Could Brexit Be Canceled? Here's How Vote Might Be Reversed – NBCNews.com

LONDON — Most Brits voted to leave the European Union, so at some point that’s what the government will do. Simple, right?

Perhaps not.

Secretary of State John Kerry echoed many analysts Tuesday when he said “there are a number of ways” the Brexit vote might be reversed — meaning the U.K. might remain part of the EU after all.

Here are some possible scenarios of how that might happen.

Will anyone actually trigger Article 50?

Everyone agrees that the only way the U.K. can leave the EU is by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, a set of rules EU members signed in 2007.

Image: London's skyline

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Could Brexit Be Canceled? Here's How Vote Might Be Reversed – NBCNews.com

LONDON — Most Brits voted to leave the European Union, so at some point that’s what the government will do. Simple, right?

Perhaps not.

Secretary of State John Kerry echoed many analysts Tuesday when he said “there are a number of ways” the Brexit vote might be reversed — meaning the U.K. might remain part of the EU after all.

Here are some possible scenarios of how that might happen.

Will anyone actually trigger Article 50?

Everyone agrees that the only way the U.K. can leave the EU is by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, a set of rules EU members signed in 2007.

Image: London's skyline

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Could Brexit Be Canceled? Here's How Vote Might Be Reversed – NBCNews.com

LONDON — Most Brits voted to leave the European Union, so at some point that’s what the government will do. Simple, right?

Perhaps not.

Secretary of State John Kerry echoed many analysts Tuesday when he said “there are a number of ways” the Brexit vote might be reversed — meaning the U.K. might remain part of the EU after all.

Here are some possible scenarios of how that might happen.

Will anyone actually trigger Article 50?

Everyone agrees that the only way the U.K. can leave the EU is by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, a set of rules EU members signed in 2007.

Image: London's skyline

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Read More

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Supreme Court strengthens right to abortion, strikes down Texas restrictions on clinics – Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court on Monday handed down its most significant abortion ruling since 1992, shielding doctors and clinics from unnecessary health regulations that could force them to stop offering the procedure.

The justices, by a 5-3 vote, reaffirmed their view that state lawmakers may not put an “undue burden” on women who seek an abortion and overturned a Texas law that would have closed three-fourths of the abortion clinics in that state.

The court’s opinion by Justice Stephen G. Breyer concluded the strict Texas regulations did little to protect the health of women while imposing significant obstacles for those who seek an abortion.

The ruling is likely to block or void similar laws in about two dozen other states.

It was second time in a week that a longstanding conservative social campaign ended in defeat at the high court. Last week, the justices rejected a plea to strike down affirmative action at colleges and universities. In both cases, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined with his liberal colleagues to form the majority.

Until Monday, it was unclear whether Kennedy, a moderate conservative, would tilt in favor of state regulation or the right to abortion. In 2007, Kennedy led conservatives in upholding a ban on “partial-birth” abortions and worried liberals by suggesting in his opinion that many women come to “regret” their decision.

Kennedy also cast the crucial fifth vote in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey in 1992, when the justices upheld the right to abortion established in Roe vs. Wade, but gave states more leeway to regulate the procedure as long as they did not impose an “undue burden” on women’s rights.

Since that decision did not clearly define what constitutes an “undue burden,” conservatives have been trying ever since to clarify how far states may go, in Kennedy’s mind, without crossing the line. Antiabortion lawmakers across the South and the Midwest adopted increasingly strict regulations in recent years which have forced many abortion facilities to close.

By siding with liberals Monday, Kennedy, the last sitting justice who signed the Casey decision, put judges on notice that he thinks the bar for “undue burden” is high. 

The decision sends a clear warning to Republican-led states hoping to restrict abortion for political or religious reasons that the high court will not blindly accept a state legislature’s findings that restrictions are medically necessary without clear evidence.

Breyer said the state’s two major regulations cannot be justified on medical grounds. The 2013 Texas law required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and clinics to meet the minimum standards of surgical centers.

The law forced about half of the state’s abortion clinics to close, and if fully implemented, would have reduced the number from 40 before 2013 to nine, located only in major metro areas like Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, abortion-rights groups said.

“We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Breyer wrote in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellderstedt. “Each places substantial obstacles in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.”

Breyer noted that Texas appeared to be singling out abortions, rather than other procedures with a higher risk rate.

“Nationwide, childbirth is 14 times more likely than abortion to result in death,” Breyer said, “but Texas law allows a midwife to oversee childbirth in the patient’s own home. Colonoscopy, a procedure that typically takes place outside a hospital [or surgical center] setting, has a mortality rate 10 times higher than abortion.”

Texas would have required all abortions to take place in fully staffed, outpatient surgical centers, including women only seeking medication to end an early pregnancy. Since only nine such facilities are in operation in Texas, women from the western part of the state would have had to travel hundreds of miles to get to such a center.

