Saturday, 19 Jun 2021

Opinion | The Sound of Silence on Abortion

Back in 2014, when the Arizona Legislature passed a bill to provide business owners with a religious excuse to discriminate against gay people, the N.F.L. threatened to move Super Bowl XLIX out of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.

In 2015, when the N.C.A.A. led a pushback from its Indianapolis headquarters against a similar bill that the Indiana Legislature passed, Gov. Mike Pence said it was all a “great misunderstanding” and eventually signed a watered-down version that met the demands of the N.C.A.A. and other sports organizations that had protested.

In 2017, the North Carolina Legislature repealed an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” after the loss of the N.B.A. All-Star Game plus convention and tourism business cost the state millions of dollars in revenue and companies canceled plans to relocate there.

This April, prodded or perhaps even shamed by prominent Black business leaders, 170 executives of major companies signed a statement protesting a vote-suppression measure enacted in Georgia and ones pending in other states. Marc Elias, the voting-rights activist who runs the progressive website Democracy Docket, complained this week that the corporate protest amounted to little more than “thoughts and prayers for our democracy,” a fleeting suspension of the business of making money.

Maybe so, but it wasn’t completely without impact. Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from suburban Atlanta to Colorado. Apple canceled its plan to shoot a major film in Georgia, which offers among the country’s richest tax credits for movie and television production. The film, “Emancipation,” is a drama about slavery starring Will Smith. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access,” Mr. Smith and Antoine Fuqua, the director, said in a statement.

The Supreme Court: Upcoming Cases

    • A Big Month. June is peak season for Supreme Court decisions. It is the final month of the court’s annual term, and the justices tend to save their biggest decisions for the term’s end.
    • 4 Big Cases. The court is set to rule on the fate of Obamacare, as well as a case that could determine scores of laws addressing election rules in the coming years. It is also taking on a case involving religion and gay rights and one on whether students may be disciplined for what they say on social media (here’s an audio report on that subject; and here’s where public opinion stands on several of the big cases).
    • What to Watch For. The approaches that Amy Coney Barrett, the newest justice, and Brett Kavanaugh, the second-newest, take. They will be crucial because the three liberal justices now need at least two of the six conservatives to form a majority. Before the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberals needed only one conservative.
    • Looking Ahead. Next year’s term, which will start in the fall, will have cases on abortion, guns and perhaps affirmative action, and could end up being the most significant term so far under Chief Justice John Roberts.

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