Today, the Supreme Court hears one of the most significant challenges to current abortion law in America in recent years.
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About U.S. Abortion Laws
- Roe v. Wade: A case heard before the Supreme Court in 1973 that legalized abortion with limits; a woman’s right to an abortion is *not* absolute.
- Abortion is legal in the 1st trimester but states can regulate and, in some cases, outlaw abortion at certain points in the pregnancy, *unless* there is a threat to the health/life of mother.
- BIG PICTURE: This is why states have different laws.
- 2014: Louisiana law (Act 620) requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital w/in 30 miles of the abortion site. It only went into effect for a few weeks due to legal challenges.
- 2017: Trial court struck it down. Finding only 1 clinic/doctor would be able to perform abortions, court ruled it placed an “undue burden” on women.
- 2018: Federal appeals court disagreed, reversed the trial court’s decision.
- Under current legal precedent, states cannot pass laws that impose an “undue burden” on the right to access abortion.
- In 2016, the Court struck down a nearly identical law to Louisiana’s out of Texas, finding it imposed an “undue burden” on those seeking abortions.
- Supreme Court has changed since 2016. Pres. Trump appointed justices – Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
“The true, and often overt, intent of legislators behind pretextual laws like Act 620, which have no demonstrable medical benefit, is to severely restrict, and ultimately eliminate, access to legal abortion under the guise of patient welfare.”
“The burdens of Act 620 are minimal—principally, a modest increase in the waiting time (less than an hour) to obtain an abortion. The benefits described above are more than sufficient to justify that burden.”
Louisiana Abortion Law
- Current state law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks & requires two doctors visits before an abortion may be performed.
- 2019 law (not in effect because of legal challenge) bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected (approx. 6 wks).
- Some say Louisiana is on the forefront of protecting life; others say it’s spearheading efforts to outlaw abortion.
The Supreme Court likely will issue a decision before July. States like New York and Illinois have tried to expand access to abortion. States like Arkansas, Alabama and Indiana will wait to see what happens with this law to see about passing further laws restricting abortion.
State of the
3 Quick Facts About Today’s Annual Speech By The President
WHY IT HAPPENS:
“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
- Origins date back to the British tradition of the Crown delivering a speech to start each new legislative session.
- First delivered in 1790 by Pres. Washington in person in New York.
- Delivered via a written letter to Congress from 1801 – 1913.
- Known as President’s Annual Message to Congress until 1946 and as the State of the Union ever since.
- President may invite up to 24 guests (including First Lady).
- Each sitting member of Congress gets two tickets (1 for them & 1 for a guest).
- Also invited: Supreme Court justices, Fmr. members of Congress, Joint Chiefs of Staff, & President’s Cabinet (*except* one cabinet member purposefully excluded, a “designated survivor” who stays in a separate location during the address in case a disaster strikes).
THE NEXT DAY ... Less than 24 hours after Pres. Trump will deliver his third State of the Union address on the House floor, Congress' other chamber will convene on the Senate floor at 4pm to vote on whether or not to remove him from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
What to know about the first votes of the 2020 presidential election.
What’s A Caucus?
- Oxford Definition: A private meeting of the leaders or representatives of a political party, previous to an election or to a general meeting of the party, to select candidates for office …
- Oxford says its origins are “obscure” but some say it was a Native American term for a meeting of tribal leaders.
- Word dates back to 1700s in Boston, but caucuses have been used in America since at least the 1800s.
- Caucuses vs. Primary Elections: One big difference? Who runs the operation: primaries are run by the individual states (often like general elections with secret ballots), whereas caucuses are run by the parties.
- 2020: Three states (Iowa, Nevada, Wyoming) & four U.S. territories (Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa) will hold caucuses this year.
About The Iowa Caucuses:
- Voters registered with a party gather at 1,600+ precincts at 7pm.
- Democrats: Gather in groups based on the candidate they support – only candidates that get at least 15% get awarded delegates. Whoever gets the most delegates is the winner.
- Republicans: After 3-5 min. speeches in support of each candidate, they votes via paper. Whoever gets the most votes is the winner.
Why Does Iowa Matter?
- It’s first so it provides the first look at how real voters (albeit the most politically active ones) will *actually* vote (not polls about their opinions).
