A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
A Post-Roe World Is Upon Us
The Supreme Court is about to dismantle Roe v. Wade, per an unprecedented leak of a majority opinion draft penned by Justice Samuel Alito in the Mississippi abortion case. According to Politico, which first reported on the February draft, the opinion was written after Alito and fellow Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch voted in conference.
The language in Alito’s decision is deeply hostile toward Roe. It’s possible the langage of the final draft will be somewhat different, but it seems unlike the putative majority of five conservative justices would collapse. It’s still unknown where Chief Justice John Roberts will come down in the case, but CNN reported Roberts was reluctant to overturn Roe in full.
Democrats and pro-choice advocates have bitterly denounced the high court while conservatives, curiously, are largely focused on the fact of the leak rather than taking a victory lap over the ruling they’ve been after for decades.
Meanwhile, pro-choice and anti-abortion protesters alike have flocked to the Supreme Court in wake of the bombshell leak.
Roe Supporters Are Enraged
Democrats are putting the Supreme Court’s conservative majority on full blast, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calling the decision in a joint statement an “an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history” at the hands of conservative Justices who “have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation.”
- NARAL President Mini Timmaraju: “Tonight’s news from the Supreme Court is devastating. Whatever you’re feeling right now, we are there with you.”
- In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced they will seek to add abortion protections to the state constitution.
- Several pro-Roe lawmakers in Congress, such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are calling for Roe to be codified into law by nuking the filibuster or even expanding the court, as some Democrats have advocated in the past.
- Some pro-choice supporters are expressing frustration with Democrats, who despite controlling the White House and Congress, don’t seem prepared to deal with this bombshell beyond telling pro-choice supporters to vote for them.
Crowds Gathered Late Monday At Supreme Court
Protestors on both sides of the abortion debate spontaneously gathered at the Supreme Court late Monday evening after the leak of the draft opinion in the Mississippi abortion case.
Roe Opponents Deflect
Some conservatives who ought to be popping the champaign oddly seem more interested in pearl-clutching over the fact of the leak, with the victory itself either an afterthought or not even mentioned at all:
A few samples from the faux outrage machine:
Though not all conservatives wanted to focus on the leak:
Susan B. Anthony List: “If the draft opinion made public tonight is the final opinion of the court, we wholeheartedly applaud the decision.”
An Extraordinary Leak
Nothing like it has happened in half a century. The last time there was a leak of a draft of a Supreme Court opinion in advance on a matter as consequential as potentially overturning Roe v. Wade was … when the decision in Roe v. Wade itself was leaked.
- Among close observers of the Supreme Court, the fact of the leak itself landed like a bombshell:
- Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal called the leak the “Pentagon Papers equivalent” for the Supreme Court.
- Politico’s Josh Gerstein, who got the scoop, writes about its rarity: “How rare is a Supreme Court breach? Very rare“
- Speculation quickly turned to motive:
Jan. 6 Panel Sends Info Requests To Three Congressional Trump Goons
The House Jan. 6 Committee reached out to Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Monday with information requests on their various connections to the Capitol attack and Trump’s election steal crusade.
- The panel’s letter to Brooks zeroed in on his shocking revelation that Trump had asked him to somehow “rescind” the 2020 election results and get him re-installed in the White House. Brooks has said he told Trump, who had endorsed the Alabama congressman’s Senate bid, that he wouldn’t do that. The ex-president has since un-endorsed Brooks.
- The letter to Jackson pointed to a series of texts between the far-right Oath Keepers during the insurrection saying the GOP congressman “needs protection” because he had “critical data to protect.”
- The letter to Biggs asked about his ties to “Stop the Steal” activist Ali Alexander’s alleged “Occupy the Capitol” scheme (to which Brooks also had ties).
Georgia DA Selects Special Grand Jury Under War Prep Conditions
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis empaneled a special grand jury on Monday in her investigation into Trump’s attempted election steal after law enforcement closed the roads surrounding the courthouse in Atlanta and stationed deputies with assault rifles at the perimeter of the building (plus snipers on the roof, according to CNN). Willis also acquired bulletproof vests for her prosecutors.
- However, there wasn’t any violence or major protests, despite Trump’s open call for another Jan. 6 in Atlanta and other cities where prosecutors are investigating him and/or his businesses.
- Willis has said she’s holding off on calling witnesses until June 1, after Georgia’s May 24 primary.
JP Mandel Unbothered By Trump’s Botched Shout-Out
Today is Ohio’s much-awaited Senate primary, and GOP candidate J.D. Vance, having been blessed with Trump’s coveted endorsement, has shrugged off the ex-president calling him “J.P.”/”J.D. Mandel” during a rally on Sunday.
- Vance told CBS News on Monday that he’s “not worried” about Trump mixing up his name with that of his top rival, Josh Mandel. And hey, maybe Trump was just having a Tim Apple moment–or maybe it was the ex-president’s weird way of getting back at Vance for calling him “America’s Hitler” in 2016.
Harris Tests Negative For COVID
Vice President Kamala Harris, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, is returning to work today after getting a negative test on Monday, according to her office. While she was out, Harris took Paxlovid, Pfizer’s new antiviral medication for treating COVID, and was asymptomatic.
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