POLITICO Playbook: Day One of Post-Roe America

The consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade were felt immediately. Numerous Americans protested the judgement in the streets, waiting abortion patients were turned away from clinics, and legislators in both blue and red states worked to protect access to abortion services or to draught legislation to outlaw or restrict it.

Conservatives on the right applauded the success of a five-decade campaign, but they also acknowledged that they now had to defend a stance that was directly opposed to public sentiment. In an editorial titled “A Stain Erased,” National Review states that “Overturning Roe does not ensure justice for the unborn: Pro-lifers recognise the effort must continue.” The Court has provided an opportunity for pro-lifers to present their argument and win in democratic forums.


First things first, as activists have long warned, there will be a patchwork of abortion access across the nation, or “two Americas.” Missouri, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Louisiana are the four states that outlawed or largely outlawed abortion right away. In the next weeks, additional red states are expected to do the same.

“Red state governors and attorneys general moved rapidly to block access to the procedure and launched special legislative sessions to restrict abortion,” Megan Messerly and Lisa Kashinsky of The Washington Post report. Their counterparts in the blue states swiftly issued executive orders and unveiled new regulations to defend abortion and stop those opposed to it from bringing charges against doctors and patients who had legal abortions within the boundaries of their states.

Three major parts of their narrative: Some red states may need time to implement bans. Uncertainty about the future in purple states As havens, blue states relocate. Related: Which states have banned abortions after Roe v. Wade was overturned

A few hours after the decision, President JOE BIDEN mocked the court in a speech at the White House. The events when the news reached the West Wing are described in detail by CNN‘s Phil Mattingly, Kevin Liptak, and Kaitlan Collins.

Although Biden has vowed to issue executive orders regarding abortion, the main elements of the current policy response are making sure that women can get abortions by travelling across state lines and increasing access to the abortion pill.

Additionally, there may be growing pressure on Biden to use a “blowtorch” on the supreme court, according to our colleague Christopher Cadelago, who has “always prided himself as an institutionalist hesitant to dispute the legality of the court.”

Biden advisers don’t believe that, despite his acerbic comments, the vice president will utilise the court to his advantage in the upcoming midterm elections. … But there are increasing calls from outside the White House to use the midterm elections as a referendum on the court, and to do so by portraying the institution and its conservative justices as political actors whose authority needs to be restrained by soaring Democratic majorities in Congress, writes the author. Harris gets into the abortion debate.


Conservatives got what they wanted, but, according to David Siders in a must-read this morning, “behind the scenes, they just didn’t want it to come right now — not during a midterm election campaign in which practically everything had been going right for the GOP.”

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“Even if Roe by itself is insufficient to turn the midterm elections in the Democrats’ favour, [they might] wed Roe with the court’s ruling on gun control the day before, among other topics, to portray the post-Donald Trump GOP as one still driven by extremes. In a concurring opinion on Friday, Justice CLARENCE THOMAS said that the court “should reexamine” its protections for same-sex marriage and access to contraception. This gave the court ammunition for that line of attack.

Related reading: Maggie Haberman and Michael Bender of the New York Times write, “The Man Most Responsible for Ending Roe Worries That It Could Hurt His Party”… According to Josh Dawsey of the WaPo, “Trump publicly welcomes Roe’s repeal but privately worries about impact.”

Good morning on Saturday. I appreciate you reading Playbook. Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, and Ryan Lizza are available for contact.


The alternatives available to Biden and Democratic members are constrained by the composition of the current Congress, despite their pledges to do everything they can to mitigate the effects of the Supreme Court ruling. Democrats pleaded with voters in a series of statements on Friday to send more Democrats to Congress so they could pass legislation protecting abortion rights.

But the main conflict will probably occur in the United States. The most significant party committee on the left may now be the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. JESSICA POST, the organization’s president, discussed how the decision has affected their strategy and how national Democrats have failed to pay attention to state elections for years in a breaking news version of the Playbook video series “The Midterm View,” which was filmed Friday in front of the Supreme Court.

“There are many who think that maybe with a few more votes in the Senate they may get this done,” she said to the nation’s Democrats. However, the federal government won’t be saving us. The United States will need to safeguard its citizens’ reproductive rights.

Best tactic for politicians running for state legislature: “Go door-to-door in your district and listen to what people are saying because they think what you’re going to hear is that people are worried about women having fewer rights, then there are children having fewer rights than they did.” Use the language that the people in your community are speaking after paying attention to them and their language.


Sens. SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine) and JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.), who were reassured in private talks that Roe was settled law, provided two crucial votes for now-Justice BRETT KAVANAUGH when his nomination appeared to be in jeopardy. Both senators effectively claimed they were tricked following Friday’s decision.

Carl Hulse of the NYT has the specifics on what Kavanaugh said to Collins when she pressed him on Roe in her office. “Judge Kavanaugh made a concerted effort to persuade her that he posed no threat to the important rule protecting abortion rights.

According to contemporaneous notes taken at the meeting by many staff members, he added, “Start with my record, my regard for precedent, my belief that it is anchored in the Constitution, and my commitment and its importance to the rule of law. I am aware of precedent and the significance of overturning it. Don’t rock the boat is how I judge cases. I support the Team of Nine and stability.

Collins stated on Friday that she felt “misled,” and abortion-opposing Manchin issued a statement in which he said, “I trusted Justice [NEIL] GORSUCH and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.”

Both political parties have long criticised the Supreme Court for becoming overly politicised. Today, our SCOTUS expert Josh Gerstein takes a close look at how Chief Justice JOHN ROBERTS lost control of his court.

The stormy Roe decision, he continues, “gives the Roberts court legacy a historic taint of polarisation that the chief justice may not be able to remove as he stares down the remaining years of his term overseeing a court that he clearly can’t control or coax. But it’s only the most recent in a string of setbacks Roberts has endured lately that have raised concerns about his capacity to control a court that is becoming more contentious.

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