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Dealing with the wreckage
For many people, abortion availability is hanging on uncertain and temporary rulings. And: CNN, on the Biden administration's failed response, thus far, to the end of Roe.
The Supreme Court justices are on summer recess now that they are done unleashing their decisions on America for now.
As summer gets underway, however, the fallout from the court’s term will be felt across the nation, as women and other pregnant people seeking abortions, as well as their families and friends, have to figure out whether and how abortion services are available to them.
The question of whether a person can get an abortion in any of several states with “trigger bans” — literally, laws passed ahead of time that were to go into effect if Roe v. Wade was ever overturned — is one of the first post-Roe legal battles we’re seeing. Some of the trigger bans don’t go into effect until a certain period of time after the ruling, but others either were to go into effect immediately or don’t specify precisely.
Hearings are set in several states this week and next over aspects of various trigger bans. A judge on Tuesday rejected a request, under the state’s constitution, to halt Mississippi’s trigger ban from going into effect on Thursday. A hearing is set for Friday in Louisiana, where its ban is currently on hold and abortions are ongoing. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has, nonetheless, asked the state’s Supreme Court to step in and put the ban into effect. A hearing is coming next Monday in Utah, where a judge put its ban on hold for now. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) has gone to the state supreme court in his state, seeking (update: unsuccessfully) to overturn a lower-court ruling that has put that state’s trigger ban on hold.
Additionally, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) is appealing a ruling Tuesday in Florida that would have halted enforcement of the state’s 15-week ban. The appeal, however, automatically put the ban back in effect for now.
These are individual states, with individual laws, the immediate and near future of which remains unclear. Most of the rulings will be temporary, unless they’re litigation based on a state constitutional claim (that ultimately succeeds). These laws will affect hundreds or thousands of people in each state seeking abortion services in the coming months alone. And right now, at any given moment, a single trial court judge or an appeals court or even, in the case of Florida, the state’s appellate rules are dictating whether a person in the state can get an abortion.
What we’re already seeing, in other words, is the sprawling, complicated outcome of the Dobbs ruling: Far from taking abortion out of the courts, it in fact has just changed the circumstances — all the while making everything more uncertain. As it is, every state will take its own actions under its own laws — old laws, recently passed laws, and new legislation — in response to the ruling. Then, as each state implements its own rules, challenges to those decisions will make their ways through state and federal courts. Because of the number of trigger laws, several of those first lawsuits have already begun.
All the while, women and others seeking abortion services in those states will face uncertainty and difficulty, even if they are not placed in the position of having to continue with an unwanted pregnancy.
THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION: CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reported on the lack of a planned response from the Biden administration to the Dobbs ruling, as well as the administration’s lack of action — or delayed action — on other fronts.
It was a brutal piece that really nailed the growing anger — particularly on the abortion question, given the advance notice, effectively, that President Biden and his team had to the Dobbs ruling with the May 2 draft opinion leak.
Top Democrats complain the President isn’t acting with – or perhaps is even capable of – the urgency the moment demands.
“Rudderless, aimless and hopeless” is how one member of Congress described the White House.
Two dozen leading Democratic politicians and operatives, as well as several within the West Wing, tell CNN they feel this goes deeper than questions of ideology and posture. Instead, they say, it gets to questions of basic management.
More than a week after the abortion decision, top Biden aides are still wrangling over releasing new actions in response, despite the draft decision leaking six weeks earlier.
After all that, this was tonight’s scoop.
A FINAL NOTE: