The week at a glance...United States

United States


Abortion ban upheld: A federal judge this week upheld Arizona’s strict new abortion law, which bans the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Judge James Teilborg of the U.S. District Court ruled that the law is constitutional because it does not prohibit women from making the decision to end their pregnancies, but may prompt them to decide earlier. The ban, which allows for exceptions for medical emergencies, reduces by a month the state’s current time limit on abortions, set at 24 weeks, when the fetus is considered to be able to survive outside the womb. Teilborg said that the state had provided “substantial and well-documented” evidence that an unborn child can feel pain during an abortion at 20 weeks. The Center for Reproductive Rights and another pro-choice group planned to file an emergency appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Arizona is one of 10 states to enact similar 20-week bans.

San Antonio

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Tea Party victory: Proving that the Tea Party is still a force in GOP politics, party favorite Ted Cruz handily won the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate race this week. Cruz, a 41-year-old former Texas solicitor general and first-time candidate for elected office, is a Princeton graduate with a Harvard Law degree who clerked for the Supreme Court and has proved to be a charismatic campaigner. The Cuban-American Cruz defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a powerful GOP figure who was endorsed by Gov. Rick Perry. Tea Party leaders are lauding Cruz as the first star of the 2012 campaign, noting that he’s heavily favored to win the Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. “He’s got the pedigree, he’s got all of it,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a first-wave Tea Party candidate. “In fact, we’ve joked that he’s too smart for the Senate to fit in.”

Rochester, Minn.

Jackson Jr. treated: Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who dropped from public view seven weeks ago, checked in to the Mayo Clinic last week, where he is undergoing treatment for “depression and gastrointestinal issues.” The hospital released no further details about Jackson’s condition, but the news of his whereabouts ended two months of speculation about his secretive medical leave from Congress beginning in June. Jackson, a popular politician from Chicago’s South Side, had been suffering from what his office described as “a mood disorder,” but the timing of his leave and subsequent silence raised questions. Jackson is facing a House ethics investigation into allegations that he was involved in discussions about raising money for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Blagojevich’s appointing him to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption. Jackson was not charged and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Truro, Mass.

Shark attack: In what witnesses said looked like a scene out of Jaws, beachgoers watched in horror as a dark dorsal fin broke the ocean’s surface near a man bodysurfing off Ballston Beach this week. Minutes later Christopher Myers was pulled from the water with severe cuts on both legs and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Officials reported that Myers was probably bitten by a great white shark. State Marine Fisheries official Gregory Skomal said the number of great white sightings has increased in the last few years, because of a growing seal population that lures the predators closer to shore. Nine great whites—up to 18 feet long—are being tracked by wildlife experts, who said this week that the sharks were within striking distance of Cape Cod beaches. Myers, who is recuperating in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said he feels “quite terrific” despite his harrowing ordeal.

Washington, D.C.

Fast and Furious report: In the first of three critical reports on the failed gun-running probe known as Fast and Furious, GOP congressional investigators have concluded that five senior officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responsible for an operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments, and inherently reckless strategy.” The operation was intended to track guns sold in Arizona that officials believed were headed for criminal cartels in Mexico. ATF officials allegedly lost track of many weapons, two of which were found at the scene along the Arizona-Mexico border where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. The Justice Department dismissed the report as “distortions and now-debunked conspiracy theories.”

Washington, D.C.

Post Office in default: The U.S. Postal Service failed to make a $5.5 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury this week, putting the 237-year-old government agency into default on its obligations. Confronting $11.1 billion in congressionally mandated payments to cover health-care costs for future retirees, Post Office officials said it couldn’t pay half that amount on time and didn’t foresee being able to pay the other half in September. Struggling to cut costs amid falling mail volume, the service cannot eliminate Saturday delivery, as it would like to, without congressional approval. A House committee passed a plan last year to close facilities and renegotiate labor contracts, but the full House has not yet taken up the measure. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) said there would “be no vote before the August recess.” “Stop punting on postal reform,” said Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.).

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.