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Saturday Q&A

You can surely guess what issue is going to Roe, Roe, Roe the boat for today's posting. In fact, we're going to give the entire day over to it. Among the hundreds of questions we got in response to the news, we picked 15 to answer, covering different facets of the subject. We'll answer more next week if there's interest, but will otherwise return to normal order. We actually had a pretty substantive history question and answer that we worked on this week, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. That will definitely run next week, but if you want a preview, the answer mentions Haiti, Iran, Germany, and Libya. That's probably enough information to guess what the question was.

Current Events: Abortion Rights

S.J.S. in Mount Holly, NJ, asks: I was a little surprised that, in your "10 News Stories about the Sinking of Roe" item from Wednesday, you reserved your harshest criticism for Chief Justice John Roberts, ranking him among the 2-3 worst chief justices in our nation's history. Personally, I felt the most visceral revulsion for the feigned outrage expressed by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Susan Collins (R-ME), and, for that matter, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). I was hoping you could further articulate why you feel Roberts's performance has been—to use one of the words of the week—so egregious. Also, how would you rank all 17 chief justices?

V & Z answer: It would be difficult to meaningfully rank the middle-of-the-pack chief justices, since their terms of service varied pretty widely, and since there often isn't enough information to separate their work from that of the Court that they led. However, there are three who pretty clearly outclass the rest, and three who are the bottom-dwellers, we'd say. So, we'll give you those lists, and in so doing answer your question about Roberts.

Top Three:

  1. Charles Evans Hughes (1930-41): Hughes was the Chief Justice that John Roberts wishes he could be. As a Republican and a conservative, Hughes had real qualms with much New Deal legislation, and these qualms were shared by four of his colleagues on the Court. However, the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration was swept into office in a landslide, the Congress was overwhelmingly Democratic, and it was a time of much social unrest. Had the Evans Court gotten too... enthusiastic about gutting the New Deal, the consequences for the Court and its credibility could have been disastrous. Possibly the consequences for the country, too; recall that the governments of several major nations were overthrown at this time. In view of this, the Chief Justice deftly pulled the strings behind the scenes, so as to quash the legislation that most concerned him, but so as to leave intact enough of the New Deal to keep the American people and/or the President from rebelling against the Court.

  2. Earl Warren (1953-69): When Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Warren as chief justice, he thought he was getting a conservative. Oops. Warren was always a part of the liberal wing of the Republican Party, and the partisan shifts of the postwar years pulled him even further leftward. The Warren Court was responsible for some of the most momentous decisions in U.S. history, most obviously Brown v. Board of Education, but also Miranda v. Arizona, Loving v. Virginia, Gideon v. Wainwright and Griswold v. Connecticut. Despite the controversial nature of these decisions, Warren usually managed to weave together a rock-solid majority of his colleagues. Brown, for example, was unanimous.

  3. John Marshall (1801-35): George Washington took what was essentially a vague conceptualization of the executive branch and made it into a functioning reality. And Marshall—who, perhaps not coincidentally, penned a biography of Washington—did the same with the judicial branch. He was America's longest-serving chief justice, and he remains the gold standard. His Court's decisions, preeminent among them Marbury v. Madison, remain the bedrock of American jurisprudence.

Bottom Three:

  1. John Roberts (2005-): The fourteen chief justices we aren't covering here all, to a large extent, left the Court as they found it—not necessarily stronger, but not weaker, either. We can think of only three where the reputation of the Court declined precipitously under their watch, and Roberts is one of those. The exactly fallout from the Roe decision is not yet known, but the Roberts Court was already an object of scorn and derision, and had been since at least 2015. Some of that, maybe a lot of it, is not the Chief's fault; McConnell certainly traded short-term gain for long-term damage when he stole the seat that should have gone to Merrick Garland. Still, Roberts' ham-fisted leadership certainly hasn't helped and, as we've pointed out, his constant insistence that he just calls balls and strikes serves to remind anyone who is paying attention that his decisions and his votes are influenced by many things beyond what he thinks the law says.

  2. Melville Fuller (1888-1910): If Fuller was alive today, he might well be elected to the House, say from Georgia or North Carolina or Florida. He was a none-too-subtle racist and an anti-government-power zealot whose public utterances were wont to take a conspiratorial turn (though we are unaware of any complaints from him about Jewish space lasers). Fuller was appointed chief justice by a small-government Democrat (Grover Cleveland), and spent his two decades on the Court toting the water for business interests and for racists.

