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NEW YORK - New York City schools have been temporarily blocked from enforcing a vaccine mandate for its teachers and other workers by a federal appeals judge days before it was to take effect.

The mandate for the the nation’s largest school system was set to go into effect Monday.

But late Friday, a judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction and referred the case to a three-judge panel an an expedited basis.

Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson said officials are seeking a speedy resolution by the circuit court next week.

PHOENIX — Arizona on Saturday reported 2,916 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths as the pace of virus deaths nearly doubled over the past two weeks.

The additional cases and deaths increased the state’s pandemic totals to 1,081,790 cases and 19,806 deaths, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

The dashboard also reported that 1,834 COVID-19 patients occupied inpatient hospital beds as of Friday, a level below the current surge’s peak of 2,103 on Sept. 12.

The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily deaths rose from 26.9 on Sept. 9 to 51.1 on Thursday, while the rolling average of daily new cases dropped from 2,649.3 to 2,467.1 during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Deaths are considered a trailing metric in the pandemic, with increases in the number of deaths usually trailing those of cases and hospitalizations.


A judge Friday struck down a California ballot measure that exempted Uber and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery services from a state law requiring drivers to be classified as employees eligible for benefits and job protections.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled that Proposition 22 was unconstitutional.

Voters approved the measure in November after Uber, Lyft and other services spent $200 million in its favor, making it the most expensive ballot measure in state history.

Uber said it planned to appeal, setting up a fight that could likely end up in the California Supreme Court.

“This ruling ignores the will of the overwhelming majority of California voters and defies both logic and the law,” company spokesman Noah Edwardsen said. “You don’t have to take our word for it: California’s attorney general strongly defended Proposition 22’s constitutionality in this very case.”

He said the measure will remain in force pending the appeal.

The judge sided with three drivers and the Service Employees International Union in a lawsuit that argued the measure improperly removed the state Legislature’s ability to grant workers the right to access to the state workers’ compensation program.

“For two years, drivers have been saying that democracy cannot be bought. And today’s decision shows they were right,” said Bob Schoonover, president of the SEIU California State Council.

Proposition 22 shielded app-based ride-hailing and delivery companies from a labor law that required such services to treat drivers as employees and not independent contractors, who don’t have to receive benefits such as paid sick leave or unemployment insurance.

Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the state if voters rejected the measure.

Labor spent about $20 million to challenge the proposition.

The state Supreme Court initially declined to hear the case in February — mainly on procedural grounds — but left open the possibility of a lower court challenge.


The Pennsylvania Department of Health can’t allow applicants seeking to grow or dispense medical marijuana to redact their own applications under the state’s public information law, regardless of the burden it places on the department, the state’s highest court affirmed Wednesday.

Lawyers for the department had appealed a lower court’s similar ruling, arguing that only the companies submitting the hundreds of pages of required documentation in the applications know what is proprietary or an issue of security. State law says the applications for the licenses are public information, but allows exemptions for those areas.

Under the ruling, the department will be responsible for individually considering redactions in each application.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of PennLive, The Patriot-News and reporter Wallace McKelvey, who brought the initial lawsuit arguing the state had improperly allowed the company redactions and ultimately withheld information that should be subject to disclosure under the public information law. Lawyers for the news organizations cited the uneven redactions between applications — some had entire sections blacked out while others only redacted a few words.

The court also rejected an assertion from one of the applicant companies that it should be allowed to take a broader view of what was proprietary information in its request to redact parts of its application because as a non-governmental entity, it isn’t directly covered by the public information law.

The court, however, granted an appeal from another applicant, Terrapin Investment Fund, 1, LLC, which argued the lower court had not properly considered its argument that some banking information should be considered redactable because it can lead to higher chances of robberies in the largely cash-based businesses or damage financial relationships with banks that agree to hold their accounts. The company’s request will be sent back to the lower court for reconsideration.


The Miami-Dade County Courthouse will begin undergoing repairs immediately because of safety concerns found during a review prompted by the deadly collapse of a nearby condominium building, officials said.

An engineering firm that examined the 28-story courthouse recommended that it undergo immediate structural repairs and that floors 16 and above be closed. All courthouse employees, including those who work on lower floors, will return to working from home, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and other leaders said in a joint statement late Friday.

In its report, engineering firm U.S. Structures Inc. said that during its June 30 inspection, it found structural distress in various structural members such as support beams and joists, including steel columns that are in “poor condition” and concrete columns that have numerous cracks.

“In general, we observed numerous members with visible signs of structural deterioration that have been documented and reported by this and other firms for quite some time now. Many of these members are in an advance state of deterioration,” inspector Jose Toledo wrote in the firm’s Tuesday letter to Miami-Dade County officials.

The announcement about the courthouse, which is in Miami, came during the third week of the search for victims of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in nearby Surfside. On Saturday, authorities raised the confirmed death toll to 86, with 43 people still missing.

The courthouse, which was completed in 1928 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, is where most civil cases are heard and contains some administrative offices. Separate courthouses for criminal, children’s and family cases are not affected.

Workers only recently returned to the building after working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Court operations will go back to a remote format until the safety concerns are addressed. The court planned to notify people with upcoming court proceedings of the changes.

