The Most Important Moments In 2019 US Politics
In the United States, 2020 may be the next election year, but that only makes the notable political moments of 2019 all the more important. Each of these moments made an impact across everything from travel, to food, to jobs, and health. What happens in 2019 can have a huge effect on the next election and on Americans' lives in the years to come. Today's important political moments can become tomorrow's historic events. Some American political decisions and policies may also affect the world beyond the US, but primarily they directly affected daily life for Americans.
For better or worse, these moments affected how people in the US lived their lives in 2019. Vote up the moments in US politics that made the biggest impact on life in 2019.
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- 1234 VOTES
May 2019: Several States Pass Heartbeat Bills
Georgia and Alabama became the latest states to introduce and pass fetal heartbeat bills. These highly controversial laws ban abortions as soon as there is a detectable "fetal heartbeat in the womb." This can be as early as six weeks, at which point many women are not even aware that they are pregnant.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill on May 7. Alabama followed suit on May 14 with an even stricter law that banned abortion at any state of pregnancy. The law does not make exceptions if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. Several other states, like Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi, passed similar bills earlier in the year. The wave of bills were designed to be tried on a federal level, which pro-life activists are hoping will lead to a reversal of Roe v. Wade. Activists dressed like women from The Handmaid's Tale protested.
"The bill is very simple. It's not about birth control or the morning after pill. It's about not allowing abortion once the woman is pregnant. The entire bill was designed to overturn [Roe v. Wade] and allow states to decide what is best for them," said Alabama Representative Terri Collins.
- 2193 VOTES
Feb. 15: President Trump Officially Declares A National Emergency
People were unsure of how February 15 would play out. It was the last day of the brief reopening of government. Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Trump officially declared a national state of emergency in order to obtain funding for his long-promised border wall. Reactions to President Trump's declaration were largely negative, and hours after the announcement, the state of California declared their intent to sue.
The President was well aware of these possible ramifications before he issued the emergency, saying, "We will have a national emergency and we will then be sued. We'll possibly get a bad ruling, and then we'll get another bad ruling, and then we'll end up at the Supreme Court and hopefully we'll get a fair shake."
President Trump also said that he "didn't need to" declare the national emergency, which many pointed out negated the notion of an emergency and could be used against him in court.
- 3270 VOTES
Jan. 3: More Than 100 Women Are Sworn In To The 116th Congress
Fulfilling the hopes and promises of the previous year, on January 03, 2019, a historically diverse group of people were sworn into the House - including a record-breaking number of women. With 107 women in the 116h Congress, there are now over four times as many female members of the House as when Speaker Nancy Pelosi first joined in 1987. With a freshman class of House Democrats that include such historic firsts as the youngest member, the first Indigenous women in Congress, the first Muslim women in Congress, the face of the House has significantly changed.
- 487 VOTES
June 27: The Supreme Court Blocks A Citizenship Question From Being Added To The 2020 Census
The United States Supreme Court made a five to four majority decision on whether or not the US Department of Commerce could reinstate a citizenship census question on the 2020 electoral ballot. The Trump administration, among others who supported the implementation of this question, argued the question is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act and without it the census would be useless, but critics claim the specific questionnaire is politically motivated and could be used to intimidate non-citizens, cause less people to respond to the census, and ultimately misrepresent minority populations.
Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal judges voted against the census question claiming the Department of Commerce did not properly justify their reasoning for this addition to census. “In order to permit meaningful judicial review, an agency must ‘disclose the basis’ of its action,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “Several points, taken together, reveal a significant mismatch between the Secretary’s decision and the rationale he provided… Altogether, the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary’s explanation for his decision.”
Following the decision, Trump responded through a tweet saying he would attempt to delay the census.
Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
The court’s decision, though a setback for a Trump administration, does not fully prohibit the reinstating of the citizenship question. The decision sends the issue back to the lower courts and leaves open the possibility for the administration to provide the necessary justifications for the questionnaire.
- 5104 VOTES
December 2019: President Trump Is Impeached
On December 18, the US House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump. House members voted on two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - concerning the president's pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020.
The vote was divided along party lines, with Republicans decrying the entire impeachment process as rigged, and Democrats accusing Republicans of putting party before the people. The vote on the first article of impeachment was divided along party lines, with Democrats' 230 ayes to Republicans' 197 nays. Two Democrats broke with their party to vote "no" on the article: Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey (who switched parties one day after the vote). One Democratic member, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, voted "present."
The vote on the second article was 229 to 198, with Gabbard voting "present" again, and Jared Golden of Maine joining Peterson and Van Drew in voting "no."
Trump voiced his dismay on the impeachment debate early in the morning before the votes were taken. "SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!" he tweeted.
- 631 VOTES
June 27: The Supreme Court Rules Federal Courts Cannot Constitutionally Prevent Partisan Gerrymandering
The United States Supreme Court made a five to four decision that Gerrymandering is beyond the purview of the Federal Courts. In two separate cases regarding Gerrymandering, one in North Carolina and the other from Maryland, state governments had redistricted electoral lines to benefit their partisan advantage; however the issue is not secluded to a single party. Both Republicans and Democrats have been accused of redrawing district lines to benefit their own party.
Chief Justice John Roberts noted that although redistricting of electoral lines based on excessive partisanship may be unjust, "Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties, with no plausible grant of authority in the Constitution, and no legal standards to limit and direct their decisions."
In her dissenting opinion, however, Justice Elena Kagan wrote, “The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections.”