May 3, 2022 - Podcasts

A bombshell from the Supreme Court on abortion

Late last night, some stunning news out of the Supreme Court: a draft majority opinion obtained and published by Politico shows the Justices voted to strike down Roe v Wade.

  • Plus, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan takes on Donald Trump.

Guests: Axios' Sam Baker, Margaret Talev and Alayna Treene

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, and Lydia McMullen-Laird. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Tuesday, May 3rd. I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Here’s how what you need to know today: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan takes on Donald Trump.

But first, today’s One Big Thing: a bombshell from the Supreme Court on abortion.

Late last night, some stunning news out of the Supreme court, a draft majority opinion obtained and published by Politico shows the justices have voted to strike down. Roe vs. Wade. This is to reiterate a draft, but Axios' Sam Baker says it represents an unprecedented leak in modern history. And he's here with what to make of it. Hi Sam.

SAM BAKER: Good morning Niala

NIALA: Can you explain for us exactly what a draft opinion is?

SAM: So the way this works at the course, they hear oral arguments. They go around the table and vote. In this case, it appears that that would be according to Politico's reporting to totally overturn Roe versus Wade. And then they get to writing and somebody writes the majority opinion, doing the thing that the five people voted for, other justices might write dissenting opinions

They then circulate those among themselves. So nothing is final until it is final, And it is very common for one justice to read a draft and say, "Well, I can't sign on to this particular paragraph." These drafts go back and forth. The one that Politico published last night was dated February.

So it has probably been revised to some extent, but it is labeled “Opinion of the Court,” which is the label that you apply to the majority ruling. So what that tells us is at least in February, there were five votes, not just to overturn Roe V Wade, but for a pretty full- throated, not pulling any punches ruling overturning Roe V. Wade.

NIALA: According to Politico, Justice Samuel Alito writes in this draft that quote Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start". What is the thinking in that draft opinion?

SAM: This is just extraordinary at every level. When you think about obviously, first of all, the real world impact that this would have for millions of women that is staggering to wrap your mind around.

It is also staggering to read this draft. This is just all out Roe was wrong. There's no justification for it. The subtext is just kind of like we're doing it and we're not slowing down, we're not stopping.

NIALA: Let's get to the final part of how extraordinary this is the manner in which we learned about this. We've never had a leak like this before in the Supreme Court, at least in modern times?

SAM: That's correct.

NIALA: What are the ramifications of this then?

SAM: The court has really prided itself on how tight lipped it is. And the fact that leaks like this never happen has always been wrapped up in the courts, self perception, or at least the way it wants the public to perceive it as above politics. Whether you believe that the court is coming down to a political level or that it was always just a political institution and now that's being laid bare, I think it is pretty hard to look at a leak like this and say that this is an institution that really does operate on some higher plane. It really seems to be operating a lot like the other levers of raw power win or lose politics.

NIALA: Axios' Sam Baker. Thanks Sam.

SAM: Thanks, Niala

NIALA: What else could this mean, especially for women…and for voters? I asked Axios managing editor of politics Margaret Talev for her take.

MARGARET TALEV: Niala, obviously a ruling like this would upend what's been a half a century of protections and of precedent for women. In the immediate weeks and months ahead, I think we can expect to see anger and a new motivation, a reason to vote, for many ambivalent democratic voters. This could make it more difficult for Republicans to court back suburban women. This could have some impact on the other end of the political spectrum by kind of validating, empowering, firing up the anti-abortion voting base. It could have really profound implications for what states women want to live in, where they want to raise their children, where young women decide to go to college. And between now and the next few months, this abortion issue is going to have a major impact in swing states with governors and senatorial races this year: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan.

NIALA: And Ohio's primary ends this evening. Axios’ Margaret Talev. Thanks Margaret.

MARGARET: Thanks, Niala.

NIALA: In a moment, Alayna Treene’s exclusive interview with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

[ad break]

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today. I'm Niala Boodhoo.

The future of the Republican party won't include President Trump or any candidates like him. That's what Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told Axios’ Alayna Treene in an exclusive interview, out this morning. As GOP primaries kick off this month in several states, the Republican governor will speak at the Reagan library later today to outline his vision of the party. Alayna joins us now with details of that speech and her interview with Governor Hogan, Hi Alayna.

ALAYNA: Hi, Niala

NIALA: Let's get straight to the news. Was this speech hinting at an upcoming Presidential run in 2024?

ALAYNA: It's a great question. I think so. I spoke with Governor Hogan, before his speech later today and he insisted that it wasn't an official launch of a campaign and says that he's not going to make any decision on 2024 until he's out of office. But, I have to say through our conversation, it definitely seems like he was laying out his political ambitions and laying out a 2024 roadmap.

Um, there was one point when I asked about 2024 and about a potential presidential primary field. And he said, you know, this is where I think he, he might have dropped, uh, some good hints on 2024. He thinks that there will be 15 or 16 Republicans all scrambling for Trump's base. But then he said, quote, “I want to go in a completely different direction. And I think that lane is wide open.” So, I think that this is kind of priming the pump, even though he insists that he has not made a decision yet.

NIALA: So let's talk about that lane and how he described to you what he wants to see from the GOP.

GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN: I want to do what I can to make a difference and to steer us back to what I would, would consider a more traditional Republican party and a more Reaganesque party.

NIALA: What does that mean, Alayna?

ALAYNA: Well, he says it's going back to embracing you know, the ideals of American democracy. He spoke about the January 6 attack on the Capitol. And that January 6 was not a bunch of “overeager tourists misbehaving.” I mean, these are words that you're not hearing from Republicans. I mean, look at the story. One of the biggest stories of the last week or so was of the leaked audio of Kevin McCarthy who spoke sharply about Trump on January 6th and, and after the attack. And really there was questions of whether he would survive a potential run for Speaker if Republicans take back the house in November. So this is very different from what a lot of people are saying. But he thinks that's the way that most people actually feel. He told me that he thinks a lot of Republicans and ones that he knows are publicly, um, very supportive of the former president actually don't fully agree with what they're saying.

GOVERNOR HOGAN: After this year in 2022, but after these primaries and, and after November, the people will not be nearly as afraid and it won't feel like it's a requirement to a parrot what Trump's saying or to, think that they need his endorsement to win an election, because I think most of the people, uh, that he's endorsing are going to lose.

ALAYNA: And he kind of went further. He said that, you know, he knows that a lot of Republicans are afraid of the former president. They need to stick on his good side because you know, they need Trump's support in order to survive politically. He doesn't think he does need that. And he thinks that’s why he is poised to kind of help lead the future of the Republican party in the years to come.

NIALA: That's very clear that that's what his position is, but does this line up with the reality of how other Republicans are thinking about the party and President Trump's hold over it.

ALAYNA: I'm very convinced that it does not. He is still the most powerful Republican in the country and his influence is really unmatched to any other political leader. And of course there are some people like who are like Governor Hogan. I mean, we've seen Liz Cheney come out and be a very strong anti-Trump candidate and not afraid to push back against the former president. And she's up for reelection and she could potentially run in 2024. So there will be other candidates that could be like him, but by and far across the country, Republicans in Congress, in the House and Senate who are running for election, really are looking for the President's support and endorsement in order to win.

NIALA: Alayna Treene covers the White House and Congress for Axios. Thanks Alayna.

ALAYNA: Thank you Niala.

NIALA: That’s it for us today!

I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

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