Tag: supreme court
Will Voters Blame Trump For Loss Of Abortion Rights?

Will Voters Blame Trump For Loss Of Abortion Rights?

A long-promised Donald Trump statement on abortion has finally been released. As expected, it was vague and pleased few. The former president both bragged about his appointment of three Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, and stopped short of endorsing a national abortion ban, instead pledging to leave the decision up to the states.

While it may anger the faction of his party endorsing a national ban, the statement proves the almost certain Republican Party presidential nominee, as transactional and self-serving as ever, can read the polls and the political winds.

Remember, this is the man with a history of declaring himself “pro-choice,” “pro-life” and in favor of punishing women who seek abortions. I’m not sure what he truly believes, but it’s clear from his dancing around the issue that he knows he could pay a price for the GOP’s anti-abortion rights stance in November.

But maybe dealing in contradictions won’t hurt him and his party as much as Trump believes and Democrats hope.

It may not make perfect sense, but a certain voting pattern has been happening lately. Citizens in red states surprise observers when they lean blue on the issue of reproductive and abortion rights, yet continue to reelect the politicians who support those bans.

Ohio has proven that two things could be true at once: Democrat Tim Ryan, Ohioan through and through, could experience defeat in a 2022 Senate race at the hands of Donald Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance, who just a few years ago was tagged as an elitist leaving behind background and family with his best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy.” This was after calling Trump an “idiot” in 2016.

And those same voters could troop to the ballot box in November 2023 to make sure a right to abortion is enshrined in the state’s constitution — after earlier rejecting a state GOP attempt to make it more difficult to win that right.

Vance was shaken by that result last year, writing “we need to understand why we lost this battle so we can win the war.”

But in spite of the surprise Ohio voters handed Republicans, incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is still facing a tough reelection race in the fall. That’s despite his working-class credibility across the state, a record of accomplishments that have benefited Ohio and endorsements from groups such as the 100,000-member Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council. Brown criticizes free-trade agreements, even those coming from his own party, when he says they hurt his constituents.

His GOP opponent, wealthy businessman Bernie Moreno, may have no experience and a background many voters are still filling in, but he has something much more important — a Donald Trump endorsement.

In a state that voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 by a comfortable margin, that may be more than enough. The fact that Ohio voters have proven to be on board with a Democrat’s record and his party’s stand on the issue of reproductive rights is fighting a growing partisan divide that sees a lot less ticket-splitting.

Inside Elections rates both Brown’s race and that of established Montana Sen. Jon Tester, another Democratic incumbent in a red state, as Toss-ups.

Democrats see abortion rights giving them a fighting chance in states they’ve recently seen as lost causes. It wasn’t that long ago (2008 and 2012, in fact) that the party won both Ohio and even, yes, Florida. With an abortion rights initiative on the Sunshine State’s ballot in November, Democrats have even been dreaming of a resurgence in the land of Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump.

It will take more than dreams in a time when party is also identity.

I admit I was surprised the first time I saw someone at a Trump rally years ago wearing a T-shirtthat read: “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” But today, with Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin, siding with the strongman against U.S. generals and NATO allies, is it so surprising that traditional hawkish, national security views have been upended by the strongman who is the head of the GOP?

Does it work the other way around? We’re about to see in my home state of Maryland, where the very popular Republican former governor in that usually Democratic state, Larry Hogan, is looking strong as he runs for the U.S. Senate. Democrats haven’t even chosen his opponent yet. But will voters in a state that soundly rejected Trump vote for a politician they may like but may not trust once he gets to D.C. on issues such as abortion?

This dynamic may be tested most in states that, unlike Ohio or Maryland, are not so branded with one party in its political representation. Following the slew of red-state laws limiting abortion, will voting reveal more ambivalence on the issue than state legislatures believed?

One that could be a test case is Arizona, which President Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, and was looking tight in early 2024 polls. With the state’s Republican, very conservative high court this week upholding an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions, the upcoming U.S. Senate race, likely between Republican Kari Lake and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, has gotten especially interesting.

Lake has followed the lead of her favorite politician, running away from a law she once praised. Arizona organizers say they already have enough signatures for a ballot measure to enshrine abortion in the state’s constitution.

Whether abortion rights will be the issue to cause voters to question party loyalty up and down the ballot is a question the fall elections could answer.

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call.

Trump Criminal Trial 'Full Steam Ahead' After Motion Denied

Trump Criminal Trial 'Full Steam Ahead' After Motion Denied

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan has denied Donald Trump’s “last-ditch bid” to delay trial in District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s 34 count criminal felony case alleging the ex-president falsified business records to hide what some have called “hush money” in an effort to protect his campaign in the 2016 election.

Trump had requested the trial be delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on his presidential immunity claim, but Judge Merchan told Trump’s attorneys they waited too long to make the request, and denied it in full as “untimely.”

“This Court finds that Defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024,” Merchan wrote.

Legal experts praised Merchan’s ruling.

“This case is going to trial in 12 days. Trump needs to get ready to face it,” wrote national security attorney Bradley Moss.

