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Justices signal they’ll OK new abortion limits, may toss Roe

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Abortion rights at stake in historic Supreme Court arguments

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Wednesday signaled it would uphold Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortion and may go much further to overturn the nationwide right to abortion that has existed for nearly 50 years.

The fate of the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States and its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe, probably won’t be known until next June.

But after nearly two hours of arguments, all six conservative justices, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, indicated they would uphold the Mississippi law.

At the very least, such a decision would undermine Roe and Casey, which allow states to regulate but not ban abortion up until the point of viability, at roughly 24 weeks.

And there was also substantial support among the conservative justices for getting rid of Roe and Casey altogether.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, asked a series of questions about whether the court would be better off withdrawing from the abortion debate and letting states decide.

“Why should the court be the arbiter?” Kavanaugh asked. “There’ll be different access in Mississippi and New York, Alabama and California,.”

Abortion would soon become illegal or severely restricted in roughly half the states if Roe and Casey are overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. Legislatures in many Republican-led states are poised for action depending on the Supreme Court’s next decision.

The court’s three liberal justices said that reversing Roe and Casey would significantly damage the court’s legitimacy.

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked.

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New lawsuits challenge federal agencies over land exchange with PolyMet mining company

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New lawsuits challenge federal agencies over land exchange with PolyMet mining company

Minnesota environmental groups and a Native American band filed lawsuits challenging federal agencies over their approval of a land exchange with PolyMet.

In 2018, the company exchanged 6,900 acres of its land for 6,500 acres of U.S. Forest Service land where it plans to build its open-pit copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, a coalition led by the Center for Biological Diversity argued the Forest Service relied on a flawed 2016 biological opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that said the land exchange would not harm the Canada lynx, which is considered a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S Army Corps of engineers were named in the complaint.

A similar coalition of groups first filed the lawsuit in 2017, but a federal judge in 2019 denied the lawsuit without prejudice, leaving the door open for the lawsuit to be refiled.

Marc Fink, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Forum News Service that a provision under the Endangered Species Act requires agencies restart consultation in the face of new information.

He pointed to the plight of another threatened species, the northern long-eared bat, which has since been devastated by the white nose syndrome. The Forum News Service in 2019 reported a cave in Tower’s Soudan Underground Mine saw a 90% drop in population just six years after the disease was first found in the cave.

“By the time the biological opinion was prepared, the white nose syndrome had not made its way to Minnesota yet,” Fink said. “Numbers have really plummeted since then.”

The Center for Biological Diversity was joined in the lawsuit by Save Lake Superior Association, Save our Sky Blue Waters, Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest and Duluth for Clean Water.

Separately, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa on Monday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota against the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The band said potential pollution from the project would impair its treaty “right to hunt, fish, and gather throughout” in the area it ceded to the federal government in 1854.

The band said that when the U.S. acquired the land in 1935, it was under the Weeks Act, which was meant to product the headwaters of the St. Louis River.

“The Weeks Act only authorizes the Forest Service to exchange the Federal Land if the land to be acquired is ‘chiefly valuable’ for the purpose of ‘regulation of the flow of navigable streams or for the production of timber,’” the band wrote.

The band asked the court to declare the land exchanged violated federal law and to “vacate and set aside the Forest Service’s approvals of the Land Exchange and the Land Exchange itself, including related regulatory and real estate transactions associated therewith.”

Bruce Richardson, a spokesperson for PolyMet, said the company was reviewing the complaints and intended to participated in the lawsuits.

PolyMet is planning an open-pit mine, tailings basin and processing facility near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt. The mine would be the first of its kind in Minnesota, but a number of its permits continue to face legal challenges.

Opponents fear its location in the Lake Superior watershed could lead to widespread pollution from acid runoff.

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Crash closes lanes of EB I-255 in south St. Louis County

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Crash closes lanes of EB I-255 in south St. Louis County

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A crash has closed all lanes of I-255 eastbound past Telegraph Road.

The crash happened around 7:49 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Drivers are urged to use an alternate route. The estimated clearance time is 10:45 p.m.

FOX 2 will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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Suspect in custody after woman stabbed at Maryland Heights hotel

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Suspect in custody after woman stabbed at Maryland Heights hotel

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — Police said a suspect is in custody after a woman was stabbed multiple times at a Maryland Heights hotel early Tuesday morning.

The incident happened inside a hotel room at the Extended Stay America located on Lackland Road. When officers arrived, they found the victim crying out for help with multiple stab wounds.

Some guests said they woke up to a crime scene.

“I was scared for our lives. It was terrifying when I woke up and heard her say get off me,” said a hotel guest, identified only as Daniel. “There was a big loud commotion, and I got woke up, and after that, we ended up hearing more commotion going on. This lady was getting assaulted. Dishes flying, furniture breaking, iron boards, all of that.”

Investigators said the incident happened between a man and a woman who knew each other, yet it’s unclear what type of relationship they had.

“The female was assaulted by the male. She had multiple stab wounds that are non-life-threatening,” said Maryland Heights police officer Terry Mancusi.

The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment.

The local non-profit Harrison Referral Services connects domestic violence victims with resources. The CEO and founder, Lizzie Harrison, said her heart goes out to the victim and her family.

“In my first marriage, I was a victim of domestic violence,” Harrison said. “My abuser tried to kill me. He stalked me. I had three children, and I had to run for my life.”

Harrison said she has noticed an uptick in domestic violence cases.  Authorities said if you know someone in a domestic violence situation to seek help immediately.

“We need to get you help, if you are in a relationship, whether you are a male or female so that you don’t become victim of an assault,” said officer Mancusi.

If you know someone in a domestic violence situation you can visit the following link for resources: https://harrisonsreferralservices.com/about/

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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