    The decision Fuller's Court is most infamous for today is Plessy v. Ferguson, though in Fuller's time, it was actually United States v. E.C. Knight Co. (placed limits on the power of the government to break up monopolies) and Lochner v. New York (said minimum-wage and maximum-hours-per-week laws were unconstitutional) that provoked the most outrage, and also fueled the nascent Progressive Movement. Eventually, all of these decisions were superseded by subsequent SCOTUS decisions, and since the 1930s, Lochner in particular has been a punching bag for jurists and legal scholars as a case study in bad Supreme Court decisions. "You go to a case like the Lochner case," observed one prominent legal mind, "you can read that opinion today and it's quite clear that they're not interpreting the law, they're making the law." The critic who said that was... John Roberts.

  3. Roger Taney (1836-64): If Marshall remains the gold standard, then the United States' second-longest-serving chief justice remains its... lead standard? Asbestos standard? Dog poop standard? Taney wasn't just a racist, he was an actual slave owner. And while he had an OK career prior to, oh, 1857, he condemned himself to infamy with the Dred Scott decision. If the Chief Justice had just stuck with "Black people are not legally entitled to file lawsuits in the United States," that would have been pretty bad, and on a level with something like Korematsu v. United States (which sanctioned Japanese internment). However, Taney was not content to brush aside this one matter, he wanted to "solve" the slavery issue forever. And so, he used arm-twisting to get a decision striking down all limits placed on slavery by Congress. Not only did this not "solve" the issue, it inflamed it, and drove the U.S. even closer to civil war. Meanwhile, the Court's credibility as a non-partisan, calling-balls-and-strikes institution took a hit that it would not recover from for decades. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer and generally a big fan of the rule of law, but even he felt perfectly entitled to tell the Taney Court to shove it when he did not like the Court's decisions.

The book on Roberts is still being written, of course, but as to the other five fellows here, nothing we've written is particularly controversial or in dispute. Nearly any historian or legal scholar would have the same top three and would put Fuller and Taney in the bottom three.

D.R. in Schaumburg, IL, asks: I'm sure you'll get a lot of these questions, but once the red states completely outlaw abortion and extend personhood in utero (states are already moving to classify abortion as homicide), doesn't that open up a lot of unintended consequences that red states don't want to see? Just off the top of my head, can a woman start demanding child support as soon as she can show a positive pregnancy test? Can the children of other countries claim U.S. citizenship if they swear they were conceived while on vacation in the USA? Can I claim my unborn children as a dependent on my taxes? Can a pregnant woman drive in the HOV lane? Can you imprison a pregnant woman, given that putting a person in prison who has not committed the crime is (for now still) clearly unconstitutional? All of that is before women get confronted with issues around miscarriages—can they be prosecuted for miscarriages if someone considers their actions to have increased the odds of a miscarriage (drinking alcohol, smoking, not wearing a seat belt, falling off a horse or a ladder, etc)? Can someone collect one of these bounties on a woman who by accusing her of unhealthy behaviors leading to a miscarrriage?

Are these realistic consequences to expect or am I overthinking?

V & Z answer: We think these are indeed realistic potential consequences. In some cases, it is possible to do some legal jiu-jitsu to get around the problem. For example, when it comes to pregnant women in HOV lanes, courts have consistently found that the privilege extends to cars with two passengers, not two people. Since you have to occupy your own seat to be a passenger, a pregnant woman and her fetus are only one passenger.

Further, the anti-abortion movement has shown a remarkable willingness to take the law to questionable places in order to maintain some semblance of consistency. This is why, for example, most of the recent abortion laws make no exception for incest or rape. That "addresses" questions like "How come the product of a rape is not a person, but the product of consensual sex is?" and "Do you have to wait for a jury verdict to decide if an abortion is legal or not?"

Indeed, Republican politicians have already anticipated some of the consequences you posit. For example, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) has written a bill he calls the "Unborn Child Support Act," which would, as you can presumably guess, allow women to claim child support from the point of conception. That said, there will certainly be unexpected consequences that cannot be danced around with creative jurisprudence, and that conservatives won't be willing to tolerate in the name of consistency. Who knows what will happen in those cases?

