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LIHBA STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE

The President and Executive Board of the LIHBA decry the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade after 50 years of providing safe access to abortion. Roe’s reasoning has been repeatedly upheld and people all across the country had relied on its long-standing precedent as the law of the land to guide their lives and family planning in accordance with its constructs and the many cases that followed in its path.

By placing the decision of whether to allow access to this healthcare to the States, the Court strips women of their dignity and autonomy and eviscerates the right to privacy – that doctrine, first outlined by Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren in 1890 can best be explained as the fundamental right to be left alone and to be allowed to make the most private decisions regarding our health and well-being by ourselves without government intrusion. Placing the decision in the hands of the States also creates a divided nation where some will have ready access to this basic healthcare right while others may be left to die by being denied abortion even in cases where pregnancy imperils the mother’s health. The overwhelming impact of this decision will be endured by marginalized communities and the poor.  Many of the States that will likely pass the strictest abortion restrictions have large Latino populations. Pregnant residents in those States may not have the finances to travel to abortion-access States. They live in counties without public transportation, and which are hundreds of miles from the closest medical centers providing abortion.

The Court’s decision in Dobbs follows on the heels of the Court striking down New York’s century-old sensible gun control legislation in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Here, the Court said the States do not have the right to limit concealed gun-carrying by persons in public places. Once again, it is likely communities of color that will be most impacted by this ruling. Five other states have similar requirements: California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. These states have some of the lowest rates of gun violence in the country.

Finally, as lawyers, the LIHBA Executive Board is disturbed and disheartened that the Supreme Court has clearly taken a different path from that which we learned about in law school and in practice. The Supreme Court has made clear that it is no longer the ultimate bastion where marginalized communities can seek redress and it cannot be counted upon to protect them.

LIHBA encourages its members and the Latino community to, now more than ever, work towards passing effective State and Federal Legislation to restore these important and fundamental protections we lost. We need to support local, State and Federal legislative candidates across the country that can be counted on to work towards reversing this course. We need to register our community as voters and get them to the polls. This past week highlighted the importance of the right to vote. Now, only from the power of the voting booth can we expect to effectuate actual change for our community.

Former LIHBA President named to midlevel state appellate court

Helen Voutsinas, a Nassau County judge, has been appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul to the midlevel appellate court handling appeals originating from 10 downstate counties including Nassau and Suffolk.

The appointment of Voutsinas, 47, was announced Friday afternoon by Hochul’s office. The court is the Appellate Division’s Second Department. New York State is divided into four.

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Latino Justice decries Supreme Court decision on Puerto Rico

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KETANJI BROWN JACKSONTO SERVE ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

On February 25, 2022, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the 116th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

On April 7, 2022, a bipartisan group of Senators confirmed Judge Jackson's nomination.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an exceptionally well-qualified jurist whose credentials, experience, and evenhanded approach to the administration of justice made her an outstanding candidate for the Supreme Court.

Last year, Judge Jackson was confirmed by this Senate on a bipartisan basis to serve on the D.C. Circuit.  Before her confirmation to the D.C. Circuit, Judge Jackson served on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  She was confirmed to this role unanimously and issued more than 500 opinions on cases involving a range of important issues—from the separation of powers to the reach of the Fourth Amendment to collective bargaining rights.  She additionally has prior experience as a Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, as a federal public defender, as a lawyer in private practice, and as a law clerk at all three levels of the federal Judiciary, including for Justice Breyer.

The historic nomination of Judge Jackson is an important step toward making the Supreme Court look more like the nation as a whole.

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