Dissent Over Breonna Taylor’s Case
By now, news of the death of Breonna Taylor has reached most of us. Protesters have chanted her name across the nation, and her face has become sealed in history by murals and street art. She was killed on March 13 during a police raid on her apartment. Her death sparked an uproar of protests and demands of justice. However, in new Kentucky court rulings, Brett Hakinson was the only of the three officers involved in the raid to be dismissed from the police force. He was charged for the possible endangerment of Ms. Taylor’s neighbors, as he recklessly shot through a patio door into another apartment. No one was charged for Breonna Taylor’s death, and Hankinson’s bail was set quite low.
More and more protests for justice for Breonna Taylor are appearing. Marches in New York included around 2,000 protestors. There have been many back and forth incidents between police and protestors during these past few days. Protesters in Portland threw a Molotov Cocktail - a bottle full of flammable liquid and some form of ignition - at police officers. Videos of police running over protesters with their bikes have been posted from marches in Seattle. It’s not all just between the police and activists -- in Buffalo, a truck drove through a crowd of protesters and struck one on a bike. There is a large amount of dissent about the decisions in the case, and it doesn’t seem like it will be dying down any time soon.
Trump Refuses to Guarantee a Peaceful Transfer of Power
During a press conference last Wednesday, President Trump refused to agree to a peaceful transfer of power if he was to lose the 2020 election, saying “we’re going to have to see what happens” to Brian Karem, a reporter for Playboy and CNN, who asked the president if he would “commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferal of power”. Trump argued that voting ballots are a “disaster”, continuing his efforts to discredit vote-by-mail and destabilize voter trust. When pressed again, the president said, “There won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shot back, saying “you are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia. And by the way Mr. President, you are not in Saudi Arabia. You are in the United States of America, it is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office to the Constitution of the United States.” This exchange came with fewer than 40 days left before the election.
Supreme Court Pick Announced
Following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a seat on the Supreme Court bench is now vacant. Many choices for the position have been reviewed, and President Trump recently announced that Amy Coney Barrett is his nominee for the Supreme Court. Barrett currently serves on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and has previously worked as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame for almost two decades; she was also clerked for late Justice Scalia. She will be President Trump's third nominee for the Supreme Court. If her nomination is confirmed, she will be the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and at 48 years old, could be the youngest judge on the bench.
Barrett shares many ideologies with religious conservatives since she is a devoted member of the Catholic faith, particularly on topics like healthcare and gun rights. Many believe that she could also be the deciding vote in the possibility of overthrowing the court case Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to an abortion. Barrett and her husband have seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti.
Senate leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump say that this nomination should be completed quickly, i.e. before election day. President Trump said that, "This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation." McConnell also stated, "The Court, the Senate, and the American people — not to mention the nominee and her family — deserve a fair process that is focused on Judge Barrett's qualifications. I hope all 100 Senators will treat this serious process with the dignity and respect it should command."
Trump Administration Gives Thumbs Up to Rainforest Deforestation
This week, the White House moved to allow development in many of our country’s national forests. The most notable area where logging and destruction will now be allowed is in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. As the largest national forest in America, and the northernmost rainforest in the world, the Tongass is a refuge to wolves, otters, beavers, brown bears, and a plethora of other diverse wildlife. The new regulations will allow roads to be built and the Alaskan logging industry to begin cutting down ancient trees. Environmentalists argue that doing so will release catastrophic amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. Many trees are over 400 years old, and serve as the main carbon absorber for the country, offsetting about 8% of the nation’s emissions. However, Alaskan government officials have been pushing for this in order to enhance the local economy.