R.M.S. in Lebanon, CT, asks: I have believed, since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired, that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. However, I have never understood how anti-abortion states could realistically enforce a ban. Contrary to the frequent protests of anti-abortion-rights activists, most abortions no longer involve surgical removal of a fetus. In the 2020s, the majority of abortions involve administering abortifacient pills.

Medical procedures done with medication can easily be performed in the home. In fact, during the Obama presidency, the USA Network had a great show called Royal Pains, which involved a doctor who lost his hospital privileges and took his medical care to people's homes.

My question is: How can anti-abortion states realistically enforce a ban on doctors giving pills in the privacy of the home? It would certainly be hard to prove a doctor gave a patient a pill in someone's home without a witness. I think anti-abortion laws are mainly about trying to make it hard for poor women to seek the procedure.

V & Z answer: There are, in effect, two elements to enforcement. The first is establishing very onerous penalties for those who have abortions and/or those who facilitate them. That means things like harsh prison sentences, huge fines, loss of professional licensure, etc. The second is finding ways to make sure rulebreakers are caught. That can be through bounties, like in Texas, or the use of undercover officers, or even with anti-abortion activists who pose as "a person looking for assistance." If just one in a hundred abortion-seekers is not on the level, and intends to betray those who try to assist them, that is more than enough to make the risks too great.

Blue states and pro-choice activists are certainly going to do whatever they can to undermine the red states, but it won't be easy. If the assistance is rendered within the home state of the abortion recipient, it's going to have to be something like pills-via-mail, such that only the beneficiary of the assistance is guilty of a crime. That will make entrapment much less plausible. Beyond that, the assistance will have to be rendered by having the recipient of the abortion cross state lines. And so, you are right, the net result will be a disproportionate impact on poor women.

D.C. in Teaneck, NJ, asks: I am only minimally familiar with the dimensions of tribal sovereignty law. I know that Native American reservations can operate casinos within states that otherwise prohibit such businesses and that they can sell tobacco products free of federal and state taxes.

Are tribal lands exempt from laws governing abortion? Could a Native American group open and operate a clinic on tribal lands without interference from state or federal authorities? There are federally recognized reservation lands—large and small—within many states that are poised to become abortion-service "deserts."

Such clinics could even expand to provide many health services now in short supply on many reservations.

V & Z answer: This is certainly a possibility. Back in 2006, South Dakota was set to outlaw abortion, in defiance of federal law. And Cecilia Fire Thunder, who was then the leader of the Oglala Sioux tribe of South Dakota, announced her intent to open a Planned Parenthood clinic on tribal lands, so that abortions would still be available to women in the tribe, and in the state. The South Dakota law did not pass, and Fire Thunder got enmeshed in other scandals, so the clinic never happened. But it was certainly a possibility.

There are two caveats to note, however. The first is that Native reservations tend, not coincidentally, to be located in the middle of nowhere. The second is that decisions about the exact limits of tribal sovereignty tend to be made by... the Supreme Court.

M.M. in Bainbridge Island, WA, asks: Military bases are considered federal land, governed by federal law, aren't they? How will the abolition of Roe v. Wade affect the availability of reproductive services on bases in states that outlaw abortions? Will they still be available? Is it possible that these bases could become abortion sanctuaries for the communities around them? I can see how that would become a real hornet's nest for the Department of Defense states' rights and all that.

V & Z answer: In 1976, the Hyde Amendment forbade the use of federal funds for the provision of abortions, except in cases of rape or incest. That extended to military facilities, and the physicians employed therein. For the next couple of decades, Democratic presidents would decree that abortions on bases were OK as long as the woman paid for the procedure themselves (thus getting around the Hyde Amendment), and Republican presidents would reverse those decrees.

As you will recall, the Republican-controlled Congress of the mid-1990s really, really hated Bill Clinton. And, under the leadership of one Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich," they were already staunchly anti-abortion and quite far-right. So, after Bubba did the usual for Democratic presidents and allowed self-funded abortions to be performed on military bases, the Congress passed a law forbidding all abortions on U.S. military bases, regardless of who is paying the bills, unless the life of the mother is endangered. That law, which was adopted in 1995, remains the law of the land.

Interestingly, the way that the Republicans pulled off the trick was by inserting the new rule into the defense appropriation act for 1996. That means that it is at least theoretically possible that the Democrats could change the law through budget reconciliation. It is also plausible they could kill the Hyde Amendment through reconciliation, since that would clearly have an impact on the federal budget. These are questions for Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, but it does present a potential avenue for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the Democrats to pursue. After all, there are military bases all over the place.

P.R. in Arvada, CO, asks: Can you help me understand what I am missing here? After the leaked Supreme Court decision, there have been several calls for Congress to take up the issue and pass some legislation. Chuck Schumer says he will let it come up for a filibuster, and there is apparently already a draft bill from Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins ready to go. But if abortion is not a constitutional right, doesn't that mean that it isn't for Congress to legislate?

V & Z answer: No. In fact, most of the laws passed by Congress address things that are not in the Constitution. If the Constitution already addresses a subject, there isn't much need for Congress to weigh in. For example, there is no need for Congress to pass a law outlawing slavery, or decreeing that women can vote. But, broadly speaking, Congress is able to pass any laws it wants to, assuming those laws do not run directly contrary to the Constitution and to the powers of the legislative branch. For example, there's nothing in the Constitution that explicitly says that Congress is allowed to pass laws declaring national holidays, and yet nobody doubts that is legal for it to do so.

The legal question in dispute here actually has nothing to do with Congress. Instead, it involves the Tenth Amendment, which reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In the Roe decision, the Supreme Court decided that abortion is in the Constitution, thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment, and so is not one of the issues "reserved to the States." When the Dobbs decision is announced in June, the Court is poised to declare that abortion is not, in fact, in the Constitution, and so policies regarding the procedure are "reserved to the States."

M.F. in Burbank, CA, asks: I am sure you are getting a lot of questions regarding the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In my understanding, if this decision becomes final, it does not, by itself, outlaw abortion, but rather it removes an assumed freedom that was never actually made into a law, meaning that states, or even the federal government, are now free to outlaw the practice if it has the votes. So, my first question is, is that accurate, or am I misunderstanding?

My bigger question is this: What other assumed freedoms do we enjoy, as a result of Supreme Court rulings, that were never then codified into federal law? I am sure there are too many of them to list, but I would like to know what you think the biggest ones are that we, as a country, take for granted.

V & Z answer: Your understanding is correct, though we lay it out a bit more fully in the answer to the previous question.

The freedoms you are talking about are called "unenumerated rights"—the ones that, unlike the right to bear arms, or the right of public assembly—are not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, and are based instead on tradition and or interpretation of the plain language of the Constitution. Among the most important unenumerated rights that have been sustained by the Supreme Court over the past two centuries are freedom of movement/travel, the right to vote, the right to privacy, and the presumption of innocence in criminal cases. None of those liberties is expressly granted by the Constitution. Abortion, of course, is also on the list, at least for a few more weeks.

G.R. in Iqaluit, NU, Canada, asks: With the overturning of Roe seemingly a certainty, I have been reading that a national ban could be enacted if Republicans win back the House, Senate, and White House. My question is: How likely do you think the GOP would be to push for this, should they regain the trifecta? How difficult would it be, and would they get rid of the fillisbuster in order to pass it through the Senate?

V & Z answer: We would guess that Republican politicians would want no piece of this. If you think the current news has triggered a backlash, just wait and see what happens if Republicans try to get rid of abortion in blue states. We suspect they would talk a big game, but would say "but we just can't do any more because of the gosh-darned filibuster."

With that said, the GOP had managed to get itself in the thrall of a demographic that keeps demanding more, more, more, and that always seems to be able to find a candidate who will promise to deliver if current officeholders will not. If Joe Biden, or any member of his administration, is impeached, it will be because the base demands its red meat at the peril of current officeholders' careers. And when that is the dynamic, then any outcome is at least possible if the Republicans regain the trifecta.

It's worth noting, incidentally, that another likely result—should a Republican-controlled federal government take things to this extreme—is, in effect, a cold Civil War. California, for example, would almost certainly defy a ban on abortions, as would several other big, blue states. The federal government does not have the means to enforce its laws nationwide, and relies heavily on the states to do the job. If the states won't do it, then the law might as well not exist. This is why people can smoke marijuana with impunity in California or Colorado, because while it's a violation of federal law, there's nobody to do enforcement.

