• Breanna Crossman

Weekly News Blast | May 2-8

The most important events from the past week.


1. Controversy erupts after Supreme Court draft opinion leaked, potentially overturning Roe v. Wade.


Protests took place outside the Supreme Court hours after the opinion was leaked to Politico (Joe Flood/Flickr)


This Monday, a draft majority opinion by conservative Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Politico, inciting fierce backlash. The ruling in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization would allow Mississippi to outlaw nearly all abortions at or after 15 weeks, effectively ending the precedent set by the landmark trial Roe v. Wade in 1973.


In 16 states across the nation, the right to abortion has been guaranteed by state legislatures. Other states already have laws banning the procedure, with trigger laws able to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. While the authenticity of the leak has been confirmed by a statement by the Supreme Court, the final decision in the case is not expected for a few weeks.


However, the leak prompted protests across the country ― California, Texas, New York, and other states, with elected officials such as New York Attorney General Letitia James defending the right to abortion. On Twitter, President Joe Biden declared that “a woman’s right to choose is fundamental.” Over 1,000 people gathered in front of the Supreme Court following the leak, leading to increased security and fewer public appearances for Supreme Court justices.


The identity of the culprit has yet to be discovered, and the Supreme Court justices have asserted that their decision on the case is not final.


2. The Amber Heard and Johnny Depp defamation trial gains national attention.


This week, Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, for $50 million in damages is now in its fourth week. Depp alleges that an article Heard wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, describing her experience with domestic abuse, had negative impacts on his career, despite his name not being mentioned in the article. Heard is counter suing Depp for $100 million in damages. The case has garnered national attention as Heard alleges Depp physically and sexually abused her over the course of their marriage.


Depp sued Heard after her allegations of abuse damaged his career, ending his involvement in the anticipated Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them installment and several roles. The actor denies ever abusing Heard, claiming that Heard abused him throughout their relationship.


Makeup company Milani Cosmetics also stirred up controversy after posting a TikTok that contradicted the claims of Heard’s attorneys about the actress using makeup to cover up bruises from Depp. The TikTok, which quickly went viral, alleges that the product Heard claimed to use was not in circulation during the period she claimed to be using it. The company also stated that it is “not taking a formal stance on the trial, evidence or future outcome of the case.”


On Thursday, the trial broke for a one-week break and is set to resume on May 16 in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia.


3. Wildfires spread in New Mexico with devastating effects.


In dry weather and intense wind described by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as “the worst possible set of conditions for any fire,” six wildfires have spread rapidly across New Mexico. The worst fires are around the capital of Santa Fe, with approximately 266 square miles burned in the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon complex.


The scope of the wildfires have resulted in over 16,000 evacuations across the state as poor weather conditions have made fighting the fires difficult. U.S. Forest Service incident commander Dave Bales stated that helicopter and airplane pilots would be unable to fly for a few days due to winds at 60 miles per hour.


Beginning with two fires 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the fires spread at a rate of 50 acres per hour. With only 20% containment, the wildfires have burned more than 168,000 acres and is now the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history. 170 homes have already been destroyed with 15,000 in danger, as many New Mexico residents lose power.


On Wednesday, President Joe Biden declared the month-long wildfires a national disaster, granting federal aid to the scorched state. New Mexico has been under a severe drought for several months now, worsening the conditions that led to the destructive wildfires. Climate change has also made the region more prone to natural disasters in recent decades.


The situation is “a long-term event,” as San Miguel and Mora counties said in a joint release on Tuesday. “We don’t anticipate having ‘control’ of this fire any time soon.”


 

Sources & Further Reading