Good Monday morning.
As you will see below, we have flooded the zone with coverage of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
However, before that ruling was handed down, a disturbing story broke Friday morning about how “consultants working for America’s largest power company covertly monitored a Jacksonville journalist and obtained a report containing his Social Security number and other sensitive personal information.” The story by Alejandro Ariza and Annie Martin, citing leaked documents, results from a collaborative investigation by the Florida Times-Union, the Orlando Sentinel and Floodlight.
The journalist discussed in that story is Nate Monroe, arguably the most effective columnist currently working in Florida politics. Like others working in Florida media, it incensed me what had happened to Nate. I also fear that what happened to him may be part of a larger trend in Florida political journalism (for years, my wife has warned me to just assume that when I am out-and-about that someone with an ax to grind — and there are certainly many of those people — is tracking me).
I discuss this and a range of topics with Nate in the latest episode of my podcast.
I might have been a little tough on our friend Erik Eikenberg.
He did deserve a down arrow in Capitol Directions for using the term “knuckle dragger” in reference to a Black politician. Whether he meant it as a dog whistle or not, that’s what it was.
But that took away from what was a good point: Water storage south of Lake Okeechobee is part of the solution.
There have been many arguments over how to clean up the water heading into and out of Lake O. Southern storage, northern storage, eastern discharges, western discharges.
None of those are a solution on their own, but that doesn’t mean that any of them should be dismissed out of hand. As they say, perfect is the enemy of good. And southern storage is a good solution.
Still, The Everglades Foundation should start workshopping ways to express that without racially charged terms, because context matters, and awful messaging is the enemy of the good, too.
Many recognize U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan as the powerful Florida U.S. Representative who made a fortune in the private sector and is now the heavy front-runner to be the next Ways & Means chair.
What most people likely do not know is that before “making it big,” Buchanan had to scrap and claw for everything he earned.
In a gripping new campaign ad entitled “Self-Made,” a narrator walks viewers through the story of Buchanan’s blue-collar upbringing, everything from growing up as one of six children in a 900-square-foot home to delivering newspapers “just to put some extra change on the table.”
The second half of the ad focuses on Buchanan’s success story, capturing how he and his wife of 45 years started a business with “$1,500 and a dream.”
While Buchanan is positioned to become one of the most powerful members of the House if Republicans retake the majority, he must win re-election first.
This cycle, he is facing fellow Republican Martin Hyde in the Primary. The controversial candidate has made headlines for verbally assaulting police officers and for calling supporters of former President Donald Trump “bigots.” Buchanan outmatches him in nearly every regard, including fundraising, name recognition and experience.
While Buchanan’s new ad will undoubtedly surprise some of his constituents back home, it will probably do the same with some of his colleagues in Washington, D.C., who only knew one side of his life story.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@VP: I know there are women out there who are afraid. To those of you who feel alone and scared: I want you to know the President and I are fighting for you and your rights. We are in this fight together.
—@Annette—Taddeo: I don’t care what Justice (Clarence) Thomas thinks. In Congress, I will protect your access to birth control and your right to same-sex marriage.
Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller, to Trump: “I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.”
Make sure everyone sees this.
— Really American 🇺🇸 (@ReallyAmerican1) June 26, 2022
—@NateMonroeTU: Pooling resources among our Florida publications was incredibly helpful and will continue to be vital as we unpack more — and there is more — on how the crackup of an Alabama political consulting firm has exposed dark secrets in Florida politics.
—@AntonioGM: “Read the room” is a passive-aggressive way of saying “you should be obsessed with the same current things I am.” There is no collective room anymore. That’s the problem. Humanity has always thought itself living inside a central, indispensable room, and that no longer exists.
— DAYS UNTIL —
2022 Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 1; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 11; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 22; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 25; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 26; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 32; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 44; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 51; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 51; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 55; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 65; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 65; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 57; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 75; 2022 Emmys — 77; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 80; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 102; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 119; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 120; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 120; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 136; FITCon 2022 begins — 143; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 143; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 147; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 147; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 148; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 156; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 156; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 170; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 234; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 252; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 270; 2023 Session Sine Die — 312; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 312; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 340; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 396; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 480; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 641; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 760.
— TOP STORY —
“Florida emerges as key battleground in state-by-state abortion fight” via Tim Craig of The Washington Post — (I)n Florida, where residents in a half-dozen relatively liberal urban counties are continually locked in political duels with the conservatives who dominate much of the rest of the state, the debate over abortion rights is just getting started. It’s a matter that will potentially have far-reaching consequences for millions of women in the South. The Sunshine State’s new ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy could emerge as one of the more flexible in the region after trigger laws and other unenforced abortion laws now before the courts are likely go into effect.
“This is a place we have to defend and protect, because this is a place where people come to receive services,” said state Sen. Lauren Book, the Senate minority leader. “They have nibbled around the edges for a long time … but now it’s not hyperbolic to say this is a very scary time for women in our state.”
How accessible abortion will remain in Florida could hinge on how Ron DeSantis plays his competing political ambitions and the winds of the November election. Some Florida anti-abortion activists say they expect DeSantis, who is widely mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024, to push for additional restrictions or an outright ban on the procedure — a nod to his core base here and primary voters nationwide. But he could still face competitive re-election for Governor this fall in a state where he also needs to appeal to more moderate voices.
DeSantis describes himself as an abortion opponent, but he rarely talks about the issue publicly.
… Andrew Shirvell, director of the anti-abortion group Florida Voice for the Unborn, said he has received assurances from “high-level members of Gov. DeSantis’s staff” that the Governor will call state legislators in for a Special Session on abortion access as early as mid-November, just after the midterm elections. The timing would mean DeSantis could still try to avoid taking a firm stand on the issue during his reelection campaign.
… Although Republicans remain favored to keep both the Governor’s office and their legislative majorities, Democrats say the Supreme Court ruling has boosted their chances to make state elections more competitive this year.
But veteran Florida political analyst Susan MacManus said recently that she is not sure whether the abortion issue alone will be enough to overcome recent GOP gains in the state.
“There is anger, and the issue is a big driver for older women, but you just have to wonder how many single-issue voters there really are,” said MacManus, who noted that Florida women supported President Joe Biden over Trump in 2020 by a margin of just three percentage points, according to exit polls. “So, Democrats are banking everything on abortion, but I am just not sure it will be enough.”
“Why Florida isn’t losing the right to an abortion … yet” via Kirby Wilson and Lauren Peace of the Tampa Bay Times — While the overturn of Roe v. Wade dramatically alters the landscape of abortion rights nationally, in Florida, the decision has no immediate effect on the legality of abortion. That’s because Florida’s abortion laws have to fall within the boundaries of not one, but two constitutions, said Danaya Wright, a professor of law at the University of Florida. The first is the U.S. Constitution, which no longer protects a person’s right to abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court’s bombshell decision this week in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The second is the Florida Constitution. The difference in protections largely comes down to the 1980 inclusion of a 47-word amendment to the Florida Constitution guaranteeing the right to privacy. “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein,” the document reads.