M.M. in San Diego, CA, asks: If Roe v. Wade is overturned, couldn't it be argued that the government is imposing the religious views of the anti-abortion movement on the rest of us, thereby violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment? (I delight in reading R.E.M. in Brooklyn and other attorney readers' explanations of substantive and procedural law issues that crop up in the Q&A. Thank you for playing!)

V & Z answer: It could be argued, yes, but that argument is not likely to fly in a court of law. The establishment cause stops the government from establishing an official religion (like the English monarch did with Anglicanism), and also from favoring one religion over another. However, it's a tough sell to suggest that banning abortion would do either of these things, since the ban is not establishing an official religion, and since many American religions don't like abortion, so no particular one is being privileged.

Also, though we all know full well that it is religion, and in particular evangelical Christianity, that is driving this, the folks who write and pass anti-abortion laws are very careful not to couch things in religious terms. Instead, they speak of protecting the unborn fetus, and not of "doing the will of God."

And if R.E.M. and our other lawyer-readers write in with additional remarks on this question, or any others, we'll run those tomorrow. Though we'll tell you we actually already have an e-mail on the week's news from R.E.M. that is cued up and ready to go.

D.M. in Granite Bay, CA, asks: What if someone sues Politico to reveal the source of the Supreme Court leak, and the case goes all the way to... the Supreme Court?

V & Z answer: This one's so easy that, if it somehow came before the Court, the decision should be 9-0.

This circumstance is covered by a well-established doctrine called reporter's privilege, which says that journalists have a limited right, protected by the First Amendment, to protect the identities of their sources. The (sometimes) exception is when a crime has been committed, or is being committed, or is imminently going to be committed. Since leaking a Supreme Court document is not a crime, there is no legal basis for compelling Politico to reveal their source.

It is also worth noting that Politico may not actually know the identity of their source. Every journalist in the land, these days, has a means (or, quite often, multiple means) for people to submit materials anonymously (click here to see the five different options offered by The New York Times, to take one example). It's possible Politico examined the document they got, and that what they saw was enough to convince them it's legit. There are also many ways a person could demonstrate that they are, say, a clerk of the court without revealing which specific clerk they are.

A.F. in Boston, MA, asks: There are numerous clips of then-judges Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett proclaiming under oath during their nomination hearings that Roe was settled law. We all knew that those were lies then and know even more so now. Even though it would never happen, could/would a truly apolitical Department of Justice charge them with perjury?

V & Z answer: This has become a popular talking point among cranky people on the left, but there is absolutely no way this trio would ever be charged with perjury, much less found guilty.

Recall that all three of them are lawyers who were trained at elite institutions. And one of the things that lawyers learn to do is choose their words carefully. For example, Gorsuch said: "Casey is settled law in the sense that it is a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court." That leaves so much leeway that nobody seriously believed he would actually vote to uphold Casey.

Beyond that, people are allowed to change what they think based on new information, or new arguments they've heard, or new experiences they've had, or based on no reason at all. The only way they could plausibly have gotten themselves in trouble for perjury is if they had said: "I will not vote to overturn Roe," and there was ironclad contemporaneous proof—say, a recorded speech given a week earlier to the Federalist Society—that they absolutely intended to vote to overturn Roe.

D.M. in Massapequa, NY, asks: You posted a Slate article that went through the various scenarios for the leaker and their motivations. However, what do you think about this? The leak was not intentional by anyone involved in the Court. Instead, it was leaked by Clarence Thomas's wife Ginny to members of her right-wing circle, giving them the early good news and a way to prepare for June when all hell would break loose. Someone in the orbit of one of those individuals then leaked it to Politico. Thoughts? Sound plausible?

V & Z answer: We think that is extremely unlikely. Thomas has not exactly impressed with his deep and abiding commitment to ethics during his career. But still, we doubt that he's so ethically compromised that he's sharing draft opinions with his wife, so that she can turn around and share them with her coffee klatch. And even if he is that ethically compromised, we doubt he'd be willing to take the risk. It would be hard to keep it secret if this is really what's going on, and if the Thomases were found out, this would absolutely be an impeachable offense.

T.B. in Santa Clara, CA, asks: Wouldn't it have been better for the Democrats if the abortion ruling had been announced on the Supreme Court's regular schedule, instead of getting leaked now? It would have been more of an October surprise and given less time for people to backpedal, no chance for a justice to change their vote, etc.

