Cup of Joe – 5/4/22

President Biden said that “basic fairness” demands that Roe v. Wade be upheld and urged voters to elect more abortion rights supporters to Congress in a statement responding to a leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court is prepared to overturn the landmark decision, the Washington Post reports.

Said Biden: “At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”

“If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans. The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.”  — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a joint statement quoted by Punchbowl News.

“Chief Justice John Roberts directed the marshal of the Supreme Court to launch an investigation into the source of a leaked draft opinion showing that a majority of justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade,” The Hill reports. Said Roberts: “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”

CNN: “It appears that five justices would be voting to overturn Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts did not want to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, meaning he would have dissented from part of Alito’s draft opinion, likely with the court’s three liberals.”

“Roberts is willing, however, to uphold the Mississippi law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that a leaked draft ruling by the Supreme Court was “completely inconsistent” with what Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch told her during their private conversations as Supreme Court nominees, The Hill reports.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said a draft Supreme Court opinion aimed at possibly overturning Roe V. Wade “rocks my confidence in the court right now,” Politico reports.

Said Murkowski: “Roe is still the law of the land. We don’t know the direction that this decision may ultimately take. Sen. Collins and I in February introduced a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade. I thought it made sense then and I think it makes perhaps more sense now.”

Playbook: “We knew this was coming. Ever since last December’s oral arguments in the Mississippi abortion case, it seemed likely that there was a majority on the court to overrule Roe and Casey.”

“But while not a surprise, it was still shocking to see Alito’s words in black and white. The draft opinion, if it holds, would be the culmination of half a century of legal conservatives organizing around the idea that Roe was wrongly decided and needed to be reversed.”

“They have, above all else, three people to thank: (1) President George W. bush, who appointed Alito; (2) then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked President Barack Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy; and (3) President Donald Trump, who appointed three conservative justices, all of whom seem prepared to back some version of the Alito opinion.”

“They can also thank two unusual features of the American system: (1) a Senate in which McConnell was able to gain control without Senate Republicans representing a majority of Americans, and (2) an Electoral College system in which both Bush and Trump became president despite losing the popular vote.”

Politico: 10 key passages from Alito’s draft opinion, which would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Karen Tumulty: “With the extraordinary leak of a draft showing the Supreme Court is preparing to strike down Roe v. Wade, Democrats finally have something they have lacked in this perilous midterm election year: a compelling message.”

“They now have a concrete case to make. It is that Republicans, if they get the chance, will take the country backward — and not just on abortion rights, which have been a given throughout the lifetime of the approximately two-thirds of the population that was born after the court’s landmark 1973 decision.”

“For the first time, voters should be compelled to focus not only on their own anger and frustration over rising prices, growing rates of violent crime and a surge in illegal immigration. Their ballots this fall will not be a mere protest vote against the direction of the country and the slim Democratic majority’s ineptitude at changing it; 2022 will also be a referendum on the GOP agenda.”

Protestors on both sides of the abortion debate spontaneously gathered at the Supreme Court late Monday evening after the leak of the draft opinion in the Mississippi abortion case.

Several pro-Roe lawmakers in Congress, such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are calling for Roe to be codified into law by nuking the filibuster or even expanding the court, as some Democrats have advocated in the past.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced they will seek to add abortion protections to the state constitution.

Some pro-choice supporters are expressing frustration with Democrats, who despite controlling the White House and Congress, don’t seem prepared to deal with this bombshell beyond telling pro-choice supporters to vote for them.

New York Times: “Its reputation was in decline even before the extraordinary breach of its norms of confidentiality, with much of the nation persuaded that it is little different from the political branches of the government. The internal disarray the leak suggests, wholly at odds with the decorum prized by Chief Justice John Roberts, was a blow to the legitimacy of the court.”

“Relations among the justices, too, on the evidence of questioning at arguments and statements in opinions, have turned fraught and frosty…”

“The fact of the leak cannot be separated from its substance. Only a move as extraordinary as eliminating a constitutional right in place for half a century could transform the court into an institution like any other in Washington, where rival factions disclose secrets in the hope of obtaining advantage.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he intends to hold a vote on legislation to codify the right to an abortion in law, the Washington Post reports. Said Schumer: “A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise.”

