1h ago 00:59
That’s it for me tonight. Thanks for reading along! Here’s some of what we covered:
A federal appeals court struck down Tennessee’s controversial abortion law, ruling that the ban on the procedure after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — near the six-week mark — was “constitutionally unsound”.
2h ago 00:37
Tennessee’s controversial abortion law was blocked by a federal appeals court today, ruling that the measure was “constitutionally unsound”.
The law banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which typically occurs around 6 weeks into the pregnancy — often before many women know they are pregnant.
“Although this circuit’s recent—and alarming—decisions have broadened the extent to which the government may impede a person’s constitutional right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term, the law remains clear that if a regulation is a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion, it is invalid,” the court said in the ruling.
“Today is a huge win for pregnant people in Tennessee,” said Rabia Muqaddam, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement. “While we are relieved that the court has reinstated a full block on these abortion bans, we must remain vigilant,” she added, noting that a case that makes it before the conservative-majority supreme court could overturn Roe v. Wade. “Congress must act swiftly to protect abortion access and declare abortion bans like these illegal by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act,” she said.
The decision follows last week’s controversial ruling from the US supreme court over a similar law in Texas, that granted victory to anti-abortion advocates and allowed the law to be enforced.
2h ago 00:03
The man known as the “QAnon Shaman” — who was pictured during the Capitol riot with his face painted underneath a fur hat adorned with horns — has been denied temporary release.
Jacob Chansley pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding last week and asked to be freed from prison while he awaits sentencing. Today, a federal judge denied that request in a 9-page order, saying that “no condition or combination of conditions would ensure that he would not flee”.
3h ago 23:50
Florida’s ban on mask mandates in schools —which penalizes school systems that require students to mask-up to stop the spread of Covid — is now under investigation by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The order, which was issued by Governor Ron DeSantis and is currently being challenged in court, will be evaluated by the federal agency for whether it fails to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
At the end of August, the agency announced it was launching directed investigations into whether 5 states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah — were discriminating against students with disabilities with their anti-mask-mandate orders.
“The Department has heard from parents from across the country – particularly parents of students with disabilities and with underlying medical conditions – about how state bans on universal indoor masking are putting their children at risk and preventing them from accessing in-person learning equally,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement. “It’s simply unacceptable that state leaders are putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve.”
Florida was initially left off the list because its order wasn’t being enforced, the result of a ruling from Circuit Judge John C. Cooper last month, that the state couldn’t continue penalizing schools. Earlier today however, Florida was granted approval to start enforcing the order again while the appeals process continues. The investigation announcement from the Department of Education came just hours after the appeals court decision was issued.
In a letter sent to the Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran today, the agency wrote that it “is concerned that Florida’s policy requiring public schools and school districts to allow parents to opt their children out of mask mandates may be preventing schools in Florida from meeting their legal obligations not to discriminate based on disability and from providing an equal educational opportunity to students with disabilities who are at heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19”.
3h ago 23:23
Zebras may still on the loose in the suburbs of Washington DC, but at least one thing is now clear — Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton did not set them free.
“My alibi is solid” she said in a statement, according to the Huffington Post, noting that she was home enjoying time with family last weekend when the striped equines began their adventure.
The DC delegate was accused by a member of the public as commentary about her battle to make DC a state.
Norton said a member of the public accused her of letting the zebras free by pointing out that she has historically valued the principle of “consent of the governed,” or the philosophy that a government’s right to use state power is justified only when consented to by the people or society over which that political power is exercised.
Norton said it’s true that she values that philosophy, particularly in her fight for D.C. statehood. She added that she opposes unnecessary fences, too.
For those reasons, Norton said, she can see why someone would accuse her of setting the zebras free. But it’s not true.
“I can understand why the charge was made,” said the D.C. delegate. “I hope the owners find the zebras and that all involved live long, full lives.”
4h ago 22:51
The Justice Department has challenged the ruling by a US District judge in Texas, who found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (or DACA) to be unlawful.
In July, Judge Andrew Hanen ruled against the Obama-era program and barred the government from approving new applications. Current participants were allowed to continue as litigation progressed.
Today the Biden Administration’s filed a notice to appeal, according to CNN, moving on previous comments from the president that he was “not letting this go”.
“They come here with really no choice and they’re good, good people,” Biden said during a CNN townhall of the hundreds of thousands of people participating in the program, referred to as
4h ago 22:24
Gabrielle Canon here, taking you through the news for the rest of the afternoon from the west coast.
A New York Times investigation has shed light on an American drone strike in Afghanistan — one of the last fired in the war that stretched over 20 years — and raised new questions about whether it was justified.
The missile launched at a vehicle by the US military killed 10 people in Kabul on August 29, including 7 children, according to the report. Reporters also discovered that officials did not identify who the driver before firing, even though they later alleged the target taken out was ISIS affiliated.
Now revealed to be Zemari Ahmadi, a US aid group worker, interviews and surveillance footage reviewed by the NYT suggests he may have been taking colleagues to and from work when he died in the blast, and that the large containers identified in his car were filled with water to be distributed to neighbors.
From the NYT:
According to one of Mr. Ahmadi’s passengers, a colleague who regularly commuted with him, the ride home was filled with their usual laughing and banter, but with one difference: Mr. Ahmadi kept the radio silent, as he was afraid of getting in trouble with the Taliban. “He liked happy music,” the colleague said. “That day, we couldn’t play any in the car.”
Mr. Ahmadi dropped off his three passengers, and then headed for his home near the airport. “I asked him to come in for a bit, but he said he was tired,” the last passenger said.
Although U.S. officials said that at that point they still knew little about Mr. Ahmadi’s identity, they had become convinced that the white sedan he was driving posed an imminent threat to troops at the airport.
When Mr. Ahmadi pulled into the courtyard of his home — which officials said was different than the alleged ISIS safe house — the tactical commander made the decision to strike his vehicle, launching a Hellfire missile at around 4:50 p.m.
Although the target was now inside a densely populated residential area, the drone operator quickly scanned and saw only a single adult male greeting the vehicle, and therefore assessed with “reasonable certainty” that no women, children or noncombatants would be killed, U.S. officials said.
4h ago 22:00
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Gabrielle Canon, will take over for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far: