Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 1, 2022

The Supreme Court limits the EPA's ability to restrict greenhouse gas emissions, Ketanji Brown Jackson joins the Supreme Court, and more


Supreme Court limits EPA authority to control greenhouse gas emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, marking a major setback for the Biden administration's push to replace coal-burning plants with cleaner energy sources to mitigate climate change. Capping carbon dioxide emissions to transition away from coal power "may be a sensible 'solution to the crisis of the day,'" but it's up to Congress, not the EPA, to make "a decision of such magnitude," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court's 6-3 conservative majority. In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the ruling "strips the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it."


Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in as 1st Black woman to serve on Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson took the judicial oath of office and became the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court on Thursday. Justice Jackson, 51, was sworn in as Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, officially retired at the end of the court's term. Jackson, who was confirmed earlier this year to replace Breyer when he stepped down, is the 116th justice and just the sixth woman to serve on the high court. Jackson made no statement during the swearing-in ceremony. Chief Justice John Roberts said he was "pleased to welcome Justice Jackson to the court and to our common calling." Jackson's arrival on the court doesn't change its ideological makeup, leaving the conservative majority at 6-3.


Supreme Court clears Biden to end 'Remain in Mexico' policy

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Biden can end former President Donald Trump's controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy. The policy requires some non-Mexican citizens detained at the southern U.S. border to return to Mexico to await the outcome of their applications for asylum. Texas and Missouri challenged Biden's efforts to lift the policy, and lower courts blocked Biden from reversing it. But the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Biden had the authority to wind down the program. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that an appeals court "erred in holding" that federal immigration law "required the government to continue implementing" the program, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols.


Biden supports suspending filibuster to pass abortion protections

President Biden said Thursday that he would back suspending the Senate's filibuster rule if necessary to pass a federal law protecting abortion rights following the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. "I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that," Biden said. Under the filibuster rule, most bills have to clear a 60-vote threshold to reach a final vote. With the Senate split 50-50, Democrats need their entire caucus and 10 Republicans to meet that bar. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized Biden, accusing him of undermining "equal justice and the rule of law."


Tractor-trailer in deadly smuggling attempt passed through checkpoint

The 18-wheeler used in a human-smuggling attempt that left 53 people dead inside its sweltering trailer traveled through an inland U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint with 73 migrants inside, a U.S. official said Thursday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it wasn't immediately clear whether the vehicle was stopped or passed unimpeded through the checkpoint on Interstate 35, 26 miles northeast of the border city of Laredo, Texas. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the tragedy, including the alleged driver of the truck, Homero Zamorano Jr. The Justice Department said Zamorano, 45, was found in a field near the truck, pretending to be one of the smuggled migrants who survived.


Florida judge blocks state's 15-week abortion ban

A Florida judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the state's new law banning all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The decision follows last week's Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established federal abortion protections. Planned Parenthood of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union had sued Florida earlier this month in a bid to stop the law, which Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in April. The plaintiffs argue the law violates a state constitutional amendment barring the government from intruding on people's personal lives. The 15-week ban is set to take effect Friday, and it could be in place a few days before the judge's paperwork is finalized. The state will likely appeal.


Russian missiles kill at least 19 near Odessa

A barrage of Russian missiles killed at least 19 people and wounded dozens more near Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa on Friday, days after a similarly deadly strike on a shopping mall in central Ukraine, according to Ukrainian authorities. Three of the missiles on Friday hit a nine-story apartment building. Another hit a resort. The strikes came a day after Ukraine reclaimed control of nearby Snake Island, a victory that had been expected to lower the threat level in Odessa, 80 miles away. The island became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance when soldiers posted there refused to surrender to the Russian Navy, radioing, "Russian warships, go f--k yourself." Russia said it was giving up the island to allow grain exports as a "goodwill gesture."


North Korea blames COVID outbreak on 'alien things' 

North Korea on Friday blamed the isolated communist-run nation's first COVID-19 outbreak on "alien things" people touched near the South Korean border. Pyongyang ordered North Korean citizens to "vigilantly deal with alien things coming by wind and other climate phenomena and balloons in the areas along the demarcation line and borders," according to the official KCNA news agency. North Korean defectors in South Korea have sent balloons carrying leaflets and humanitarian aid over the heavily fortified border for decades. North Korea said an 18-year-old soldier and a 5-year-old kindergartner tested positive for COVID-19 in April after coming into contact with such materials. South Korea's unification ministry said there was "no possibility" the virus could be transmitted through leaflets.


WNBA star Brittney Griner's trial starts in Russia

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner's trial started Friday in a Russian court. Griner, who plays for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, was arrested on drug smuggling charges after Russian authorities accused her of trying to carry cannabis vape cartridges through security in a Moscow airport. She could face 10 years in prison if convicted. Griner was detained in February, less than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine. Her wife, Cherelle, has said Griner is "a political pawn," and called for President Biden to negotiate her release. Russian media have suggested the Kremlin might release her in exchange for Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, now serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and providing aid to a terrorist organization.


Airlines face latest test in July 4th weekend rush

Airlines that have struggled with canceled and delayed flights over the last two holidays face a fresh test of their ability to handle crowds as travelers flock to airports over the Fourth of July weekend. Air travel has rebounded to near-pre-pandemic levels. Thunderstorms caused sporadic disruptions in the days before the weekend rush. American Airlines had to scrap 8 percent of its Tuesday and Wednesday flights, according to FlightAware. United Airlines canceled 4 percent. Travelers who plan to drive will face near-record fuel prices. The nationwide average gas price hit a nominal all-time high of $5.02 per gallon in mid-June, and was $4.86 a gallon on Thursday, according to AAA.


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