Without Roe v. Wade, Litigants Look to State Constitutions for Protection of Abortion Rights

Several state supreme courts already have recognized the right to terminate a pregnancy. Will more states join the list?

JACOB SULLUM | 6.30.2022 6:30 PM

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Abortion-rights supporters demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2022.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion. But several state supreme courts have rejected abortion bans as inconsistent with state constitutional provisions, and current litigation over new restrictions seeks to enforce such precedents or create new ones.

Those lawsuits have met with some initial success in Michigan, where a judge ruled in May that the state constitution protects abortion rights, and Florida, where a judge said the same on Thursday. Some lawsuits do not claim constitutional protection for abortion rights but instead seek to delay implementation of “trigger” bans designed to take effect after the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that the Supreme Court repudiated in Dobbs. Here is a rundown of where things stand.

PRE-DOBBS DECISIONS

Alaska

In 1997, the Alaska Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state constitution “protects reproductive autonomy, including the right to abortion.” The court cited Article I, Section 22 of the Alaska Constitution, which was adopted in 1972 and says, “The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed.”

The justices concluded that “a woman’s control of her body, and the choice whether or when to bear children, involves the kind of decision-making that is “necessary for…civilized life and ordered liberty.” They added that “our prior decisions support the further conclusion that the right to an abortion is the kind of fundamental right and privilege encompassed within the intention and spirit of Alaska’s constitutional language.”

California

In 1969, four years before Roe established a constitutional right to abortion, the California Supreme Court ruled that a state law allowing a woman to obtain an abortion only when it is “necessary to preserve her life” was so vague that it violated the right to due process. It said “a definition requiring certainty of death,” as urged by the government, “would work an invalid abridgment of the woman’s constitutional rights,” including “the woman’s rights to life and to choose whether to bear children.”

The justices reasoned that “the fundamental right of the woman to choose whether to bear children follows from the Supreme Court’s and this court’s repeated acknowledgment of a ‘right of privacy’ or ‘liberty’ in matters related to marriage, family, and sex.” They noted that “none of the parties who have filed briefs in this case have disputed the existence of this fundamental right.”

Complete Post by Jacob Sullum @ Reason https://reason.com/2022/06/30/without-roe-v-wade-litigants-look-to-state-constitutions-for-protection-of-abortion-rights/

Investigations Uncover Russia’s Alleged Ukrainian Grain Smuggling

Satellite images and GPS data indicate that Russia could be exporting grain smuggled out of occupied Ukrainian territory, investigations by the BBC and the Financial Times have revealed.  

Russia has been accused by Western powers of using food as a weapon in its war with Ukraine by targeting the country’s grain storage facilities and blockading its Black Sea exports.

The Financial Times said its analysis of satellite photographs and port records indicated that Russia had exported around 140,000 tons of grain in eight shipments from annexed Crimea to Syria and Turkey in May.

The figures mark an unseasonal increase in the volume of grain exports at the sanctioned Crimean port compared with previous years.

The publication also tracked activity consistent with the smuggling of looted goods, such as vessels switching off their transponders in violation of international law, using ship-to-ship transfers at sea and forging paperwork to obscure the origins of its cargo.

Full Report @ The Moscow Times https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/06/29/investigations-uncover-russias-alleged-ukrainian-grain-smuggling-a78142

Libertarian National Committee to Meet, July 3

The Libertarian National Committee will hold a zoom meeting on July 3, 2022. This will be the first meeting of the new Libertarian National Committee since the close of the Libertarian National Convention. More information on the meeting is available @ https://groups.google.com/a/lp.org/g/lnc-business/c/dU3V1LoI7QI

At the Libertarian National Convention, the new chair Angela McArdle promised that the LP would be bold in defending liberty. She promises that the Libertarian Party would not embarrass libertarians.

Now Ms McArdle has a chance to make good on those promises. The Supreme Court has just overturned Roe v Wade, allowing state governments to regulate or prohibit abortions for women who want to have them. For 50 years the Libertarian Party has been explicit in its support for a woman’s right to control her own body, including the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Prominent defenders of liberty have long supported a woman’s right to choose. Ayn Rand has spoken out and written against restrictions on abortion and birth control. Sen. Barry Goldwater stated his own belief that abortion should be legal. n 1967 Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the first law that protected a woman’s right to abortion. In his essay in the June 1971 issue of Libertarian Forum on “How to Destatize,” Dr Murray Rothbard pointed to the campaign to legalize abortion in New York as an example of how to cut state power.

