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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday called a special session for the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal the state’s dormant 173-year-old law banning abortion, a move that’s more likely to win him political points with his Democratic base in a reelection year than it is to result in a repeal.

Republicans legislators support banning abortion and are not obligated to take any action during the special session. They ignored other special session that Evers called asking them to take action on issues such as gun control, increasing school funding and sending rebate checks to taxpayers.

“This isn’t about politics — it’s about empathy, compassion, and doing the right thing,” Evers said in a statement. “It’s about making sure the people we care about get the healthcare they need when they need it.”

All of the Republicans running in the Aug. 9 primary to challenge Evers support a total ban on abortion, with no exceptions for circumstances such as rape or incest. Republicans are expected to retain their strong legislative majority following the November election.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu did not immediately reply to messages seeking their reaction to Evers’ special session call. Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in May that he would like to see exceptions for rape and incest if Wisconsin’s ban on abortion takes effect, signaling future political fights over the scope of the ban should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Evers called on the Legislature to meet on June 22 to repeal the dormant 1849 law that makes abortion a criminal offense except to save the recipient’s life. If the Supreme Court repeals repeals Roe, as was detailed in a leaked draft opinion, the state law would go back into effect.


Three more nations on Tuesday joined an international investigation team probing war crimes in Ukraine, and the International Criminal Court prosecutor said he plans to open an office in Kyiv, amid ongoing calls for those responsible for atrocities since Russia’s invasion to be brought to justice.

Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia signed an agreement during a two-day coordination meeting in The Hague to join Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine in the Joint Investigation Team that will help coordinate the sharing of evidence of atrocities through European Union judicial cooperation agency Eurojust.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said the teamwork underscores the international community’s commitment to the rule of law.

“I think it shows that there is this common front of legality that is absolutely essential, not just for Ukraine ... but for the continuation of peace and security all over the world,” he said.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has been widely condemned as an illegal act of aggression. Russian forces have been accused of killing civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and of repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure including hospitals and a theater in the besieged city of Mariupol that was being used as a shelter by hundreds of civilians. An investigation by The Associated Press found evidence that the March 16 bombing killed close to 600 people inside and outside the building.

Since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, the AP and PBS series Frontline have verified 273 potential war crimes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced killings of civilians as “genocide” and “war crimes,” while U.S. President Joe Biden has called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a war criminal” who should be brought to trial.

The team that met Monday and Tuesday at Eurojust’s headquarters in The Hague was established in late March, a few weeks after the ICC opened an investigation in Ukraine, after dozens of the court’s member states threw their weight behind an inquiry. Khan has visited Ukraine, including Bucha, and has a team of investigators — the largest team of prosecutors ever deployed by the international court — in the country gathering evidence.


The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval shortly before midnight Friday to a bill abortion rights advocates contend is needed to protect in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said lawmakers in Connecticut, a state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, needed to pass the legislation “in defense of our own values and our own legal system.” It comes after Texas enacted a law that authorizes lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a banned abortion, even in another state.

The bill, which already cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, passed in the Senate on a 25-9 vote. It now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The Democrat has said he will sign it.

Supporters voiced concern about the spate of new abortion restrictions being enacted in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in Oklahoma’s ongoing battle with Native American tribes over the state’s authority to prosecute people accused of crimes on Native American lands, following a 2020 Supreme Court decision.

The court agreed earlier this year to consider limiting its 2020 McGirt decision, a ruling that the state says has produced chaos in its courts.

The state’s appeal is in the case of Victor Castro-Huerta, who was charged with malnourishment of his 5-year-old stepdaughter and has since pleaded guilty to a federal child neglect charge and is awaiting sentencing.

He was initially convicted in state court but that conviction and his sentence were overturned because of the way the state courts interpreted the law in the aftermath of the McGirt ruling. The state appealed with the strong support of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and is the latest strain on his relationship with tribal leaders in the state.

In the 2020 case, the Supreme Court ruled that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. The ruling applied to the Muscogee reservation, but led to similar lower court rulings upholding the historic reservations of several other Native American tribes in Oklahoma, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Quapaw and Seminole nations that cover nearly the entire eastern half of the state.


The Texas Supreme Court on Friday paved the way for the nation’s toughest abortion law to remain in place in a ruling that again deflated clinics’ hopes of stopping — or even pausing — the restrictions anytime soon.

The ruling by the all-Republican court is the latest defeat for Texas abortion providers, which have now lost at both the U.S. Supreme Court and the state’s highest court since a ban on abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy took effect in September.

It is likely to further embolden other Republican-controlled states that are now pressing forward with similar laws, including neighboring Oklahoma, where many Texas women have crossed state lines to get an abortion for the past six months. The Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved a half-dozen anti-abortion measures, including a Texas-style ban.

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court turned on whether medical licensing officials had an enforcement role under the law known as Senate Bill 8, and therefore, could be sued by clinics that are reaching for any possible way to halt the restrictions.

But writing for the court, Justice Jeffrey Boyd said those state officials have no enforcement authority, “either directly or indirectly.”

Texas abortion providers did not immediately comment on the ruling but had already acknowledged they were running out of options and that the law would stay in place for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. Supreme Court has signaled in a separate case out of Mississippi that it would roll back abortion rights, and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, in a ruling that is expected later this year.

The number of monthly abortions in Texas fell by more than 50% in the two months after the law took effect, according to state health figures. But that data only tells part of the story, and researchers say The number of Texas women who are going online to get abortion pills by mail from has risen sharply.

The Texas law makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.


Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a group of families slated for eviction from a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighborhood can remain in their homes for the time being.

The ruling could work to ease tensions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which helped ignite the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last year.

The court ruled that the families can stay in their homes for now until Israel carries out a land arrangement, a process that could take years or may not be carried out at all, according to Ir Amim, an advocacy group that was not involved in the court case.

For the time being, the four families residing in the homes will be recognized as protected tenants. Each will deposit a largely symbolic rent amounting to $62 a month to a trust, until the property’s ownership is settled.

Sami Arsheid, a lawyer representing the families’ case before the court, said the decision was “something huge” that ran counter to the previous 63 rulings by Israeli courts on the issue of Palestinian properties in Sheikh Jarrah.


The Virginia Military Institute says it will change its student-run honor court to make it more fair to cadets as part of a response to a state-ordered investigation into racism and sexism at the school.

VMI detailed the reforms in a progress report Friday, The Washington Post reported. The 70-page report, which the college gave to General Assembly members and the Virginia secretary of education, describes initiatives approved, enacted or begun last year. Those initiatives included mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion training for administrators and members of VMI’s Board of Visitors, and changes to the Lexington school’s one-strike-and-you’re-out honor court system.

Data obtained by the newspaper showed Black students at VMI were expelled by the honor court at a disproportionately high rate for the three academic years between the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2020. Though Black cadets made up about 6% of the student body, they represented about 43% of those expelled for honor code violations.

Twelve out of the 28 VMI students dismissed in those three academic years were Black. When students of color were included in the count, the number of expelled rose to 15, or about 54% of the total, even though minorities made up only about 21% of the student population in that three-year period.

Barnes & Thornburg, a law firm hired by the state to investigate racism and sexism at VMI, recommended in its final report that the college “consider changing” its policy of allowing convictions without unanimous verdicts by student juries.


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