There is no video when the Supreme Court sits to hear cases before it. An inherently conservative institution, the presence of cameras is too jarring for most of the justices, who serve life terms
However, the audio quality is really excellent – and everyone following the abortion case in the US Supreme Court last week was rapt.
Was Mississippi’s law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy constitutional?
Could it be squared with two crucial precedents: the ruling, now almost 50 years old, in Roe v Wade, that established a constitutional right to abortion, and a 1992 ruling,
In Planned Parenthood v Casey that affirmed Roe and admonished that undue burdens in state laws could not impede access to abortion services.
What almost everyone listening in to the Court’s questioning of the lawyers heard was that the conflict between the Mississippi law and Roe was a direct one; that at least five justices felt that Roe should yield to Mississippi; that there was little appetite for a proposition from Chief Justice Roberts that the Court could uphold Roe and still permit the 15 week abortion ban to stand, as it just meant a shift of Roe’s window for abortion services from 24 weeks to 15; and that for perhaps the five most conservative justices – Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett – there was an all-but-explicit sentiment that Roe had been wrongly decided, and that the precedent should fall.
In other words, it appears from how the justices reacted last week was that there is a clear majority to at the least affirm the Mississippi law and likely to completely overturn Roe – that after 50 years of being on the books, a constitutional right to abortion will be severely limited if not eliminated.
If that happens, what happens next?
If the Court does overturn Roe, it would likely rule that abortion is not a constitutional right and that it is up to the political process to authorize it – or not. This would make the 50 state legislatures – and Congress – the ultimate arbiters of the availability and scope of abortion services.
That would mean that it would be up to Congress to pass a law for abortion services to be available uniformly across the country.
Eliminating a constitutional right that has been in effect for 50 years will be devastating to tens of millions of women across the country. This will provoke a most explosive reaction.
Aside from civil rights and racial justice, abortion is the most significant social issue in the country
The ruling in Roe was sought for decades by abortion supporters, and the repeal of Roe by the Court has been sought by abortion opponents for decades.
Every Federal spending bill has language in it over how Federal dollars can or cannot be spent on abortion services.
Every judicial appointment to the Federal courts is scrutinised and vetted for their position on abortion.
Especially over the last 30 years, this issue has dominated the confirmation process for those nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. Trump was resolute in championing his appointment of anti-abortion justices to the Court.
Trump got three of them approved by the Republican-controlled Senate – upending the Supreme Court’s political balance just so the Court would get to this day.
Since the Court will have shifted the abortion debate from the judicial branch to legislatures across the country, there will be an immense political reaction from coast to coast, and that reaction will be nationalized and carry over into the midterm elections for Congress next November.
Why? Because a state-by-state approach can be transcended if Congress passes a national law to protect abortion rights
While the Supreme Court might strike down Roe by finding there is nothing in the Constitution that provides a right to abortion services, it is not unconstitutional for Congress to pass a law protecting the provision of abortion services to all women in the United States.
Indeed, in anticipation of what the Supreme Court is deciding now, the House of Representatives in September passed, by a party-line vote of 218-211, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, which provides:
“Congress finds… Abortion services are essential to health care and access to those services is central to people’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life of the United States. Abortion access allows people who are pregnant to make their own decisions about their pregnancies, their families, and their lives,
“A health care provider has a statutory right under this Act to provide abortion services, and may provide abortion services, and that provider’s patient has a corresponding right to receive such services …”
The Senate could pass it too – if there are enough Democrats to vote to change the Senate rules to end the filibuster and allow a simple majority vote on this legislation.
As abortion rights are supported by 60 per cent of voters, suddenly Democrats have a huge accelerator of support in the midterms next November. The message: elect Democrats to Congress if you want to protect abortion rights.
If the Supreme Court overrules Roe, it will be war over abortion at the ballot box.
How close to a full scale nuclear war are we really?
Since President Vladimir Putin’s latest warning that he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, the question of whether or not the former KGB spy is bluffing has become much more urgent.
There are several reasons why Putin’s nuclear warnings have the West worried. First, Russia has been increasingly aggressive in its actions in recent years, from annexing Crimea to intervening in Syria. This has led to a feeling that Putin is becoming more and more reckless and unpredictable.
Second, Russia has been beefing up its nuclear arsenal, with reports indicating that it now has more nuclear warheads than any other country in the world. This increase in firepower makes Putin’s threats all the more credible.
Last but not least, there is the fact that Putin is a former KGB agent. This means that he is no stranger to playing games of brinkmanship and bluffing. In the past, he has used nuclear threats as a way to get what he wants. For example, in 2008, he threatened to aim nuclear missiles at European cities unless the United States agreed to drop plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
The West is worried
Given all of this, it’s no wonder that Putin’s latest nuclear threats have the West worried. Only Putin knows if he is actually bluffing, but given his track record, it’s certainly a possibility.
