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Among the throng of abortion-rights demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court this week were six Democratic presidential candidates.

They were there to protest new abortion restrictions passed by Republican-dominated legislatures in such states as Georgia, Missouri and especially Alabama, which approved an outright ban on abortions.

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“We are not going to allow them to move our country backward,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota vowed as she spoke to the crowd.

Another White House hopeful, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called the measures “the beginning of President Trump’s war on women.”

And Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey urged those protesting to “wake up more men to join this fight.”

The demonstration on the steps of the nation’s highest court was the latest sign that the divisive issue of abortion has rocketed to the center of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — and with a lawsuit filed Friday against the Alabama law, legal proceedings could easily keep the debate hot going into the 2020 general election.

But the question going forward — will the debate mobilize Democrats to the same degree Republicans have used the issue to energize social conservatives in the decades since the landmark Roe v. Wade high court ruling codified abortion protections? Part of President Trump’s 2016 coalition included social conservatives who, despite reservations about the candidate, wanted to ensure federal court vacancies were filled by like-minded jurists.

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And with numerous state abortion laws tempting legal challenges, an epic battle over abortion restrictions could be shaping up in the future before a Supreme Court that Trump has made more conservative since taking office.

On Friday, Missouri’s governor signed a bill banning abortions after eight weeks. Last week, Alabama passed an outright abortion ban, including for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, unless the woman’s life is in danger. Days earlier, Georgia banned abortions absent a medical emergency after six weeks of pregnancy. The measure also made abortions illegal after a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, which can happen before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

“More than anything, I think what you’re seeing from both the presidential candidates and the broader Democratic elected and progressive activist universe is a visceral response to blatant attacks on women’s reproductive rights,” highlighted veteran Democratic consultant and communications strategist Lynda Tran. “For so many women — and men — across the country, this isn’t politics as much as it is personal.”

In his 2012 re-election, then-President Barack Obama hammered GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Republicans for waging what he and other Democrats described as a “war on women.”

Four years later, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reiterated the theme as she spotlighted her support for Roe v. Wade — and Trump vowed to put “pro-life justices on the court.”

While the 2020 Democrats largely support abortion rights and criticize the recent state laws, they do differ when it comes to how much emphasis they put on the issue.

Gillibrand traveled to Atlanta last week, to protest Georgia’s new measure at the state capital and once again vowed to nominate judges who vow to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts produced a new policy proposal to protect access to reproductive health care.

And Sen. Kamala Harris of California has spotlighted the fight for abortion rights on the campaign trail the past couple of weeks.

But it’s not just the female candidates.

Booker earlier this week rolled out a plan that would include creating a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Eric Swalwell of California, and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts also attended the rally outside the Supreme Court.

Social conservatives are banking on the legal challenges against the new state laws eventually ending up before the high court, which they hope will overturn Roe v. Wade.

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But public perceptions about the 1973 ruling appear to be shifting.

A Fox News Poll in January indicated that six in 10 registered voters wanted the precedent to remain in place, while just 21 percent wanted Roe v. Wade overturned.

And 28 percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released this week said abortion should be legal in all cases, an all-time high in that organization’s polling. Eight percent said abortion should be illegal in all cases, the lowest level since Quinnipiac first asked the question 15 years ago.

Female voters helped drive the Democrats’ success at the ballot box in 2018, as they recaptured the majority in the House. Democratic strategists say the issues will help rally the troops again in 2020.

Tran noted that “Republicans seem to be banking on these laws and this fight helping to turn out their base in 2020.”

But she spotlighted “what it will also likely do is enable Democrats who won huge victories in 2018 thanks to women voters in key districts nationally to drive up what is already heightened voter enthusiasm among progressives even higher.”

The Republican National Committee says the issue of abortion is distracting Democrats from getting the work of the people accomplished.

“While Democrats continue to espouse extreme positions on abortion,” argued RNC press secretary Blair Ellis, “they neglect the real and substantive work they promised the American people.”

A veteran GOP consultant thinks the significance of abortion’s impact on the 2020 election is overstated.

