Reports: SCOTUS Chief Roberts, Justice Thomas clash with Roe in balance. Ulvade: Police stood by while school shooter rampaged. 5000-year-old tree in Chile may be world’s oldest.
Reports: SCOTUS Chief Roberts, Justice Thomas clash with Roe in balance
Analysts have perceived recent comments by senior conservative Justice Clarence Thomas as indicative of a behind-the-scenes clash of cultures on the court. Specifically, court watchers are pitting Thomas against Chief Justice John Roberts. However, Thomas’ full comments leave some doubt as to what (or who) he blames for the breakdown of relations between colleagues. But Thomas does imply the recent leak of the draft opinion on Roe v. Wade is a symptom of a loss of trust among Justices rather than its cause.
It is fair to say that the conservative movement as a whole, of which Thomas is a part, has had cause to be frustrated with Chief Roberts. Though a conservative himself (appointed by George W. Bush), Roberts has in recent years thwarted a number of attempts to push the court in a more right-wing direction. During the years when the conservative majority was 5-4, Roberts became a swing vote. For example, Roberts voted to uphold Obamacare and DACA, and to strike down extreme abortion restrictions in Louisiana. But since Trump appointed three Justices to the court, creating a 6-3 conservative majority, Roberts’ path to steering the court down the middle has become more of a tightrope.
Roe v. Wade
Mark Kende of the Drake University Law School says “Chief Justice Roberts has tried to be a justice who looks after the institutional integrity of the court, and this has to be kind of his worst nightmare”. Sources familiar with deliberations have said that Roberts is not in favor of overturning Roe entirely. Rather he wants to uphold the Mississippi law Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, restricting abortions to 15 weeks, but leave Roe in place.
Justice Thomas has long been an outspoken critic of Roe and has made clear in his written opinions that he wants it overturned. Thomas now has allies in Bush appointee Alito, and Trump appointees Gorsuch, Cavanaugh and Barrett. Reports say that Roberts is hoping to convince at least one of them not to do away with Roe entirely.
Roberts seems to have concerns about what such a radical decision would have on the legacy of the court that will forever bear his name as its Chief. His concerns about undoing long-standing precedent may be well-founded. A recent poll indicates that the leaked draft opinion has put the court’s approval rating underwater for the first time since 2017. Back in March, a majority (54%) approved of the court while 44% disapproved. Now, 55% disapprove of the court. Another poll reveals that 66% of Americans do not want Roe completely struck down.
Texas school shooting: Cops stood by while killer rampaged inside
Since Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, TX, reports have emerged from multiple witnesses saying that police refused to enter the school to stop the shooter, despite the urgings of anxious parents and other onlookers outside.
Officials say the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, first “encountered” the school’s armed security guard at the door. There are conflicting accounts as to whether or not Ramos and the guard traded gunfire. Ramos then barricaded himself inside two joined classrooms for between 40 minutes to an hour. It was only when nearby Border Patrol Agents showed up and asked a staff member to unlock the classroom that Ramos was killed. By then, Ramos had killed 19 children and two teachers and wounded 17 others.
Outside, Javier Cazares, who lost his daughter Jacklyn, in the attack, tried to rally other civilian bystanders to rush into the school as police did nothing. raised the idea of charging into the school with several other bystanders. “Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” Cazares later said to reporters. Cazares said “More could have been done”, and that police were “unprepared”.
Video from the scene
Multiple videos are circulating online showing distressed parents outside the school pleading with heavily armed officers clad in tactical gear to enter the school. Officers are also seen restraining parents attempting to rush past them. You can see a portion of one of the videos by clicking here, but it’s hard to hear exactly what’s being said. This report describes what transpires in one of the videos, which is over an hour long. Parents and onlookers can be heard screaming, berating and pleading with police to do something.
Director of Texas’ Department of Public Safety Steve McCraw defended the officers’ response. “The bottom line is law enforcement was there,” McCraw said. “They did engage immediately. They did contain (Ramos) in the classroom.” In fact it was Ramos who barricaded himself in the classroom.
Chile: Ancient cypress may be world’s oldest tree at 5000 years
Researchers have identified an enormous cypress tree in Chile which may be more than 5000 years old. The tree is a Patagonian cypress, known locally as Alerce Milenario and also sometimes called Great Grandfather. Its trunk is over 13 foot thick and it stands nearly 190-ft tall.
Work by Chilean scientist Dr. Jonathan Barichivich of the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory in Paris, suggests that the tree could be up to 5,484 years old. Barichivich attempted to bore a hole in the tree in 2020 to extract a sample that would allow him to count its rings and thus determine its age. However, his boring equipment wasn’t able to reach the core. So Barichivich used computer modeling, factoring in climate and environmental variables to approximate Great Grandfather’s age.
If Barichivich is correct, Great Grandfather is more than 600 years older than the current record holder, a 4,853-year-old bristlecone pine in California known as Methuselah.
Please share any thoughts, comments or questions in the Comments section below!abortion, Chief Justice John Roberts, Chile, climate science, environmental science, international news, Justice Clarence Thomas, national news, New Albany MS, Northeast Mississippi news, police, Roe V Wade, school shooting, science, Texas, US news, US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), world news, world records