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In a major ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a restrictive abortion law in Louisiana that would have left the state with just one abortion clinic. In a 5-4 vote, Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices, giving a major victory for the reproductive rights movement. The 2014 Louisiana law required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Such privileges are often impossible for abortion providers to obtain, due to anti-choice sentiment or because they don’t admit enough patients to meet hospital minimums. In his decision, Roberts indicated he sided with liberal justices solely out of respect to court precedent. In 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a near identical law in Texas. In that case, Roberts dissented.
The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the Justice Department to carry out the first federal executions since 2003. The court also backed President Trump’s power to unilaterally fire the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the court upheld a law requiring foreign affiliates of U.S. organizations to explicitly oppose prostitution in order to qualify for U.S. foreign aid to fight HIV and AIDS. Public health advocates criticized the ruling, saying it will make it harder for sex workers to get crucial support to prevent the spread of HIV.
More states around the country are imposing new measures and rolling back their reopening as coronavirus cases continue to surge. The governors of Oregon and Kansas are mandating face masks for residents. Jacksonville, Florida, which will host August’s Republican National Convention, also said it will make face coverings mandatory. Trump moved the RNC from North Carolina over Governor Roy Cooper’s refusal to allow for a packed arena during the pandemic. Seven cities in Texas say they will impose orders mandating face masks.
Meanwhile, hospitals in Texas report a dire situation as cases surge. This is Dr. Peter Hotez, who says Houston is in a “race to the bottom” alongside Phoenix and a few other cities.
Dr. Peter Hotez: “We’re seeing this massive relapse, this resurgence, and it’s happening in all the major metro areas of Texas, and it’s very alarming. The rate of acceleration is extreme.”
A major hospital system in Houston reportedly stopped disclosing COVID-19 data after its ICU capacity hit 100%, and following conversations with Governor Greg Abbott in which he expressed concern over negative headlines.
In other news from Texas, three congressmembers — Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar and Sylvia Garcia — were potentially exposed to the coronavirus after coming into contact with an ICE employee last week at an immigrant prison in Dilley, Texas, who later tested positive.
In California, where COVID-19 cases surged by 45% over the past week and a record 8,000 new daily cases were reported Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom said over 1,000 prisoners at San Quentin have now tested positive — nearly a third of all prisoners.
Meanwhile, beaches in Los Angeles, as well as several Florida counties, will be closed for Fourth of July weekend.
The World Health Organization is warning “the worst is yet to come” as countries across the globe are experiencing new spikes, with some putting the brakes on reopening.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is, this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.”
Scientists in China are reporting a strain of flu virus found in pigs has become more infectious to humans. In a new study, the scientists warn the virus has the potential to become a pandemic virus, but other scientists have downplayed the risk posed by the virus, which has been circulating for five years.
In Minneapolis, three of the four police officers who are charged in the killing of George Floyd appeared in court Monday, where a judge scheduled a tentative March date for their trial. Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck until he stopped breathing and died, appeared remotely from prison. Outside the courthouse, George Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, spoke to reporters.
Angela Harrelson: “Going through the process is frustrating, and hoping for justice, because we don’t know. So I think my nephew’s case is going to be a fight. This is going to be a heavy fight.”
Last week, eight correctional officers of color at the Ramsey County Jail, where Chauvin was first held, filed discrimination charges with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights after all guards of color were barred from the floor where Chauvin was initially booked. They also allege Chauvin was given special treatment during his stay at the jail.
In Seattle, a shooting at the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest, or CHOP, killed a 16-year-old and critically injured a 14-year-old boy Monday. It was the fifth shooting in the area, and the second fatal shooting. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle police chief have said protesters should leave the area and the police would move back into the precinct, though a timeline has yet to be announced.
