WATCH: These Abortion Stories Show What’s at Stake with Kavanaugh’s Nomination

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court leaves much hanging in the balance.

Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, the rights of women, people of color, LGBT people and other marginalized communities could be impacted, and the ideological identity of the Court could be shifted for generations to come. His nomination also re-affirms President Trump’s promise to only consider nominees for the nation’s highest bench who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be the fifth vote on the court needed to reverse the decision. Without Roe, women in nearly half the country could lose abortion access overnight, and the door would be open for states to further restrict access and criminalize patients, providers and clinic staff.

In a new video produced by Center for American Progress, in partnership with our publisher, Feminist Majority Foundation, women from across the country are testifying to show what’s at stake should Kavanaugh be confirmed, telling their own stories of the debilitating barriers that people face when trying to access abortion care and what it was like before abortion care was legal.

We launched our Daring to Remember series after Kavanaugh’s nomination in an effort to make clear how critical abortion access was—and how serious a threat a Court opposed to Roe was to women’s lives. In the weeks since his nomination, we collected and shared stories of women’s lives before Roe and in the years since, as attacks on clinics and patients and attempts to chip away at access have denied its full promise.

The stories our community entrusted to us were heartbreaking and devastating. We cannot and must not go back to a time when women attempted abortions via wire hangers, knitting needles and vitamin overdoses; faced abuse and assault at the hands of back-alley abortionists; crossed borders alone to regain control of their destinies; risked and lost their lives in pursuit of autonomy.

There is no single state where abortion does not have the support of a majority of voters. Across the country, Americans believe that Roe is a fundamental piece of our national fabric, and that it should remain so.

There is no more critical time to remind your lawmakers that you are part of that majority. Call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Carmen Rios is the Digital Editor at Ms. and Contributing Editor and Co-Founder of Argot Magazine; her work has also appeared at BuzzFeed, Bitch, Mic, MEL, Everyday Feminism and Autostraddle, where she was previously Community Director and Feminism Editor. Like everyone else in LA, she once had a podcast; unlike everyone else, she stays pretty zen in traffic. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

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The post WATCH: These Abortion Stories Show What’s at Stake with Kavanaugh’s Nomination appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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What’s At Stake in the Fight to Save SCOTUS and Voting Rights in America

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to make rounds of congressional courtesy calls seeking support, civil rights groups have been turning up the heat to push the U.S. Senate to either “press pause on the nomination” or reject President Trump’s pick outright. To achieve that end, representatives from such organizations—The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Urban League, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)—are rallying their multicultural constituencies to speak out. Under the banner, “#WhatsAtStake for Voting Rights in SCOTUS Fight,” this collective held a press briefing Monday to strongly communicate how Kavanaugh’s addition to the conservative-leaning high court would further undermine the franchise of people of color.

With midterms less than five months away and the 2020 presidential election in the wings, the civil rights leaders asserted that the stakes couldn’t be higher. “We consider his nomination an immediate threat to our community’s right to vote that is already under daring attacks,” says Suzanne Bergeron, senior director of civil rights and workforce policy for NUL, one of several organizations urging voters to call their senators in an effort to halt the confirmation process. “Having Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court to rule on voter rights cases could leave African-American voters even more vulnerable to voter intimidation and added suppressive tactics that negatively impact black voter turnout.”

The rapidly changing voter demographics have added intensity to this battle. “I will remind that the U.S. electorate is diversifying racially and ethnically at warp speed. Last year was the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse electorate ever, with nearly one in three eligible voters on election day being a person of color,” says Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “And the 2018 and 2020 elections promise to continue this trend with voters of colors comprising 44% of millennial voters, which is the largest generation of eligible voters.”

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference, which organized the call, argued that the Senate “must demand the release and full review of Kavanaugh’s records.” Declaring that “if confirmed, Kavanaugh would undermine voting rights enforcement in our nation,” she cited one of the decisions he made in his role as a judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals. In 2011, he wrote an opinion upholding South Carolina’s voter ID law that the Department of Justice had blocked, deeming the measure as being discriminatory to minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“He refused to include language put forward by the other judges on the panel that acknowledged the critical role of the Voting Rights Act in preventing racial discrimination in voting,” she said. “It is telling and troubling that Kavanaugh refused to recognize the importance of the historic Voting Rights Act. Kavanaugh backed the spurious claim that the voter ID law would prevent voter fraud. But given that South Carolina could not produce any evidence of fraud, it’s clear the law’s real purpose was to suppress voting, plain and simple. What we know so far about Kavanaugh’s record is that he has been a partisan, politician operative. So we need to know more.”

Gupta, along with the group, also raised concerns about the nominee based on the track record of Trump’s previous Supreme Court appointment Justice Neil Gorsuch, who served as “the fifth and deciding vote in two devastating anti-voting rights decisions. One decision allowed voter purging in Ohio and the other upheld racial gerrymandering in Texas.”

Even before the Trump administration came to power, the Supreme Court tilted right in such cases. With the 5-4 decision in Shelby v. Holder in 2013, the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that stripped the law’s formula to require all or jurisdictions of states with a history of electoral discrimination—many of them located in the South—to get “pre-cleared” by the federal government before making any adjustments to voting laws.

“It is quite clear that we are at a critical point in time in our history of defense of civil rights. For the last five years, because of Congress’ failure to act following the decision in Shelby County by the Supreme Court…we are evaluating proposals to change voting rights laws in important regions across the country,” Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, said. “Without pre-clearance, we are left with federal court as the last resort to ensure that our laws reflect the constitutional rights of every individual who is eligible to vote.”

Nelson agrees: “Voting rights protect every other right we enjoy and it is essential that the next Supreme Court justice has a clear commitment to protecting access to the ballot box.”

The post What’s At Stake in the Fight to Save SCOTUS and Voting Rights in America appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Jay-Z Reportedly Interested in Buying Harvey Weinstein’s Stake in TWC

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Jay-Z may be looking to make an investment in The Weinstein Company (TWC) in the midst of the controversy surrounding the company’s founder Harvey Weinstein, a powerful film producer accused of sexually harassing and assaulting scores of women throughout his three-decade career.

Jay-Z (Image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

 

The New York Times reported last week that the Academy Award-winning producer made sexual advances at multiple women in Hollywood, including high-profile actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd. Some women who rejected his non-consensual advances said that, in turn, he used his clout to sabotage their career. Three women also accused him of rape.

As a result, on October 8, Weinstein was ousted from TWC, a mini-major film studio that he co-founded and co-chaired with his brother Bob. TMZ reports that Jay-Z is interested in purchasing Weinstein’s 23-percent stake in the production company.

In 2016, Jay-Z signed a two-year deal with TWC that includes a first-look deal at film and TV projects. The hip-hop mogul worked with Weinstein to produce Time: The Kalief Browder Story, a six-part documentary that premiered earlier this year. The rap star also has several upcoming projects in the works with TWC, including an adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights; a miniseries about Trayvon Martin; a program exploring American race relations hosted by Jay-Z; and a biopic about comedy legend Richard Pryor.

According to TMZ, Jay-Z would partner with other investors to purchase the stake and he “wants his relationship with the company to continue and grow.”

Fox Business, however, reports that rumors of Jay-Z purchasing Weinstein’s stake are false, according to their sources.

In response to the allegations of sexual assault, Weinstein released an apology, telling the New York Times: “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.” He added that he will take a sabbatical and is working with therapists to “deal with this issue head on.”

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