PHOENIX – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Arizona’s attempt to implement a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a development that doesn’t disturb most similar prohibitions other states have on the books.
The justices declined to reconsider a federal appeals court’s ruling that the Arizona law violates a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb.
“Viability” of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed the ban into law in April 2012. Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier.
In its ruling last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said such bans violate a long string of Supreme Court rulings starting with the seminal Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
However, most other states’ 20-week bans haven’t been challenged in court, and the 9th Circuit’s ruling is binding only in its nine-state territory.
FAA to investigate plane’s wrong landing
Federal officials will investigate why a Southwest Airlines flight landed Sunday at the wrong airport in southwest Missouri, coming safely to a screeching stop on a shorter runway about 7 miles from its intended destination in Branson.
Southwest Flight 4013, with 124 passengers and a crew of five, left Chicago’s Midway International Airport bound for Branson Airport, then on to Dallas. But the plane, a Boeing 737-700, landed instead at Taney County Airport, according to a statement from the airline.
The airline gave no reason for why the plane landed at the second airport, which does not usually handle bigger jets because it has shorter runways than those at Branson Airport.
Lawmakers to look into bridge traffic jams
TRENTON, N.J. – For Gov. Chris Christie, the questions about the traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge are just beginning, as New Jersey Democrats announced a new investigative committee that would push to figure out who ordered the four-day traffic snarl, and why.
Democratic leaders in the state Assembly said the committee would begin with the bridge closure and possibly expand to look into other allegations of political retribution by Christie, considered one of the leading contenders in the 2016 Republican presidential field.
“An abuse of power like this is not something we will stand for,” said Vincent Prieto, the Assembly speaker-elect.
Tap water ban ended in some parts of state
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Safe tap water gushed from faucets and shower heads in West Virginia on Monday, a welcome sight and sound for a small fraction of the 300,000 people who have not been able to use running water since a chemical spill five days ago.
It could still be days before everyone in the Charleston metropolitan area is cleared to use the water, though officials said the water in certain designated areas was safe to drink and wash with as long as people flushed out their systems. By Monday evening, officials had given the green light to about 15 percent of West Virginia American Water’s customers, and company spokeswoman Laura Jordan said as much as 25 percent of its customer base could have water by the end of the day.