News Roundup 10/04/19

New Supreme Court Case Could Radically Change Abortion Laws

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review a 2014 Louisiana abortion law that practitioners in that state insist would force most of the abortion clinics in Louisiana to close. Since Trump’s ultra-conservative Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were sworn in, this is the first opportunity the now majority conservative court has had to hear a case that could up-end the ruling of Roe v Wade. In 2016, a then liberal majority court struck down a restrictive Texas abortion law. Justice John Roberts, who is now Chief Justice, was among three dissenting votes in 2016. With the addition of Trump’s two new Supreme Court appointees, many are saying that the conservative wing of the court could now have the votes to radically change abortion laws in the U.S.

Environmental Justice System

Environmental activists Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek face up to 110 years in prison for sabotaging several Dakota Access Pipeline valve sites. The two women were part of the indigenous peoples-led Dakota Access Pipeline protests that began in 2016. The protests were eventually defeated by a combination of police, private security, spies, attack dogs, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tear gas. The two women both confessed to the vandalism but say the act was “to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land, and liberty.” The trial is set to begin on December 2nd.

Sanders and Warren Each Raise More Money Than Biden 

Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren each raised around $25 million for their presidential campaigns this last quarter. Biden who has been considered the front runner in the Democratic primary race has 13 billionaire donors to Warren’s two and Sanders’ zero. Despite this both Sanders and Warren out fundraised Biden by around $10 million each through mostly small donations. Latest polls show Biden, Warren and Sanders are all within a few points of each other. Biden’s poll numbers have been steadily declining for months while Warren and Sanders have been steadily trending up.

ACLU Sues Homeland Security for 2018 Family Separation Policy

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is seeking compensation for thousands of migrant families whose children were separated from them crossing the U.S. border from Mexico. The lawsuit filed by the ACLU has not specified what dollar amount will be sought. Around 4,000 children were separated from their families as a result of the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the border in 2018. Reuniting the children with their families has been a difficult process as U.S. authorities did not keep organized records of which child belonged to what parent. In some cases, U.S. officials did not know what country a particular child was from. The policies were illegal according to the ACLU, and child welfare experts say the children separated from their families have experienced irreparable trauma.

California Gas Prices Continue to Rise

Gas prices in California hit a 5 year high last week and are expected to rise even more in the coming week. That puts California at $1.50 a gallon higher than the national average. Problems at local refineries, California’s nation high gas tax and its carbon program are partially to blame. Attacks on the largest oil processing facility on earth, located in Saudi Arabia, last month has also contributed to the price hike as 20% of California’s oil is obtained from the Saudis. Experts are saying prices could drop soon but not before they rise another 20-50 cents next week.