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Trop News Briefs

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By: Jill Odom

Supreme Court examines Prop. Eight and same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court is currently looking over California’s Proposition Eight, which banned the marriage of same-sex couples in the state. This is the first time in more than 40 years the Supreme Court has been asked to scrutinize the limits that the Constitution imposes on the government’s power to decide who can and cannot get married. Former Solicitor General Theodore Olson argued that marriage is a fundamental right to all Americans and denying it to certain orientations reduced them to secondary citizens.  Charles Cooper, a Washington lawyer, rebutted that marriage was between a man and a woman and that there is no need to redefine it right now. Cooper feels that the states should continue to decide how to approach the issue rather than the federal government deciding for them. Defenders of Prop. Eight wish to postpone this decision until there is more information gathered about same-sex marriage lifestyles.

North Dakota introduces strict abortion laws

Governor Jack Dalrymple signed three new abortion laws in an effort to close down the state’s only abortion clinic. Abortions were banned for those based off of genetic abnormalities, a fetal heartbeat which can be detected as early as six weeks, and doctors who perform abortions must have hospital admitting privileges. The measures will become active Aug. 1 and make no exceptions for rape, incest or health of the mother. The state is adopting these new laws to see how far they can push the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. Women guilty of violating these laws will not be prosecuted but doctors can face five years in prison and $5,000 fine. Pro-choice advocated promised to oppose the legislation.

First woman head of Secret Service

Julia Pierson, currently Secret Service chief of staff, was chosen to be Mark Sullivan’s replacement when he announced last month that he would retire. President Obama appointment of Pierson does not require any confirmation from Congress. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Pierson joined the force in 1983 and has served for over 30 years now. Due to the prostitution scandal last year, she will be observed closely to see how or if she changes the male dominated culture. Out of the 3,500 employees only 10 percent are women, lower than any other law enforcement agency. The president and many others have high hopes for this historic change in leadership in the Secret Service.

Man sent to prison for laser pointer at airplane

A 19-year-old man from California was sentenced for two and a half years in prison for shining a green laser pointer at two aircraft. This has been considered a federal crime since February 2012 due to the fact lasers can project a tiny beam, but as distance increases its diameter grows as well and can cause temporary blindness if shown in someone’s eyes. According to Civil Aviation Authority, the high intensity light can daze pilots during crucial take offs and landings. It is reported that “laser pen attacks” have become more common and 4,500 pilots have reported as being targeted.

Cocaine in bricks found in Columbia

Approximately $1.7 million worth of drugs were seized by Columbian police. Half a ton of cocaine was said to be hidden in a shipment of bricks headed to Honduras where authorities believe it was to be later smuggled into the U.S.  The police began to investigate the construction firm behind the shipment after receiving a tip-off about the company, suspecting it was only created for the purpose of smuggling drugs. When the shipment was tested, 13 out of the 15 pallets of bricks contained cocaine.  According to the United Nations World Drug Report, most of the cocaine seized in the U.S. comes from Colombia.