—”Nobel economist Krugman questions lure of Florida after Roe ruling” via Bloomberg
— MORE ON ROE V. WADE OVERTURNED —
Happening today — Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper will hold a hearing to consider a request by abortion clinics to Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect July 1, 9 a.m., Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe St., Tallahassee.
—”Florida elected officials and politicians react to SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade” via the staff of Florida Politics
“Ron DeSantis on abortion ruling: ‘Prayers of millions have been answered’” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — DeSantis welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, which had enshrined a right to an abortion, by declaring that “prayers of millions have been answered.” “For nearly 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited virtually any meaningful pro-life protection, but this was not grounded in the text, history or structure of the Constitution,” DeSantis posted. “By properly interpreting the Constitution, the Dobbs majority has restored the people’s role in our republic and a sense of hope that every life counts.” What the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will mean for Florida’s abortion laws in the coming weeks, months and years remains uncertain.
“DeSantis says Florida will ‘expand pro-life protections’ after Supreme Court ruling” via Arek Sarkissian of Politico — While the Governor didn’t provide details on how he or Florida’s GOP-controlled House and Senate would seek to further restrict abortion access in the state, the decision opens the door for more state-sanctioned restrictions and possibly an overall ban on the medical service. “Florida will continue to defend its recently enacted pro-life reforms against state court challenges, will work to expand pro-life protections, and will stand for life by promoting adoption, foster care and child welfare,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.
“Marco Rubio sees ‘irony’ in ‘liberal places’ protesting Roe v. Wade overturn” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “What we’ve seen over the last few hours is how unfortunately American political coverage has become childish and unserious,” Rubio said on Fox News. “If you watch some of these tweets and see some of this reporting, you think abortion’s been banned. Nothing’s been banned.” “Here’s the irony: we are seeing massive protests in Los Angeles, New York, D.C. These are liberal cities led by liberal leaders, liberal states that are never going to ban abortion. So, they’re going to tear down, potentially commit acts of violence in places where abortion is always going to be legal as long as it’s in the hands of the states, because these are liberal places. That’s the irony of all this.”
“Val Demings, Nikki Fried lament Dobbs ruling, vow action” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Florida’s most prominent female politicians got vocal after hearing the Supreme Court’s ruling. The right to an abortion is nothing short of a woman’s right to her own life, argued both Demings and Fried. Demings, a Democrat now running for Senate, declared herself furious and disappointed in the ruling, but insisted this was not over. “We won’t go back,” she said. Fried called Friday a “tragic day for women in America.”
“Anna Eskamani dares Republicans to call Special Session on abortion” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Saying that Florida voters have “been clear” that they support abortion rights, Rep. Eskamani Friday mocked Republicans for considering hard-line abortion bans. Eskamani, a leading abortion rights voice in the Legislature and a former executive of Planned Parenthood, suggested this year’s elections would turn on abortion access if Republicans followed through with a proposal for a Special Session on abortion, following Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Roe v. Wade. “I dare Republicans to pursue an abortion ban, as voters will wake up and hold you accountable for such an extremist anti-women and anti-freedom agenda,” Eskamani said. “We must make sure that Republicans at every level of government feel the consequences,” she said.
“Despite end of Roe v. Wade, a Hialeah abortion clinic is packed as usual. But for how long?” via Ana Claudia Chacin of the Miami Herald — A Hialeah abortion clinic that has been serving the area for about 40 years may have a rocky road ahead following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The facility, which offers oral (by pill), surgical abortions, lab work and birth control, is typically packed, with as many as 20 abortions performed each day. In an area primarily represented by Republicans, the clinic’s operator guesses that the vast majority of her clients lean right, supporting the party that has led the charge to overturn Roe. In addition to that clinic, Hialeah supports at least three others.
“This Tampa Bay group helps women get abortions. With Roe overturned, their job just got harder.” via Lauren Peace of the Tampa Bay Times — A network of volunteers for the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund work daily to help people across the South access abortion. Having helped hundreds of women, the group removes financial and logistical barriers to reproductive health care. But their work may have just gotten a lot harder … While many states in the South already see some of the most restrictive abortion laws, the group of volunteers has been looking beyond Florida to build relationships and enter into agreements with clinics in states like New York where abortion will remain accessible.
“With Roe overturned, Orlando pastors plan to address abortion rights at pulpit” via Desiree Stennett of the Orlando Sentinel — Rev. David Swanson was not supposed to preach this Sunday morning. But when the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that ensured federal abortion rights, he changed the plan. Swanson, who is pro-life and leads the evangelical First Presbyterian Church in downtown Orlando, said he didn’t want to wait to address his congregation. “This is a significant cultural moment that I think needed to be addressed sooner rather than later,” he said. Instead, Swanson said he will spend about 15 minutes of Sunday’s service reminding his congregation about the theological, not political, reasons his church and others are pro-life.
—“More than 200 abortion rights advocates protest at Florida Capitol after Roe v. Wade reversal” via Chasity Maynard of the Tallahassee Democrat
—“Central Floridians on both sides of abortion debate vow to keep fighting” via Caroline Catherman and Kate Santich of the Orlando Sentinel
—”‘Tears flowing in our health center today’: Anticipated Roe decision still shocks in Palm Beach County” via Hannah Phillips and Antigone Barton of The Palm Beach Post
—”Pensacola was once the anti-abortion battleground as bombings and murders rocked nation” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal
—“Sickening. Joyful. Just a few of the emotions in Pensacola following Roe v Wade ruling” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal
—“Overturned: Polk residents react with thanks, dismay to Roe v. Wade decision” via Gary White of The Ledger
—“Yes, no and ‘nuanced’: What Miami religious leaders are saying about Roe v. Wade ruling” via Michelle Marchante, Grethel Aguila, and Devoun Cetoute of the Miami Herald
—“Abortion ruling sows sharper political divisions on path forward in South Florida” via Bianca Padro Ocasio of the Miami Herald
—”Off-duty officer charged with assault at abortion protest” via The Associated Press
“Disney offers ‘travel benefit’ for employees seeking an abortion” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — The Walt Disney Co., which employs some 80,000 people at its theme parks and other operations in Florida, said it will offer employees a “travel benefit” to cover costs related to seeking an abortion. After the Supreme Court announced its ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion, a company spokesperson said Disney will help employees obtain whatever medical care they seek. The company said employees who are “unable to access care in one location” will have “affordable coverage for receiving similar levels of care in another location.” That includes “pregnancy-related decisions.”
