Wednesday, July 1, 2020

June Medical Services Analysis

Senator Mike Lee spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday about the Supreme Court's opinion in June Medical Services v. Russo.
Mr. LEE. Madam President, I come to the floor wanting to discuss a case called June Medical Services v. Russo. This was a decision announced by the Supreme Court of the United States yesterday.

This is a decision that hasn't gotten as much attention as many cases that go before the Supreme Court. It is, nonetheless, a significant decision, and it is a decision that, I believe, is deeply flawed and betrays many of the legal and constitutional principles that the Supreme Court of the United States purports to apply and is supposed to be bound by as it decides cases and controversies properly brought before its jurisdiction.

The June Medical Services case involved the constitutionality of a statute enacted by the Louisiana Legislature, known as Act 620. The legislation in question required any doctor performing abortions within Louisiana to hold active admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the location of the abortion clinic in question. The Act then defined what it meant to have acting admitting privileges, and it did so in terms of a reference to the ability to admit a patient and to provide diagnostic and surgical services to such patient. It is understandable why the State of Louisiana or any State might want to consider adopting such legislation.

I want to be very clear at the outset that this case did not involve any legislation prohibiting abortion. In fact, there is nothing about Act 620 that made abortions illegal in Louisiana nor is there anything about Act 620 that would have made it practically impossible or really difficult for people to obtain an abortion. That is not what it did. It simply acknowledged the fact that an abortion is a type of surgical medical procedure and, in taking into account the fact that it is a medical procedure, is sometimes fraught with medical peril that can sometimes result in people getting hurt and people having to go to the hospital and that it might be helpful in those circumstances to have the person who performed the procedure have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

The constitutionality of the law was challenged in a lawsuit brought by five abortion clinics and four abortion providers in Louisiana. Now, they challenged the law in Federal district court, and they did so before the act even took effect, arguing that it was unconstitutional because it imposed an undue burden on their patients' right to obtain abortions. The abortion clinics and the medical providers at issue—the doctors and the clinics that challenged it—were quite significantly not arguing that these were their own constitutional rights that were being impaired. They were, instead, arguing that they had standing, that they had the ability to stand in the shoes of those who were among their patients, those whom they served.

So I would like to talk about three critical features of this decision and why I think the decision was wrong in all three respects.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

House Committee Schedule

MondayJune 29, 2020

The U.S. Park Police Attack on Peaceful Protesters at Lafayette Square Park
Committee on Natural Resources

• H.R. 2 — INVEST in America Act [Moving Forward Act]
Committee on Rules


House Floor Schedule

From the floor colloquy:
Madam Speaker, on Monday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for morning-hour debate. I would repeat that because it is unusual. On Monday, we are meeting at 9 a.m. for morning-hour debate and 10 a.m. for legislative business, with votes expected to occur as early as 2:30 p.m. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for morning- hour debate and 10 a.m. for legislative business. On Thursday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business.

The House will consider H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This bill will significantly increase the ACA's affordability and subsidies, lower prescription drug prices, expand coverage, and crack down on junk plans, while strengthening protections for people with preexisting conditions and addressing racial health disparities.

The House will also consider, Madam Speaker, H.R. 7301, which is the Emergency Housing Protection and Relief Act of 2020. This bill would authorize nearly $200 billion for the dire housing needs arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. H.R. 7301, which was included in the HEROES Act, would help renters and homeowners by extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoria and providing $100 billion for emergency rental assistance; $75 billion for homeowners assistance to cover mortgages, property taxes, and utilities; and more than $11 billion for homeless assistance programs. I would again reiterate that that bill passed as a part of the HEROES Act, which is now pending in the Senate.

Lastly, the House will consider H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. This bill would invest more than $1.5 trillion in modern, sustainable infrastructure, while creating millions of good-paying jobs; combating the climate crisis; and addressing disparities in urban, suburban, and rural communities. The bill includes a 5-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program, invests in schools with the Reopen and Rebuild America's Schools Act, invests over $100 billion in our Nation's affordable housing infrastructure, delivers affordable high-speed broadband internet access to all parts of the country, and promotes new clean renewable energy infrastructure.

Senate Committee Schedule

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Hearings to examine the digitization of money and payments.

Foreign Relations
Hearings to examine COVID-19 and United States international pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response, focusing on additional perspectives.

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Hearings to examine COVID-19, focusing on an update on progress toward safely getting back to work and back to school.

Senate Floor Schedule

Program for Monday: Senate resumes consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 4049, National Defense Authorization Act, post-cloture, and votes on the motion to proceed to consideration of the bill at 5:30 p.m.

Congressional Outlook

Committee Activity

Adam Schiff says House Intelligence Committee may pursue Bolton testimony

Senate Intelligence Committee pushes for public analysis from government about UFOs

Barr agrees to testify in front of House Judiciary Committee July 28 after Nadler flashes subpoena

Floor Outlook

Senate eyes protest-sparked NDAA proposals

House announces July vote on major bipartisan lands bill

House plans to continue proxy voting

Congress Last Week

Weekly Digest of the Congressional Record

Floor Activity Headlines

Senate Democrats refuse to allow debate on police reform measure
Objecting to their own request
Sen. Tim Scott floor speech in response

Senate passes sanctions bill targeting China over Hong Kong law

House Democrats pass police reform bill, includes end to qualified immunity

House fails to override veto of bill blocking student loan rule

House passes DC statehood

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Objecting to their own request

Usually when a Senator says, “I object to my own request,” it's for Senate procedural reasons. Not this time. Senate Democrats have repeatedly requested to debate “a law enforcement reform bill.”

Democratic Leader Schumer requests:

June 1, 2020: “Leader McConnell should commit to put a law enforcement reform bill on the floor of the Senate before July 4.”

June 2, 2020: “Leader McConnell, commit to putting law enforcement reform legislation on the floor before July 4.”

June 3, 2020: “Will our Republican colleagues join us? Leader McConnell, commit to put a law enforcement reform bill on the floor of the Senate before July 4.”

June 4, 2020: “Make a commitment here and now to the American people that we will put on the floor--that you will put on the floor police reform and racial justice legislation this month.”

June 8, 2020: “Now is the time for Leader McConnell to commit to putting police reform on the floor of the Senate before July 4 to be debated and voted on.”

June 9, 2020: “Now there is a full 4 weeks remaining before July 4. I say to Leader McConnell: commit to a police reform bill on the Senate floor.”

Saturday, June 20, 2020

House Committee Schedule

MondayJune 22, 2020

• H.R. 6395 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021
Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities (Committee on Armed Services)

Inequities Exposed: How COVID-19 — Widened Racial Inequities in Education, Health, and the Workforce.
Committee on Education and Labor

• H.R. 6395 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces (Committee on Armed Services)


House Floor Schedule

Text of Bills for the Week of June 22, 2020

On Thursday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for morning hour and 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected as early as 11:30 a.m.

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 7259 – Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lucy McBath / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 7120George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass / Judiciary Committee)

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