Nicole Lafond

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Nicole Lafond is TPM’s associate editor, based in New York. She has also worked as the special projects editor and as a senior newswriter for TPM. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously covered education in central Illinois.

Where Things Stand: A Bipartisan Shrug At The Bare Minimum
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Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said it himself upon unveiling a new, bipartisan bill that would, at the very least, codify the right to an abortion into federal law: it’s the bare minimum.

“What the four of us were trying to do was put a statutory minimum in place that replicated what the law was a day before Dobbs,” Kaine said of the Reproductive Freedom For All Act, which he introduced with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) this afternoon.

The language of the law is a bare bones compromise, seemingly aimed at putting something on the books that would prevent red states from outright banning access to abortion, which we’ve seen proposed and passed in several states across the nation since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June. It could also help protect people living in states with old trigger laws on the books that are now going into effect post-Roe.

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Where Things Stand: Trump Threatens To Sue Everyone For Calling His Big Lie A Big Lie
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I guess he’ll have to come for the rest of us, too.

Donald Trump said today that he plans to sue CNN for defamation, claiming the network and digital news outlet has been defaming him since the 2016 election. And he takes specific and particular issue with use of the term “Big Lie,” a phrase which nearly every mainstream news outlet in America has used as short hand for his attempted coup since the 2020 election.

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Where Things Stand: GOPers Really Don’t Want To Go On The Record On Same-Sex Marriage
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters today that he has no plans to weigh in on the bill to codify same-sex marriage into federal law until the measure is brought to the Senate floor.

“I’m not going to make an observation about that until the issue is actually brought up in the Senate,” he said.  

It’s a standard delay tactic that other Republicans have used in recent days as Democrats push to pass crucial privacy-related protections into law after the Supreme Court overturned Roe — and to get their Republican colleagues on the record about their stances on important and long-established American rights, like same-sex marriage and access to contraceptive care.

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Where Things Stand: Alito’s Roe Opinion Was Filled With Language Pushed By Evangelical Group
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A former leader of a religious right activist group recently admitted on a podcast that the language that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito used in his damning majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade mirrored rhetoric the Christian group has been pushing on Supreme Court justices for decades.

Rev. Rob Schenck recently appeared on an episode of the State of Belief podcast to discuss his efforts as a former member of the group Faith and Action to, essentially, sway justices’ views on social issues through prayer sessions. The interview is from earlier this month, but Politico surfaced it here. It’s worth a listen if you want to get a better understanding of how these unofficial evangelical lobbying-via-prayer efforts work, but it reinforces a theme we covered earlier this summer when an official at the evangelical organization, Liberty Counsel, was caught on a hot mic bragging about secretly praying with Supreme Court justices.

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Where Things Stand: McConnell Leaves 2024 Door Wide Open
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It’s standard protocol for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to say a little bit in order to say a lot, and without actually having to say the thing you know he’s actually saying. But this little remark from this afternoon is worth noting, even though he is typically evasive.

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Where Things Stand: Women Took Some High Profile Risks To Defend Abortion Access Today
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Seventeen members of Congress were arrested outside the Supreme Court today while protesting the high court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Those arrested for “illegal demonstration activity” — aka blocking traffic during the protest — included Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA) and several others, such as Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), the only male lawmaker arrested in the bunch.

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Where Things Stand: Anti-Abortion Group’s New Memo Highlights GOPers Squirming On Roe
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In case you missed it, it’s worth looking at this memo that the big anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America sent to Republican lawmakers last week outlining messaging points and policy proposals for the party to push in the wake of Roe’s demise.

The messaging tight-rope they’re walking to avoid fully dancing on Roe’s grave remains interesting.

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