The court also struck down the admitting-privileges provision. Many hospitals refuse to extend privileges to such doctors because of the controversy over abortion. Breyer said the state could not cite “a single instance” where a doctor’s admitting privileges at a local hospital would have led to better treatment for an abortion patient.

Breyer’s matter-of-fact opinion did not directly question the motives of  Texas lawmakers who adopted House Bill 2. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke more directly in a short concurring opinion.

“It is beyond rational belief that H.B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women,” she said. “Women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners…at great risk to their health and safety.”

Ginsburg, a longtime champion of abortion rights, said state laws that single out abortions should be invalidated.

“Targeted-regulation-of-abortion-provider laws like H.B. 2 that do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion … cannot survive judicial inspection,” she said.

Besides Kennedy and Ginsburg, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Breyer.

Abortion-rights advocates said the ruling sends a clear warning to states attempting to restrict abortion.

“Without question, today’s ruling is a game-changer in what has been an unrelenting assault on women’s rights across the country,’’ said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which led the lawsuit on behalf of the clinics.  “This tremendous victory renews the promise of Roe vs. Wade for the next generation. We will not stop fighting until access is restored for all women in the U.S.”

President Obama praised the ruling. “We remain strongly committed to the protection of women’s health, including protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable healthcare and her right to determine her own future,’’ he said in a statement.

Antiabortion groups voiced outrage. “How shabby are these abortion clinics that they cannot meet the minimum standards other outpatient surgical centers are required to meet?” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. She said the court’s opinion may mark the return to the period immediately after the Roe vs. Wade decision when the court “exhibited extreme hostility to regulation of abortion as a medical procedure.”

“Today’s devastating news underscores the incredibly high stakes the Supreme Court vacancy hold for the unborn child,” added Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who chairs the congressional Pro-Life Caucus.

In dissent were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Thomas said the “majority radically rewrites” the 1992 opinion in a way that will encourage judges to strike down reasonable regulations of abortion. Alito said it “seems clear that HB 2 was intended to force unsafe facilities to shut down,” citing the case of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor who was convicted of murder in the death of three infants.

Breyer rebutted that comment, noting that Pennsylvania authorities had not inspected Gosnell’s shabby clinic for 15 years, while Texas inspects abortion facilities annually.

The ruling should allow some of Texas’ clinics to reopen, especially in rural areas, said Nan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Dallas-based Texas Equal Access Fund, which helps those who cannot afford abortions.

“It’s vital in West Texas and the Panhandle, where people are hundreds of miles from care,” said Kirkpatrick. “We are really hoping this decision will reopen providers.”

On Twitter: DavidGSavage

ALSO

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UPDATES:

3:06 p.m.: This post was updated with more analysis and quotes from the opinion.

8:23 a.m.: This post has been updated with reaction from abortion-rights advocates.

7:39 a.m.: This post has been updated with an excerpt from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s concurring opinion.

7:33 a.m.: This post has been updated with excerpts from the Supreme Court ruling.

This post was originally published at 7:08 a.m.

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Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion access law – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ruling is 5-3
The 5-3 ruling is the most significant decision from the Supreme Court on abortion in two decades and could serve to deter other states from passing so-called “clinic shutdown” laws.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, which was joined in full by Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the swing vote on the abortion issue.
“There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure,” Breyer wrote. “We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to do so.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Breyer’s opinion and wrote a brief concurring opinion, which focused on what she called women in “desperate circumstances.”
“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.”
The ruling will have major reverberations on the presidential election, where the fate of the Supreme Court has been front-and-center after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Senate Republicans have refused to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, leaving the court with eight justices.
Hillary Clinton immediately praised the ruling.
“SCOTUS’s decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right—not just on paper, but in reality. -H”
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito wrote dissents.
Thomas wrote a bitter dissent for himself, accusing the court of eroding the Constitution.
“The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution,” Thomas wrote. “But our Constitution renounces the notion that some constitutional rights are more equal than others. … A law either infringes a constitutional right, or not; there is no room for the judiciary to invent tolerable degrees of encroachment. Unless the Court abides by one set of rules to adjudicate constitutional rights, it will continue reducing constitutional law to policy-driven value judgments until the last shreds of its legitimacy disappear.”
There were two provisions of the law at issue. The first said that doctors have to have local admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, the second says that the clinics have to upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards.
Critics say if the 2013 law, known as H.B. 2, is allowed to go into effect it could shutter all but a handful of clinics in a state with 5.4 million women of reproductive age.
Texas countered that the law was passed in response to the Kermit Gosnell scandal. The Pennsylvania man was convicted in 2013 of first-degree murder for killing babies that were born alive in his clinic.
State Solicitor General Scott Keller argued in court papers that if the court were to uphold the law, an abortion clinic “will remain open in each area where one will close, meaning that over 90% of Texas women of reproductive age will live within 150 miles of an open abortion clinic.”
A federal appeals court upheld the Texas law in 2015, and last spring a majority of the Supreme Court voted to stay that ruling pending appeal. The four conservative justices at the time: Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, publicly noted that they would have denied the stay.

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