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Republicans urge Supreme Court to topple Roe, slash abortion rights

WASHINGTON — A cascade of Republicans called on the U.S. Supreme Court to roll back constitutional abortion protections, potentially by overruling the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure nationwide.

In a brief filed Thursday, 228 GOP members of Congress urged the court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy — and overturn Roe along the way if necessary. A separate brief from 12 Republican governors asked the court to toss out its abortion-rights precedents, arguing that “the authority to regulate abortion should be returned to the states.”

The congressional filing, following a separate one Monday on behalf of three GOP senators, puts virtually the entire Republican caucus on record as opposing the 1973 Roe decision. Only three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — opted not to join the brief.

“Mississippi’s case provides the court a chance to release its vise grip on abortion politics,” argued the 228 lawmakers,represented by the advocacy group Americans United for Life. “Congress and the states have shown that they are ready and able to address the issue in ways that reflect Americans’ varying viewpoints and are grounded in the science of fetal development and maternal health.”

The brief said the court should overturn Roe and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling “if necessary.”

The Mississippi case will mark the court’s first look at abortion rights since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation last year gave the court three Donald Trump appointees and a 6-3 conservative majority. The court, which accepted Mississippi’s appeal in May after months of behind-the-scenes deliberations, hasn’t yet set an argument date. A ruling is likely by June2022.

—Bloomberg News

San Diego sailor to be charged in connection with Bonhomme Richard fire

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based sailor suspected of setting the devastating fire on the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard last year is facing criminal charges in the case, the Navy announced Thursday.

“On July 29, charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice were brought forth against a Navy Sailor in response to evidence found during the criminal investigation into the fire started on USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on July 12, 2020,” said Cmdr.Sean Robertson, a spokesperson for the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet.

“The Sailor was a member of Bonhomme Richard’s crew at the time and is accused of starting the fire,” Robertson said.

The sailor is not currently confined to the brig, Robertson told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday.

 

A month after the fire, news broke that the service suspected arson. That same month, Navy investigators searched the home and property of a sailor based on the ship.

Earlier this month, the Union-Tribune first reported that the sailor was detained at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar brig for a short time last year. However, the sailor’s lawyer said he was released in November and he hadn’t heard from the Navy since.

The Navy did not name the sailor facing charges. It is unknown whether the sailor charged is the same one previously held in the brig.

—The San Diego Union-Tribune

Death toll hits 5 in German industrial blast as three bodies found

COLOGNE, Germany — Three bodies were found in the ruins of a garbage incinerator that blew up this week in the western German city of Leverkusen, according to prosecutors and police on Thursday.

The bodies were found as investigators began their on-site probe of the blast at the chemical plant in a Leverkusen industrial park.

This puts the official death toll at five, as two bodies were found within hours of Tuesday's blast. Two people remain missing,said prosecutors. Officials have already said there is little hope of finding any more survivors. There were 31 injured in the accident.

It took two days to get the site safe enough so that investigators could enter. However, there is little likelihood that the cause of the blast would be discovered immediately, a police spokesperson said.

Police were accompanied by the environmental authorities, company experts and criminal investigators. Drones will also be used.

—dpa