Alito’s Leaked Abortion Opinion Misunderstands Unenumerated Rights

“Noting that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion,” Alito argues that “no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Although “that provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution,” he says, “any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.'” Alito concludes that “the right to an abortion does not fall within this category.”

That analysis falls short in at least two crucial ways.

First, Alito fails to grapple with the argument that the right to terminate a pregnancy can be understood as a subset of the right to bodily integrity. As the legal scholar Sheldon Gelman detailed in a 1994 Minnesota Law Review article, the right to bodily integrity can be traced back to the Magna Carta. That makes it one of the many rights “retained by the people” (in the words of the Ninth Amendment) that were imported into the Constitution from English law. That right, in other words, is “deeply rooted” in American history and tradition.

Second, Alito’s draft opinion distorts the relevant legal history and thus misstates the historical pedigree of abortion rights. “When the United States was founded and for many subsequent decades, Americans relied on the English common law,” explains an amicus brief that the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians filed in Dobbs. “The common law did not regulate abortion in early pregnancy. Indeed, the common law did not even recognize abortion as occurring at that stage. That is because the common law did not legally acknowledge a fetus as existing separately from a pregnant woman until the woman felt fetal movement, called ‘quickening,’ which could occur as late as the 25th week of pregnancy.”

A survey of founding-era legal authorities confirms this view. William Blackstone’s widely read Commentaries on the Laws of England, first published in 1765, noted that life “begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb.” Under the common law, Blackstone explained, legal penalties for abortion applied only “if a woman is quick with child, and by a potion, or otherwise, killeth it in her womb.” That means abortion was legal in the early stages of pregnancy under the common law.

Blackstone’s writings had an important influence on America’s founding generation. In his 1790 Of the Natural Rights of Individuals, for example, James Wilson, a driving force at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and a leading voice for ratification at Pennsylvania’s convention, repeated Blackstone’s gloss. “In the contemplation of law,” Wilson wrote, “life begins when the infant is first able to stir in the womb.”

At the time of the founding, no American state had the lawful power to prohibit abortion before quickening because the states adhered to the common law as described by Blackstone and Wilson. We might call this the original understanding of the states’ regulatory powers. That original understanding contradicts Alito’s assertion that abortion rights—at least during the early stages of pregnancy—lack deep roots in American history.”

What Happens if States Ban Out-of-State Travel for Abortion?

“If the U.S. Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), a number of American states will immediately criminalize abortion. Some of those states may also attempt to ban women from traveling out of state for the purpose of obtaining a lawful abortion elsewhere. But any such anti-abortion interstate travel ban would be constitutionally defective for multiple reasons.
First, the Constitution protects the right to travel, which necessarily includes the right to interstate travel. This is a fundamental constitutional right that has been repeatedly recognized by the courts. During the debates over the ratification of the 14th Amendment, the right to travel was invoked as one of the privileges or immunities of citizenship that the amendment was designed to protect from state infringement. For a state to prohibit (or even penalize) the act of leaving that state and doing something perfectly lawful in another state would violate this constitutional safeguard.

Second, an anti-abortion interstate travel ban would run afoul of the Dormant Commerce Clause, a legal doctrine which holds that the Commerce Clause, in addition to authorizing congressional regulation of economic activity that occurs between the states, also forbids the states from enacting their own interstate economic barriers.”

“Finally, there is relevant case law which cuts against the lawfulness of any anti-abortion interstate travel ban. In Planned Parenthood of Kansas v. Nixon (2007), the Missouri Supreme Court reviewed a state law which created a civil cause of action against any person who helped a minor obtain an abortion without parental consent either inside the state or in another state. “Of course, it is beyond Missouri’s authority to regulate conduct that occurs wholly outside of Missouri,” the Missouri Supreme Court observed, and the law at issue “cannot constitutionally be read to apply to such wholly out-of-state conduct. Missouri simply does not have the authority to make lawful out-of-state conduct actionable here, for its laws do not have extraterritorial effect.””

He Didn’t Use the ‘Magic Words’ To Get Access to a Lawyer. Were His Rights Violated?

“whether or not someone has actually invoked their right to counsel is, to some degree, subjective, though it can have far-reaching consequences in a defendant’s case.”

He Faces 10 Years to Life for Selling Pot, a Legal Business in Most States

“Jonathan Wall, a 26-year-old cannabis entrepreneur, has been confined at a federal supermax facility in Maryland for nearly 20 months, awaiting a May 2 trial that could send him to prison for life. Wall is accused of transporting more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from California, where cannabis is legal for recreational use, to Maryland, which allows only medical use.

Wall’s case illustrates the draconian penalties that can still be imposed on people for selling pot at a time when most states have legalized marijuana businesses. As far as the federal government is concerned, all of those businesses are criminal enterprises. But depending on how federal prosecutors choose to exercise their discretion, selling pot can make you millions of dollars as a state-licensed supplier, or it can send you to prison for decades.”

COVID Might Help To Kill These Expensive, Anticompetitive Hospital Regulations in South Carolina

“Residents of Fort Mill, South Carolina, had to wait 18 long years for construction to start on a hospital that state regulators determined in 2004 was necessary—and then proceeded to hold up in an absurdly long legal battle that eventually went all the way to the state Supreme Court.
Hopefully, that saga won’t ever be repeated.