“After Supreme Court ends Roe v. Wade, fears in Florida that same-sex marriage is next” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion has raised alarms in Florida that same-sex marriage could be struck down next in a state where the constitution still has language defining marriage as between a man and a woman. “A lot of people out there are saying they’re coming for us next,” said Orlando Gonzales, executive director of the Miami-based SAVE, an LGBTQ-rights advocacy group. “We see marriage equality as being threatened.” For now, worries about the endurance of same-sex marriage in Florida stem from legal what-ifs, since there’s no case pending before the Supreme Court that challenges the right of same-sex couples to marry.
— 30,000 VIEW —
“CBS News poll: Americans react to overturning of Roe v. Wade — most disapprove, call it step backward” via Jennifer De Pinto, Kabir Khanna, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto of CBS News — By more than a 20-point margin, Americans call it a step backward rather than forward for America. And women, by more than three to one, think the ruling will make women’s lives worse rather than better. Those who approve — and in particular, the three-fourths of conservatives who do — say they feel both hopeful and happy. Views on Roe being overturned divide along partisan lines, though perhaps not as completely as political debate or legislative battles might suggest. One in six Democrats approves, and one in five Republicans disapproves. Across demographic groups, younger people are especially likely to disapprove; most moderates disapprove along with nine in 10 liberals; two-thirds of Hispanic Americans disapprove, three-fourths of Black Americans and just over half of White Americans disapprove.
“Joe Biden confronts a bombshell that could define his presidency” via Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Tyler Pager, Ashley Parker and Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post — Biden seized on the demise of Roe v. Wade on Friday as a way to re-energize Democrats’ electoral prospects and revive his presidency, urging voters to choose candidates who support abortion rights as he sought to regain the voice of an administration that has been struggling amid a turbulent political landscape. Speaking from the White House two hours after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision, Biden said his administration would do everything it could to protect abortion rights but stressed that the ultimate power for change lay with millions of shocked and angry Americans whom he urged to carry their outrage into voting booths this November. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” Biden said.
“June 24, 2022: The day Chief Justice Roberts lost his court” via Adam Liptak of The New York Times — Although the head of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts has found himself alone amid the court’s decision to completely overturn Roe v. Wade. While Roberts, a moderate and swing voter, worked to persuade his colleagues to gradually chip away at Roe v. Wade, the conservative majority abolished the 50-year precedent in one fatal swing. With the five-member conservative majority, they no longer need Roberts on board to achieve their goals, leaving him behind. “This is no longer John Roberts’s court,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor and historian at the University of California.
—”How the Roe v. Wade ruling evolved: A behind-the-scenes visual tour” via James D. Robenalt of The Washington Post
“Brett Kavanaugh gave private assurances. Susan Collins says he ‘misled’ her.” via Carl Hulse of The New York Times — Just before his confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2018, Judge Kavanaugh worked vigorously to reassure Maine Sen. Collins that he was no threat to the abortion rights ruling in Roe v. Wade. “I am a don’t-rock-the-boat kind of judge,” he said, according to meeting notes. That persuaded Collins to approve of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, potentially altering what was a 50-48 vote. But now she feels they have abused her trust after Kavanaugh joined the Supreme Court’s conservative majority in overturning the landmark abortion case.
“The man most responsible for ending Roe worries that it could hurt his party” via Maggie Haberman and Michael C. Bender of The New York Times — Although Trump has publicly applauded the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, he has privately expressed concern that the ruling will be “bad for Republicans.” Trump can be credited with the recent decision after successfully loading the court with three conservative justices, creating a majority-right court. When a draft copy of the decision leaked in May, Trump shared privately that the ruling would anger suburban women, a group who helped tilt the 2020 race to Biden and would lead to a backlash against Republicans in the November midterm elections.
“Battleground Republicans squeezed hardest on abortion after Roe falls” via Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick of POLITICO — House Republicans say they’re mostly unfazed by the political ramifications of Friday’s Supreme Court abortion ruling. Except some of their most endangered incumbents, who’d rather not say much about it at all. Even Republicans from the nation’s biggest battlegrounds now embrace the anti-abortion mantle, a near-universal position in a House GOP conference veering rightward. But as abortion rights remain highly popular with voters, including in swing districts, most of those vulnerable lawmakers were uninterested in discussing the particulars of what, if anything, should happen following the court’s Friday ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Roe’s gone. Now anti-abortion lawmakers want more.” via Caroline Kitchener of The Washington Post — At the National Association of Christian Lawmakers conference in Branson, Missouri, several dozen state legislators from across the country brainstormed ideas — all in agreement that their wildly successful movement would not end with Roe v. Wade. “It’s not over,” said Oklahoma state Rep. Todd Russ. At this point, Russ said, the ideas are like “popcorn in a popcorn popper.” “There are all kinds going around.” The Supreme Court decision has already transformed America, immediately ending abortion care in eight states, with many more states poised to ban the procedure in the coming weeks and months. By the end of the year, it could outlaw abortion across roughly half the country. Former Vice President Mike Pence and other GOP leaders have called for a national ban.
“Roe is reversed, and the right isn’t ready” via David French of The Dispatch — It is a simple truth that when it comes to moral leadership, actions speak so much louder than words. That’s a truth that’s been instilled in me since my youth. Walk your talk. And yet. Consider the last two years. When American culture burned with partisan hatred, all too many institutions of the American church fueled the fire. They fuel the fire to this day. There is a cost to this combat, and that cost is born in our ability to reach out to people outside our tribe and to have people believe us when we say that we care for them, that we want to see them flourish, and that we love their families — both red and blue.
“Abortion pills take the spotlight as states impose abortion bans” via Pam Belluck of The New York Times — In the hours after the Supreme Court released its decision overturning the legal right to abortion in the United States, nearly 100 requests for appointments flowed into Just the Pill, a nonprofit organization that arranges for patients to obtain abortion pills in several states. That was about four times the usual daily number of appointment requests for the organization, and many came from patients in Texas and other states that quickly halted abortions after the court ruling. Abortion pills, already used in more than half of recent abortions in the U.S., are becoming even more sought-after in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and they will likely be at the center of the legal battles that are expected to unfold as about half the states ban abortion and others take steps to increase access.
—“Can states outright ban abortion pills? It’s unclear.” via Rachel Roubein of The Washington Post
“Patients sat in abortion clinic waiting rooms as Roe fell. They all had to be turned away.” via Chabeli Carrazana of The 19th — The staff at Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services Clinic in San Antonio had just received a call from their attorney: Abortion procedures in Texas would have to stop immediately. The dozen or so patients in the lobby Friday morning would have to be turned away. The clinic staff would have to be the ones to tell them. Andrea Gallegos, the clinic’s administrator, and the rest of the staff walked out and addressed the room: “The Supreme Court made this decision today and, unfortunately, your geographical location affects your bodily autonomy,” she said they told waiting patients. Gallegos watched each word land like a blow. People cried. They screamed. They begged for help, she said. It was “complete despair.”