Without a vote to blow up the filibuster, this will prove to be nothing more than an abstract exercise.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is standing firm on his commitment to the legislative filibuster in light of a report on a Supreme Court draft opinion that could possibly overturn abortion rights around the country, Politico reports. Said Manchin: “The filibuster is the only protection we have in democracy.” He wouldn’t comment on the substance of the Supreme Court leak itself.

“Democrats across the board are calling for Senate to eliminate its filibuster so it can codify abortion rights into federal law, following the leak of a draft ruling showing the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Axios reports.

Said Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski (D): “Why haven’t we prioritized this? We’ve had almost 50 years to codify this into law. The Senate just needs to like get rid of the filibuster and then get this done.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called last night’s leak on the vote to overturn Roe v. Wade “an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court” by the “radical left.”

He added: “This lawless action should be investigated and punished as fully as possible. The Chief Justice must get to the bottom of it and the Department of Justice must pursue criminal charges if applicable.”

Kevin Madden: “Few things more futile than a good ol’ Washington leak hunt.”

Laura Ingraham said the FBI should launch an investigation to find the person responsible for leaking to the press a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the Daily Beast reports. Said Ingraham: “It’s incumbent upon him to bring in every law clerk before him… or the FBI. ‘Give me your phone. We want all your accounts. We’ve got to do our own—look at every device you’ve ever used, and find out who did this.’”

She then claimed that “there are names floated out there” for possible leakers but declined to go into detail.

However, I can’t think of a good strategic or substantive reason for a liberal justice — or one of their clerks — to leak it. That’s because there have only really been two possible outcomes for this decision:

  • The Supreme Court would uphold the Mississippi law that would ban abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. This would effectively gut Roe v. Wade while attempting to minimize the anticipated public backlash. This is the approach reportedly preferred by Chief Justice John Roberts.
  • The Supreme Court would completely overturn Roe v. Wade in a bombshell decision irregardless of the public outcry.

This suggests the leak was done by conservatives to either soften the blow when the eventual official ruling is released, or — more likely, in my view — to lock in the majority for one of the two possible outcomes. Leaking this draft ruling does very little to help the liberal side because abortion rights were going to be weakened over their objections anyway. And with Republicans focusing their talking points on the leak — and not the substance of the draft ruling — it helps distract that a fundamental right of women may soon to be taken away.

David Leonhardt: “Because of the leaked draft — a leak with no modern precedent at the court — any justice who switched sides would become notorious as the conservative who saved Roe.”

“Some observers think it might have been a conservative justice or clerk, to lock in the majority. Others think it might have been a liberal justice or clerk, to undermine the court’s reputation as a high-minded body above the partisan fray; the leak makes the court look more like other Washington institutions.”

Mike Allen: “These are the kinds of leaks you see in normal, electoral politics — from campaigns, from Congress and at times from within the executive branch. In those contexts, they’re usually an effort by the leaker to either stop something from happening or embarrass the people who made it happen.”

Nothing like it has happened in half a century. The last time there was a leak of a draft of a Supreme Court opinion in advance on a matter as consequential as potentially overturning Roe v. Wade was … when the decision in Roe v. Wade itself was leaked.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced she had chosen state Rep. Antonio Delgado (D) as her new lieutenant governor, the New York Times reports.

The House Jan. 6 Committee reached out to Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Monday with information requests on their various connections to the Capitol attack and Trump’s election steal crusade.

The panel’s letter to Brooks zeroed in on his shocking revelation that Trump had asked him to somehow “rescind” the 2020 election results and get him re-installed in the White House. Brooks has said he told Trump, who had endorsed the Alabama congressman’s Senate bid, that he wouldn’t do that. The ex-president has since un-endorsed Brooks.

The letter to Jackson pointed to a series of texts between the far-right Oath Keepers during the insurrection saying the GOP congressman “needs protection” because he had “critical data to protect.”

The letter to Biggs asked about his ties to “Stop the Steal” activist Ali Alexander’s alleged “Occupy the Capitol” scheme (to which Brooks also had ties).

