Connect with us


Abortion ban aims for U.S. Supreme Court, but won’t get there soon – National



Alabama Senate votes in favour of near total ban on abortion National


Alabama’s virtual ban on abortion is the latest and most far-reaching state law seemingly designed to prod the Supreme Court to reconsider a constitutional right it announced 46 years ago in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

But Chief Justice John Roberts may prefer a more incremental approach to reining in abortion rights than the frontal attack Alabama’s new law or the “fetal heartbeat” measures enacted by other states present.

Alabama bill banning nearly all abortions signed by governor

The passage of abortion restrictions in Republican-led states and a corresponding push to buttress abortion rights where Democrats are in power stem from the same place: Changes in the composition of the high court. The retirement of abortion-rights supporter Justice Anthony Kennedy and the addition of President Donald Trump’s appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, may make the court more willing to cut back on the right to abortion, if not take it away altogether.

WATCH: Alabama governor signs abortion bill into law

Several state restrictions already are pending before the justices, and it seems likely that at least one abortion case will be on the court’s calendar next term, with a decision likely in the midst of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Some questions and answers on the legal fight over abortion rights and how the Supreme Court could respond:

How quickly could the Alabama law get to the supreme court?

Not that quickly. The law is certain to be challenged in federal court in Alabama and almost surely will be blocked because it plainly conflicts with Supreme Court precedent. Review by the federal appeals court in Atlanta would come next, and only then would the Supreme Court be asked to weigh in. Emergency appeals by either side could put the issue before the justices sooner, but that would not be a full-blown review of the law.

WATCH: Alabama governor says abortion bill ‘very difficult’, says she’ll review it thoroughly

What abortion cases might reach the high court sooner?

Indiana has appealed lower court rulings blocking provisions prohibiting abortions over race, sex or disability, regulating the burial of fetal remains and requiring a pregnant woman to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before an abortion. The first two of those issues have been pending at the Supreme Court for months with no explanation.

Separately, Roberts and the liberal justices blocked a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics from taking effect in February, making the chances good that the court will review the law next term and issue a decision by June 2020.

‘Heartbeat’ abortion laws could ban most procedures in the U.S. Deep South

Alabama has appealed a ruling invalidating a law prohibiting the most common method of abortion in the second trimester.

Four other states — Mississippi, Kentucky Ohio and Georgia — enacted laws this year banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. None of those laws has yet taken effect, and lawsuits have been filed or are planned to block all of them.

Isn’t it risky for abortion-rights advocates to challenge these laws in court?

Abortion-rights activists say they have no alternative but to file lawsuits challenging every tough abortion ban passed.

“Were we not to challenge them, they would go into effect,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “There’s no strategy of ‘Maybe we leave this one and challenge that one.”

WATCH: Alabama’s senate passes a near-total ban on abortions

The ACLU and its allies expect lower-level federal courts to honor Roe by blocking the abortion bans. The ultimate question, Dalven said, is whether the Supreme Court will decide to revisit Roe by agreeing to hear an appeal from one or more of the states whose ban was blocked.

“It would be an extraordinary thing for the Supreme Court to take away an individual constitutional right,” she said.

Alyssa Milano calls for sex strike to protest recent abortion bans

Anti-abortion activists hope the high court will be willing to reconsider Roe.

“It is clearer than ever that Roe is far from being settled law in the eyes and hearts of the American people, and this is increasingly reflected in state legislatures,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. “The American people want a fresh debate and a new direction.”

How might changes on the court affect rulings on abortion?

Kennedy’s retirement and Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October leave the four liberal justices playing defense, or trying to prevent the court from undoing earlier decisions. Kennedy was a key part of the court majority that reaffirmed abortion rights in 1992 in a decision that measures restrictions on abortion by whether they place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have one.

The justices don’t overturn precedent often, even when it’s a decision they disagree with. And when they do, it’s usually because an earlier decision is “egregiously wrong,” as Kavanaugh put it earlier this term.

Justice Stephen Breyer offered the latest recognition of the difficulty his liberal side of the court faces in a dissent in a case unrelated to abortion that the court decided Monday, one in which the five conservatives voted to overturn a 1979 decision.

Trump moves to protect health-care workers who refuse abortions on religious grounds

Breyer, joined by liberal colleagues Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, cited the 1992 abortion decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey in a dissent that concluded: “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next.”

Justice Clarence Thomas is the only member on record as supporting overruling the court’s abortion precedents. In his most recent comments on the topic in February, also in a case unrelated to abortion, Thomas likened Roe to the court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision, which said African Americans weren’t citizens. Both, he wrote, were “notoriously incorrect.”

Why might Roberts hold the key?

With Kennedy gone, Roberts is now the justice closest to the court’s center. The chief justice also has a track record of preferring smaller bites before making significant changes in constitutional law.

“You do see consistently in the chief justice’s career a willingness to go incrementally and only decide what the court needs to resolve in the case before it,” said Michael Moreland, a Villanova University law professor.

WATCH: Ohio governor signs controversial bill banning abortion after 1st heartbeat

Roberts also is aware of the questions the court would face if a conservative majority of justices, all appointed by Republican presidents, were to reverse the abortion decisions, Moreland said.

Still, Roberts has, with one exception, favored abortion restrictions. His provisional vote to block the Louisiana clinic law was the only time he voted in support of abortions rights in more than 13 years on the court.


Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

Continue Reading


Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

Continue Reading


Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

Continue Reading