— 2022 —
“Charlie Crist calls for impeachment of Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh after abortion decision” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “Today’s ruling makes clear that Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh lied to Congress when they testified, under oath, that in their view Roe v. Wade was settled precedent,” Crist said. “Perjury is a crime,” Crist added. “If perjury is found to have occurred, the correct remedy is impeachment.” Reporting of each Justice’s testimony suggests that their positions have changed since their confirmation hearings. Crist warned about the ruling going awry for reproductive rights advocates last year, in a statement from his House office: “Floridians know this is not a drill.” Crist offered more of a campaign message during a news conference earlier Friday, setting himself up as the logical antithesis to DeSantis.
“One of Florida’s biggest unions backs Crist for Governor” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — One of the state’s largest unions weighed in on the heavily contested Democratic Primary and in what they called a “landslide” vote Friday, decided Crist is the best candidate to beat DeSantis. Crist is in a contest for the Democratic nomination with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for the right to compete with DeSantis in November’s General Election. And at the union’s convention in Orlando, 143,470 voted “yes” for Crist out of 162,979 votes cast. “The Florida AFL-CIO believes that whether in Tallahassee or Washington, Crist has governed fairly and in a way that takes into account the workers that make Florida, and America, run,” the union tweeted Friday afternoon.
—“Fact check: Do polls show DeSantis losing to Crist?” via Yevgeny Kuklychev of Newsweek
Democratic Progressive Caucus holds off on gubernatorial endorsement — The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida will not endorse U.S. Rep. Crist or Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried before the Aug. 23 Democratic Primary for Governor but has pledged to support whoever wins the nomination. “We believe either candidate is a far better choice than the increasingly authoritarian, Ron DeSantis. Understanding the dangerous moment in which we find ourselves, DPCF will actively support whichever candidate wins the primary,” the organization said, adding “We strongly encourage both candidates to select a progressive Democrat to be our next Lieutenant Governor. The enthusiasm and solidarity that choice would inspire would make the Democratic ticket unbeatable in November.”
Happening today — Democratic CFO candidate Adam Hattersley will appear at a virtual meeting of the Duval County Democratic Party, 6 p.m. Meeting link here.
“Marco Rubio endorsees Aaron Bean for CD 4” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Rubio is backing Bean in the race for Florida’s 4th Congressional District. Bean is running for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 23 Primary Election, the winner of which will move on to face the Democratic nominee in November. “Aaron Bean is a principled conservative leader and business owner who knows what Florida families need and will stand up for our values in Washington,” Rubio said. “I have considered Aaron a friend since we served together in the Florida House, and I am so glad that he’s put himself forward to serve the people of Northeast Florida in Congress. I am proud to endorse Aaron Bean’s campaign for Congress.”
“Scotty Moore tossed from CD 9 ballot for filing wrong form” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Moore has been disqualified from the ballot in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, apparently because his qualifying paperwork included the wrong form for a party loyalty oath. Moore, a consultant and former Christian missionary from Orlando, arguably was the leading Republican in the race, at least in terms of campaign fundraising and big-name endorsements. The Florida Division of Elections posted Moore’s disqualification late Friday. He reportedly was disqualified because he filled out, signed, and submitted a Republican Party oath of loyalty for state or local candidates, instead of the required one for federal candidates.
“James Judge, disqualified in CD 14, blames Division of Elections error” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Judge was disqualified after filing the wrong paperwork with the Division of Elections. But Judge said it was the state’s mistake that he was kicked off the ballot and that he will fight the decision. “We tried to do everything properly, and had our paperwork in first, well before the deadline, to ensure that if a mistake had been made, we would have time to fix it before the deadline,” Judge said. Political consultant Peter Graves said the campaign plans to appeal the state decision in court.
—”Jerry Torres earns Jackie Toledo’s endorsement in CD 14 race” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics
—”Kelli Stargel mailer suggests she has Ron DeSantis’ endorsement. She doesn’t” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics
“Republicans turn school elections into new political battlegrounds” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO — Florida Republicans are capitalizing on the national movement surrounding parental rights and education by jumping into local school board races with crucial endorsements and much-needed cash. Dozens of political committees with ties to Florida conservatives are funneling thousands of dollars toward candidates who share DeSantis’ priorities by campaigning against issues like critical race theory. DeSantis endorsed a slate of 10 school board candidates, a rare, if not unprecedented, move for a Florida Governor that could help Republicans capture more support in the midterms from parents energized by contentious issues such as masking students during the pandemic.
Huh — “Volusia Republican Committee to endorse in some Primary races” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Volusia County Republican Executive Committee is going to endorse preferred Republicans in federal, state and local Primary Elections. The move has drawn some ire, frustration, and disinterest from some campaigns in the targeted races, as the county party seeks to present a slate of preferred candidates before the Aug. 23 Primary Elections. One of those contests set to be decided at the Primary Election level was closed, allowing Republicans voters only, when Volusia Republican State Committeeman Vic Baker filed last week as a write-in candidate. The House District 30 contest also features Republicans Robyn Hattaway and Chase Tramont. Baker said he did so because if Democrats want to vote in HD 30, they should have entered their own candidate.
— STATEWIDE —
>>>Gov. DeSantis will hold a press conference at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor City Campus. Also participating: Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., and Senate President Wilton Simpson. 10:00 a.m.
“DeSantis annuls alimony bill” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — After years of unsuccessful negotiations to modify Florida’s divorce laws, DeSantis has vetoed the Republican-led Legislature’s latest effort to end permanent alimony. With DeSantis’ veto on Friday, the measure (SB 1796) marks the third proposal vetoed by a Florida Governor in the last decade. Despite most Republicans coming together to support this year’s package after repeated unsuccessful attempts to pass similar alimony reform measures, DeSantis in his veto letter wrote that the Legislature’s proposal is unconstitutional. “If (SB 1796) were to become law and be given retroactive effect as the Legislature intends, it would unconstitutionally impair vested rights under certain preexisting marital settlement agreements,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter.
“DeSantis vetoes local business ‘protection’ bill” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — DeSantis vetoed SB 620 on Friday, a top priority of Senate President Wilton Simpson which sought to punish local governments for passing laws detrimental to local businesses. Dubbed the “Local Business Protection Act,” SB 620 would have allowed a business to sue a city or county if they pass an ordinance that would reduce their profit by 15% per location within the city or county. The business could’ve been awarded damages for the cost of their lost profits for up to seven years. In his veto letter, DeSantis said the bill would have had unintended consequences because it was too broad and noted the measure didn’t apply to emergency orders issued by local governments.
