His thoughts — Roe v. Wade

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 12, 2022

Calling the leaked draft opinion from Justice Alito a bombshell undersells its significance.

If it does in fact reflect the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, it will not only reshape American jurisprudence on abortion, but it will also supercharge Congressional – and eventually state legislative – elections.

The throngs of protesters who appear at the Supreme Court any time abortion is on the docket will be re-rerouted to their local campaign offices.

This leak is an attack on the Supreme Court by someone who wants to sway the outcome of the case.

Opinions aren’t final until they’re announced by the Supreme Court. Until then, we have no idea what the court will hold.

Regardless, if the draft does hold, this opinion would not outlaw abortion – it would simply return the issue to the states and Congress for the people’s elected representatives to decide.

Virginia law already lays out when and how abortion is legal. Nothing would change immediately. With that said, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will support pro-life legislation.

This presents a special challenge to the General Assembly, and every other elected legislature in the U.S.

This is a singular moment in the history of our nation and of our Commonwealth. If there was ever a time for the legislature to act in a sober, thoughtful manner, it is now.

Nearly 50 years of passionate, deeply-felt emotions on both sides of this issue will – if the opinion holds – come to bear in the General Assembly in the coming months.

The last time anything remotely close to an opinion of this magnitude came down was the first “Obamacare” decision.

If we learned anything from Democrats at that time, it’s that overt celebration and gloating is not only unbecoming, but voters also tend to punish those who do it.

This is an opportunity for us to provide a contrast to Democrats – thoughtful, deliberative discussion as opposed to hyper-partisan shrieking and protesting.

New Telework Policy:

On May 8th, Governor Youngkin announced a new telework policy for the executive branch. The goal is to bring the Commonwealth’s workforce back to where it was before the advent of COVID-19, where telework was allowed where appropriate, but was the exception rather than the rule.

Governor Youngkin announced a policy that would require all teleworking public employees to return to their offices no later than July 5.

The reasoning behind this decision is simple – the large degree of telework in place now was a response to the pandemic. Now that the virus has abated to a significant degree, it’s time to return to business as usual.

This isn’t an aberration or something new – the Governor’s new policy returns Virginia’s public workforce largely to the situation it was in before COVID, where teleworking was allowed in some cases, but the default option was working in the office.

Many people work better together in an office setting, rather than being isolated or only having electronic communication — allowing for improved collaboration, teamwork and social well-being.

State employees can return to work safely, and customer service will improve as more and more state employees return to the office.

Every state position will be evaluated for the possibility of teleworking agreements.

Agency heads will be required to replace all active telework agreements with a new standard agreement, creating consistency across all executive agencies.

Agency heads may also approve up to two weeks of telework in cases of illness, emergency or other mitigating circumstances.

Work at home for more than one day per week can be approved by an agency head, two days requires a cabinet secretary, and more than two days requires the Governor’s chief of staff to sign off.

Governor Youngkin and his team recognize that it’s time to get back to normal as much as possible. That’s the entire point of this telework policy.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.