If you knew the State of Alabama had an extra $142,000 to spend, what might you suggest? What if you knew the state had another $580,000 extra? Chances are, you won't spend it like Attorney General Luther Strange did – defending unconstitutional bills passed by the Alabama Legislature.
It was bad enough that the state got soaked with tons of bad publicity when the Legislature passed Scott Beason's folly – aka… the immigration bill. There's no way to know how many businesses decided to relocate elsewhere – particularly foreign companies who might not want their executives arrested, but one thing we do know: the state spent almost $600,000 to fight (and lost) just two lawsuits: immigration & TRAP. The fight over the Alabama Accountability Act is still in the courts.
When the federal hearings over the state's TRAP Law (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) ended in May, those final bills from “expert” witnesses for the state began to rain down on the Attorney General's office. As of 8/3/2014, Strange has flushed away $142,721.25. And for what? Just this past week, a federal appeals court struck down Mississippi's TRAP law and the opinion specifically cited the spurious explanation from the state that women could “just go out of state” if they wanted an abortion:
In explaining their decision, judges E. Grady Jolly of Mississippi and Stephen A. Higginson of Louisiana wrote, “Pre-viability, a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion.”
The Mississippi law “effectively extinguishes that right (to a lawful abortion) within Mississippi's borders,” they said.
The ruling goes on to explain that if a woman has to go out of state to get an abortion, then that requirement places an “undue burden” on her.
Oops… let's recall coverage of the hearing in Alabama. See if any of this sounds familiar:
- AG representative asked a witness if she knew that there's a “pedestrian bridge in Phenix City that Alabama women could just waltz over & get an abortion in Georgia.“
- The assertion that being required to travel 100+ miles to obtain a legal medical procedure is an “undue burden” infantalizes poor women, the state's “expert” witness testified: That conclusion, he said “suggests women who are poor are incapable of planning and carrying out a trip of more than 100 miles to obtain something important.”
- Oh, and let's not forget this gem from one of our state lawyers. He wanted to know why women don't just get abortions when they have a few days off work? “Send the kids to grandma's with food! Do it while the kids are in school! Huntsville and Tuscaloosa both have clinics on Saturday so do it when you're off work!” Like women's clinics in Alabama are open 24/7 or that everybody has nights & weekends off.
Take a few minutes to read our coverage of the TRAP lawsuit hearings because most of these so-called “experts” who cost the state $140,000+ made some truly bizarre, entitled, and off-the-wall assumptions about the lives of women in Alabama. For this particular post though, we'll just point out how much each of them got paid. It's all in detail in the Alabama Checkbook, but I put it together in a single Excel spreadsheet here for download.
|Dr. James Anderson||$16,350.00|
Let's even forget the financial aspects of this silliness and consider the long-term consequences. I keep hearing that we need to make our cities and our state more attractive to young professionals. We want to keep our educated young people in this state and attract more good-paying jobs. Is this the way to do it? Ask yourself why young professionals – particularly women – would even consider staying or moving to a state whose legislature proudly flaunts its xenophobia, misogyny, and contempt for public education.
The only way the state will change is if we the voters change the government. We can do that in November & a good place to start is by ditching Big Luther. Joe Hubbard for Attorney General.