“DeSantis kills Department of Revenue tax compliance bill” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — DeSantis vetoed legislation Friday that would have introduced a series of changes to Florida’s tax laws. The bill (SB 1382) would have required taxpayers to produce documents in a timely fashion for audits by the Department of Revenue, a measure aimed at curbing noncompliance with state laws. DeSantis acknowledged the intention behind the bill but said he could not sign it in its current form. Also, he said Biden was creating a tough enough fiscal environment. “I appreciate the Department of Revenue and their efforts to protect the rights of taxpayers, and I understand the problem the bill seeks to address,” Said wrote in a veto message.
“DeSantis vetoes hospital district conversion bill” via Christine Sexton of Florida Politics — Gov. DeSantis on Friday vetoed a bill (SB 1260) that would have set up a process for all hospital districts interested in converting to a not-for-profit system to follow. Sarasota Republican Sen. Joe Gruters sponsored the measure, with Fort Myers-based Lee Memorial Health Systems being the driving force behind it. DeSantis noted in a veto letter he has supported changes to hospital districts that were passed in local bills.
“‘Markel Act’ signed into law, gives grandparents visitation rights” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — DeSantis signed HB 1119, known by advocates as the ‘Markel Act,’ to protect grandparents and children against alienation from each other in narrow, tragic situations. Specifically, the bill says that grandparents can petition courts for visitation with their grandchildren where the living parent was found culpable by a criminal or civil court for the other parent’s death. Inspiration for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Toledo and Sen. Keith Perry, was the 2014 murder-for-hire of FSU law professor Dan Markel, gunned down in his garage by hitmen, leaving two young sons without a father. Law enforcement successfully prosecuted three accomplices who they say were hired by the family of Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, to execute Markel so that Wendi could move to Miami with the children. Before the murder, the court denied her petition to move the children away from Markel.
—”DeSantis signs bills on smoking bans, stolen sexual images” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press
“Florida denying more concealed carry applications under Nikki Fried than GOP predecessors, data shows” via Tristan Wood of City and State Florida — More concealed weapon license applications were denied during the first three years of Fried’s tenure as Florida’s Democratic Agriculture Commissioner than the previous two commissioners combined. In part, the jump can be attributed to an increase in applications in recent years. But the department’s Division of Licensing denial rate on applications is more than two times greater than under her immediate predecessor, Republican Adam Putnam. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is charged with licensing concealed weapons as well as private investigators and security services.
“Florida Supremes asked to order Renatha Francis, who may soon join them, off a case for bias” via Noreen Marcus of Florida Bulldog — The lawyer for a woman who filed an ethics complaint against Judge Francis wants the Florida Supreme Court to order Francis off her case. Delray Beach attorney Margherita Downey filed a petition Thursday asking the court to consider her claim that Francis, a West Palm Beach family court judge, has shown such extreme bias against Angela Bentrim that Bentrim fears she won’t be treated fairly in ongoing court battles with her ex-husband. The petition carries unusual baggage: DeSantis reportedly plans to place Francis, 45, on the same court that’s now being asked to yank a case from her docket.
Happening today — Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. will talk about teacher recruitment and retention at a meeting of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations and the Florida Philanthropic Network, noon. Meeting link here.
“Shevrin Jones to address Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ+ Gala” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Sen. Jones will address the Democratic National Committee’s 23rd Annual LGBTQ+ Gala this Monday in New York City. Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat, became Florida’s first openly gay state Senator upon his initial election in 2020. He previously served in Florida’s House of Representatives from 2012 through 2020. He will speak alongside special guest, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Jones has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community, most recently joining a panel as part of the National Democratic Training Committee’s (NDTC) ‘Build Blue Week.’
Good read — “From farm to Capitol: Keith Truenow’s political roots run deep in agriculture” via Cecelia Brown for Florida Politics — Truenow, founder of Lake Jem Farms in Mount Dora, was elected to the House of Representatives for District 31 in November 2020. Truenow, a local farmer and rancher, now addresses agriculture issues from a seat at the state capital. He said the highlight of his first year in office would be running a bill called the Florida Wildlife Act, which preserves land throughout the state. Another piece of legislation passed during 2020 Session was the Right to Farm Bill. “That was monumental. As a whole, or part, we perpetuated Florida agriculture better than most states in the whole country. At the same time, we took monies we were receiving and put them to good use in trying to conserve what Florida is,” he said.
“South Florida trial lawyer sworn in as 74th President of The Florida Bar” via Christine Sexton of Florida Politics — Trial lawyer Gary S. Lesser was sworn in as the 74th President of The Florida Bar Friday. Lesser is the managing partner of West Palm Beach-based Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC, which specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, consumer class action matters and wrongful death cases. Lesser was sworn in by retiring Florida Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson. Lesser has outlined his priorities as supporting and protecting the independent judiciary, increasing people’s access to legal services, and creating a mentoring program for young attorneys.
“COVID-19 wave may be peaking as cases start to level off, but deaths spike” via Chris Persaud of The Palm Beach Post — The latest COVID-19 wave in Florida may be cresting, hospital reports indicate, while the weekly statewide death toll spiked by over 1,000 residents for the first time in over three months. The number of COVID-19-positive patients statewide grew by 129 this week, the smallest seven-day increase since April 26, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported Friday. Hospitalization statistics usually lag behind the newly reported positive test results. Florida medical staff tended to 3,322 COVID-19-positive patients, HHS said Friday, including 323 adults in intensive care units.
“COVID-19 vaccines for infants arrive in Florida. Here’s why doctors are throwing them away” via Daniel Chang of the Miami Herald — Dozens of South Florida pharmacies, community health centers, children’s hospitals and pediatricians received delivery this week of the first COVID-19 vaccines available for children as young as 6 months old, much earlier than anticipated after state officials missed a deadline for pre-ordering the shots. But pediatricians and public health advocates working to vaccinate newly eligible children under 5 said they are throwing away the majority of the doses they have ordered because DeSantis will not authorize state programs to administer the vaccines for infants and toddlers, effectively cutting off supply to many family doctors. The health department also will not promote the vaccines to parents, some of whom are hesitant to have their young children vaccinated.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Court widens scope of deportations” via The New York Times — “A Biden administration policy that prioritized the arrest of undocumented immigrants who are considered a threat to public safety and national security has been suspended as of Saturday, rendering millions of people vulnerable to deportation. A federal judge in Texas had ruled the prioritization policy illegal on June 10, a ruling that took effect late Friday after a federal appeals court failed to issue any decision blocking it. The Department of Homeland Security said it effectively had no discretion under the ruling to set priorities for how its agents enforced the nation’s immigrant-removal laws. “While the department strongly disagrees with the Southern District of Texas’ court decision to vacate the guidelines, D.H.S. will abide by the court’s order as it continues to appeal it,” the department said in a statement.