The state Senate voted 35–6 on Tuesday to repeal most of South Carolina’s Certificate of Need (CON) regulations that require hospitals and other health care providers to obtain permission from the state before expanding facilities, buying new equipment, or offering new services. Often, those regulations gave de facto veto power to existing providers, which lobby health policy bureaucrats to block the approval of new competition.

That’s exactly what happened in Fort Mill, where plans for a new 100-bed hospital were tied up for more than a decade and a half, in part because a rival hospital wielded the state’s CON laws in an attempt to block the new facility, as Reason previously reported.”

“If the bill becomes law, the Charleston Post and Courier reports, it would clear the way for 28 projects that are currently tied up in legal battles despite having won preliminary CON approval. Another 34 projects awaiting review by the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control would be able to proceed as well. The paper estimates that those delayed projects represent more than $1 billion in health care investment in the state.”

“that doesn’t include the loss of projects that never materialized in the first place.”

“As part of his emergency order issued when COVID-19 first struck in March 2020, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) suspended enforcement of CON regulations—making South Carolina one of several states to do so because of the pandemic. When it became obvious that the sky wasn’t falling in the absence of those rules, some state lawmakers rightly began to question whether they were needed in the first place”

How Did Ahmaud Arbery’s 3 Assailants End Up With 12 Murder Convictions?

“The felony murder rule “divorces intent from consequence,” says Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco. “The concept is that, well, if you went along for the underlying felony, if you went along for the less serious act…then you’re just as guilty as [the murderer], even if you didn’t know that your co-defendant was armed, and even if you had no intent to kill yourself.”
That scenario is not a hypothetical. In May 2020, not long before Arbery’s convicted murderers were indicted, Jenna Holm was arrested on a manslaughter charge in Idaho, accused of killing a police officer after he arrived to respond to her apparent mental health crisis. But it wasn’t Holm who killed Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputy Wyatt Maser—something the state conceded. It was another cop, who struck Maser in his vehicle when he drove onto the scene.

While an internal investigation revealed the officers disregarded safety procedures that night, the police eschewed introspection and set their sights on Holm, charging her with an “unlawful act” and tacking a manslaughter charge on top. (A judge recently struck it down, but only after Holm sat in jail for 16 months pre-trial.)

There are many more such stories. In December 2018, 16-year-old Masonique Saunders was charged with the felony murder of her boyfriend, who a police officer shot during the commission of a robbery. Because she allegedly helped plan that burglary, Ohio said the teen effectively killed her own partner. But perhaps the most iconic anecdote associated with the felony murder rule is the unfortunate story of Ryan Holle, who was sentenced to life in prison after he lent his car to some friends. Those friends then used it to commit a crime—also a burglary—which went horribly awry after one of the men found a firearm in the house they were robbing and used it to kill 18-year-old Jessica Snyder.

Holle was a mile and a half away from that scene, but he was treated no differently than Charles Miller, Jr., who saw that gun and spontaneously murdered Snyder. “Felony murder says you are just as liable, you are just as guilty as the person who pulled the trigger,” notes Bazelon. In 2015, Holle’s sentence was commuted to 25 years in prison; he will not be released until 2024.”

Amy Klobuchar and Tom Cotton’s Big Tech Anti-Monopoly Bill Exempts Their Preferred Firms

“Note, however, the bill stipulates that it only covers firms that are over the $600 billion line “as of the date of enactment.” In other words, if a company has a market cap under $600 billion on the day the bill becomes law, then that company is permanently exempt—even if it later crosses the threshold.

Two companies that are currently under the $600 billion line and thus exempt from the bill are mega-retailers Target and Walmart. These companies are both worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and their e-commerce platforms are growing at a faster rate than Amazon’s. But under the Klobuchar/Cotton law, it wouldn’t matter if Target and Walmart overtake Amazon—they would be immune from this new antitrust action, as long as they are small enough on the day the bill is signed.

Readers may be interested to note that Target is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Isn’t that interesting? It’s probably just a coincidence that the $600-billion-at-date-of-enactment provision would shield the two most important companies in Klobuchar and Cotton’s home states.”

The ACLU Thinks Kyle Rittenhouse’s Civil Liberties Got Too Much Protection

“For anyone who had followed the trial closely, this outcome is unsurprising. The prosecution simply did not meet its burden of proof, and Rittenhouse’s defense team presented considerable evidence that he reasonably feared for his life each time he pulled the trigger. A witness testified that Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man shot by Rittenhouse, had threatened Rittenhouse’s life and was attempting to wrest control of Rittenhouse’s AR-15. The second man, Anthony Huber, struck Rittenhouse with a skateboard. And the third man—Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived—admitted on the stand that he had first pointed his own gun at Rittenhouse; Rittenhouse shot him in response to this perceived threat. As former Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) put it: “The Rittenhouse case was a clear case of self-defense based on the evidence presented.””

“it had little to do with race: Rittenhouse and all three of his victims were white.”

“It is not necessary to elevate Rittenhouse to hero status, or to agree with his very poor decision to involve himself in the Kenosha riots, to accept that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against him.”