Dec 14, 2019

Mississippi governor promises to persist in abortion battle

Pro-life activist outside of Mississippi's last abortion clinic. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Mississippi's outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted on Saturday that he will continue "to fight for America’s unborn children. Mississippi will continue this mission to the United States Supreme Court."

Why now: Bryant's promise comes one day after a federal appeals court ruled that the state's ban on abortions at 15 weeks is unconstitutional, AP reports. Bryant hopes to take the case to the Supreme Court, like many Republicans across the country, where new conservative justices could possibly overturn Roe v. Wade.

The state of play: Mississippi's ban was blocked by U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in 2018, and never took effect, AP notes.

  • The question at the center of this case is viability, with Mississippi's only abortion clinic arguing it is impossible at 15 weeks, according to AP.
  • Yes, but: “In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s abortion cases have established (and affirmed, and re-affirmed) a woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability,” Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote for the court.

What's next: Byrant will be leaving office in January, but will be succeeded by Republican Tate Reeves, who is also an abortion opponent, per AP.

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Where abortion restrictions stand: The states that have passed laws

Anti-abortion protest. Photo: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

The most restrictive abortion laws in generations are being challenged in courts across America's red states, setting up what could be a precedent-smashing Supreme Court challenge to the abortion status quo.

Driving the news: Mississippi's fetal heartbeat law was struck down on Friday, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 15-week abortion ban was unconstitutional, per AP. The Center for Reproductive Rights, who challenged the ban in court, called the ruling "the first of the recent bans to reach a federal appellate court."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 14, 2019

Supreme Court to decide on release of Trump’s financial records

President Trump. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Contributor/Getty Images

The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to take on three cases involving President Trump's finances to determine whether he can block the release of his records.

Why it matters: The court's ruling could give the American public a look at the president's finances after he has gone to great lengths to keep them under wraps.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019

Trump and McConnell continue to transform the federal judiciary

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

After three years in office, President Trump and the Republican-held Senate have installed a total of 187 judges to the federal bench, with Trump nominees now making up one in four U.S. circuit court judges, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Trump's transformation of the federal judiciary will ensure that it maintains a conservative tilt for decades, likely affecting future progressive legislation and priorities no matter the outcome of next November’s election.

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019