Day 234: "Your refusal has cost all of us."
1/ The Justice Department sued Texas over its restrictive new abortion law, saying it was enacted “in open defiance of the Constitution.” The new anti-abortion law – the nation’s most restrictive – bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy and deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman terminate her pregnancy. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Texas law’s “unprecedented” design seeks “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible.” The Justice Department is seeking a preliminary injunction to prohibit enforcement of the Texas law while litigation continues, as well as a permanent order that the Texas ban is invalid and unenforceable. “It is settled constitutional law that ‘a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’” the lawsuit said. “But Texas has done just that.” Last week, the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law, known as Senate Bill 8, but didn’t rule on whether it was constitutional. The law took effect Sept. 1, effectively ending most abortions in the state, with no exceptions for rape or incest. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / CNBC)
- Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer criticized the court’s refusal to block the Texas abortion statute, saying the unsigned opinion last week “was very, very, very wrong — I’ll add one more very.” (NBC News / Washington Post)
2/ Biden ordered all businesses with more than 100 employees to require their workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face weekly testing. Biden also signed an executive order mandating vaccines for federal workers and contractors without an option for regular testing. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said, appealing to the roughly 80 million Americans who are eligible for shots but remain unvaccinated. “Your refusal has cost all of us.” The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans – about two-thirds of the American workforce. Businesses that ignore the mandate could face up to $14,000 per violation. Republican governors and the RNC, meanwhile, threatened to sue the administration over the vaccine mandates for businesses and federal workers. Biden replied: “Have at it.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / CNN / Axios)
3/ Unvaccinated people are about 11 times more likely to die of Covid-19, according to three studies from the CDC. The reports also found that people who were not fully vaccinated this spring and summer were 4.5 times more likely to become infected and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized. The CDC also found that all three vaccines remained effective at protecting most people against hospitalization and death, but efficacy dropped from 91% to 78% when the Delta variant became the dominant strain of the virus. (New York Times / Washington Post / Axios)
4/ A Florida appeals court reinstated the state’s ban on school mask mandates while a legal challenge makes its way through the courts. In July, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning mask mandates in public schools and threatened consequences for districts that defy the order. Last month, a circuit court judge ruled that the state exceeded its authority by blocking mask mandates in schools in a case brought by a group of parents. Miami-Dade County Public Schools – the fourth largest district in the U.S. – is among the 13 of Florida’s 67 districts that had imposed mask requirements in defiance of the governor’s order. In response, the Florida Board of Education imposed funding cuts for school board members in two districts that imposed mask mandates. Biden, meanwhile, accused Republican governors fighting mask mandates and other Covid-19 precautions in schools of being “cavalier with the health of these kids,” adding “We’re playing for real here. This isn’t a game.” (CNN / Reuters / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / CBS News)
5/ The Biden administration appealed a Texas court ruling that called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program unlawful. In July, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the 2012 DACA program violated the Administrative Procedures Act and ordered the Biden administration to stop approving new DACA applications. The decision, however, left intact the program’s benefits for the more than 600,000 active DACA recipients otherwise unable to obtain legal status after being brought to the U.S. as children. Currently, there are more than 55,000 first-time DACA applications pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services pending the Justice Department appeal. (CNN / Axios / The Hill)
poll/ 49% of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling his job as president, while 39% approve – a drop of six points in the last week. (YouGov)
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