Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Wandering
SCOTUS On Abortion And Gay Marriage — Breyer's Glossip Death Penalty Dissent — Piketty et al Write To Merkel — Nichols At The Nation Interviews Bernie Sanders

Here's what I have been reading on the Web (what I've been reading in a book is another matter altogether)...
  • Why Abortion Is Losing While Gay Marriage Is Winning
  • Lauren Rankin at TPM:
    It’s been a wild couple of weeks at the Supreme Court, as a notoriously conservative court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, upheld the Fair Housing Act, and preserved Obamacare subsidies for millions of Americans. Progressives were stunned and delighted at the Supreme Court’s seemingly leftward tilt, cheering Justice Anthony Kennedy for his decisive vote for marriage equality and commending Chief Justice John Roberts for strengthening Obamacare’s judicial footing.

    On Monday, progressives had something else to cheer about, as Justice Kennedy once again joined Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor—the liberal wing of the court—to allow 10 endangered Texas abortion clinics to remain open while the court decides whether to hear the full appeal. It was met with jubilation from abortion rights supporters who knew that, if this law had been allowed to go into effect, only nine abortion clinics would be left to service the more than five million Texas women of reproductive age. Allowing these clinics to stay open wasn’t just a progressive win; it was a life-saving order.

    This move, coupled with their refusal to grant Mississippi’s request to allow them to close their clinic, all but ensures that the Supreme Court will take up abortion rights in their next term. They will likely grapple with whether TRAP laws—laws that single out abortion providers with onerous and unnecessary regulations in order to force them to close—are constitutional or if they do indeed pose an “undue burden” on women’s access to safe abortion care. Basically, the Supreme Court will likely rule on whether hostile states can close safe clinics or not. These implications are enormous.

  • What Justice Breyer’s Dissent on Lethal Injection Showed About the Death Penalty’s Defenders
  • Liliana Segura at The // Intercept:

    In its 5-4 decision Monday, the Court concluded that this drug, midazolam, despite being linked to a number of botched executions, did not violate prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights, because there was insufficient proof its use would necessarily put them at risk of an agonizing death. (The drug, a benzodiazepine, was chosen to replace barbiturates previously used as an anesthetic during lethal injection — for more, see my earlier coverage of Glossip here.)

    But in an unusual and impassioned dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer read Glenn Ford’s name from the bench to illustrate why, putting particular execution protocols aside, the time has come to reconsider the death penalty altogether. “Last year, in 2014, six death row inmates were exonerated based on actual innocence,” Breyer wrote. “All had been imprisoned for more than 30 years.” In Ford’s case, he said, citing a remarkable mea culpa published by the Shreveport Times, “the prosecutor admitted that even ‘[a]t the time this case was tried there was evidence that would have cleared Glenn Ford.” This same prosecutor, Breyer noted, admitted that “at the time of Ford’s conviction, he was ‘not as interested in justice as [he] was in winning.’”

  • Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel
  • "Five leading economists warn the German chancellor, 'History will remember you for your actions this week.' ”
  • Bernie Sanders Speaks
  • "In his most revealing interview, the socialist presidential candidate sets out his vision for America." - John Nichols [An exceptional interview! Please go see for yourself why I feel America needs this man as President. - SB]

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