Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: With sorrow—we dissent


Abortion ruling likely shifts focus of Georgia 2022 campaigns

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling paves the way for an anti-abortion measure signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019 to take effect, a law long maligned by Democrats that would ban abortions after a doctor detects fetal cardiac activity – as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The decision sharpens the political divide over abortion months before midterm elections for Georgia governor, a U.S. Senate seat that could decide control of the chamber and down-ticket races for statewide, congressional and legislative offices.

And it’s poised to reframe the narrative around campaigns focused largely on economic issues such as higher fuel prices and soaring inflation. Senior Democrats have predicted the ruling would mobilize voters, particularly women, who saw such a ruling as unthinkable just a few years ago.

The polite response to the overturning of Roe and Casey yesterday:



Much more to be written on the above, stay tuned. Absence of material ≠ lack of importance. It takes time to write.

Rick Hasen/NY Times:

No One Is Above the Law, and That Starts With Donald Trump

The evidence and the testimony offered demonstrates why Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department should convene a grand jury now, if it hasn’t already, to consider indicting Mr. Trump for crimes related to his attempt to overturn the results of the election, before he declares his candidacy for president in 2024, perhaps as early as this summer.



Multiple House Republicans on defensive over Jan. 6 panel testimony that they sought post-riot pardons

Former top Department of Justice officials who testified thwarted the then-president’s election subversion by threatening a mass resignation.

A handful of House Republicans who strategized with Donald Trump about overturning the 2020 election hotly denied seeking pardons after the Jan. 6 select committee released testimony Thursday stating they’d pursued clemency from the former president after the Capitol attack.

Several top Trump aides during the post-Jan. 6 period, including special assistant Cassidy Hutchinson and aide Johnny McEntee, described outreach to White House officials from multiple members of Congress seeking clemency: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)


Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Ron Johnson now says he helped coordinate effort to pass false elector slates to Pence, but his new explanation drew a quick rebuke

The Republicans contended they were submitting the paperwork in case Trump’s loss was overturned. Former Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Andrew Hitt told the Jan. 6 committee he would not have supported the use of the paperwork to overturn the election illegitimately.

[Johnson spokesperson Alexa] Henning said earlier this week Johnson had “no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office.”

“This was a staff to staff exchange,” Henning wrote in a tweet. “His new Chief of Staff contacted the Vice President’s office. The Vice President’s office said not to give it to him and we did not. There was no further action taken. End of story.”

Not end of story.


Michelle Goldberg/NY Times:

The Jan. 6 Hearings Have Been So Much Better Than I Expected

There are signs that public opinion is moving, at least a little. A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe Trump should be criminally charged for his role in the Jan. 6 riots, compared to 52 percent in late April. Sixty percent think the committee’s investigation has been “fair and impartial.” Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican strategist, has been conducting focus groups of Trump voters since Jan. 6. In her last two, none of the participants wanted Trump to run again — something that hadn’t happened before.


The Economist:

Why the by-elections in Wakefield and in Tiverton and Honiton matter

Two by-elections, at either end of the country, provide a dry run for the next British general election

Start in Wakefield. All politics is local, but in Yorkshire it is parochial. The Conservative candidate, Nadeem Ahmed, is running as a born-and-bred-in-Wakefield candidate but in one interview he made a startling confession: “I did have a stint in Leeds, I’ll be honest with you.”

Wakefield was once the administrative hub of the West Riding, a historic part of the county. Now Leeds is the undisputed centre of the region. That causes resentment across the once-rich, now-middling towns and small cities that dot the m62 corridor, places such as Halifax and Bradford. All struggle to accept that they are, in effect, suburbs of Leeds and Manchester. Most of them voted Leave in 2016, as Wakefield did by nearly two to one.

New Statesman:

Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton by-election results

Full coverage as the Conservatives lose two by-elections in one night.

I wonder how many Conservative parliamentarians will be rising with this result in their heads, and wondering if it can happen in Tiverton, could it happen… here?

At present it is hard to ascertain how long-term this apathy will exist, but right now it’s lasted longer – and touched deeper – than previous midterm blues. This isn’t 2010-15, when you can easily wean your base off flirting with UKIP with a topical issue plucked clean for a general election. This is more significant. This is apathy with seemingly no end in sight. This is the product of your prime minister dropping like a stone with the public, and historically positive perceptions of competence on the economy and key issues that once drove your election victories ground into dust. Wakefield is a lesson in the government losing in the battlegrounds, and Tiverton is a tale in how bad it could really get.


Marcy Wheeler/Emptywheel:


In other words, so much of what Engel and Rosen were describing were abuses they themselves were all too happy to engage in, up until the post-election period.

Which is why I’m so interested in the role of Richard Donoghue, who moved from EDNY to Main Justice in July 2020, to be replaced by trusted Bill Barr flunkie Seth DuCharme. It happened at a time when prosecutors were prepared to indict Tom Barrack, charges that didn’t end up getting filed until a year later, after Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco had been confirmed. The 2020 move by Barr looked just like other efforts — with Jessie Liu in DC and Geoffrey Berman in SDNY — to kill investigations by replacing the US Attorney.

That is, by all appearances, Donoghue was only the one involved in all these events in 2020 and 2021 because Barr was politicizing prosecutions, precisely what Engel claimed that DOJ, during his tenure, attempted to avoid.

That’s interesting for several reasons. 


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