The Supreme Court Takes Away a Long-Held Constitutional Right


Nathan Howard/Getty

We have known for some time that this Supreme Court’s manifest destiny was to overrule Roe v. Wade. Now it has fulfilled it. In the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for a five-Justice majority, eliminated the constitutional right to abortion and handed the states the power to restrict the procedure as they wish. There was little suspense, owing to a leak of the draft opinion last month, from which the Court’s final opinion is not substantially different, but the decision still came down as a surreal shock. The three liberal Justices dissented “with sorrow—for this Court, but more importantly, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection.”…

The difference between preserving and eliminating a long-held constitutional right involves a crude reality of political machinations and contingency in filling these seats—which makes it galling to read the Court’s righteous condemnation of Roe v. Wade as an exercise of “raw judicial power,” and its self-portrayal as a picture of proper judicial restraint. It is hard to imagine something more like an exercise of raw judicial power than the Court’s removal of the right to abortion, which is precisely what these Justices were put on the Court to achieve. As the dissent put it, the Court is “rescinding an individual right in its entirety and conferring it on the State, an action the Court takes for the first time in history.”

Worthy of all the contempt that we, the people, can muster!

Republicans aren’t heading back before ROE v WADE. It will be worse!

…A slogan has been revived: “We won’t go back.” It has been chanted at marches, defiantly but also somewhat awkwardly, given that this is plainly an era of repression and regression, in which abortion rights are not the only rights disappearing. Now that the Supreme Court has issued its final decision, overturning Roe v. Wade and removing the constitutional right to abortion, insuring that abortion will become illegal or highly restricted in twenty states, the slogan sounds almost divorced from reality — an indication, perhaps, of how difficult it has become to comprehend the power and the right-wing extremism of the current Supreme Court.

Support for abortion has never been higher, with more than two-thirds of Americans in favor of retaining Roe, and fifty-seven per cent affirming a woman’s right to abortion for any reason. Even so, there are Republican officials who have made it clear that they will attempt to pass a federal ban on abortion if and when they control both chambers of Congress and the Presidency. Anyone who can get pregnant must now face the reality that half of the country is in the hands of legislators who believe that your personhood and autonomy are conditional—who believe that, if you are impregnated by another person, under any circumstance, you have a legal and moral duty to undergo pregnancy, delivery, and, in all likelihood, two decades or more of caregiving, no matter the permanent and potentially devastating consequences for your body, your heart, your mind, your family, your ability to put food on the table, your plans, your aspirations, your life.

“We won’t go back” — it’s an inadequate rallying cry, prompted only by events that belie its message. But it is true in at least one sense. The future that we now inhabit will not resemble the past before Roe, when women sought out illegal abortions and not infrequently found death. The principal danger now lies elsewhere, and arguably reaches further. We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization — of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much — an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide — are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse.

It’s going to get worse. Republicans are prepared to become a uniformly oppressive fascist party. The Democratic Party, one of the few mass organizations capable of mounting a fightback – ain’t very capable. Personally, I’m sticking with Planned Parenthood. They committed to backing me years ago when I got my vasectomy – which, BTW, is also illegal under most laws banning abortion. Either way, things may change rapidly, in a most dynamic fashion. My options are open. My heart and mind are ready to do battle at any level.

We Build the Wall fraud case ends in mistrial


AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

A federal judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the criminal case against a Colorado businessman accused of laundering money from a bogus charity that milked about $25 million from private donors who thought they were funding the construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The panel is “hopelessly deadlocked,” U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres announced this afternoon of the jury that has been deliberating since last Tuesday — more than twice as long as the three-day duration of the trial for 51-year-old Timothy Shea that bookended the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Shea, who owns a Trump-themed energy drink company called Winning Energy, stood trial alone, but he was charged in 2020 alongside three fellow co-founders of the group We Build the Wall: Trump political strategist Steve Bannon, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage and venture capitalist Andrew Badolato…

Kolfage and Badolato pleaded guilty in April 2022. Bannon…would circumvent liability in the case when Trump pardoned him on his last day in office in January 2021.

RTFA. Catch up with the whole soap opera from Trumpworld. No surprises. It’s as crapworthy a tale as you would expect.

All Ponzi schemes topple eventually

One week ago, as cryptocurrency prices plummeted, Celsius Network – an experimental cryptocurrency bank with more than one million customers that has emerged as a leader in the murky world of decentralized finance, or DeFi – announced it was freezing withdrawals “due to extreme market conditions”.

Earlier this past week, Bitcoin dropped 15% over 24 hours to its lowest value since December 2020. Last month, TerraUSD, a stablecoin – a system that was supposed to perform a lot like a conventional bank account but was backed only by a cryptocurrency called Luna – collapsed, losing 97% of its value in just 24 hours, apparently destroying some investors’ life savings.

Eighty-nine years ago, Franklin D Roosevelt signed into law the Banking Act of 1933 – also known as the Glass-Steagall Act. It separated commercial banking from investment banking – Main Street from Wall Street – to protect people who entrusted their savings to commercial banks from having their money gambled away.

Glass-Steagall’s larger purpose was to put an end to the giant Ponzi scheme that had overtaken the American economy in the 1920s and led to the Great Crash of 1929…

Which brings us to the crypto crash.

I know a few folks who’ve been gambling in crypto since the advent of Bitcoin. I hope they’ve they’ve “taken the money and run”! I know a little bit about Ponzi schemes and 1929. RTFA for the beginning of the discussions coming up in the near future.

Time to get federal legalization for marijuana is long overdue


Flickr.com

Eight in ten Americans agree: It’s time to end the federal criminalization of marijuana.

Keeping marijuana illegal nationwide creates an incredible level of unequal enforcement. So while cannabis remains fully criminalized in just three states, an American is put into handcuffs for a marijuana offense every 90 seconds anyway.

In the last two decades, 15.7 million people have been arrested for nonviolent marijuana offenses, and 40,000 prisoners are sitting behind bars right now for cannabis crimes. Many are even incarcerated in states like California and Colorado where the crime for which they were convicted is actually legal statewide.

The prohibition of marijuana disproportionately affects people of color, even though Americans of all races use marijuana at equal rates.

Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be arrested as white people for marijuana. And when people of color are arrested, their sentences are worse.

Black men receive 13.1% longer sentences than white men, and Latinos are 6.5 times more likely to receive a federal sentence than non-Hispanic whites…

We’re wasting $47 billion each year on the war on drugs, much of which is spent on enforcing an outdated, draconian set of Federal marijuana laws. Let’s put an end to this inconsistent, widely unpopular unequal enforcement.

Robert Reich
Inequality Media Civic Action

Excerpt from mail from Inequality Media Civic Action