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(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump said he would nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, a choice that could create the most conservative court in generations and threaten landmark rulings including the Roe v. Wade abortion-rights decision.
If confirmed by the Senate, Kavanaugh would fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote who sometimes sided with the court’s liberals in key cases. Trump wants to leave an enduring mark on the court, giving it a solid five-justice conservative majority for the foreseeable future.
“I do not ask about a nominee’s personal opinions,” Trump said Monday night. “What matters is not a judge’s political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require.”
Kavanaugh 53, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with a history in politics. Before he was nominated to the D.C. circuit by George W. Bush, he was the former president’s staff secretary and worked for Bush during the 2000 Florida vote recount. He also played a lead role in drafting Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s 1998 report on Bill Clinton. He is a Yale Law School graduate.
Trump made his decision on Sunday, according to White House officials, adding the determining factor was that Kavanaugh was the kind of judge read by other judges, and had a solid grounding in the legal philosophy known as strict constructionism.
On Friday, the president asked all four finalists for the Supreme Court seat, Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman — to write speeches for Monday night’s announcement, submit names of people they’d like to have attend the announcement, and to share background information, according to the White House officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Two of the officials said the president would view Coney Barrett as a top contender if he has the opportunity to make a third Supreme Court nomination. They added that Trump repeatedly praised Hardiman, while Kethledge was ruled out because of rulings that immigration hardliners disliked.
Sunday Night Call
The president called Kavanaugh on Sunday night to tell him that he had been chosen. On Monday, he told Kennedy, who was traveling in Austria, one of the officials said.
On the appeals court, Kavanaugh has voted to strike down environmental regulations and said he would have overturned internet regulations issued while Barack Obama was president. He dissented from a ruling that let an undocumented immigrant teenager get an abortion while in federal custody.
Trump said that Kavanaugh has “impeccable credentials” and is “universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time.”
Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy clerk, said that he was “deeply honored” to replace the retiring justice.
“No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” Kavanaugh said of Trump.
In addition to abortion, the court could shift to the right on the death penalty, racial discrimination, environmental law and gay rights, all areas where Kennedy at least sometimes joined the court’s liberal wing. Chief Justice John Roberts may now become the swing vote.
White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short said he expects Kavanaugh to be in place by Oct. 1, when the court’s next term formally opens, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote to confirm Kennedy’s successor in the fall. McConnell, who called Kavanaugh a “superb choice,” hasn’t explicitly said whether his goal is to complete a confirmation before the November midterm elections.
“This incredibly qualified nominee deserves a swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support,” Trump said.
Kennedy’s position in the court’s center guarantees a fierce confirmation fight. As soon as he announced his retirement plans in late June, Democrats and liberal groups mobilized, saying another Trump appointee would threaten Roe as well as the 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and scores of other decisions that have shaped modern America.
“President Trump has put reproductive rights and freedoms and health care protections for millions of Americans on the judicial chopping block,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement moments after Trump’s announcement. “His own writings make clear that he would rule against reproductive rights and freedoms, and that he would welcome challenges to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.”
Schumer, of New York, said he would fight the nomination “with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same.”
Senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, all Democrats, said immediately after Trump’s announcement that they would also vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
White House counsel Don McGahn, who oversaw Trump’s justice selection process, tried to contact all the Senate Judiciary Committee members during the process. Only Harris, who is thought to have presidential ambitions, declined to engage, according to one of the White House officials.
Republicans hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate, so they can approve Trump’s nominee without any Democratic support as long as they don’t lose more than one vote. In confirming Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Republicans eliminated the 60-vote requirement to advance a nomination to the high court.
A key Republican moderate, Susan Collins of Maine, said she will review the pick, but said Kavanaugh has “impressive credentials.”
The White House plans a robust promotional campaign on Kavanaugh’s behalf.
Vice President Mike Pence scheduled interviews Tuesday morning with local television and radio stations in states represented by Democrats that Trump won in 2016, one of the White House officials said. He plans to participate in an outreach call with White House allies, Kavanaugh’s introduction at McConnell’s office, a radio interview with conservative host Rush Limbaugh, lunch with Republican senators and two national television interviews, the official added.
Pence took an active role in the selection process, meeting with Kethledge and Barrett in Indiana on July 3 and with Kavanaugh in Washington on July 4, the official added.
Kavanaugh will begin individual meetings with senators this week, McConnell’s office said. The Judiciary Committee will announce a date for a confirmation hearing after reviewing Kavanaugh’s record.
Gorsuch’s nomination became possible because McConnell blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy in 2016. McConnell had said the winner of the presidential election should make the choice.
Trump vowed during the campaign to appoint justices who would vote to overturn Roe, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, and his appointment to replace Kennedy could make that a reality. Recently, he said he wouldn’t ask any potential nominees about Roe during interviews.
Kennedy cast the pivotal vote to uphold Roe in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. The justices who remain on the court include three who have backed broad abortion restrictions and a fourth, Gorsuch, who in all likelihood would.
Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh could create the most conservative court since the justices blocked a number of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs in the 1930s. It could also create a lasting majority. Thomas, at 70, is the oldest of the court’s remaining Republican appointees.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.
On Monday, March 12, 2018, the Assembly Judiciary Committee heard hours of testimony and released bill A1504/S1072. Please go to the Legislative Tab on our website to take action!
On February 1, 2018, the NJ Senate Voted passed two bills that will use our tax dollars to create a financial boondoggle for Planned Parenthood.
On February 15, 2018, the NJ Assembly Voted on the same two bills. We are providing their votes here so you can see how your three legislators voted. Governor Murphy signed these bills into law on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Please make a note of how your 3 state legislators voted and call your legislators to express your outrage if they voted for these bills. Please also call your legislators if they voted No to thank them.
Each legislative district is comprised of 1 State Senator and 2 Assembly members. If you don’t know who your State Senator and 2 Assembly members are, you can visit the NJ Legislature webpage and search by your municipality HERE
Senate Vote on S105
Senate Vote on S120
S120 Assembly Vote
NATIONAL MICAIAH BILGER FEB 22, 2018 | 11:11AM WASHINGTON, DC
Planned Parenthood gets away with all kinds of lies.
On Wednesday, the abortion chain’s CEO, Cecile Richards, claimed that Planned Parenthood has been “acquitted of everything” related to its baby body parts trade. Richards made the statement while visiting New Jersey to witness Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing of a law forcing taxpayers to give her abortion chain $7.5 million.
Pro-life advocates criticized the legislation for numerous reasons, not the least of which being that Planned Parenthood is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Right now, Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation by the FBI for the illegal sale of baby body parts and we have to assume that Gov. Murphy is aware of this,” New Jersey Right to Life Executive Director Marie Tasy told NJTV News.
Richards claimed this was a lie.
“As you probably know, there were congressional investigations that were politically motivated. We’ve been acquitted of everything, so that’s simply not true,” she told the news outlet.
Rather than fact check her statement, the news outlet just ran the quote. A quick internet search would have made it clear that Richards was lying.
Quite the opposite of being acquitted, in early December, news broke that Planned Parenthood is being investigated by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Justice said it is investigating allegations that Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sales of aborted baby body parts.
Fox News broke the story after obtaining a letter from Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd requesting unredacted documents from the U.S. Senate committee that investigated the abortion chain in 2016.
The department sent the letter, dated Dec. 7, to U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, who led the committee, the Independent reports.
“At this point, the records are intended for investigative use only – we understand that a resolution from the Senate may be required if the department were to use any of the unredacted materials in a formal legal proceeding, such as a grand jury,” Boyd wrote.
The Senate committee, as well as a U.S. House investigative committee, both recommended that the DOJ investigate Planned Parenthood after finding strong evidence that the abortion chain broke the law.
Also in December, two California biotech companies that worked with Planned Parenthood were prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s office. They reached an $8 million settlement and agreed to stop selling aborted baby body parts.
Several states that investigated Planned Parenthood also caught it breaking the law. A South Carolina investigation revealed that three Planned Parenthoods dumped aborted babies in a public landfill. The abortion clinics were fined up to $51,000 for the violations. And in Missouri, Planned Parenthood employees repeatedly refused to respond to a subpoena from a Missouri Senate committee investigating the same allegations.
Alabama and Colorado Planned Parenthoods also were accused of breaking state laws by neglecting to report suspected sexual abuse. And Kentucky shut down a new Planned Parenthood facility after it began aborting unborn babies without a license.
These investigations came about as a result of a series of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress that exposed the baby body parts trade inside the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The abortion chain Planned Parenthood receives approximately half a billion taxpayer dollars every year, while performing about 320,000 abortions annually.
The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all 14:
- In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
- In the second video:Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
- In the third video:Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
- In the fourth video:Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
- In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
- In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
- In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video:Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
- In the eighth video: StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits Planned Parenthood sells “a lot of” fully intact aborted babies.
- The ninth video: catches a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing how the abortion company sells fully intact aborted babies — including one who “just fell out” of the womb.
- The 10th video: catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts — including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies. The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby body parts for profit.
- Unreleased Videos: Unreleased videos from CMP show Deb Vanderhei of Planned Parenthood caught on tape talking about how Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliates may “want to increase revenue [from selling baby parts] but we can’t stop them…” Another video has a woman talking about the “financial incentives” of selling aborted baby body parts.
- The 11th video: catches a Texas Planned Parenthood abortionist planning to sell the intact heads of aborted babies for research. Amna Dermish is caught on tape describing an illegal partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term unborn babies which she hopes will yield intact fetal heads for brain harvesting.
- The 12th video in the seriesshows new footage of Jennefer Russo, medical director at Planned Parenthood in Orange County, California, describing to undercover investigators how her abortion business tries to harvest intact aborted babies’ bodies for a local for-profit biotech company and changes the abortion procedure to do so.
- The 13th video: exposes a Planned Parenthood medical director admitting that babies born alive after abortion are sometimes killed.
- The 14th video: catches Planned Parenthood executives discussing gruesome abortion procedures and the sale of body parts from aborted babies for profit.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Wednesday that restores $7.5 million in grants for health clinics and Planned Parenthood that were stripped from the state’s budget since 2010 under former Gov. Chris Christie.
It was the first bill Murphy, a Democrat, signed into law after taking office to succeed Christie, a Republican, more than a month ago.
Murphy also signed his second piece of legislation, which makes contraceptive available to women on Medicaid.
“I don’t have to tell you all that today has certainly been a long time coming,” Murphy said. “New Jersey will once again stand strong for Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights.”
The bill signing took place inside Trenton’s War Memorial across from the Statehouse, where more than 100 people, many donning pink shirts and pink Planned Parenthood pins, gave the new governor a standing ovation.
“Signed, sealed, delivered,” Murphy said after he took his pen to the legislation.
The advocates, well-wishers and supporters of Murphy’s inaugural signing included Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“Elections do have consequences and nothing has been more exciting than to see this governor in action, because today marks a new era,” Richards said. “Today is a good day in New Jersey.”
Planned Parenthood has long been a lightning rod issue among voters opposed to abortion. But Murphy pledged during the campaign to restore the funding Christie nixed.
That amounted to some $60 million in lost funding over the course of Christie’s tenure.
Six of the 58 clinics in New Jersey closed and 14 others scaled back their hours and services after losing their share of the grant money, according to a report by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Christie would go on to make the same veto every time members of the Democratic-controlled Legislature sent him a bill that aimed to fund the clinics.
And with his re-election for governor in Democratic-heavy New Jersey safely behind him and a presidential campaign looming, Christie suddenly changed his reason for stripping the funding.
“I’ve vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood and if I were president of the United States I would do exactly the same,” Christie told voters in South Carolina in 2015.
New Jersey Right to Life, which supported Christie’s cuts, blasted Murphy on Wednesday.
“If anyone is playing politics, it is Gov. Murphy, who boastfully, as his first act as governor, signs bills that will use our tax dollars to reward a political, partisan organization that helped elect him,” Marie Tasy, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.
State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who long chastised Christie over the cuts, praised the new governor. She described their conversation ahead of the bill signing: “Governor Murphy said ‘Are you ready to roll?’ And I said, ‘I’ve been ready to roll for eight years,'” Weinberg, D-Bergen, said.
“Thank you, Governor Murphy,” Weinberg added.
Before the cuts, the grants were split among 58 clinics, including some run by Planned Parenthood, to pay for preventive health screenings and birth control.
The law prevents the money to be used for abortions, but organizations like New Jersey Right to Life protested, arguing no abortion provider should benefit from public funding.
Murphy called on supporters to celebrate the victory despite eight years of setbacks.
“I know the stroke of a pen could not reduce eight years of neglect,” Murphy said. “But turning our state around to standing for the right values starts here, starts now (and) starts with us.”
Speaker Coughlin: Assembly to Quickly Move to Restore Women’s Health Care
Bills Will Be Heard Monday by Assembly Health Panel
One Restores Funding to State Budget; Another Provides Medicaid Coverage
(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on Wednesday announced an Assembly committee on Monday will advance legislation to restore women’s health care funding to the state budget and expand access to quality health care to women and their families.
Coughlin (D-Middlesex) has made improving access to quality health care for women and their families a top priority. The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee will consider the legislation at 10 a.m. Monday, he said.
“These women’s health bills will be among the first we advance this year for a reason – the priorities we chose show our values and character,” Coughlin said. “The elimination of this funding led to the closing of centers that provide women’s health services and a reduction in the availability of such services – both unacceptable. Improving the health and wellbeing of women and their children is right and compassionate, but it’s also fiscally responsible. A healthier New Jersey helps make a more affordable New Jersey.”
Despite being funded in every state budget since 1970, Gov. Christie annually cut $7.5 million for women’s health care from the state budget. The services covered by the funding included OB/GYN services; physical examinations; cancer, diabetes and blood pressure screenings; and STD prevention and treatment. In 2009 this funding helped support life-saving services for over 136,000 patients.
During Christie’s tenure, Democrats made annual attempts to restore the funding, but Christie vetoed each effort. He also vetoed efforts to obtain federal matching funds for women’s health care.
The bills to be considered Monday would:
- Provide about $7.5 million for women’s health care services. (A-2134)
- Provide Medicaid coverage for women’s health care services to individuals with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. (A-1656)
“Now, more than ever, we should be standing up for working-class families in this state,” Coughlin said. “Ensuring women have access to quality health care means healthier families and less strain on our health care system, if we catch health problems early when they can be more successfully treated. This is the smart thing to do for so many reasons, and I’m thrilled that we’re finally able to steer New Jersey back in the right direction.”
Eliminated by Christie 8 years ago, $7.5M for women’s clinics is making a comeback
Nearly eight years after Republican Gov. Chris Christie eliminated $7.5 million in state grants to support family planning and women’s health clinics, Democratic state lawmakers took the first step Monday to reinstate the money.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who has been on the job for less than a week, has said he will sign the legislation that Christie vetoed numerous times throughout his tenure.
“The loss of funding for family planning eight years ago had a devastating impact on access to care for women and families in New Jersey, with the closure of six family planning centers,” state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, said after the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved her bill, (S120).
“We made it a priority to put this bill on the governor’s desk early in the legislative session so that we can begin the process of restoring access to services as soon as possible,” Weinberg said. “All residents deserve access to family planning and preventive services, and I look forward to seeing these measures signed into law.”
Since 2010, Christie has successfully trimmed the $7.5 million in women’s healthcare funding, mostly with vetoes. He first argued that the funding was “duplicative” and that the state couldn’t afford it, but said during his presidential bid in 2015 that cut reflected his socially conservative values.
Planned Parenthood was among the clinics that received the money, although the clinics are barred from using it directly to fund abortions.
“It is both irresponsible and unconscionable that Senate and Assembly leaders and Governor Murphy are moving full steam ahead to force New Jersey taxpayers to fund Planned Parenthood, an organization that is currently under investigation by the FBI for the illegal sale of baby body parts,” Tasy said.
Tasy referred to a published report last month that said the Justice Department had asked for documents from its investigation of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices. Planned Parenthood stopped accepting payment for post-abortive fetal tissue in 2015, after an anti-abortion group surreptitiously recorded clinic officials discussing the practice.
The Senate committee also approved a related bill (S105) extending Medicaid eligibility to women with slightly higher-income levels than most Medicaid recipients. The bill was approved in a vote of 6 to 1 with one abstention.
Six of 58 family planning clinics closed following the budget cut, according to a 2011 report by the Family Planning Association of New Jersey.
The clinics served 131,000 patients in 2010, providing routine gynecological exams, birth control products, health, cancer and sexually transmitted disease screenings, HIV and pregnancy testing and pre-pregnancy counseling, according to the report.