During a sit-down earlier this month in the sparse Albuquerque administrative office for Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, CEO Vicki Cowart wondered aloud if the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision had lulled much of the public into taking legal abortion for granted. Here in New Mexico, abortion access has been solidly maintained by decades of activism by rights proponents and their collaborations with supportive elected officials. “Two generations of women have grown into adults with this not being an issue,” said Cowart. Yet two generations of women have seen gradual rollbacks in abortion rights and access in many other states across the country, where anti-abortion activists intent on ending the practice have been doggedly, methodically successful. Read this story’s companion piece, “NM state law, the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion access” here.
The state of Texas’ final and most important argument against President Obama’s immigration plan was interrupted just seconds after it began on Monday by one of the more liberal justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. “How can you say that?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who said the program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, is the most far-reaching in history. The justice pointed to a policy in 1990 that allowed 1.5 million of 4 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country and work. “It granted basically the same thing, deferred action and work authorization,” she said. “That was a — 40 percent of the immigrant population of the time was affected.”
The state’s arguments before the high court marked the final legal battle over the program Obama announced in 2014 that would shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants in the country from deportation proceedings and allow them to apply for a three-year work permit. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected later this year.
RUBE RENDER is the Curry County Republican Chairman and a local columnist with the Clovis News Journal. Early in the history of our country, the framers of the Constitution took the position that unless that document specifically authorized Congress to pass proposed legislation, they could not act, even if the legislation served a noble purpose. This situation was illustrated in 1794 when Congress wished to provide funding to French refugees from the Haitian Revolution. James Madison famously stated, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
Over the years, amendments have been proposed and ratified to correct existing disparities and injustices. Among these are the 15th and the 19th Amendments.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in every state in the United States after a ruling by the United States Supreme Court. A little more than 11 years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same-sex couples have the right to marry and that laws that barred such marriages are, in fact, unconstitutional. “Were the Court to uphold the challenged laws as constitutional, it would teach the Nation that these laws are in accord with our society’s most basic compact,” Justice Anthonhy Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “Were the Court to stay its hand to allow slower, case-by-case determination of the required availability of specific public benefits to same-sex couples, it still would deny gays and lesbians many rights and responsibilities intertwined with marriage.” Within hours, same-sex couples in states that had previously not allowed same-sex marriages were lining up at courthouses to get married.