“The issue of abortion rights is a hot button issue for a small portion of either party,” said Lauren Caren, a veteran of numerous Republican presidential and Senate campaigns.

“What the middle of the road person expects is common sense. So I don’t see this issue as being the pinnacle of all issues for this election cycle,” added Carney, who served as a top adviser to Carly Fiorina’s 2016 White House bid.

Source: Fox News Politics

Call it the power of one. Individual federal judges across the country have been issuing nationwide injunctions against the Trump administration in record numbers, blocking a range of executive policies from being enforced.

Now the Trump administration is fighting back, actively looking for a case to take to the Supreme Court in an effort to reassert the authority of the president and limit that of the judiciary.

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“These nationwide injunctions have frustrated presidential policy for most of the President’s term with no clear end in sight,” Attorney General William Barr said in a speech Tuesday. “One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”

Barr and Vice President Pence have been leading the very public effort to highlight what they say is a federal court system out of control. The administration makes the point nationwide injunctions have occurred more during this presidency than all others combined.

“We believe that needs to change,” Pence said on “Fox News @ Night” last week. “We believe that’s really a distortion of the separation of powers and the balance of powers in our constitution. And so we’re going to be looking for a case to take the issue of national injunctions all the way to the Supreme Court.”

A Fox News analysis largely supports the administration claims.

In President Trump’s first year alone, federal judges issued 20 nationwide injunctions — as many as president Obama’s eight years in office. Those included judges appointed by Republican as well as Democratic presidents.

The current number is more than three dozen — on a range of hot-button issues — especially immigration:

  • Rescinding grant money to sanctuary cities   
  • Ending the socalled “dreamers” program for young undocumented aliens  
  •  Travel ban on certain Muslim majority countries – a policy ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court last year.   
  • Restrictions on transgender people joining the military   
  • A planned citizenship question on the 2020 census   
  • Several abortion and reproductive health policies, including administration efforts to suspend federal funding for family planning clinics that refer patients to abortion providers.

Nationwide or universal injunctions have the effect of binding the government from implementing laws or policies — maintaining the status quo at least until the issue is fully litigated. Most of the nearly 700 district court or trial judges confine their orders to the particular parties bringing suit — and only in the region under the judge’s control.

https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/districtauth.pdf

Some legal advocates say the shift is necessary:  when the harm is nationwide — so too must the legal relief:

“The suggestion that it’s only very liberal judges putting a hold on president trump’s policies is simply not true,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. “This is a matter of justice, it’s not a matter of politics when it comes to the judicial branch.”

The ACLU is among the most active of advocacy groups requesting judges issue nationwide injunctions, and it has been mostly successful.

Last August a federal judge in San Diego issued an injunction requiring reunification of deported immigrant parents with their children. The judge refused an administration request to delay court-ordered deadlines sought by the Department of Homeland Security.

“The judge is refusing to let the government off the hook for the mess it made,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

But the White House is pushing back– looking for the right case to present to the supreme court– but the issue likely would not be resolved in a presidential election year. But most legal experts say it will be ultimately resolved by the justices.

“I suspect the Supreme Court is going to weigh in at some point on this just because it nationwide injunction being increasingly prevalent in recent years,” said Thomas Dupree, a former Bush principal deputy assistant attorney general.

“And there’s a lot of unsettled law in this area about how far as a single district court’s power projects. Can a single judge apply his or her ruling across the nation and different courts give different answers to that.”

“The administration thinks it ultimately has a winning hand since Trump’s two justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — now create solid conservative majority.

And Justice Clarence Thomas in particular is eager to address it.

“Universal injunctions are legally and historically dubious,” he wrote last June in the Trump travel ban case. “If federal courts continue to issue them, this Court is duty-bound to adjudicate their authority to do so.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, suggested Wednesday that his party kept losing elections — and subsequently judicial confirmation battles — because it wasn’t being aggressive enough in challenging its opponents.

Ryan, a 2020 presidential candidate, told MSNBC that while the party needed to push legislative support for abortion, it could only do so much without taking congressional seats. “We keep playing defense all the time on all of these issues and in all of these states and in the federal government,” he said.