If a nuclear weapon were used in Ukraine, it would cause a massive humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people would be killed or wounded, and millions more would be displaced. The economic and social damage would be enormous, and Europe would be plunged into chaos.
In addition, the use of nuclear weapons would also have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. The nuclear non-proliferation regime would be dealt a serious blow, and there would be a renewed risk of nuclear war.
The world would become a much more dangerous place.
A nuclear explosion in Ukraine would have a regional impact, but it could also have global consequences. The use of nuclear weapons would violate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and this could lead to other countries acquiring nuclear weapons. In addition, the risk of nuclear war would increase, and this would have a negative impact on the entire world.
The UN has condemned Russia’s threats of nuclear war, and it has called on all parties to refrain from any actions that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. The UN Secretary-General has said that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and he has urged all sides to return to the negotiating table.
Russia has several allies in its war against Ukraine. These include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia also has the support of China and Iran.
The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on energy prices.
Due to the conflict, there has been a disruption in the supply of natural gas and oil from Ukraine. This has led to an increase in prices for these commodities.
The West can only threaten Putin further, as they’ve done all year, since President Biden warned that Russia was about to invade Ukraine.
Every step of the way, Putin has done exactly what the West has feared.
“These are the guys?” Putin’s Dad’s army
Vladimir Putin’s army is in a bit of a pickle. They’ve been drafting retirees, and telling conscripts to use tampons for bullet wounds.
This isn’t exactly the most impressive fighting force we’ve ever seen. In fact, they look more like dad’s army than anything else.
It’s clear that Putin is desperate to beef up his forces, but it seems like he’s just throwing bodies at the problem instead of actually preparing them for battle.
Pictures from Sevastopol in Crimea show groups of men — many well into their 50s and 60s gripping weapons and wearing uniforms.
Several appear in questionable fighting shape.
This could be a big problem for Russia if they actually get into a serious conflict. We hope for their sake that they never have to find out.
Thousands of Russian men are fleeing the country to avoid conscription. This just goes to show how unpopular Putin’s policies are, even among his own people.
The Kremlin is now trying to catch thousands of Russian men as they try and leave the country. But it’s not going to be easy.
Many of these men are willing to risk everything to avoid being drafted into Putin’s army.
It’s estimated that up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the conflict began.
This is a huge loss of life for Russia, and it’s all thanks to Putin’s reckless policies.
Many of these soldiers were just boys, barely out of their teens. They had their whole lives ahead of them, but they’ll never get to experience it now.
It’s tragic, and it’s all thanks to Putin. He needs to be stopped.
At the same time, a video shared on social media shows a Russian officer telling new recruits what to expect.
“I say right away if you are near the fire, you are f***ed,” she says, before reeling off a list of items they will need to acquire themselves before entering the war zone.
“Take sleeping bags with you, you will sleep where you have to.”
IRAN PROTESTS | Are countries using religion as an excuse to violate basic human rights?
Iran protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression
IRAN PROTESTS – The story of Iran is one of a country that has been through a lot in recent history.
An uprising of both men and women has engulfed Iran, following the death of Mahsa Amini. Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.
From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.
Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.
There is a feeling of discontent among the Iranian people. The economy is struggling, and many young Iranians feel they have no future.
They are fed up with the corruption of the government and the lack of opportunity.
Mahsa Amini’s brutal death
On top of this is the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman.
Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police for “improperly” wearing her mandatory hijab.
Reports suggest she was beaten so severely that she went into a coma.
Three days later, she died, and many suspect it was a direct result of this police brutality.
Amini’s death has fuelled further anger and extreme protest, with widespread condemnation from Iranians, denouncing her death and the regime that caused it.
The incident has brought attention to the plight of many Iranians who feel they are living under an oppressive regime.
While it is difficult to predict what will happen next in Iran, many hope the death of Amani will not be in vain.
Many pray the protests will lead to real action and a country where women are treated as equals. They want a country where there is opportunity for all.
Women in Iran and around the world are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption and human rights violations.
In 2022, many are angry that men are controlling what women do with their bodies and what they wear.
Will this drive change?
In Iran, many young Iranians are showing the world they don’t want this system any more, that they want democracy.
They’re cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, they’re putting their own safety on the line to take a stand against the regime that has silenced them for so long.
This generation is very different, but it doesn’t guarantee that this uprising will fuel any real change.
However, Memarsadeghi said “there is no way back from here.”
How can organisations and world leaders help?
Iran is in the midst of a political upheaval and the world is watching.
Scenes of protest and violence are being shared far and wide on social media. The world has a front-row seat to the unfolding crisis.
However, the Iranian Government has responded by imposing a sweeping internet ban, cutting off the protesters from the outside world.
This only adds to the urgency of the situation, as Iran’s people are now risking their lives to speak out against their oppression.
World leaders and democracy advocacy groups are already discussing ways to help the people of Iran and hold their violations to account.
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