darin Schierbaum, Atlanta’s chief of police, and Matthew Kallmyer, director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency.

“We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of those we are sworn to protect,” Willis wrote. “As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to prepare.”

Trump has called for mass demonstrations in response to overreach from prosecutors — triggering concerns about violent unrest not unlike the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection he promoted.

investigation, which Willis launched more than two years ago, said the letters suggest that Willis will seek charges against the former president.

“It obviously seems to imply the case against Trump will be presented to a grand jury,” former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said. “I don’t think any of the other targets would raise that level of caution. I think that’s the obvious implication.”

Norm Eisen, a former ethics czar under President Barack Obama who co-authored a Brookings Institute report on the Fulton probe, agreed.

“While she does not have the former president’s name in her letter, the evidence and the applicable law in Georgia point to the substantial likelihood that Donald Trump and his principal co-conspirators will be included when she follows through on the plans she confirms in this letter,” Eisen said.
Granted, we'll have another 3-4 months before Fani Willis makes her indictment decisions in Georgia, and another 4 months after than before Trump faces Alvin Bragg in Manhattan, but the year keeps getting significantly worse for Trump on his legal battle, and I couldn't be happier.
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