“We now have the federal courts peppered with conservative pro-life justices. The Supreme Court is a conservative pro-life court. We’ve got to start moving in the right direction here politically and getting elected so that we appoint the judges and we win elections in these states.”

He was responding to MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, who asked if he had a plan for protecting abortion access. Their conversation came just after fellow contenders — Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas — released their own plans for protecting abortion access.

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Abortion became a prominent issue in the 2020 race when several states passed controversial restrictions on access — teeing up a legal battle the Supreme Court could use to overturn major abortion precedent.

President Trump’s judicial agenda has received praise from pro-life advocates while Democrats have fiercely opposed Trump’s judicial nominees — in particular, Justice Bret Kavanaugh — and attempted to strike a deal with the president over the Ninth Circuit.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted Trump’s choice to nominate Dan Collins, whom the Senate approved on Tuesday, citing his “history of undermining civil and reproductive rights.”

In a statement provided to Fox News, Judicial Crisis Network Chief Counsel Carrie Severino praised Collins but noted “Democrat obstruction” as a hurdle to his confirmation.

“Dan Collins had to run the all-too-familiar gauntlet of unprincipled Democrat obstruction but came out a winner. He will be another exceptional addition to the court, protecting the rule of law and helping bring the Ninth Circuit into the legal mainstream,” she said.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Mazie Hirono said to a pro-choice crowd that she told eighth grade students that their abortion rights are under attack.

Multiple Democrats spoke at an abortion rights protest on Tuesday in front of the Supreme Court following a wave of pro-life legislation across America that severely limited or even banned abortion after six weeks.

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Hirono, D-Hawaii, told the protesters about speaking to eighth grade students who “get it” about the abortion rights in the U.S.

“I just left 60 eighth graders from a public school in Hawaii, and I told them I was coming to a rally in front of the Supreme Court, and they said, ‘Why?’” Hirono said. “I said it’s because we are–we have to fight for abortion rights and they knew all about it.”

“And I asked the girls in that group of eighth graders: how many of you girls think that government should be telling us, women, when and if we want to have babies, not a single one of them raised their hands.”

“And then, the boys who were there among the sixty, I told them, you know, it’s kind of hard for a woman to get pregnant without you guys,” she said as the crowd laughed. “They got it.”

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“How many of you boys think that government should be telling girls and women when and if we’re going to have babies, and not a single one of them raised their hand,” the senator added.

Many Democrats and progressive groups have been warning that following the passage of pro-life legislation in states such as Alabama and Georgia, the issue is likely to eventually end up at the Supreme Court.

The key concern is that Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will rule to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade, even though the two justices have so far defied the concerns and ruled independently, sometimes siding with liberal justices.

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Hirono, a staunch critic of the justices appointed by Trump, even name-dropped Kavanaugh and Gorsuch during the protest, asking “are you listening?” to the concerns of of those attending the protest.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Mazie Hirono said to a pro-choice crowd that she told eighth grade students that their abortion rights are under attack.

Multiple Democrats spoke at an abortion rights protest on Tuesday in front of the Supreme Court following a wave of pro-life legislation across America that severely limited or even banned abortion after six weeks.

KAVANAUGH AND GORSUCH DEFY DEM PREDICTIONS WITH INDEPENDENT STREAK

Hirono, D-Hawaii, told the protesters about speaking to eighth grade students who “get it” about the abortion rights in the U.S.

“I just left 60 eighth graders from a public school in Hawaii, and I told them I was coming to a rally in front of the Supreme Court, and they said, ‘Why?’” Hirono said. “I said it’s because we are–we have to fight for abortion rights and they knew all about it.”

“And I asked the girls in that group of eighth graders: how many of you girls think that government should be telling us, women, when and if we want to have babies, not a single one of them raised their hands.”

“And then, the boys who were there among the sixty, I told them, you know, it’s kind of hard for a woman to get pregnant without you guys,” she said as the crowd laughed. “They got it.”