Now is the time for The Libertarian Party to stand with those who defend a woman’s right to freedom and body autonomy. The recent national convention adopted a plank on body autonomy, denouncing government rules on what Americans can do with their own body. We can hope that the LNC, inspired by the new plank, will adopt a strong statement in support of a woman’s right to choose, and a strong stand againsts thoses states – and those statists – who would control people’s bodies through violent coercion.

Don’t embarrass us, Angela!

Alito’s Abortion Ruling Overturning Roe Is an Insult to the 9th Amendment

At the heart of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns Roe v. Wade (1973) and eliminates the constitutional right to abortion, is Alito’s objection that “the Constitution makes no mention of abortion.” For Alito and the many legal conservatives who think like him, unenumerated constitutional rights are inherently suspect. When a court recognizes an unenumerated right, these conservatives say, that court is almost certainly guilty of judicial activism.

But this conservative mindset is at odds with constitutional text and history, both of which make clear that unenumerated rights are entitled to the same respect as the small handful of rights that the Constitution specifically lists.

Remember that when the Constitution was first ratified, it did not yet contain its famous first 10 amendments, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights. Those amendments arrived a few years later. They were added in response to the fierce criticism leveled against the Constitution by the Anti-Federalists, who opposed ratification on several grounds, one of which was that the document lacked a bill of rights, and therefore, in their view, left a number of key rights unprotected (because unmentioned).

The Federalists, who labored on behalf of the Constitution’s ratification, rejected this argument. Why? Because, explained James Wilson, one of the leading figures at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention, “if we attempt an enumeration, everything that is not enumerated is presumed to be given.” And the consequence of that, Wilson told the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention, “is, that an imperfect enumeration would throw all implied power into the scale of the government; and the rights of the people would be rendered incomplete.”

Full commentary by Damon Root @ Reason https://reason.com/2022/06/24/alitos-abortion-ruling-overturning-roe-is-an-insult-to-the-9th-amendment/

Independent Candidate for Lt. Governor

Since California adopted its “top-two” primary system, replacing partisan primaries, almost all November elections have featured two candidates from the major parties, and no independent or third party candidates.

The weakness of the Republican Party in California has even resulted in elections with two Democrats facing each other in November. That was the case in the US Senate races in 2016 and 2018.

The weakness of the Republican Party has also lead to some Republicans quitting the party and running as independent candidates – on the ballot they are listed as having No Party Preference. In 2018 former Republican Steve Poizner ran for Insurance Commissioner as a No Party candidate. He received 47% of the vote, running ahead of the Republican candidates for all other statewide offices.

This year, voters will have the chance to vote for No Party candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney-General and Insurance Commissioner. In this post, I want to briefly introduce the NPP candidate for Lt. Governor.

David Hillberg is running for Lt. Governor on a conservative platform. He lists his policies on his site:

1. Return to the State to Constitutional Rule. 

2. Elected representatives must represent the people, not special interests. 

3. Hold elected officials accountable for unlawful actions. 

4. Seek restoration for citizens who have been hurt by government overreach and mandates. 

5. Ensure politicians are introducing bills and or policies that benefit the citizens and restricted by the Constitution. 

6. Restore law and order. 

7. Resolve the homeless crisis. 

8. Protect veterans and those who are currently serving our country. 

9. Full parental rights. 

10. Medical freedoms for all, not just the elites. 

He claims that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has endorsed him, but I have not found a confirmation of this claim. For more information, go to https://www.davidforltgovernor.com/

Lanhee Chin for California Controller

“The Controller is California’s independent fiscal watchdog. The person who makes sure that taxpayer money—OUR money—is spent as we’re told it will be. But that’s not happening now. In fact, the Controller can’t even tell us where she sent over $300 billion in payments in 2018 alone.”

Lanhee Chin is the only Republican running for State Controller on the June primary ballot. His campaign will focus on four themes:

Protecting Taxpayers From Fraud:”As Controller, I will use my audit authority aggressively and frequently, particularly in examining state programs that may be ripe for fraud and abuse.

