Author Archives: Julia Conley

Kavanaugh’s attendance at right-wing holiday party raises new ethics concerns

The justice attended a party with former Trump administration adviser Stephen Miller, whose legal organization has interests in at least one case the court is deliberating.

Just days after a former evangelical activist testified before Congress about the ease with which he and his associates lobbied right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justices, Politico reported that Justice Brett Kavanaugh attended a private holiday party with a number of high-profile conservatives, sparking alarm among ethics watchdogs. Continue reading

Right-Wing SCOTUS majority signals support for anti-LGBTQ+ reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

With rights advocates rallying outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, the right-wing majority of the court appeared poised to rule in favor of a web designer who aims to discriminate against LGBTQ+ couples when she creates wedding websites, as the justices heard arguments in the case 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. Continue reading

Analysis finds state legislators proposed 306 bills targeting trans people in past 2 years

"Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we're obsessed with knocking them out of public office," said one rights’ group.

An analysis released Monday by NPR details what one rights advocacy group called the Republican Party’s “obsession” with curtailing the rights of transgender people, with U.S. state legislators proposing more than 300 pieces of legislation targeting the community over the past two years. Continue reading

Deadly Polish abortion ban treats women ‘as incubators,’ critics say at EU hearing

"The European Parliament must continue to put pressure on the Polish government and use all the tools it has, or more women will die," said one advocate.

Reproductive rights advocates, attorneys, and family members of people who have died as a result of Poland’s stringent abortion ban were among those who testified before the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, calling on the body to take every available action to protect Polish people from “conservative politicians” whose ban has led to at least six deaths so far. Continue reading

House Democrat leads charge to bar Trump from office, citing 14th Amendment

The former president "forfeited his right to ever hold federal office again for leading an insurrection against the United States," said Rep. David Cicilline.

As former President Donald Trump prepared to announce his 2024 presidential campaign Tuesday, Rep. David Cicilline was circulating a letter to his fellow Democratic lawmakers calling on them to support legislation that would bar Trump from running, citing his involvement in the January 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Continue reading

New Senate report spotlights ‘barbaric consequences’ of GOP abortion bans

"Republicans' crusade against women's reproductive freedoms has created national chaos that is a mortal threat to women's health."

Four months after the right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Sen. Elizabeth Warren led several Democratic lawmakers Tuesday in sharing a comprehensive look at the effects of the state-level attacks on reproductive care that the ruling set in motion. Continue reading

Fetterman calls on Dr. Oz to fire ‘multiple insurrectionists’ on staff

"It really says a lot about Dr. Oz that he's hired people who want to quite literally overthrow American democracy."

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the state’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, warned that Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz is working with numerous people who pose “a direct threat to our American democracy” and demanded that he fire his staffers recently exposed as supporters of the January 6 insurrection. Continue reading

‘Cold hard threat to democracy’: GOP sowing chaos at polls even before Election Day

"Voters deserve better than this when they exercise their constitutional right at the polls," said one government watchdog.

Government watchdogs are warning that Republicans are operating a well-funded, well-organized campaign to sow “an unprecedented level of suspicion and unfounded doubt” in this year’s midterm elections by lodging dubious legal challenges even before Election Day arrives and training thousands on how to create confusion at the polls. Continue reading

Progressives warn of federal ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law if GOP wins midterms

"The stakes in this election couldn't be clearer," said one rights advocate.

In addition to a nationwide abortion ban, the extension of tax cuts benefiting the wealthy, and the shredding of the social safety net through cuts to Medicare and Social Security, progressives this week are warning of another consequence of a potential takeover of Congress by the Republican Party: the passage of a federal bill censoring discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in schools, libraries, and other facilities. Continue reading

Texas woman’s near-death experience is what GOP ‘hopes to see nationwide’

"It's this simple: If anti-choice Republicans win control of Congress, they will pass a national ban on abortion," said one advocate.

Progressives on Wednesday warned that one Texas woman’s harrowing near-death experience after she had a complication when she was 18 weeks pregnant encompasses the Republican Party’s vision for women across the U.S., as the party pledges to pass a 15-week nationwide abortion ban if they win control of Congress in November. Continue reading

Book-banning efforts rising at unprecedented rate, US libraries report

"We're truly fearful that at some point we will see a librarian arrested for providing constitutionally protected books on disfavored topics," said one free speech advocate.