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“How many of you boys think that government should be telling girls and women when and if we’re going to have babies, and not a single one of them raised their hand,” the senator added.

Many Democrats and progressive groups have been warning that following the passage of pro-life legislation in states such as Alabama and Georgia, the issue is likely to eventually end up at the Supreme Court.

The key concern is that Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will rule to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade, even though the two justices have so far defied the concerns and ruled independently, sometimes siding with liberal justices.

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Hirono, a staunch critic of the justices appointed by Trump, even name-dropped Kavanaugh and Gorsuch during the protest, asking “are you listening?” to the concerns of of those attending the protest.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democrats’ warnings that Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would solidify an unwavering conservative majority on the bench so far have not come to pass, with the two Trump-nominated justices crossing over to side with liberal colleagues on numerous occasions since joining the court.

The confirmations of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were met with fierce resistance amid concerns that they would tilt the Supreme Court for decades, perhaps even laying the groundwork to overturn Roe v. Wade. While that question remains unresolved as conservative states try to bring the abortion debate back before the high court, a range of other recent decisions indicate the two newest justices are ruling on a case-by-case basis, analysts say.

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“The defining characteristic of both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh is that they have a very solid judicial philosophy. It’s not a political approach to the cases where you say what the outcome of this case is going to be and now find a judicial and legal rationale,” Carrie Severino, with the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, told Fox News.

“It starts with the law, and it starts with how we interpret this law and using the same type of interpretive techniques regardless of what the real world political results may be, but having a consistent legal approach,” she continued. “That doesn’t always lead to results that one might characterize as liberal or conservative.”

Gorsuch sided Monday with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, giving a narrow majority in support of a Native American man convicted for hunting in a national forest. Kavanaugh opposed the ruling.

A week earlier, Kavanaugh sided with liberals in a 5-4 decision that he wrote, ruling that Apple could be sued by iPhone owners over high prices in their App Store. Gorsuch opposed the ruling.

In March, the two found themselves in disagreement multiple times. Kavanaugh joined liberal justices in a ruling that delayed the execution of a cop killer amid claims that religious freedom would be violated if the death-row inmate’s Buddhist spiritual adviser wasn’t present during his final moments.

Gorsuch then joined liberals in ruling that the Yakama Nation doesn’t have to pay a Washington state fuel tax, while Kavanaugh dissented.

Gorsuch then joined Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in dissent in a case brought by two Navy veterans who had been exposed to asbestos. But writing the court’s opinion, Kavanaugh said that the makers of pumps, turbines and blowers that required asbestos insulation to operate properly should have warned about the health dangers of asbestos exposure.

With these rulings, both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have appeared to show more independence than the so-called liberal bloc of the Supreme Court. “If you look at the liberals on the Supreme Court, they are much more consistent in voting patterns with each other than conservatives,” Severino said.

“If you look at the liberals on the Supreme Court, they are much more consistent in voting patterns with each other than conservatives.”

— Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino

“I think there’s less consensus than maybe was expected between the conservatives; the liberals seem to still be voting very heavily together,” Adam Feldman, a Supreme Court expert who runs the blog Empirical SCOTUS, told Fox News.

“When we look at the voting blocs, liberals voted together about 92 percent of the time. When you look at any of the iteration of the conservatives, at maximum they are voting together 75 percent of the times.”

The impartiality of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, though, was called into question by Democrats during their confirmation battles.

“The Trump Administration has shown unprecedented disregard for the rule of law and the role of an independent judiciary, making the need for judicial independence greater than ever. Judge Gorsuch’s record, however, is of loyal fidelity to conservative, Republican causes,” a statement from Senate Democrats read, adding that his judicial record “provides no confidence that he would stand up to President Trump or any other conservative President’s agenda when it crosses the legal line.”

“Judge Gorsuch’s record, however, is of loyal fidelity to conservative, Republican causes … [his judicial record] provides no confidence that he would stand up to President Trump or any other conservative President’s agenda when it crosses the legal line.”

— Senate Democrats

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein labeled Gorsuch an “extremist” beholden to the big business who “has consistently sided with employers and corporate interests,” and went “out of his way to apply his own view of the law” and engage in “selective activism.”