V & Z answer: There is really no way we'll ever know. As we noted, the leak came literally hours before the primary season began in earnest. And so, the lives of far-right Republican politicians just got a little harder, and the lives of pro-choice Democrats (particularly women) just got a little easier. If your goal is to get as many pro-choice officeholders as is possible, then the early leak probably helps on that front. Also, it could be that a leak in May and an announcement in June serve to blunt the impact of the issue by dividing up the outrage. On the other hand, a double announcement might serve to twice light a fire under the Democratic base.

It's also entirely possible that the leaker was primarily concerned with the content of the decision, and that they hoped to use public outrage to persuade the justices to dial it back a bit. If protecting women as much as is possible, rather than winning elections, is the primary goal then "leak" is better than "no leak." There's little chance the ruling gets harsher in its final form, but it might get milder.

R.C. in Des Moines, IA, asks: Since the SCOTUS leak you have written a couple of times that all bets are off regarding the prospect of Democrats holding off or reversing a Republican wave in November. If inflation isn't meaningfully under control by then and people drive by a gas station on their way to the polls, how likely is it that a meaningful number of voters will weigh abortion rights more than so-called kitchen-table issues that hit pocketbooks when casting their votes and pull the lever for Democrats?

V & Z answer: Let's start with a couple of questions: What was the annual inflation rate last year? And what is the projected annual inflation rate for this year? We'll get back to that.

Moving along, we do not know if this will upend the midterms, since it's going to take time to know if that will happen. The only thing we are confident about is that this could upend the midterms. It is major movement on one of the foundational issues of modern American politics, and it's movement that will aggravate considerably more than half the population, including a whole lot of people who don't always show up for midterm elections.

As to kitchen-table issues, the rate of inflation in 1984 was 3.9%, and the sitting American president won reelection in a landslide. Was that because other issues concerned people more than inflation did? Or because things seemed headed in the right direction by the time people cast their ballots? Or because Walter Mondale was such a lousy candidate? Or because Ronald Reagan was such a good candidate? We do not know, but clearly a high annual rate of inflation was not determinative, at least not by itself.

Currently, the projected inflation for 2022 is... 3.9%. And inflation last year checked in at... 7.0%. Did you know that? Did anyone who is not an economist or in the financial sector know that? Put another way, inflation was nearly twice as bad last year as it's projected to be this year. And yet it's this year that we see all the Chicken Little "the sky is falling" inflation news. It's almost like the gap created by reduced COVID-19 coverage had to be filled with some other form of negativity.

The point here is that inflation, while clearly a real thing, is also about perceptions. And if there is less coverage of the issue over the next few months (with, say, abortion coverage filling the negativity quotient), or if things seem to be headed in the right direction by the time of the election, then it's entirely plausible that kitchen-table issues will not be determinative in November.

D.H. in Peoria, IL, asks: Immediately after the leaked draft, here in Illinois there were comments from politicians and activists suggesting that our state might be able to encourage people to relocate to Illinois from state enacting abortion restrictions. Given the number of states enacting what are objectively restrictive laws (ban this, don't say that, you can't read these books, only certain people can use certain public facilities, etc.), is it possible that within the next 10 years or so we could see a significant redistribution of population, or is this just Democrats whistling past the graveyard?

I realize that abortion restrictions will disproportionately impact poorer women who will not be able to relocate, and no one is going to pull up stakes because their kids can't check out a copy of I Need a New Butt from the Okapachoki public library. But given the recent increases in workforce mobility and efforts by choice states to recruit certain professions such as teachers and nurses, is it possible that in ten years or so the political landscape could be radically different?

V & Z answer: The state of Ohio has a program called JobsOhio, which involves spending a lot of money to try to convince people and businesses to relocate to the Buckeye State because "Great things are happening in Ohio." The reason that Ohio has this program is that so many businesses want no piece of Ohio these days, and the first thing that many Ohioans do after they get an education is flee the state. Other states in similar circumstances (say, Florida) have similar programs.

In other words, the redistribution you describe is already happening, and has been for at least a couple of decades. And it's going to keep happening, particularly with businesses that need to attract young, educated employees, and that may not want to be in a state that makes it harder to do so. We don't know if the political landscape will be radically different, though, since the process had already been unfolding for so long.

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