U.S. Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) addresses media after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito making ready for a majority of the courtroom to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights resolution later this 12 months, in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 3, 2022.
Michael Mccoy | Reuters
WASHINGTON — A leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that might overturn Roe v. Wade has added new urgency to the continuing Democratic effort to move a federal regulation in Congress to guard abortion rights.
“Now that the Court is poised to strike down Roe, it is my intention for the Senate to hold a vote on legislation to codify the right to an abortion in law,” mentioned Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday, 12 hours after Politico revealed the bombshell draft opinion.
Other Democrats had been extra insistent. “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW,” mentioned Vermont unbiased Sen. Bernie Sanders. “And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.”
As Sanders notes, to be able to move such a regulation, Democrats will first must get 50 senators to agree to alter the Senate’s filibuster rule. Only then can they move an abortion rights safety regulation with a easy majority.
But even altering the filibuster seems close to unimaginable.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reacts throughout a protest exterior the U.S. Supreme Court, after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito making ready for a majority of the courtroom to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights resolution later this 12 months, in Washington, May 3, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
Already this 12 months, two Democratic senators mentioned they opposed altering the filibuster to move voting rights laws: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Krysten Sinema.
In the case of voting rights, President Joe Biden had signaled he would go together with altering the foundations if a invoice might move the Senate. But in different situations, Biden has additionally mentioned he opposes altering the Senate filibuster guidelines.
The president usually argues that if Democrats change the foundations to move a invoice they think about sacrosanct, like voting rights or abortion rights, then Republicans could have free rein to do the identical the following time they management the Senate.
This might open a Pandora’s field of potential penalties that Biden has warned Democrats about each in public and in personal.
It’s not troublesome to think about a Republican-controlled Senate spending some model of a nationwide federal abortion restriction utilizing solely a 50-vote threshold — or likewise, passing a nationwide voter ID regulation that might severely restrict entry to the polls.
Nonetheless, many progressives reject Biden’s justification for hanging on to the filibuster rule as a very cautious and procedural response to what they are saying are monumental threats to primary constitutional rights.
Still, each authorized students and political analysts word that Biden’s concern of unleashing a conservative free-for-all seems extra justified at present than it might need a couple of years in the past.
For a lot of the Trump period, Democrats had been on the ascent. They retook first the House in 2018 after which the Senate in 2020.
But now these roles are reversed. Republicans are at present favored to win management of each the House and the Senate in November’s midterms. if present traits maintain, a Republican would have a great likelihood to win the presidency in 2024.
Even if a filibuster reform invoice might move the Senate, the present laws in Congress to guard abortion rights, the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act, nonetheless faces an infinite hurdle: Manchin, once more.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) exits the U.S. Capitol following a vote, on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 9, 2022.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
A self-described pro-life Democrat, Manchin was the one member of his celebration within the Senate to vote towards advancing the Women’s Health Protection Act earlier this 12 months.
On Tuesday, Manchin refused to reply questions on whether or not he would now assist both altering the filibuster or codifying abortion rights into regulation.
And with out Manchin on board to move the ultimate abortion safety laws, going to nice lengths to droop the filibuster begins to look pointless.
This might assist clarify why Biden stopped nicely wanting calling for filibuster reform following the discharge of Monday’s draft opinion.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, Biden mentioned, “it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose.”
“And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.”