Kavanaugh’s independence was called into question to a severe degree after he slammed the way the Democrats handled sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced during the confirmation process.

“This was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and even-handedness one would see in a judge,” Feinstein said. “This was someone who was aggressive and belligerent. I have never seen someone who wants to be elevated to the highest court in our country behave in that manner.”

“This was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and even handedness one would see in a judge.”

— Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Kavanaugh an “extreme partisan” chosen by Trump and conservatives to overturn abortion laws in America. “He gave one of the bitterest, most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee.”

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At the time, the nominees vowed to be impartial.

“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no political party, litigant or policy,” Kavanaugh wrote in the Wall Street Journal following a fiery hearing amid accusations of sexual misconduct from decades ago.

“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no political party, litigant or policy.”

— Brett Kavanaugh

“Over the past 12 years, I have ruled sometimes for the prosecution and sometimes for criminal defendants, sometimes for workers and sometimes for businesses, sometimes for environmentalists and sometimes for coal miners,” he continued. “In each case, I have followed the law. I do not decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Monday that he was shocked by Kavanaugh’s vote regarding Apple, saying “I did not see this coming.”

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“All the indications about Brett Kavanaugh were that he was a monolithic conservative that wouldn’t even listen to the other side,” he said during an appearance on “America’s Newsroom,” though noting that Kavanaugh always insisted he was “not a monolithic anything” and always stressed that he will listen to the facts and only then decide how to rule.

“Today, he and the four liberal members of the court radically expanded the rights of plaintiffs to bring class actions,” Napolitano added.

Gorsuch, similarly, vowed to be impartial when asked during his confirmation hearing about Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that affirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion under the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Gorsuch whether Trump ever asked him to overturn the landmark abortion ruling in his interview with the president, to which Gorsuch replied “No … I would have walked out the door. That’s not what judges do.”

Gorsuch even went on to take a swipe at Trump during one of the hearings, saying criticisms against federal judges are troubling.

“When someone criticizes the honesty, the integrity, or the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening, I find that demoralizing,” said Gorsuch.

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Yet following the passage of pro-life laws across the U.S., particularly in Alabama, that restricted or banned abortions after six weeks, progressive groups and Democrats are warning that should the cases reach the Supreme Court, both Trump-appointed justices will side with the right on the issue.

Kavanaugh told the Senate during the confirmation process that he views the high court’s abortion precedents as settled law, a sentiment that helped win a critical confirmation vote from Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

In December, Kavanaugh voted to decline to review two lower-court decisions that banned Louisiana and Kansas from cutting Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, a move that many pro-lifers saw an example of Kavanaugh not being a judge who would rule against abortion.

Gorsuch, meanwhile, was confirmed to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative judge who was skeptical of Roe v. Wade and suggested the abortion issue should be left to the states for them to independently decide.

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Yet even as Gorsuch replaced an openly conservative justice, he hasn’t made comments that would indicate he’s angling to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade.

During confirmation hearings, Gorsuch issued a judicial defense of the abortion ruling, saying it set the precedent and assured that he accepts that it’s “the law of the land”

“Once a case is settled, that adds to the determinacy of law,” he said. “What was once a hotly contested issue is no longer a hotly contested issue. We move forward.”

Source: Fox News Politics

One of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees sided Monday with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court for the second time in two weeks, as Justice Neil Gorsuch joined a narrow majority in support of a Native American man convicted for hunting in a national forest.

The case, Herrera v. Wyoming, deals with a treaty from 1868 which allowed members of the tribe to hunt in “unoccupied lands” in the U.S. in exchange for their land, which went on to become part of Wyoming and Montana. At issue was whether the hunting rights in the treaty are still in effect or were nullified when Wyoming became a state in 1890.

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The opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor – and joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Gorsuch – ruled that the treaty indeed still applies, and that Crow member Clayvin Herrera was improperly convicted of off-season hunting in Bighorn National Forest in 2014.