- For Democrats in particular, whoever wins in Iowa tends to go on to secure the Dem pres. nomination. Ex: 6 of the party’s last 10 nominees won in Iowa.
- Winning Iowa can be game-changer for lesser known candidates (Jimmy Carter in 1976; Barack Obama in 2008).
BIG PICTURE: Iowa is not necessarily a predictor for November's winner (or loser). Since Iowa held the first caucuses in 1972, only three winners (2 Democrats & 1 Republican) went on to win the presidency.
What it means,
(and what it doesn’t)
Plus ~ what to expect next…
What It Means
Third U.S. president impeached
- Like Pres. Andrew Johnson in 1868, Pres. Trump is facing re-election. Johnson assumed the presidency after Pres. Lincoln’s assassination and didn’t win his party’s nomination.
- Unlike Pres. Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 when five House Democrats voted in favor of impeachment, none of Pres. Trump’s party voted to impeach.
What It Doesn’t
Impeachment by the House does NOT mean the President will necessarily be removed by the Senate
- He was NOT found guilty of a crime (impeachment articles remain charges for the Senate to consider).
- He is NOT prohibited from continuing to serve out his current presidential term.
- He is NOT prevented from running for a second presidential term in 2020.
What To Expect Next
Based on what we know from precedent
- U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial.
- House impeachment managers and Pres. Trump‘s lawyers will present their cases to the Senate.
- Senate Republicans & Democrat leaders are supposed to work together to decide the rules governing the 6-day-a-week trial, & ultimately, decide its outcome (removal if convicted).
Two Lingering Questions
When will the trial begin? We don’t know. It’s unclear when House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) will deliver the impeachment articles to the Senate, setting the process in motion. In 1998, the House delivered the articles to the Senate on the same day the House approved them: Dec. 19, 1998.
How long will it last? We don’t know. Pres. Clinton’s trial took about 5 weeks.
Bigger Picture: 2020
As sitting Senators, five of the 2020 Democrat candidates (Sens. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, & Michael Bennet) must leave the campaign trail for the Senate trial.
If Pres. Trump wins re-election, it will be a first. In the presidential elections after the impeachments of Pres. Johnson and Pres. Clinton, their parties lost.
*KEEP IN MIND* Impeachment ≠ Removal. For Pres. Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate must convict (vote in favor of an article of impeachment). To date, NOT a SINGLE GOP senator has indicated they will vote in favor of removal from office.
No American has ever gone directly from the mayoral office to the Oval Office.
Mike Bloomberg is the latest to try.
- 77 years old (4 years older than Pres. Trump, the oldest president to take office in 2017 at age 70).
- Served 12 years as mayor of America’s largest city, NYC.
- Politically “fluid”: Previously a democrat before running for NYC mayor as a Republican, and then registering as an independent. Re-registered as a Democrat in October.
BALLOT ISSUE TO WATCH
Gun control or “gun safety” as Bloomberg references on his website, a passion project after his tenure as NYC mayor.
Founded leading nonprofits advocating for certain gun laws.
Spent more than $100M last year to help elect candidates who support strict gun control policies.
“I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- NO mayor has ever gone straight from City Hall to the White House.
- Just three U.S. presidents previously served as mayors.
- Bloomberg joins three other former mayors in the race: Cory Booker (Newark, NJ), Julián Castro (San Antonio, TX) & Bernie Sanders (Burlington, VT). Pete Buttigieg is the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
- Bloomberg will not qualify for the December debate under current rules (without specific amount of donations & poll numbers).
- He will not campaign heavily in early states like Iowa.
- Spent record amount on weekly ads: reportedly $31M, topping previous record by Pres. Obama.
- Working to win “Super Tuesday” when most votes up for grabs.
While much has been made of the relationship between politicians and news organizations, Mike Bloomberg is the only candidate that actually owns a media company. He is the majority owner of Bloomberg - a financial data and international media company.
Does Britain finally have an exit plan from the European Union?
What it means & why it matters.
Not Just Britain
We call it “Brexit” but this plan covers the whole UK exiting the EU.
- UK: Consists of Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – not the Republic of Ireland.
- Great Britain (aka Britain) is a geographic term that refers to the UK minus Northern Ireland.
- UK gov’t is headed by Prime Minister Theresa May in London.