Right-wing attempts to ban books are showing no sign of slowing down, according to a report released Friday by the American Library Association—and in fact have reached an unprecedented level, with libraries and bookstores increasingly facing legal threats over the materials on their shelves. Continue reading

‘Never seen anything like that’: AOC blasts male GOP colleague for treatment of female hearing witness

"Frankly, men who treat women like that in public," said the New York Democrat, "I fear how they treat them in private."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday paused before proceeding to her line of questioning at a House Oversight Committee hearing, expressing shock over the treatment Republican Rep. Clay Higgins subjected an expert witness, Raya Salter, to moments earlier. Continue reading

In ‘despicable show of cruelty’, Graham dismisses woman’s story of nonviable pregnancy

"He just turns away from her and starts yelling about Democrats to drown her out," said one rights advocate. "Sort of a metaphor for the Republican Party."

Sen. Lindsey Graham garnered condemnation from rights groups on Tuesday after brushing off a question from a woman who shared her personal story of a pregnancy that she found out was nonviable at 16 weeks, at a press conference where the South Carolina Republican proposed a nationwide 15-week abortion ban. Continue reading

OB-GYNs warn of abortion threat Dr. Oz Poses in latest Fetterman ad

"Dr. Oz's far-right position tearing away the right to safe, legal abortion care puts him in the radical right wing of our politics and woefully out of step with Pennsylvania voters."

With eight weeks to go until the midterm elections, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the state’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, called on physicians on Friday to weigh in on the threat his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, poses to reproductive rights if he wins a Senate seat. Continue reading

Ninth Circuit upholds Washington’s ban on ‘dangerous and discredited’ conversion therapy

"This is a massive win for LGBTQ+ youth out of Washington," said one advocate.

LGBTQ+ rights advocates on Tuesday applauded a ruling by a federal court in Washington State which upheld the state’s ban on “conversion therapy,” saying the ban will continue to save lives. Continue reading

GOP attacks on Social Security makes popular program key midterm issue

Social Security advocates on Wednesday applauded Democrats including U.S. President Joe Biden for their defense of the popular program as Republicans recycle false claims that the nation will soon be unable to pay for the program’s benefits, making the monthly payments that help support more than 65 million Americans a key issue ahead of the midterm elections. Continue reading

‘Authoritarianism 101′: Trump plot to purge civil servants if reelected draws alarm

"Do not underestimate the destruction this will cause," said one critic.

Government watchdogs on Friday warned that a plan by former President Donald Trump to drastically remake the federal workforce should he win the presidency in 2024 would “utterly destroy” public service in the United States. Continue reading

Nearly every House Republican voted against codifying right to contraception

"If they had the chance they would ban it," said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

With many lawmakers expressing disbelief that a law codifying the right to use birth control is needed in the U.S. in 2022, House Democrats passed the Right to Contraception Act on Thursday—joined by just eight Republicans as the party denied access to contraception is under attack. Continue reading

Rubio’s ‘cruel’ paid leave plan forces families to pay back benefits after parent’s premature death

"So when mom or dad tragically dies a few years after having their third kid, the surviving spouse will have to send a big fat check to the SSA," explained policy analyst Matt Bruenig.

Progressive policy analyst Matt Bruenig on Thursday pointed to a little-noticed detail in Sen. Marco Rubio’s so-called “pro-family framework,” which the Florida Republican released late last month to expand on the GOP’s vision for the country as millions of people are forced to continue unwanted pregnancies following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Continue reading

Under ‘draconian abortion ban,’ woman in El Salvador sentenced to 50 years for pregnancy loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Reproductive freedom advocates are condemning a 50-year prison sentence given to a woman in El Salvador this week, after she was convicted of homicide following what rights groups say was a stillbirth. Continue reading

Supreme Court takes ‘wrecking ball’ to separation of church and state with prayer ruling

After decades of affirming that prayers led by school officials are unconstitutional, said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, "the court now charts a different path."

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday offered “another example” of the court’s “conservative supermajority continuing its politicized agenda,” said the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers unions as the decision overturned decades of precedent which prohibited educators from leading students in religious displays. Continue reading

Rights advocates decry ‘very frightening’ court ruling upholding anti-BDS law

"This is not just about boycotts," said one critic. "This is opening the door to strip away First Amendment rights of all Americans."