The court’s 5-4 ruling, which vacated the decision from the state appellate court, is based on the 1999 decision in Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians. In that case, the Supreme Court said that a territory gaining statehood is not enough “to extinguish Indian treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather on land within state boundaries.” The court went further in that case, stating that Congress “must clearly express” an intention to end a treaty with a Native American tribe in order for the treaty’s rights to expire.

By siding with the traditionally liberal justices, Gorsuch gave them a 5-4 majority in the case.

The opinion came exactly one week after Trump’s other nominee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sided with liberals in a 5-4 decision that he wrote, ruling that Apple could be sued by iPhone owners over high prices in their App Store.

Sotomayor, in the latest opinion, also addressed the argument that the land on which Hererra was hunting became “occupied” under the treaty when it became a national forest in 1897. The court’s decision said that while it is possible that certain areas of the forest could be considered occupied, the forest as a whole is not occupied by default simply because it is a national forest.

Hererra’s attorney, George W. Hicks, celebrated his client’s victory. “We are gratified that the Supreme Court held that the treaty hunting right guaranteed to the Crow Tribe and Mr. Herrera was not abrogated by Wyoming’s admission to the Union or the creation of the Bighorn National Forest,” he said in a statement to Fox News.

Gorsuch’s conservative colleagues, led by Justice Samuel Alito, argued in a dissenting opinion that the majority has it all wrong. Alito, like the lower court’s decision, relied on an 1896 case involving a similarly worded treaty between Wyoming and the Shoshonee and Bannack tribes, which also was from 1868. That case, Ward v. Race Horse, said that when Wyoming became a state, it ended the treaty. This ruling was based on the idea that states have the authority “to regulate the killing of game within their borders.”

Additionally, the conservative dissent said that a 1995 10th Circuit opinion in Crow Tribe of Indians v. Repsis dealt with the exact issue in Hererra’s case, relying on the precedent in Race Horse to say that the Crow Tribe’s hunting rights under their treaty expired when Wyoming became a state. Because the issue was already decided in that case, the dissent said, it was improper for it to be heard again here.

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The majority opinion addressed the Race Horse and Repsis cases, stating that the more recent 1999 Mille Lacs case renders them obsolete. Sotomayor also wrote that it did not matter that the same treaty had been addressed in the past, because the Mille Lacs case represented a “change in [the] applicable legal context.” The conservatives disagreed.

Source: Fox News Politics

Alabama’s new abortion law and other states’ pending measures are examples of “emboldened” Republican-majority legislatures in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh taking his place on the Supreme Court, according to Marc Thiessen.

George W. Bush’s former speechwriter added that GOP opposition to Obama administration policies led to a resurgence of Republican majorities in state capitols during his time in the White House.

“Republican legislatures have been passing laws restricting abortion for over a decade now because, during the Obama years, Republicans had an unprecedented takeover of state legislatures,” he said on “Special Report.”

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However, Thiessen clarified that, even with the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court, he doesn’t see the nation’s highest bench taking up legislation that would challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed the GOP-majority state legislature’s bill into law Wednesday.

“You [elect] pro-life governors and you elect pro-life legislative supermajorities, they’re going to pass pro-life laws,” Thiessen told “Special Report.”

“The difference is, they were… doing an incrementalist approach because they knew Anthony Kennedy was going to strike down anything they did. Now, you’ve got Brett Kavanaugh on the court, and they’re becoming emboldened and putting off this incrementalist approach.”

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Thiessen continued, saying the Supreme Court does not have to take up all of the cases presented to it. “If a federal judge says [a pro-life state law] is unconstitutional, [the Supreme Court] can choose not to do it.”

He also said he believes the Supreme Court does not want to re-litigate Roe v. Wade, “and they are not going to be forced to by a state.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards reportedly signaled he would sign his state’s “heartbeat” legislation — effectively banning abortions after just weeks of pregnancy — as his party faced questions over whether it should be more inclusive of pro-life voices.

“When I ran for governor, I said I was pro-life and so that’s something that’s consistent,” he reportedly said when asked about the bill on Thursday.