- 1951 – 2013: EU grows from 6 to 28 countries via numerous treaties
- 2016: Nearly 52% of the UK voted to exit the EU (most of Wales & England voted to leave; most of Northern Ireland & Scotland voted to stay) citing economic (trade) & immigration (border) concerns.
- 2017: The UK starts exit process.
- The UK is slated to leave the EU in March 2019, but, there are NO significant political or economic changes until late 2020 / 2021.
- On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said her cabinet approved a draft Brexit deal governing the main aspects (trade, travel, and security).
- A final deal must be approved by both the British & EU parliaments.
“We can choose to leave with no deal. We can risk no Brexit at all. Or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated — this deal.”
Why It Matters?
“A more unified Europe is a powerful counterbalance to people like Vladimir Putin.”
IF no deal is reached between the UK & EU in the next 5 months, deadlines to reach a deal may be extended, but only if all 28 EU member countries agree to do so. Some British officials resigned Thursday over the draft proposal, increasing doubt on the deal.
America’s Leaders on America’s Maverick
As we hear from our leaders on Sen. John McCain’s death, a look back at their words during his life.
“He loves his country. And if he has to stand up to his party for his country, so be it. He would die for this country.”
“John McCain’s life is a story of service above self…. John is an independent man who thinks for himself. He’s not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. Believe me, I know. No matter what the issue, this man is honest and speaks straight from the heart.”
“I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain and said, ‘John, I’m at 2nd and Vine in Oshkosh and I need your help. Come,’ he’d get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too.”
a In my lifetime, hea s one of the most remarkable patriots our countrya s ever produced. I love the guy.a
WORTH THE READ
“I know this: As soon as my boys are of age, Ia ll tell them stories about the quality of the man Ia ve gotten to know. Ia ll tell them: Senator John McCain will be revered and respected for as long as the United States of America has a place in this world, and his legacy will outlive us all.”
It’s The Economy, Stupid.
…Or Is It?
What the primary elections before the November midterms tell us about the state of politics in America. Or don’t.
The BIG Picture
- AP analysis: Important counties in swing states have not seen job losses; areas that backed Clinton in 2016 have better job growth than areas that voted for Pres. Trump.
- Pew Research poll raises question about whether or not jobs are the TOP priority for voters during this particular midterm election.
“Trump is a bigger factor in midterm voting preferences a positive or negative a than any president in more than three decades. “
What To Watch: Aug 7
- Ohio: Important swing state. President Trump held rally in Ohio on Saturday.
- In Focus: A special election for Congress. Polls show a traditionally Republican district with a very tight race.
- Democrats need to flip 24 seats from R to D. Will this be one for them?
A Bipartisan Challenge
“Winning control of the House and Senate means Democrats have to fight on Republican turf, and that means talking to Romney-Clinton and Obama-Trump voters. How well they can talk to both at the same time a and how well Republicans do among the same groups a will determine whether we see a blue wave or another case of Democratic despair.” (NYT)
AP Analysis re: midterm elections: "The proportion of people who said the economy was their top priority fell to its lowest level in more than eight years." SmartHER Reminder: Most polls were off in 2016. Let's see what 2018 brings.
Mirror Mirror On The Wall…
Primary elections expose battles within major political parties, as each seeks to be the fairest of the land.
Who’s The Most Progressive?
New York primary exposes divide in Democrat party.
- More progressive candidate unseats 10-term Congressman in blue district.
- Likely *new* congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 28-year-old socialist, with little funding or name recognition.
Who’s The *Best* Conservative?
Small Gov’t vs. Big Gov’t
- In focus: South Carolina primary race for Trey Gowdy’s seat.
- Candidate,A state Sen. William Timmons, supported by current Congressional leadership, beat out a candidate supported by a low tax, small gov’t GOP group.
The Trump Effect
The President’s Political Capital
- In South Carolina, the President’s choice for Governor cruised to victory despite a close previous vote that led to a runoff.
- In New York, the President’s pick for congressional candidate defeated a well-known, though controversial, challenger.
Despite sparring with Pres. Trump, former Gov. & presidential candidate Mitt Romney won his election in Utah making it a likely scenario that he will become the state's next Senator. Read more on what these elections mean for 2020.