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Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes first Black woman sworn in to Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson is officially sworn in as Supreme Court justice, the Supreme Court curbs the EPA's authority, and a Florida judge blocked the state's law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

Video transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: An historic day on the Supreme Court as Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in as the first Black woman on the high court. Meanwhile, several decisions also handed down ahead of the holiday weekend. Alexis Keenan here with the very latest. Hi there, Alexis. What came down?

ALEXIS KEENAN: Hi. OK, yes, indeed, a historic day on a couple of fronts here as Supreme Court taking center focus. Federal District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson today became Supreme Court Associate Justice Jackson, officially sworn in just hours ago, and, historically, becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson was President Biden's pick to fill the seat of now-retired Justice Stephen Breyer who served on the court for 28 years.

Now, Jackson's addition won't change the 6-3 or sometimes 5-4 conservative majority of the court, but nonetheless a historic day. Now, also, more history coming from the court. Today in its final day of the term, in a 6-3 ruling along ideological lines, the majority of the court voted in favor of 18 Republican-led states, along with Mississippi's governor, and some coal companies, and against the EPA. The court said that the EPA can't broadly regulate carbon emissions for existing power plants-- at least not as the Obama-era rules envisioned.

Those required reductions based on capabilities of state of the art technology and also required some shifts from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy like solar, like wind, and also, as a first step, natural gas. So that ruling is expected to really frustrate President Biden administration's plans to decarbonize the US electric grid by 2035. And also that was part of a plan to really slash domestic emissions for the US.

Now, the states were led by West Virginia, and they argued that the requirements that the EPA was potentially trying to impose really threatened their economies that are heavily based on coal. They were arguing that the EPA's power was potentially going to go far beyond what was delegated to the agency by Congress.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Now, Alexis, you're also watching a ruling in Florida blocking that state's trigger law in the aftermath of overturning Roe v Wade.

ALEXIS KEENAN: Right. So, gosh, you guys, just such a huge week for the Supreme Court here. Although the decision overturning Roe v Wade was last week, now, on the heels of that, we have this wave of action in federal courts and state courts asking for these trigger laws. These are laws that further limit women's right to abortion, making it more restrictive than what was federally allowed under Roe v Wade.

And today, in the case, it's Florida, a circuit court judge in Tallahassee, blocking the state's ban on abortion. And Florida was a state that went to a 15-week ban. The judge said that its law violates privacy protections that are guaranteed by Florida's Constitution.

The judge said that he would sign an injunction, but not today. It will probably happen on Friday at the end of the day. The state, though, is expected to appeal this decision. But, guys, there are all kinds of lawsuits coming after Roe v Wade here.

And there's going to be a lot more, I suspect. There have also been moves to block these laws that are more restrictive of abortion from going into place, that already had gone into place-- you have action in Louisiana, and Utah, and Texas as well. Guys.

SEANA SMITH: Alexis Keenan, thanks for that.

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