Holding Sacramento Politicians Accountable: “California taxpayers deserve answers to questions like how tens of billions of dollars in federal assistance during the pandemic were spent. And whether school districts are actually using the funding they’ve received to help get our kids back into the classroom safely. Or why major political donors to Governor Gavin Newsom received no-bid contracts or plum appointments as part of the state’s pandemic response? These are the sorts of questions that, as Controller, I will answer on behalf of taxpayers.”

Providing True Fiscal Transparency: The Controller’s Office was unable to disclose to the public where each one of the roughly 50 million payments it made—totaling over $300 billion in 2018 alone—went…I will leverage the innovation and technology we have in our state to ensure that taxpayers have access to a best-in-class system to see these payments and understand exactly how their money is being spent.”

Ensuring Honest and Transparent Accounting: “Our state government shouldn’t be using gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors to hide the true nature of our fiscal condition from California’s taxpayers. One example is the way that our state pension funds report on their own fiscal health. As Controller, I will fight to ensure that our state’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, clearly tell taxpayers how much they will owe once retirement benefits for current and former government employees come due.

Since 2010 California has been dominated by the Democratic Party. Democrats have used this dominance to promote new government programs and new mandates. The California Republican Party has not always defended freedom and limited government; Republicans have committed to leaders who have championed more government to deal with social problems. But this year, California voters committed to limiting government can vote for Lanhee Chen for Controller and Jack Guerrero for Treasurer to keep a spotlight on the cost of the government that the Democrats are delivering to California voters.

for more information on Lanhee Chen for Controller go to https://chenforcalifornia.com/

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times has endorsed Lanhee Chen for State Controller https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-04-21/endorsement-lanhee-chen-for-california-controller

The Strategic Meaning of Russian War Crimes in Ukraine

The wife of a civilian victim reacts after his body was exhumed from a shallow grave near their home in the village of Andriivka, Kyiv region, on April 11, 2022.Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

The mass torture and killings carried out by Russian forces in Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka and other Ukrainian towns add a new level of horror to a terrible war. But they are not only a humanitarian disaster: they also change the strategic context in three ways.
 
First, they will entrench Ukrainian hostility towards Russia, completing the estrangement that began with Russia’s first invasion in 2014 and intensified with the second in February. In less than a decade, Putin has turned a fellow eastern Slavic people that had been well disposed towards Russia, into an object of deep and personal hatred.

Second, they are driving the Russian public into a dark place. Expecting a rapid and easy victory, the state did not try to mobilize mass opinion before the invasion of Ukraine. When it began, many brave people, at known risk to themselves, demonstrated against it, and several public figures and influencers supported them. But the propaganda machine is now working flat out to justify the war and to discredit atrocities as fabrications. Despite severe censorship and repression, Russians still have access to a vastly wider range of information than at any point in the pre-internet Soviet period, if they choose to look for it. Yet most Russians appear to believe official lies over all evidence, even the testimony of their friends and relatives in Ukraine.

This upsets assumptions that a costly conflict would be unpopular. Indeed, many analysts had predicted that Putin would not go to war for this reason. The regime’s concealment of casualties in Syria, and public criticism of the first Chechen war in the mid-1990s, seemed to corroborate this. Instead, most Russians have rallied around a regime and leader that, before the war, had become as unpopular as at any point during the Putin presidency. This is happening even as official rhetoric reaches new levels of hysteria and portrays Ukrainians as a Nazified population whose elites must be “liquidated.”

Third, the war crimes show that, as long as Russia occupies Ukrainian territory, an end to fighting does not mean an end to violence. On the contrary: a ceasefire would allow Russian forces not only to regroup and rearm, but to brutalize and murder civilians unhindered. As the “Realist School” of international relations does not appear to recognize, not just geopolitical space but human lives are at stake. All Ukrainians now know for certain what awaits them if Russian forces enter their town or village, and will resist accordingly. It follows that partition or negotiated compromise will bring neither peace nor stability.

Full Commentary @ The Moscow Times https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/04/13/the-strategic-meaning-of-russian-war-crimes-in-ukraine-a77345

Jack Guerrero for California Treasurer

Cudahy City Councilman Jack Guerrero is running for California Treasurer on a platform of defending taxpayers and investigating the financial excesses of state and local governments in California.

