1/ The Biden administration appealed a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that would block access to the widely-used abortion drug mifepristone. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas suspended the FDA’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill, while another federal judge in Washington State ordered the FDA to keep the pill available. Despite the conflicting orders by two federal judges, mifepristone continues to be available – for now – since the Texas judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, stayed his own order for seven days to allow the FDA time to file an appeal. It’s the first time a federal judge has blocked an approved drug over the objection of the FDA. The Justice Department, meanwhile, asked the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals to suspend Kascmaryk’s order, arguing that the “extraordinary and unprecedented” ruling upends the status quo and should be blocked while they pursue a full appeal of the case. “If allowed to take effect,” Justice Department lawyers said, “the court’s order would thwart FDA’s scientific judgment and severely harm women.” The government asked the appeals court to issue its decision by Thursday at noon. Kascmaryk’s order is set to take effect Friday. (Washington Post / ABC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Axios / The Hill / NBC News)
- Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said “everything is on the table” following a Texas federal judge’s ruling to suspend the FDA’s approval of the medication abortion drug mifepristone. “What you saw by that one judge in that one court in that one state — that’s not America,” Becerra said of the ruling issued Friday by District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. (CNN / Politico)
2/ Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas defended the luxury vacations he accepted from a Republican megadonor for more than two decades, saying he was advised “by colleagues and others in the judiciary” that the trips were “personal hospitality” that didn’t need to be disclosed. Last week it was revealed that Thomas had traveled by private jet and yacht at the invitation of Harlan Crow, a Texas real estate billionaire, who is reportedly an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia and has a garden full of statues of the 20th century’s worst dictators. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court justice said Crow and his wife, Kathy, are “dearest friends” and, “as friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter-century we have known them.” A Judicial Conference committee adopted new rules that require Supreme Court justices and all federal judges to disclose all complimentary trips, travel by private jet, and stays at commercial properties, such as hotels, ski resorts or other private retreats owned by a company, rather than an individual. (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / CNN)
3/ The two former Democratic lawmakers, who were expelled by Republican colleagues from the Tennessee House, will likely get their seat back. Nashville’s Metro Council could return Justin Jones to the Legislature when it votes to fill the vacant position on an interim basis, while Justin Pearson could be reappointed at a meeting of the Shelby County Commission in his district. Jones, Pearson, and Gloria Johnson led a protest calling for gun reform on the House floor after a shooting at a Nashville school killed six people, including three 9-year-old children. Jones and Pearson, who are Black, were voted out, while Johnson, who is white, was spared expulsion by a single vote. (NPR / Associated Press / NBC News)
4/ The Washington State Senate approved a ban on the sale and manufacture of assault weapons in the state. While the bill bans the sale, manufacture, and import of assault weapons, it does not ban the possession of an assault weapon and it allows for ownership by law enforcement and military service members. The proposal passed the state House last month, setting the measure up to go to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. If signed into law, Washington would join nine other states that have enacted bans on the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons. (Fox 13 / King 5 / Seattle Times)
5/ A gunman killed four people and nine others were injured in a mass shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky. The gunman, Connor Sturgeon, was an employee of Old National Bank and used an AR-15-style rifle. He livestreamed the attack on Instagram. Sturgeon was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with the police. There have been at least 145 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. (New York Times / CNN / Associated Press / Washington Post / NPR / ABC News / NBC News)
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