“Congress clears bill to extend free meals for children through the summer” via Stephanie Lai and Linda Qiu of The New York Times — The U.S. House passed legislation on Friday to extend free meals and other food assistance for children. It will hit Biden’s desk just a week before a series of pandemic-era waivers will expire. The bipartisan bill, the Keep Kids Fed Act, extends meal reimbursements and policies aimed at providing more flexibility for schools and meal operators through the summer and the next school year. The measure extends free meals for all children, which had been scheduled to lapse on June 30, until the end of the summer. The House initially passed a more generous version of the bill that would have extended free meals into the coming school year, but they scaled it back because of Republican opposition in the Senate.
“Biden signs landmark gun measure, says ‘lives will be saved’” via Will Weissert of the Miami Herald — Biden signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. “Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved,” he said in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Citing the families of shooting victims he has met, the President said, “Their message to us was, ‘Do something.’ How many times did we hear that? ‘Just do something. For God’s sake, just do something.’ Today we did.” The House gave final approval Friday, following Senate passage Thursday, and Biden acted just before leaving Washington for two summits in Europe.
—“Vern Buchanan votes against gun bill despite past support for stronger gun restrictions” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“Val Demings introduces bill to push internet freedom in Cuba” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Rep. Demings has introduced a bill to use more American dollars to promote internet access in authoritarian countries trying to censor the internet like Cuba and Venezuela. Demings, the Orlando Congresswoman running for Senate against Sen. Rubio, said she is joining Massachusetts Rep. Bill Keating in introducing the “Internet Freedom Rapid Response Act of 2022.” The measure (HR 8075) would make more money available to help bolster internet availability in countries under censorship. The program would be run through the Open Technology Fund in the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. That program provides grants for proven and emerging technology that allows people to bypass internet blocks in closed countries, especially during crackdowns.
— EPILOGUE TRUMP —
“Donald Trump fatigue sets in: ‘Some donors are getting sick of the sh**show’” via Meredith McGraw and Matt Dixon of POLITICO — As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots lays out Trump’s obsessive efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Trump allies have responded with the political equivalent of a collective eye roll. But elsewhere in the party, operatives are taking notice. The former President is being damaged, they say — perhaps not fatally, but notably so. In interviews, those operatives describe a GOP electorate still enamored with Trump and dismissive of the committee and its findings. But elements of the voters, donors, and activists that make up the three pillars of the Party are exhausted too, they say. And they’re growing less willing to let the baggage of the Trump years complicate the future.
“What happens if the GOP tries to leave Trump behind” via Jeff Greenfield of POLITICO — In Georgia, virtually all of Trump’s favorites lost their nomination fights. A new poll out of New Hampshire shows DeSantis running a couple of points ahead of Trump among GOP voters; last October, by comparison, Trump had a 25-point margin. The revelations from the Jan. 6 Committee, while apparently changing few Republican minds, have painted a picture of presidential misconduct so blatant that nearly six in 10 Americans believe he should be charged with criminal conduct. More and more Republicans, while not confronting Trump directly, speak in Aesopian terms about not fighting past battles, about looking to the future, about nominating someone with vaguely humanoid hair.
— JAN. 6 —
“What is defensible in the case against Trump?” via Dan Balz of The Washington Post — Many scandals since Watergate have had the word “gate” attached to them. In this case, the comparisons are legitimate. Like Nixon, Trump sought to undermine the Constitution in the hope of clinging to power. Virtually all the witnesses who have appeared in person or on video have been members of Trump’s administration or his campaign, advisers to Pence or Republicans from the swing states — officials who likely all voted for Trump and would do so again. Trump may be complaining in private about the absence of defenders on the committee, but the evidence, as presented so far, is both damaging and difficult to defend. Trump’s only response has been to repeat the lies about a stolen election. Other Republicans prefer to look away rather than try to defend the President’s conduct.
— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —
“Hazelle Rogers leads Broward Commission race in May fundraising with nearly $21K haul” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Lauderdale Lakes Mayor Rogers raised nearly $21,000 in May, topping her only opponent in the race for the District 9 seat on the Broward County Commission. Her opponent Guithele Ruiz–Nicholas’ May haul, however, came mostly on the back of a $9,000 self-loan to the campaign. Both Rogers and Ruiz-Nicholas are seeking to succeed Commissioner Torey Alston. Alston took the position after being appointed by DeSantis. The seat became open when former Commissioner Dale Holness resigned to run in a Special Election for a congressional seat.
“‘Parents rights’ activist challenges 7-year school board member in August.” via Katherine Kokal of The Palm Beach Post — An outspoken “parental rights” activist is running to unseat a seven-year incumbent of the Palm Beach County School Board to represent coastal West Palm Beach and eastern Delray Beach. Erica Whitfield, known for her support of school district leadership, will face Angelique Contreras, who has been vocal in her desire to upheave both the district’s leadership and its curriculum in favor of parents’ rights, aligning with the policies of DeSantis. The two candidates will face off in the nonpartisan primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 23. District 4 is unique because one of the two candidates will win a majority of votes and decide the race that day.
— MORE LOCAL: C. FL —
Happening today — The Space Florida Board of Directors meets, at 1 p.m. Call-in: (866) 528-2256. Meeting code: 4875556.
— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —
“Antisemitic flyers scattered in Sarasota neighborhood for the third time this year” via Stefania Lugli of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Holly Bullard’s bike ride Tuesday morning finished with a grim discovery: hateful propaganda at the foot of her driveway in Vamo. A Ziplock bag weighed down by dry rice held a folded flyer targeting various public figures of Jewish descent, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros and Emanuel Celler, a former U.S. Congressman who died in 1981, and blaming current immigration trends on the Jewish community. Bullard said she was angry upon finding the flyer, feeling violated at the idea of an ill-intentioned stranger getting so close to her front door. “It’s not social media. It’s not a tweet. It’s something tangible saying terrible things that you don’t think represents your community,” she said.
“Election to replace Frank Mann will be held with regular election cycle” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A Special Election to fill Mann’s term will be held concurrent with this year’s election cycle. Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle set dates for a Special Election and scheduled a party Primary on Aug. 23 and the General Election on Nov. 8. Those are the same dates as the countywide elections being held this year, and when elections will be held for two other County Commission seats on the ballot this year. That’s a decision that will save substantially on the cost of running a countywide Special Election outside the normal cycle. But it also means a qualifying period starts immediately. Candidates may pay a qualifying fee and submit the required paperwork beginning on Monday at noon and must qualify by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The fee to run as a partisan candidate is $5,943, while those running without party affiliation can pay a fee of $3,962.