The bill, which awaited a vote from the Louisiana House of Representatives, would make the state one of the strictest on abortion access — following a slew of other states that passed restrictions in an apparent attempt to make the Supreme Court reconsider major precedent on the issue.

Pro-life advocates have heralded measures like “heartbeat” legislation while groups like Planned Parenthood have challenged them in a series of legal battles. Louisiana’s bill could face a lawsuit from the same group — the American Civil Liberties Union — that sued Ohio over its own “heartbeat” legislation.

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“My position hasn’t changed. In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator,” Edwards said. Edwards attributed his pro-life stance to his faith but it also appeared to hold personal significance. Nearly three decades ago, he and his wife decided to have his daughter, diagnosed as a baby with spina bifida, against the doctor’s advice to abort.

During his monthly radio show, the governor seemed to acknowledge his break with Democrats, who have continually denounced state-level legislation like Louisiana’s.

“I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day,” he said.

Democrats like Edwards were in a tough spot politically as the Supreme Court acquired an apparent conservative majority and members of their own party pushed more controversial forms of abortion.

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In 2016, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lost after a fiery confrontation with then-candidate Donald Trump who spotlighted her support for late-term abortion during a debate. It also appeared to prompt media questions as to whether the party should expand its tent to be more welcoming to pro-life voters.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Democratic National Comittee Chairman Tom Perez previously said.

According to a Marist poll from 2019, Democrats varied in their opinion on abortion restrictions. But a strong majority — 60 percent — said they supported limiting abortion to the first trimester. Another poll from May showed that overall, registered voters thought heartbeat bills were either “just right” or “too lenient.” That contrasted with 45 percent who said they were “too restrictive.”

Democrats for Life, which voiced support for “heartbeat” legislation, has challenged the party on this point in particular — calling for things like more inclusive language from party leadership and a Democratic Pro-Life Political Action Committee.

Congressional Democrats have acknowledged that being pro-life and Democrat was possible but, as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-Calif., clarified, the party was “strongly pro-choice.”

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Schumer, who blasted a “heartbeat” legislation passed on Friday in Missouri, has formed a unified front with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in vehemently opposing pro-life initiatives pushed by Trump and others.

Trump, whom pro-life leaders have praised, aroused Democratic fears in 2018 when he appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to a Court that seemed evenly divided along ideological lines on that issue. Kavanaugh could consider laws from Edwards’ state and others if they reach the Supreme Court — potentially ending protections established under Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

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Heading into the 2020 elections, Trump has tried to tie Democrats to late-term abortion. Democrats like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who pushed a bill allowing abortions up to the point of birth, have faced intense scrutiny over their support on the issue.

But as Democrats encountered accusations they supported “extreme” abortion proposals, Republicans did as well. The party appeared to wrestle with the issue after Alabama passed an abortion ban that excluded exceptions for rape and incest — provisions that Ronna McDaniel, the party’s chair, “personally” opposed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

In response to the controversy surrounding Alabama’s new law outlawing abortion, Former Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert Ray said that the issue will be a divisive issue ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

During an interview on “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday, the former federal prosecutor also warned against “overreacting” about the ruling given that Alabama is still governed by Roe v. Wade.

Alabama’s law will certainly face lawsuits attempting to reverse it, and many believe the fight will go all the way to the Supreme Court, meaning it will take some time for it to be enacted, if ever.

“I don’t look to see this happening immediately,” Ray said. “On the other hand, it is clearly going to be a presidential campaign issue.”

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Several 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, spoke out after the bill was signed into law by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Wednesday. President Trump has yet to make a comment.

Ray also warned against “overreacting” to the ruling, despite foreseeing that it “does look to be a setup for a major court ruling.”

Several states in recent months have passed laws restricting or even outlawing abortion, including Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi and Missouri. Meanwhile, states like New York and Virginia have passed laws expanding abortion rights for women.

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“The country seems to want to have some balance in this and is probably going to look to reject extremes,” Ray said.

“I think that’s probably likely where you’ll see the Supreme Court come out, at least initially.”

Source: Fox News Politics


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