A federal court ruling allowing Arkansas to penalize government contractors that support boycotts of the Israeli government was decried as “dangerous” and a threat to First Amendment rights on Wednesday, as civil liberties defenders vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading

Supreme Court ruling turns separation of church and state into ‘constitutional violation,’ warns Sotomayor

"We are witnessing one of the most extreme Supreme Courts in modern history rewrite the most basic social commitments of our society," said the head of one of the nation's largest teachers’ unions.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday warned that the court’s right-wing majority had further eroded the nation’s bedrock laws separating church and government when it ruled that Maine must include religious schools in a state-run tuition program. Continue reading

New revelations show Ginni Thomas ‘very much a part of seditious conspiracy’

New reporting shows wife of Supreme Court Justice pushed at least 29 Arizona lawmakers to overturn 2020 election results.

Ginni Thomas, the right-wing activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, lobbied far more Arizona state lawmakers than previously known to try to overturn the state’s 2020 election results—a revelation that reignited calls on Friday for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from cases related to the election. Continue reading

Two weeks after Uvalde school massacre, Texas GOP vows ban on… taking kids to drag shows

"Imagine a government that acted this fast to protect us from guns instead of drag queens."

Two weeks after a gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition massacred 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a Republican state lawmaker announced that he is taking action—against drag shows. Continue reading

With Roe under threat, sale of location data on abortion clinic patients raises alarm

"Companies that traffic in personal, geolocation, advertising, or other data could become digital crime scenes for eager prosecutors armed with subpoenas," said one expert on technology and gender.

A location data firm said Wednesday that it would no longer sell information about people who visit abortion clinics after reporting on the company’s sales raised alarm, but privacy advocates warned that strict regulation is needed to protect patients from such sales—particularly in light of news that abortion rights are likely to be rolled back by the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading

‘A real threat to democracy’: Musk buys Twitter for $44 billion

"This isn't just some corporate takeover," said one critic. "This is about a set of very specific moves that our oligarchs have been taking that have gradually concentrated economic, political, and discursive power in fewer and fewer hands."

Rights advocates, public health experts, and media critics were among those on Monday who warned that the purchase of Twitter by mega-billionaire Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, creates a direct threat to democracy and the common good by putting the outsized power of the social media platform used by hundreds of millions worldwide into the hands of one man. Continue reading

‘He’s a liar’: New audio tapes confirm McCarthy wanted Trump to resign

"Maybe he lied because he's a spineless sycophant who went to Mar-a-Lago begging for forgiveness days after this call?" said one Democratic lawmaker.

Democratic lawmakers and political observers said late Thursday and Friday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been exposed as a “liar” not once but twice in the past 24 hours following the release of audio tapes confirming that the California Republican said former President Donald Trump should resign in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection. Continue reading

‘Blatantly unconstitutional’ ban on nearly all abortions signed into law in Oklahoma

"We are at a tipping point for abortion rights nationwide," warned president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Republican Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma was denounced Tuesday for signing into law one of the most extreme forced-pregnancy bills in the United States, a law pro-choice advocates argue is blatantly unconstitutional and must be challenged. Continue reading

‘This law will not stand,’ say equality defenders as DeSantis signs ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis "has damaged our state's reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place for all families," said one rights advocate. "Worse, he has made schools less safe for children."

Rights advocates on Monday said they will continue to fight against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attacks on LGBTQ+ families after the Republican governor signed the so-called Parental Rights in Education bill that’s come to be known as the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” proposal. Continue reading

Majority of Americans fear nuclear weapons use after Russia’s Ukraine invasion

Nearly nine in 10 people in a new poll said they fear the U.S. could be drawn into Putin's war in Ukraine, and 75% said they are worried the U.S. will be targeted in a nuclear attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has left Americans on edge, according to a recent poll which found a majority of people in the U.S. are worried that the war has made the impending use of nuclear weapons more likely. Continue reading

Idaho becomes first state to replicate Texas-style abortion ban

"It is appalling that anyone could look at the chaos and harm in Texas over the past six months and think, 'I want that for the people in my state,'" said one advocate.

Reproductive rights advocates are calling on Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little to veto the forced-pregnancy legislation passed by the state House on Monday, which made Idaho the first state in the country to pass a “copycat” proposal modeled on S.B. 8 in Texas. Continue reading