— LOCAL NOTES: N. FL —
“’Unsettling,’ ‘un-American’: FPL consultant obtained personal information, surveillance photo of journalist Nate Monroe” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney said opposition research that hunts for embarrassing information has long been used in political campaigns to attack candidates, but he’d never heard of similar research of a Jacksonville journalist. “If the media becomes the subject of this kind of research, will that have a potential chilling effect on journalists doing the job they need to do?” Mullaney said. “I do find it unsettling, and I do find it concerning.” Times-Union Executive Editor Mary Kelli Palka said “it’s disturbing to learn about the surveillance of Nate. It’s simply unacceptable. To be clear, however, we won’t allow any tactics to stop us from continuing to pursue the truth about what happened during the JEA sale process.”
“Donna Deegan returns five-figure contribution from Andrew Gillum” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Deegan, a candidate for Jacksonville Mayor, has returned a donation from Gillum’s political operation. Other groups started announcing they too would give money back. The move comes two days after federal prosecutors indicted Gillum, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor, on 19 charges stemming from campaign finance fraud. While Deegan said she wants due process to play out in court, she’s taking steps to distance her campaign from any scandal around the source of the money. “In my family, we say ‘when in doubt, do the next right thing,’” Deegan said.
Assignment editors — The Tributary hosts a discussion with Nate Monroe, Anne Schindler and Kim Allen on the race for Jacksonville Sheriff, 5:30 p.m., 40 E. Adams St., Jacksonville. Register here.
“Cristina Paredes, Office of Economic Vitality director, submits resignation” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — Paredes, the director of the Office of Economic Vitality, has resigned from her position. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the Tallahassee community,” Paredes told the Democrat Friday. “While I plan to announce the next part of my professional journey in the coming weeks, today I’m excited about what the future holds and thankful for the great team at OEV and the strong leadership above me.” Paredes’ resignation, effective July 8, came from her desire “to pursue external professional opportunities,” according to an email from her boss Ben Pingree, the director of Tallahassee/Leon County Planning, Land Management & Community Enhancement.
“Thursday’s high of 103 in Tallahassee ties previous daily record set in June 1944, NWS says” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — The last time temperatures on June 23 in Tallahassee were as high as Thursday was just weeks after the United States Army invaded the beaches of Normandy, France. The day’s high temperature, 103, tied the previous daily record set on June 23, 1944, at Tallahassee International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. The “record event” was recorded at the airport at approximately 3:34 p.m., read an NWS news release.
— OPINIONS ON ROE —
“If the Supreme Court can reverse Roe, it can reverse anything” via Mary Ziegler of The Atlantic — If this decision signals anything bigger than its direct consequences, it is this: No one should get used to their rights. Predicting with certainty which ones, if any, will go, or when, is impossible. But Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a stark reminder that this can happen. Rights can vanish. The majority wants us to think otherwise. Even if this is the case, the Court’s decision is staggering. Emphasizing that no other rights will be lost — convincingly or not — suggests that there is no problem if this right disappears with the stroke of a pen. The majority opinion spends precious little time on the damage that reversing Roe will do.
“The Supreme Court’s radical abortion ruling begins a dangerous new era” via The Washington Post editorial board — In a reckless fit of judicial activism that will redound for generations, the Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the half-century-old precedent that declared that Americans have a constitutional right to obtain abortions. A 5-to-4 majority has thrust the country and the court itself into a perilous new era, one in which the court is no longer a defender of key personal rights. In part because Americans rely on Supreme Court rulings to make decisions and plan for the future, overturning a precedent of Roe’s vintage and significance should be done only in exceptional circumstances, meaning, if the decision was egregiously wrong. This was obviously not the case with Roe, which the court had previously reviewed and upheld.
“Abortion goes back to the people” via the Wall Street Journal editorial board — The central point, underscored by Justice Kavanaugh in his concurrence, is that abortion can be found nowhere in the Constitution. The parchment is neutral on the issue. The supporters of abortion rights claim to have found it in the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. But until the latter part of the 20th century, the idea of a right to abortion could be found nowhere in American law. No state constitutions included it, and until shortly before Roe, no court had recognized such a right. Justice Harry Blackmun ignored that history and invented the right in Roe. The debate will now shift from courts to the political branches, which should be healthy for the judiciary. Democrats made clear on Friday that they will make abortion rights a major campaign theme in the midterm elections, and President Biden declared that “this is not over.”
“The Supreme Court reclaims its legitimacy” via David B. Rivkin Jr. and Jennifer L. Mascott of The Wall Street Journal — The most anxiously awaited Supreme Court decision in decades is also the least surprising. An act of institutional sabotage leaked Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization nearly eight weeks in advance. Dobbs imposes no policy. It simply states that abortion is not among those individual rights protected by the federal Constitution. The result is that this contentious issue has been returned to the state legislatures, which had primary responsibility for setting abortion policy until the court imposed its own views on the country in 1973.
“The Constitution is whatever the right-wing says it is” via Adam Serwer of The Atlantic — The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, allowing state governments to force women to give birth, is the result of decades of right-wing political advocacy, organizing, and electoral victory. It is also just the beginning of the Court’s mission to reshape all American society according to conservative demands, without fear of public opposition. Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson contains a classic Alito disclaimer — an explicit denial of the logical implications of his stated position. In this case, Alito declares that “nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” even as he argues that when it comes to rights “not mentioned in the Constitution,” only those “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” are protected. If you’re asking yourself who decides which rights can be so described, you’re on the right track.
“The radical reign of Clarence Thomas” via Maureen Dowd of The New York Times — Over the last three decades, I have witnessed a dismal saga of opportunism, fanaticism, mendacity, concupiscence, hypocrisy and cowardice. This is a story about men gaining power by trading away something that meant little to them compared with their own stature: the rights of women. With Thomas, conservatives got the justice of their dreams, the first in a line of right-wing radicals. When Trump came along, trailing a history of lurid sexual transgressions, the family-values Republicans and religious right didn’t care. They knew he was the one who could bring them to Valhalla on the Supreme Court. While his wife ran around helping Trump with his coup, Thomas was the senior firebrand in a coup of extremists on the court. They yanked power away from John Roberts and are defying the majority will in this country in ways that are terrifying.
“The Supreme Court radicals’ new precedent: Maximum chaos” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — The high court was meant to be the guarantor of law and order. But the conservative justices, intoxicated by their supermajority, have abandoned their solemn duty to promote stability in the law and are actively spreading real-world disruption. Worse, this invitation to disorder comes as the nation is trying to restore the rule of law after a coup attempt led by a President who appointed three of the five justices in the abortion majority. The spouse of a fourth — Ginni Thomas, Clarence’s wife — aggressively pushed state legislators and the White House to overthrow the election. Yet Thomas has refused to recuse himself from related cases. After decades of crocodile tears over imagined “judicial activism,” the conservative supermajority has shed all judicial modesty and embraced radicalism.
