In The News

Supreme Court blocks Louisiana law that would restrict abortion providers

The Supreme Court in a victory for abortion-rights advocates on Friday blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that they said would have left the state with only one doctor licensed to perform the procedure.

The justices, by a 7-1 vote, issued a brief order that restores an earlier judicial ban on enforcing the 2014 law.

The court's order is a good sign for abortion-rights groups in Louisiana and nationwide.

The White House Jewish Liaison Who Waves the Rainbow Flag

Matt Nosanchuk, White House’s representative to the Jewish community, discusses Hanukkah parties, the Iran deal, and his personal pride in Obama’s same-sex marriage push.

NEW YORK – Matt Nosanchuk knows from pressure. As associate director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, Nosanchuk represents President Obama to the Jewish community. Every fractious part of it.

Senate GOP Lose Their Minds on a Supreme Court Seat

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans apparently believe they can profit by creating a political crisis that the nation has never seen before. On Tuesday, the leadership doubled down on its refusal to take any action on any nominee from President Obama to replace Justice Scalia.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who seems to have lost touch with reality and the Constitution, accused Mr. Obama of plunging the nation into a “bitter and avoidable struggle” should he name anyone to the court.

Obama Radiates an Ethos of Integrity, Humanity, Good Manners, Elegance

As this primary season has gone along, a strange sensation has come over me: I miss Barack Obama. Now, obviously I disagree with a lot of Obama’s policy decisions. I’ve been disappointed by aspects of his presidency. I hope the next presidency is a philosophic departure.

But over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.

Laws Written by Men to Protect Women Deserve Scrutiny

History holds a lesson for the Supreme Court, the brief warns: Be skeptical of laws protecting women that are written by men.

The nation’s past is littered with such statutes, say the historians who filed the friend-of-the-court brief, and the motives were suspect.

Some protected women from “the embarrassment of hearing filthy evidence” as members of a jury, a sheltering instinct that resulted in female defendants being judged by panels composed only of men.

Some shielded women from having to work nights as pharmacists in hospitals — but not as low-wage custodians.

Voter ID Laws Hurt Everyone

Voter fraud is, for all intents and purposes, practically nonexistent. The best available research on the topic, by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, found only 31 credible incidents of voter impersonation in an investigation of over 1 billion votes cast.

But that hasn't dampened Republican efforts to pass a spate of strict voter ID laws since 2008. And it hasn't hurt the public's overall enthusiasm for those laws, either.

Don't be Fooled: Rubio No Moderate

If you were in the market for a Republican candidate who could actually win in a general election, Marco Rubio’s third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses Monday was a sign of hope. Coming in just behind Ted Cruz and Donald Trump meant he’d done better than expected: he was having a surge, a moment, a comeback. In a Times column headlined, wishfully, “Donald Trump Isn’t Real,” David Brooks banished the pugnacious billionaire to the past tense (“Trump was unabashedly masculine, the lingua franca of pro wrestling”) and said of Ted Cruz, “His is a Tea Party wing in the G.O.P.

UN: Abortion is a Human Rights Issue

For the first time in history, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has punished a country for denying a citizen an abortion. Through this decision, the UN committee has deemed abortion a human right — and it should be. The ability to decide whether or not you become a parent is not a luxury, but a basic right we all deserve.

In this case, which began in 2001, a 17-year-old in Peru was denied a medically necessary abortion. The woman complained to the Human Rights Committee, which asked that Peru's government pay her reparations. She just received them.

Most in U.S. favor Access to Safer Guns

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans — including 42.8% of gun owners — say that if they were to buy a new firearm, they would choose one equipped with technology that prevents it from being fired by an unauthorized user, a new national survey has found.

The survey suggests an openness to so-called smart guns, personalized weapons and childproof firearms. Their development has been championed in recent years by the Obama administration as well as a range of physicians’ groups and public health advocates.