Cup of Joe – 5/3/22

“The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision,” according to an initial draft majority opinion circulated inside the court and obtained by Politico.

“The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right.”

Writes Justice Samuel Alito, for the majority: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

He adds: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”A draft Supreme Court opinion leaking is extremely rare. In fact, I cannot remember it ever happening.

Heather Cox Richardson on the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Row v. Wade:

“That news is an alarm like the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision declaring both that Black Americans had no rights that a white man was bound to respect and that Congress had no power to prohibit human enslavement in the territories. The Dred Scott decision left the question of enslavement not to the national majority, which wanted to prohibit it from western lands, but to state and territorial legislatures that limited voting to white men.”

Twenty-one states already have laws or constitutional amendments in place that would allow them to ban abortion as soon as the Supreme Court makes it possible, the HuffPost reports.

They are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

There are four more states as likely to ban abortion in the event that Roe falls, given their current political climates: Florida, Indiana, Montana, and Nebraska.

“The story of abortion rights in the 21st century can be seen in two world-shaking developments this past week,” the New York Times reports.

“In the first, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld drastic new abortion restrictions in Texas. A few days later, Mexico’s high court paved the way for nationwide legalization.”

“It may be tempting to see Mexico’s ruling as the more surprising, catapulting the world’s second most populous Catholic country on a deeply contentious social matter.”

“But experts say it is the United States that stands out. Since 2000, 31 countries, many just as pious as Mexico, have expanded access to abortion. Only three have rolled it back: Nicaragua, Poland and the United States.”

“The leader of Russia’s space agency on Saturday again warned that the country will pull out of the International Space Station over sanctions meant to punish the country for Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but he did not give a timetable or say when the move will be announced,” Axios reports.

“Oleg Tinkov was worth more than $9 billion in November, renowned as one of Russia’s few self-made business tycoons after building his fortune outside the energy and minerals industries that were the playgrounds of Russian kleptocracy,” the New York Times reports.

“Then, last month, Mr. Tinkov, the founder of one of Russia’s biggest banks, criticized the war in Ukraine in a post on Instagram. The next day, he said, President Vladimir Putin’s administration contacted his executives and threatened to nationalize his bank if it did not cut ties with him. Last week, he sold his 35 percent stake to a Russian mining billionaire in what he describes as a ‘desperate sale, a fire sale’ that was forced on him by the Kremlin.”

Israel condemned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s false claim that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood,” which he used to justify calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “Nazi,” Axios reports.

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper charges in a new memoir that former President Donald Trump said when demonstrators were filling the streets around the White House following the death of George Floyd: “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?,” Axios reports.

“As Donald Trump badgered Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on an hour-long call to ‘find’ the votes necessary to flip the battleground state to Trump’s column after the 2020 election, a Raffensperger aide fired off a plea for help,” CNN reports.

Said Jordan Fuchs, then the deputy secretary of state, in a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows: “Need to end this call. I don’t think this will be productive much longer.”

She added: “Let’s save the relationship.”

Daily Beast: “Of all Donald Trump’s legal problems, the lawsuit over the way his company’s security guards beat up protesters in 2015 seems relatively minor. But lawyers in that case now believe Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, was in the room when Trump allegedly ordered guards to attack the demonstrators.”

“It’s a crucial detail in an ongoing lawsuit in New York City. And, if true, it would mean the former president lied during sworn videotaped testimony behind closed doors in October last year.”

“It also would indicate that Trump’s former director of security, Keith Schiller, also lied when he was similarly deposed in 2016 by lawyers representing beat-up protesters.”

Norman Eisen and Donald Ayer: “We understand that after the Mueller investigation and two impeachments, the prospect of Mr. Trump actually facing accountability may be viewed with skepticism. Most recently, he seems to have avoided charges by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg.”

“But Ms. Willis, a Democrat, has a demonstrated record of courage and of conviction. She has taken on — and convicted — a politically powerful group, Atlanta’s teachers, as the lead prosecutor in the city’s teacher cheating scandal.”