More online platforms are clamping down on Trump-related and other content they say violates hate speech policies. Twitch, a video streaming service owned by Amazon, suspended Trump’s channel for “hateful conduct” Monday. The videos that triggered the suspension were a 2016 rally in which Trump referred to Mexicans as “rapists,” as well as his June 20 Tulsa rally in which he evoked the same racist image, using the term “tough hombre.” YouTube banned several popular white supremacist channels, including ones belonging to Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer. Meanwhile, Reddit banned its largest community of Trump supporters for breaking rules on harassment and targeting of users. The subreddit called “The_Donald” has around 800,000 users and posts memes, videos and other content about the president. Reddit also banned around 2,000 other, mostly inactive communities.
The nation’s oldest Latino civil rights organization, LULAC, is calling for a congressional investigation into the disappearance of a 20-year-old female soldier stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. Vanessa Guillén was last seen at the base on April 22. Her family claims Guillén had told them of being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at the base prior to her disappearance. Earlier this week, the Army announced it now believes foul play was involved in her disappearance. LULAC is now urging Latina women not to enlist in the Army until the case is closed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a controversial new security law which gives China sweeping powers over Hong Kong. The text of the bill has yet to be made accessible to the public, but reports say it criminalizes secession, subversion against the central government and collusion with foreign forces. Critics say the legislation effectively criminalizes free speech and protests, and erases any autonomy Hong Kong once held. The bill’s signing comes nearly one year after pro-democracy protesters stormed and occupied the Hong Kong legislature as part of a mass uprising to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy, which brought millions onto the streets.
A new report by the Associated Press says China is guilty of “demographic genocide” in Xinjiang by forcing Uyghur Muslims and other minority populations to undergo forced sterilizations, abortions and various types of birth control. The report alleges Chinese officials force imprisoned Uyghurs to submit to IUDs and shots which prevent pregnancy; raid homes and imprison people with three or more children; and threaten imprisonment to coerce people into submitting to population control measures. Birth rates fell by one-quarter last year in Xinjiang.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant for President Trump and over 30 others for assassinating General Qassem Soleimani in January at the Baghdad International Airport. Iran asked Interpol to help detain Trump, but the international organization rejected Iran’s request. On Monday, the U.S. dismissed the news of arrest warrants as a “propaganda stunt.” Following the January attack, U.S. lawmakers passed a resolution limiting Trump’s authority to attack Iran without congressional approval.
Four progressive Democratic congressmembers are reportedly spearheading an effort to condition U.S. military assistance to Israel over its planned illegal annexation of the occupied West Bank. In a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal, Betty McCollum and Rashida Tlaib quote the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Palestine, writing the annexation would “crystalize a 21st century apartheid, leaving in its wake the demise of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.”
In Afghanistan, at least 23 civilians were killed, and scores injured, after four rockets ripped through a market in Helmand province Monday. The Afghan government and Taliban officials both blamed each other for the attacks, as the warring parties are reportedly set to start peace talks soon.
In Sacramento, California, the man known as the “Golden State Killer” has pleaded guilty to nearly 50 sexual assaults and over a dozen murders going back to the 1970s. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., who worked as a police officer during that time, dodged arrest for four decades before being apprehended in 2018. The 74-year-old admitted to the crimes Monday in court as part of a plea deal. This is Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley speaking about the significance of the admission of guilt to DeAngelo’s victims.
Joyce Dudley: “I hope that that is a catalyst to spark the beginning of their healing process. I know many of them rightfully believed that this day would never come. But today did come.”
In sports news, the Negro National League is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It was formed in 1920 in response to the exclusion of Black players in Major League Baseball. Some of baseball’s greatest stars and pioneers, including Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks and Roy Campanella, played for the Negro Leagues before the MLB allowed any Black players to join in 1947. This is Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. Aaron was signed with the Negro Leagues’ Indianapolis Clowns in 1951 when he was just 17 years old. He then played in the Major Leagues for over 20 years, famously breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record.
Hank Aaron: “I got my start in the Negro League, and I will be forever grateful. Thank you. Congratulations.”
That was Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron “tipping his cap” as part of the “Tip of the Cap” campaign honoring pioneering Black baseball players.