“Criminal accountability in NY is nigh,” said professor of law, MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, and former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. “The 4/15 NY criminal trial is going forward, so Donald needs to fasten his seat belt — it’s taking off.”

“Another day, another one of Trump’s motions to dismiss has been denied. His New York criminal trial is moving full steam ahead,” noted attorney Aaron Parnas.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Trump Again Attacks Judge Merchan's Daughter -- This Time By Name

Trump Again Attacks Judge Merchan's Daughter -- This Time By Name

New York Supreme Court acting justice Juan Merchan may have prevented former President Donald Trump from attacking witnesses with his gag order, but Trump is still continuing his attacks on the judge and his daughter, Loren, unabated.

In a Thursday post to his Truth Social account — which is followed by roughly 7 million of the ex-president's most devoted supporters — the 45th president of the United States mentioned the judge's daughter by name in an angry screed calling for Merchan to be removed from the Manhattan hush money case.

"Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately. His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me," Trump wrote. "She works for Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam 'Shifty' Schiff, and other Radical Leftists who Campaign on 'Getting Trump,' and fundraise off the 'Biden Indictments' - including this Witch Hunt, which her father 'presides' over."

The ex-president's attacks Loren Merchan are likely due to her work as a political consultant. Her firm, Authentic Campaigns, has performed services for various high-profile Democratic clients including the Biden-Harris campaign. The company's website also features a testimonial from Schiff.

However, Trump's suggestion that Loren Merchan's political work is playing a role in how her father handles cases in his courtroom is unproven, as is his argument that she currently works for Biden. Earlier this week, NBC News reported that "There’s no available evidence to suggest that Merchan’s daughter has done any subsequent work for Biden and no evidence to suggest that she ‘now’ works for a Biden political operation."

Another major sticking point for Trump in his attacks on Merchan's daughter revolve around an account on X/Twitter with the handle @LorenM426, whose profile avatar is a photo of Trump behind prison bars. However, the Hill reported that Loren Merchan deleted the account more than a year ago. The New York Office of Court Administration (OCA) stated that the account has a different owner.

"It is not linked to her email address, nor has she posted under that screenname since she deleted the account," OCA spokesperson Al Baker said. “Rather, it represents the reconstitution, last April, and manipulation of an account she long ago abandoned.”

Judge Merchan is overseeing Trump's first scheduled criminal trial, in which the former president is defending himself against 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg aims to prove to the jury that the $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star and director Stormy Daniels was an illegal campaign expenditure, as the money was intended to buy her silence in advance of the 2016 presidential election.

While the trial was intiially planned to begin on March 25, the jury selection process was moved to April, after a last-minute document dump from the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). In January, Trump requested records from the SDNY pertaining to its prosecution of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 for his role in the hush money scheme, as well as for tax evasion. SDNY released more than 200,000 pages of documents in relation to Trump's request, prompting his attorneys to request a 90-day delay in proceedings. Bragg countered with a 30-day delay. Merchan ruled that the trial would instead start on April 15.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

In New York Criminal Trial, Trump Attacks Judge Merchan -- And His Daughter

In New York Criminal Trial, Trump Attacks Judge Merchan -- And His Daughter

Donald Trump blasted the judge overseeing his first criminal trial and singled out his daughter for an attack.

The former president lashed out Tuesday morning after New York Supreme Court justice Juan Merchan refused to further delay his trial in the hush money case involving porn actress Stormy Daniels and scheduled jury selection to begin April 15, and Trump repeated his claims that the prosecution was politically motivated.

"Judge Juan Merchan, a very distinguished looking man, is nevertheless a true and certified Trump Hater who suffers from a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome," Trump posted on Truth Social. "In other words, he hates me!"

The ex-president and his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have attacked Merchan's adult daughter, who served as director of digital persuasion for Kamala Harris' 2020 presidential campaign and worked indirectly for the Biden-Harris 2020 presidential campaign through a communications firm that contracts with progressive campaigns.

"His daughter is a senior executive at a Super Liberal Democrat firm that works for Adam 'Shifty' Schiff, the Democrat National Committee, (Dem)Senate Majority PAC, and even Crooked Joe Biden," Trump posted.

The former president's lawyers had asked Merchan to recuse himself, but a New York advisory committee on judicial ethic concluded that that his impartiality could not "reasonably be questioned" based on his daughter's position or a $15 donation he made to the Biden-Harris campaign.

Trump then went after Merchan for sentencing his longtime accountant Allen Weisselberg to five months in jail after he pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud, and the judge will sentence him again April 10 after he pleaded guilty to perjuring himself in testimony in the former president's civil fraud trial.

"He was recently the judge on an unrelated trial of a long term employee, elderly and not in good health.," Trump posted. "This judge treated him viciously, telling him either you cooperate or I’m putting you in jail for 15 years. He pled, and went to jail for very minor offenses, highly unusual, served 4 months in Rikers, and now they are after him again, this time for allegedly lying (doesn’t look like a lie to me!), and they threatened him again with 15 years if he doesn’t say something bad about 'TRUMP.' He is devastated and scared!"

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.