“A military veteran from Georgia who attacked police officers at the Capitol as part of a pro-Trump mob attempting to overturn the 2020 election results was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison Monday,” NBC News reports.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis empaneled a special grand jury on Monday in her investigation into Trump’s attempted election steal after law enforcement closed the roads surrounding the courthouse in Atlanta and stationed deputies with assault rifles at the perimeter of the building (plus snipers on the roof, according to CNN). Willis also acquired bulletproof vests for her prosecutors.

However, there wasn’t any violence or major protests, despite Trump’s open call for another Jan. 6 in Atlanta and other cities where prosecutors are investigating him and/or his businesses.

Willis has said she’s holding off on calling witnesses until June 1, after Georgia’s May 24 primary.

New York Times: “At 88, Ms. Feinstein sometimes struggles to recall the names of colleagues, frequently has little recollection of meetings or telephone conversations, and at times walks around in a state of befuddlement — including about why she is increasingly dogged by questions about whether she is fit to serve in the Senate representing the 40 million residents of California, according to half a dozen lawmakers and aides who spoke about the situation on the condition of anonymity.”

“On Capitol Hill, it is widely — though always privately — acknowledged that Ms. Feinstein suffers from acute short-term memory issues that on some days are ignorable, but on others raise concern among those who interact with her.”

“Ms. Feinstein is often engaged during meetings and phone conversations, usually coming prepared and taking notes. But hours later, she will often have forgotten those interactions.”

Punchbowl News: “Key GOP lawmakers told us tonight that they’re willing to pass $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine – or more – but they don’t want that money tied to billions of dollars in new Covid preparedness funds.”

“Republicans are demanding a vote on Title 42, which limits migration during a public health crisis, as part of the Covid bill. Vulnerable Democrats and moderates would vote for such an amendment, which could derail the underlying package.”

“With Russian forces stalled and frustrated in the Donbas region, U.S. officials warned Monday that Moscow could soon annex more Ukrainian territory, beginning with its occupied land in the east and possibly stretching south to the city of Kherson,” the Washington Post reports.

Tucker Carlson that U.S. aid to help Ukraine defend against Russia’s barbaric invasion is revenge for Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 presidential election, the HuffPost reports.

Said Carlson: “We don’t arm Ukraine so we can help the Ukrainians. They are merely unfortunate pawns in all of this. We arm Ukraine so that we can punish Russia. Why? For stealing Hillary Clinton’s coronation.”

“The U.S. government now considers WNBA star Brittney Griner to be wrongfully detained by the Russian government, signaling a significant shift in how officials will try to get her home,” ESPN reports.

“The change in official designation means that the U.S. government will no longer wait for Griner’s case to play out through the Russian legal system and will seek to negotiate her return.”

Walter Russell Mead: “The Ukraine war is not yet 10 weeks old, and it has already revolutionized world politics. The next 10 weeks could be even more dramatic. President Biden could soon face as stern a test as any American president has since World War II. We must hope, and pray, that he is up to the job.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, is returning to work today after getting a negative test on Monday, according to her office. While she was out, Harris took Paxlovid, Pfizer’s new antiviral medication for treating COVID, and was asymptomatic.

“The Trump family’s cooperation with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol — and Ivanka Trump’s appearance in particular — has proven useful in confirming other key testimony about the state of play inside the White House as well as then-President Donald Trump’s state of mind that day,” CNN reports.

Said Chairman Bennie Thompson: “There were questions asked about what was she doing at the time that the insurrection was occurring at the Capitol, and she told us. She was asked certain questions about her awareness of what her father was doing. She told us.”

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) suggested that former President Barack Obama is behind the effort to establish a Disinformation Governance Board, which she likened to George Orwell’s famed “Ministry of Truth,” Yahoo News reports.

She added: “Biden is just a front man.”

Man, any liberal or progressive that supported this traitor in 2020 looks like a fool more and more.

“Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the IRA, is on course to become the biggest party in Northern Ireland’s government after Thursday’s election, a milestone in its quest for a united Ireland,” Reuters reports.

“The one-time political pariah has an 8-point advantage ahead of the May 5 election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday.”

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

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