5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: July 1

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience.

1. A Recap of Happenings in the Supreme Court

With the overturn of Roe v. Wade, expanded gun rights and a ruling in favor of allowing teachers to lead students in prayer, the majority-conservative Supreme Court has made several right-wing moves in recent weeks, and it doesn’t look like they are finished.

The Supreme Court also ruled to curb the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants, which is a major blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to cut emissions “at a moment when scientists are sounding alarms about the accelerating pace of global warming,” CNN reports.

During a June virtual town hall, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the Supreme Court has exhibited an abuse of authority and has created a “very scary moment in our Democracy.”

To combat this overreach from the nation’s High Court, she said she is in “favor of is really exploring every single tool in our arsenal to check the gross overreach and abuse of authority by the Supreme Court of the United States.”

One approach to this would be for President Biden to expand the Supreme Court as it hasn’t been expanded since the 1800s when it was done to appoint nine Justices to represent the nine circuit courts. There are now 13 circuit courts, so the President could appoint four more Justices.

In more positive Supreme Court news, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in Thursday as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court by retiring Stephen Breyer.

2. Four Contenders in Wisconsin’s Democratic Primary Claim to be Top Defenders of Roe v. Wade

Four Democratic contenders who believe they are the best defenders of Roe v. Wade will be on the ballot for Wisconsin’s primary election for U.S. Senator on August 9. The person who wins as the Democratic nominee will run against Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in November, who is running for his third term.

The four top-tier candidates in the state are Mandela Barnes, who is currently Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

Each of these candidates wants to remove the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade and none of the candidates believes in abortion restrictions. According to Politico, “Senate races in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania represent Democrats’ best chance to net two extra Senate seats — enough, presumably, to chip away at chamber rules that empower the minority party to block legislation. President Joe Biden boosted their effort Thursday by endorsing an exemption to the 60-vote threshold to preserve nationwide abortion rights.”

Barnes is currently being backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.). The 35-year-old Lieutenant Governor for months now has been leading the polls, but Lasry is catching up to him. Both Lasry’s and Godlewski’s campaigns are self-funded, Politico reports.

3. Sen. John Cornyn’s Tweet About SCOTUS Ruling Causes Uproar on Social Media

In a response to a Tweet from former President Barack Obama denouncing the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. John Cornyn said “Now do Plessy vs Ferguson/Brown vs Board of Education.”

The Tweet went viral online and has sparked debate over what the Senator meant by this statement, with many saying it was racist. U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat, was one person with this belief, saying that it sounded like Cornyn was calling for a return to segregated schools.

Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark decision made in 1954 by the Supreme Court to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson and declared that the “separate but equal” notion was unconstitutional for public schools and educational facilities in the U.S. Republican pollster Logan Dobson disagreed, saying that Cornyn was saying “Brown v Board of Education correctly overturned 50+ years of Plessy’s precedent, thereby pointing out that something being precedent for 50 years doesn’t really have anything to do with it being correctly decided.”

When news outlet WFAA reached out to Cornyn’s office for comment on his reply to Obama’s Tweet, a spokesperson pointed the outlet to a follow-up Tweet that said “Thank goodness some SCOTUS precedents are overruled.”

4. Essence Festival Kicks Off Weekend of Celebrating Black Joy and Culture

During a press conference at the Ashes Powerhouse Theater in New Orleans on Thursday, speakers started off Essence Magazine’s annual celebration of Black women and culture by recognizing event sponsors and the City of New Orleans for its leadership and uniquely Afro-centric identity.

The theme for this year’s event centers around Black joy, which is conveyed through the tagline “It’s the Black Joy for Me.” Target’s Laysha Ward spoke of this theme in her remarks.

“Over the next four days, Target and Essence are working together to create a space for us to experience Black joy,” Ward said. “We’re going to celebrate and rest because we need that and we deserve that. We’re often pushed to be so resilient, but we need to rest and I’m somewhat tired of hearing about us being resilient. This is a chance to lift up all the things that make us unique, beautiful and powerful.”

Check back to Fair360, formerly DiversityInc for more coverage from Essence Fest.

5. Pride Month Recap

In honor of Pride Month, Fair360, formerly DiversityInc kicked off its four-part Champions of Pride series, honoring the trailblazers, freedom fighters and history makers who fought to increase inclusion and representation for the LGBTQ community. Read through the series below:

This Pride Month, Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Senior Business Writer Linda Bell sat down with Joshua Kennedy, Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership trainer and co-chair for the Kaiser Permanente Pride business resource group, to discuss his journey toward recognizing his identity. 

Watch the video to learn about how Kennedy underwent 13 years of conversion/reparative therapy, how he identifies as a non-binary person and more.