“They had only been back in that building about a week,” Levine Cava said at a Saturday news conference. “So they have everything they need to continue to operate remotely and also at other locations, so it should not disrupt substantially.”

Authorities didn’t disclose details about the specific types of repairs that are needed, and they still plan to inspect its basement to determine if additional ones are required.

In its report, the engineering firm warned that one column on the 25th floor needed “immediate attention” and urged that it be repaired within 30 days. It also found overhead beams and slabs that had cracks and spalling, which is when pieces of concrete break off and potentially allow water in. In addition, it advised officials to remove heavy items such as books, office supplies and sandbags that were stored on upper floors.


A federal judge has overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, calling it a “failed experiment” that violates people’s constitutional right to bear arms.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled on Friday that the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive,” Benitez said. He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law but stayed it for 30 days to give state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

Gov. Gavin Newsom condemned the decision, calling it “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period.”

In his 94-page ruling, the judge spoke favorably of modern weapons and said they were overwhelmingly used for legal reasons.

“Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,” the judge said in his ruling’s introduction.

That comparison “completely undermines the credibility of this decision and is a slap in the face to the families who’ve lost loved ones to this weapon,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re not backing down from this fight, and we’ll continue pushing for common sense gun laws that will save lives.”

Bonta called the ruling flawed and said it will be appealed.


Two brothers who were sentenced to die in 2002 for four killings known as “the Wichita massacre” are back before the Kansas Supreme Court seeking to have their sentences commuted to life in prison.

The court heard arguments Monday from attorneys in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr, The Wichita Eagle reports. Their attorneys continued to argue that their death sentences should be overturned because the two brothers had a joint hearing when jurors considered their punishments.

The Kansas court upheld their convictions in 2014 but overturned their death sentences, concluding that not having separate hearings violated the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision in 2016, returning the case to the Kansas court.

The brothers were sentenced to die over a home invasion in December 2000 that included robbery, rape, torture and the execution-style shootings of four victims. Other crimes over six days left a fifth person dead.

ach of the brothers accused the other of carrying out the crimes. Reginald Carr contends he was the victim of mistaken identity and that Jonathan Carr committed the murders with someone else.

Jonathan Carr contends Reginal Carr was mainly responsible for the crimes and abused him along with other members of their family.


The Supreme Court agreed Monday to a showdown over abortion in a case that could dramatically alter nearly 50 years of rulings on abortion rights.

With three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump part of a 6-3 conservative majority, the court is taking on a case about whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

The dispute is not a direct challenge to a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion that the court first announced in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and reaffirmed 19 years later.

But in considering weakening protections for women who seek pre-viability abortions, the justices could remove some of the underpinnings of a woman’s right to choose and lay the groundwork for even more restrictions on abortion, including state bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks.

The case, from Mississippi, probably will be argued in the fall, with a decision likely in the spring of 2022 during the campaign for congressional midterm elections.

It involves a state law that would prohibit abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The state’s ban had been blocked by lower courts as inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent that protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before the fetus can survive outside her womb.

“States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right, but they may not ban abortions. The law at issue is a ban,” Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in affirming a lower-court ruling that invalidated the law.

The Supreme Court had previously turned down state appeals over pre-viability abortion bans.

More than 90% of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Alarm bells are ringing loudly about the threat to reproductive rights. The Supreme Court just agreed to review an abortion ban that unquestionably violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and is a test case to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

John Bursch, vice president of the anti-abortion Alliance Defending Freedom, said the high court has repeatedly held that states can regulate abortions later in pregnancy.

Viability “has never been a legitimate way to determine a developing infant’s dignity or to decide anybody’s legal existence,” Bursch said.

The justices had put off action on the case for several months. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion-rights proponent, died just before the court’s new term began in October. Her replacement, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is the most open opponent of abortion rights to join the court in decades.

Barrett is one of three Trump appointees on the Supreme Court. The other two, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, voted in dissent last year to allow Louisiana to enforce restrictions on doctors that could have closed two of the state’s three abortion clinics.

Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Ginsburg and the other three liberal justices, said the restrictions were virtually identical to a Texas law the court struck down in 2016.

But that majority no longer exists, even if Roberts, hardly an abortion-rights supporter in his more than 15 years on the court, sides with the more liberal justices.

The Mississippi law was enacted in 2018, but was blocked after a federal court challenge. The state’s only abortion clinic remains open. The owner has said the clinic does abortions up to 16 weeks.

The case is separate from a fight over laws enacted by Mississippi and other states that would ban most abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected. Mississippi also is among 11 states with a total abortion ban waiting to take effect if the Supreme Court overturns its Roe decision, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

A central question in the case is about viability — whether a fetus can survive on its own at 15 weeks. The clinic presented evidence that viability is impossible at 15 weeks, and the appeals court said that the state “conceded that it had identified no medical evidence that a fetus would be viable at 15 weeks.”

But the state argues that viability is an arbitrary standard that doesn’t take sufficient account of the state’s interest in regulating abortion.

The Mississippi law would allow exceptions to the 15-week ban in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. Doctors found in violation of the ban would face mandatory suspension or revocation of their medical license.


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