“The end of Roe is just the beginning” via Ross Douthat of The New York Times — And it is not only the pro-life movement that could alienate the conflicted middle in the post-Roe world. The pro-choice side is presently in danger of jettisoning its time-tested rhetorical moves in the name of progressive political correctness and refusing to compromise its maximalist policy demands. (A)ny confident prediction about this ruling’s consequences is probably a foolish one. There can be no certainty about the future of abortion politics because for almost 50 years, all policy debates have been overshadowed by judicial controversy, and only now are we about to find out what the contest really looks like. It’s merely the end of the beginning; the true end, in whatever settlement or victory, lies ahead.
—“We’ve seen what will happen next to America’s women“ via Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith for The New York Times
“In Florida, a self-righteous minority shows us Supreme Court’s post-Roe world” via the Miami Herald editorial board — In 2021, only 6% of some 80,000 abortions performed in Florida happened in the second trimester, after about 12 weeks of pregnancy. So, most people seeking an abortion will not feel the impact of the 15-week ban. But that also provides a reason for Republicans to go even farther. After the Supreme Court opinion leak in May, anti-abortion activists rallied in Tallahassee to ask DeSantis to call a Special Session to end abortions. DeSantis until Friday had been unusually vague on how far he’s willing to push. He issued a statement after the Supreme Court opinion was released saying he will “work to expand pro-life protections,” but he did not provide any details.
— TOP OPINION —
“America is growing apart, possibly for good” via Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic — It may be time to stop talking about “red” and “blue” America. That’s the provocative conclusion of Michael Podhorzer, a longtime political strategist for labor unions and the chair of the Analyst Institute, a collaborative of progressive groups that studies elections.
To Podhorzer, the growing divisions between red and blue states represent a reversion to the lines of separation through much of the nation’s history. The differences among states in the Trump era, he writes, are “very similar, both geographically and culturally, to the divides between the Union and the Confederacy. And those dividing lines were largely set at the nation’s founding, when slave states and free states forged an uneasy alliance to become ‘one nation.’”
Podhorzer isn’t predicting another Civil War, exactly. But he’s warning that the pressure on the country’s fundamental cohesion is likely to continue ratcheting up in the 2020s. Like other analysts who study democracy, he views the Trump faction that now dominates the Republican Party — what he terms the “MAGA movement”— as the U.S. equivalent to the authoritarian parties in places such as Hungary and Venezuela.
All of this is fueling what I’ve called “the great divergence” now underway between red and blue states. This divergence itself creates enormous strain on the country’s cohesion, but more and more even that looks like only a way station. What’s becoming clearer over time is that the Trump-era GOP is hoping to use its electoral dominance of the red states, the small-state bias in the Electoral College and the Senate, and the GOP-appointed majority on the Supreme Court to impose its economic and social model on the entire nation — with or without majority public support.
— OPINIONS —
“Trump and Biden both face rejection” via Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal — This is the big political story now: Both parties are rejecting their leaders, Trump and Biden. It’s a continuing tectonic shift and the story underlying every daily political story. It’s building and will only grow. Both parties are starting to scramble for what’s next, who’s next. Both are casting about. I wrote last week about Trump’s position. Much will be made of the latest data, a small University of New Hampshire poll in the first-in-the-nation primary state. DeSantis is tied with Trump in a Republican primary and runs better against Biden than Trump does.
“The Senate gun bill is terrible” via Robert Leider of The Wall Street Journal — When mass shootings such as Uvalde happen, a rallying cry emerges for Congress to do something, anything, to prevent such tragedies in the future. On Tuesday senators introduced the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — their effort to do something. But when your sole rallying cry is to do something, the thing you do may be worse than the status quo. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a terrible bill, and in its current form, it ought to be defeated by a bipartisan political coalition of Congress. Liberals should hate the bill because most of its gun-control provisions are antithetical to their criminal-justice reform agenda.
“Media check: Florida’s legacy newspapers gave Gillum a free pass in 2018” via Brian Burgess of The Capitolist — Other than a handful of key inflection points in 2018, Florida’s legacy media largely served as apologists for Gillum, even as they admitted that his head-scratching explanations didn’t make any sense, providing him a free pass while focusing on his “historic” campaign as Florida’s first Black gubernatorial nominee. Beyond reporting the existence of the controversy, there was never a deep-diving exposé or hard-hitting journalistic investigation into a man who came within 30,000 votes of becoming Governor. The Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post also endorsed Gillum, and all made similar excuses for him — while blasting DeSantis for daring to mention the FBI investigation hanging over Gillum’s head.
—“Why our candidate endorsements matter more than ever” via Steve Bousquet of the Orlando Sentinel
— ALOE —
“No godmother, but new cruise ship Disney Wish to have Make-A-Wish godchildren” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney Cruise Line announced it was forgoing the traditional godmother role of its new ship Disney Wish in favor of godchildren, children past, present and future that have often fatal illnesses and are recipients of the charity of the Make-A-Wish foundation. The fifth ship in the DCL fleet will have its christening ceremony at Port Canaveral, and children involved with Make-A-Wish will be on hand to recite the traditional maritime blessing of the vessel and take on a symbolic role that wishes good fortune upon the ship and all who travel aboard.
“Seminoles hire away Link Jarrett after Notre Dame’s CWS run” via The Associated Press — Jarrett, who led Notre Dame to the College World Series for the first time in 20 years, is Florida State’s new coach. Florida State announced the hiring Friday, three days after the Irish’s season ended in the CWS. Jarrett, voted national coach of the year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, will be introduced at a news conference Monday. The move was anticipated. Jarrett is a Tallahassee native, FSU graduate and two-time All-American shortstop for the Seminoles (1993-94), and a former assistant (2003). “He’s a Seminole through and through and there is no question that he will dedicate himself to the success of our student-athletes and his team,” athletic director Mike Alford said. “I know he is excited to be returning home and we are just as excited to welcome him and his family.”
“UCF golfer Jess Baker captures British Women’s Amateur Championship” via Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel — Baker made history Saturday by winning the 119th British Women’s Amateur Championship, becoming the first in school history to accomplish such a feat. Baker won the event, which was played in Hunstanton, England, by defeating the University of South Carolina’s Louise Rydqvist 4 and 3 in two rounds of match-play golf in the final. “It’s an amazing feeling, just incredible,” Baker told The R&A, which organizes the event. “I can’t believe it. I’m absolutely stunned but I’m just so happy. I worked really, really hard to get here, and it’s just such a satisfying feeling.”
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Best wishes to Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller and Sen. Lori Berman, as well as one of our favorite people, attorney, author, and entrepreneur Tony DeSisto. Also celebrating today are Brian Bailey, Steve Beste, and former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. Belated happy birthday wishes to First Lady Casey DeSantis, Reps. Mike Beltran, Dianne Hart, and Lawrence McClure, Lydia Claire Brooks of the Florida Justice Association, Ann Herberger, and JessieWerner of Coastal Cloud.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.