Abortion, Virus, George Floyd: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law restricting abortion.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said the law put an undue burden on the constitutional right to the procedure. If upheld, it could have left the state with a single abortion clinic.

It was the first abortion ruling since two judges appointed by President Trump joined the court. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. voting with the court’s four-member liberal wing in the third major case in two weeks. Above, an anti-abortion activist in front of the Supreme Court in Washington today.

The unexpected decision preserves the status quo for abortion access, at least for now, our reporters write in an analysis.

The bill, which has no chance in the Senate, passed just hours after the Trump administration said it had secured 500,000 treatment courses of a drug to treat Covid-19, remdesivir. Gilead Sciences will charge $2,340 per course.

In Austin, Texas, two friends got a coronavirus test at the same emergency center. One of them paid in cash and was charged $199. The other, who paid with insurance, was charged $6,408. Experts say such differences arise because the government does not regulate prices.

In other developments:

3. The judge overseeing the George Floyd case threatened to move the trial from Minneapolis.

While stopping short of issuing a gag order, Judge Peter Cahill warned the parties at a pretrial hearing against leaking information or offering opinions about the guilt or innocence of the four former police officers charged in Mr. Floyd’s death.

Lawyers for the officers cited “multiple inappropriate public comments” from local officials that they said had already prejudiced potential jurors. Above, the defendants, from left to right, Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng and Thomas Kiernan Lane.

The dying words “I can’t breathe” first came to wide attention after Eric Garner said them to the New York police officer who had him in a chokehold in 2014. They were Mr. Floyd’s last words to a Minneapolis officer.

But at least 70 people have died in law enforcement custody after saying “I can’t breathe” over the past decade, The Times found.


4. President Trump is losing swing voters as he focuses on his base.

While Republicans back him overwhelmingly, a national poll of registered voters by The Times and Siena College shows the president has the support of just 29 percent of independents — 18 points behind Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent.

And only 17 percent of independents strongly approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance, the poll shows. Above, Trump supporters at a rally in Tulsa on Saturday.

“It’s not enough to win re-election,” said Sara Fagen, the White House political director for President George W. Bush.

5. Moves to combat hate on social media are growing.

The social networking website Reddit banned its biggest community devoted to President Trump, called “The_Donald” and home to more than 790,000 users, saying it had consistently allowed people to target and harass others with hate speech.

Twitch, the livestreaming platform owned by Amazon, said it was suspending Mr. Trump’s channel for “hateful conduct.”

And Facebook has been hit by a growing boycott of advertisers, which are protesting its policies on misinformation and hate speech. Coca-Cola, Diageo, Starbucks, Levi Strauss and Patagonia have stopped ads on either all social networks or Facebook specifically.

Today, Mr. Trump retweeted a video of an armed white couple confronting protesters in St. Louis, a day after sharing on Twitter a video with a supporter yelling “white power.”

6. Nearly twice as many U.S. properties may be at risk of flooding as previously thought.

New calculations estimate that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million properties shown on federal government flood maps.

Cities as diverse as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Buffalo, N.Y., and Chattanooga, Tenn., show a large gap in the risk assessments. In Chicago alone, 75,000 properties have a previously undisclosed flood risk.

The First Street Foundation, which compiled the data, also created a website where people can check their own address.


7. A miles-long cloud of locusts swarmed India’s capital region over the weekend, the latest of about 20 invasions so far this year.

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