“And she is playing with a strong hand in this investigation. The evidentiary record of Mr. Trump’s postelection efforts in Georgia is compelling.”

“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has kept strictly silent with his Senate GOP colleagues, including members of his inner circle, about his sour relationship with former President Trump,” The Hill reports.

“McConnell, who takes pride in his discipline and ability to stay on message, hasn’t said anything in meetings large and small with GOP colleagues in response to a new book claiming that he felt “exhilarated” about the prospect that Trump destroyed his political career by inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the senators say.”

On Sunday night, a Trump-appointed federal judge shot down the Republican National Committee’s effort to block the House Jan. 6 Committee from accessing documents that would help the panel figure out whether the RNC fundraised off of Trump’s 2020 election lies before the Capitol attack.

However, the committee won’t be allowed to receive the documents until May 5 in order to give the RNC time to appeal the ruling, the judge said in his decision.

The committee is seeking data relating to the RNC and Trump campaign’s fundraising emails sent from the day of the election on Nov. 3 to Jan. 6, including their success rate and who worked on the email push.

Speaking of major breakthroughs in the committee’s hunt for email data, ex-Trump legal adviser and coup architect John Eastman is expected to hand over 10,000 pages of his Trump-related emails.

Playbook: “At this stage of the investigation, after the committee has talked to hundreds of people and secured countless documents via subpoenas, all eyes are on any details that suggest the committee may accuse Trump or any of his alleged co-conspirators with criminal wrongdoing. Naturally, you don’t need to pardon someone if they didn’t take an action that was against the law. And you normally wouldn’t inquire about a pardon if you didn’t think laws might have been broken.”

“A former New York City police officer who claimed he was acting in self-defense when he swung a metal flagpole at a fellow officer during the attack on the Capitol last January was convicted on Monday of all charges, including assault,” the New York Times reports.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her team of prosecutors will start choosing members of the special grand jury today in her investigation into Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 election.

However, the grand jury won’t hear from witnesses until June 1. Willis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that she wanted to hold off on that part of the process until after Georgia’s primaries on May 24 to avoid accusations from Republicans that she was trying to influence the outcome of the elections. Trump’s biggest targets in his scheme–Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (R)–are both on the primary ballot.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell met the same tragic fate as fellow Twitter-banished Trump crony Roger Stone on Sunday: Believing, like Stone, that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter meant his exile was over, Lindell tried to come back to the social media platform and was immediately re-banned within hours.

“The Mexican government said it intends to shift long-range plans to build a trade railway connection worth billions of dollars from Texas to New Mexico in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s stepped-up border inspections last month, which were widely criticized as being financially damaging and may now leave a lasting impact on relations between Texas and its No. 1 trading partner,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

“Instead the rail line would be routed along the far edge of West Texas up through Santa Teresa, N.M., about 20 miles west of downtown El Paso.”

Said Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier: “We’re now not going to use Texas. We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) “has discussed enforcing greater state authority over control of the border, allowing state police to arrest and deport migrants, powers that usually lie with federal agencies,” the Times of London reports.

“To do this, Abbott could declare the migrant crisis an invasion in accordance with an article in the US Constitution which says that individual states cannot engage in war unless they are ‘actually invaded.’”

Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Donald Trump, has a book coming out this August called Breaking History: A White House Memoir.

HuffPost: “Kushner had no involvement in politics or government before joining his father-in-law’s campaign, but he grew to be regarded as one of Trump’s most powerful advisers. Despite that, he maintained an elusive presence in the White House, with no social media accounts and refusing nearly all interviews. He was so rarely heard speaking that the mystery of what his voice sounded like became fodder for comedy.”

new book reveals the extent to which the White House was essentially an arm of Donald Trump’s political campaign, noting that Trump kept a room next to the Oval Office filled with MAGA merchandise, the HuffPost reports.

Said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D): “They literally hand you a shopping bag, and you took anything you’d like.”

“Leading antiabortion groups and their allies in Congress have been meeting behind the scenes to plan a national strategy that would kick in if the Supreme Court rolls back abortion rights this summer, including a push for a strict nationwide ban on the procedure if Republicans retake power in Washington,” the Washington Post reports.

“The effort, activists say, is designed to bring a fight that has been playing out largely in the courts and state legislatures to the national political stage — rallying conservatives around the issue in the midterms and pressuring potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates to take a stand.”

A trio of pro-abortion rights groups — Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List —  is rolling out a $150 million spending plan ahead of the 2022 midterms, Politico reports.

New York Times: “The Connecticut bill, which Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, has said he intends to sign, would expand the field of people who can perform certain types of abortions beyond doctors, to include nurse-midwives, physician assistants and other medical professionals.”

“And in what lawmakers said could be a model for other states seeking to safeguard abortion rights, the law would also shield abortion providers and patients from lawsuits initiated by states that have banned or plan to ban abortion, even outside their own borders.”

Jonathan Bernstein: “One of the many ugly things that’s happened during Joe Biden’s presidency: The smear that he’s lost it — that he’s cognitively impaired. It’s a frequent explicit refrain within Republican-aligned media, and quite a few Republican politicians, Trump included, have repeated it. I don’t know quite how common the belief in it is among Republican voters, but judging from my reader mail, many of them treat it as simply a well-known fact that the U.S. president is barely able to function.”

“As bad as smearing the mental capacity of political opponents is — and I do think this is the worst I’ve ever seen it — it’s not new, and it’s not a case where only Republicans are guilty. Many Democrats thought Trump, another aging politician, had serious cognitive deficits, just as they had believed Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were stupid. Republicans believed that President Barack Obama was so stupid that he was incapable of functioning without a teleprompter (despite the obvious fact that Obama was constantly seen in public giving perfectly cogent statements without one).”

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) has turned to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to back him in a campaign ad in his GOP primary against former President Donald Trump’s endorsed pick, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), the Charleston Gazette Mail reports.

“In a McKinley campaign ad, Manchin says the congressman has always opposed ‘reckless spending because it doesn’t make sense for West Virginia.’ The ad comes as McKinley argues that Mooney is misleading voters about McKinley’s vote for President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law. Mooney voted against it.”

“The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Boston may not deny a Christian group the ability to raise a flag at City Hall alongside secular organizations that are encouraged to do so to celebrate the city’s diversity,” USA Today reports.

“The unanimous decision was the latest in a series of rulings from the high court in recent years that have favored the protection of religious groups asserting a violation of their rights, only in this case the group had support that transcended traditional ideological and partisan lines. The Biden administration, for instance, sided with the group and against Boston.”

“The Supreme Court is leaving in place the illegal campaign contributions conviction of Kentucky businessman and former Democratic Party chief, Jerry Lundergan,” the AP reports.

“The high court on Monday turned away Lundergan’s appeal of his conviction.”

“According to a forthcoming book, Sen. Mitt Romney wears a hat in public to keep from being recognized by supporters of former President Donald Trump,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“Romney’s wife, Ann, told the authors Trump’s grip on the party and the hatred toward Mitt from his supporters gave her severe doubts about whether any of their five sons could ever run for elected office as Republicans.”

“The race to lead the Republican Study Committee next year is already underway, with Reps. Kevin Hern (R-OK) and Kat Cammack (R-FL) now making their intentions to seek the chairmanship role known,” Politico reports.

“Next year, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) will be termed out as leader of the RSC — the largest GOP caucus on Capitol Hill — leaving open a high-profile role.”

“Gov. Bill Lee has paused all Tennessee executions through 2022 after granting a temporary reprieve for death row inmate Oscar Franklin Smith last month due to ‘technical oversight’ in the lethal injection,” the Tennessean reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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