“As Mayor of his hometown city, Jack worked with the California State Controller to expose millions of dollars in wasteful and unlawful spending. As a former pension auditor and one-time university lecturer in statistics, Jack understands the severity of the state’s unfunded pension liability which at nearly $500 billion, threatens the long-term financial stability of the state! Jack will EXPOSE this mismanagement by reckless politicians. Jack will safeguard state assets and advocate for policies that place citizens FIRST, including lower taxes, smaller government, and a prosperous California economy.”

“Mr. Guerrero’s passion for justice extended to education initiatives, when (as Mayor) he did the unthinkable:  He held public hearings on the quality of education in local public schools! He successfully advocated for local school reform, organized parents, and demanded change in one school’s administration.”

Jack Guerrero ran for California Treasurer in 2018, coming in third place in the top two primary. This year, Jack Guerrero faces the incumbent Democrat, Fiona Ma, along with one other Republican, and a Peace & Freedom Party candidate. In June, if Jack can come in second this time, he will face the incumbent in November.

Jack Guerrero was educated as an economist, and he has worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 corporations in California, New York and Europe. He us a CPA and has audited government agencies at the state and local level.

His views on economics and politics are based on his education. He has included on his website a list of books that have influenced him:

  • The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith
  • Principles of Political Economy and Taxation” by David Ricardo
  • Human Action” by Ludwig von Mises
  • The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich von Hayek
  • Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman
  • Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
  • The Conscience of a Conservative” by Barry Goldwater
  • Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Witness” by Whittaker Chambers
  • Ideas Have Consequences” by Richard Weaver
  • The Conservative Mind” by Russell Kirk
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France” by Edmund Burke
  • On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill
  • The Federalist Papers

There are no Libertarian Party candidates on the California ballot for any statewide offices this year. The best opportunity for California Libertarians in this election is to get behind the campaign of Jack Guerrero, Republican for Californias Treasurer.

For more information, or to contact the candidate, go to https://www.jack4treasurer.com/

Moscow Shutting Down Amnesty, Human Rights Watch in Russia

Russia said Friday it was shutting down the local offices of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that have been working in the country for the past 30 years.

The announcement came on the 44th day of Russia’s military campaign in pro-Western Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than 11 million having fled their homes or the country in the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Human Rights Watch has been operating in Russia for 30 years, while Amnesty has had a presence in the country since 1993.

All in all, 15 organizations have been taken off Russia’s registry of international organizations and foreign NGOs due to “violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation,” the Justice Ministry said in a statement without providing further details.

Russia also shut down the local offices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Wspolnota Polska Association and other organizations.

Complete story @ The Moscow Times https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/04/08/moscow-shutting-down-amnesty-human-rights-watch-in-russia-a77290

Over the past year Russian authorities have been presiding over an unprecedented crackdown on dissent and independent journalism.

The Stain of Bucha Will Stay With Russians Forever

Bucha — the name of this city will now go down in history like My Lai in Vietnam, like Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon, like Vukovar in Serbia.

Bucha, Irpin and Motyzhin… a woman’s hand with multicolored nail polish; a young man lying next to his bicycle; a woman’s head lying next to other human remains in a pit that appears to have been set on fire; a white scarf or belt tied around the hands of a man shot through the head and lying on the ground; another corpse lying a yard away, and another, and then more corpses, and more corpses.

Did they ride along the road shooting people? Shooting at everyone who was walking or running down the street? But if so, then who tied their hands behind their backs?

Were they driving out a column of prisoners — although in the photographs the bodies are all in civilian clothing. Were they leading them to be executed or moving them to a filtration camp when they got the order to drop everything and retreat?

Or as they were leaving Kyiv, did drunk and drugged out “Nazi hunters” decide to leave a bloody bacchanalia behind for their “fraternal nation” to remember them by?

In Irpin, they at least buried the civilians in a mass grave. In Bucha, why did they leave them lying on the pavement? Were they in a hurry to get home by Palm Sunday?

Ukrainian and international investigators will, without question, discover the name of the division, all the names and surnames of the men who committed these crimes.

Full column by Yevgenia Albats, editor of Novoya Vremya @ https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/04/05/the-stain-of-bucha-will-stay-with-russians-forever-a77220

A mass grave is seen behind a church in the town of Bucha: