Massachusetts is not letting a Supreme Court decision get in the way of what the state sees as necessary protections for abortion clinics.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill into law Wednesday that aims to protect patients at reproductive health centers from potentially dangerous antiabortion protesters.
The legislation comes in response to a Supreme Court ruling at the end of last month that struck down a 2007 state law requiring a 35-foot protest “buffer zone” around abortion clinics. In a unanimous decision, the Court said the law violates the First Amendment in part because the buffer zones include public spaces such as sidewalks. States could respond to specific incidents, the justices said, but a broader restriction like the Massachusetts law was deemed unconstitutional.
The new Massachusetts safe-access law addresses safety concerns of abortion-rights advocates by tightening security around clinics. The legislation increases penalties for obstructing access to health centers, and increases police authority to remove individuals who block patients.
The state House and Senate passed the bill Tuesday. The Legislature included an emergency preamble, meaning that the law takes effect immediately.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has already begun preparing for the new law by marking off the area where protesters in violation would need to stand temporarily, the organization said.
The law’s crafters hope it will also serve as a model for other areas with buffer-zone laws that have been affected by the Supreme Court ruling. These include New Hampshire; Portland, Maine; and Burlington, Vt., according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards. There are also buffer zones in place in about six or seven other communities around the country, but those have not been affected, she said.
Antiabortion protesters have already announced they will challenge the new law in court, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who worked on the legislation. But supporters of the law are confident it will withstand constitutional scrutiny this time around, and say the targeted approach is in keeping with the Court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court took one tool away from us last month, but as Massachusetts has demonstrated, when they take one tool away, we come back with a full toolbox,” Richards said Wednesday.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”