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US Supreme Court blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law

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A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday stopped a Louisiana law imposing strict regulations on abortion clinics from going into effect in its first major test on abortion since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy last summer.

The court on a 5-4 vote granted an emergency application by Shreveport-based abortion provider Hope Medical Group for Women to block the Republican-backed law from going into effect while litigation continues.

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The four liberal justices were joined by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority, suggesting that Roberts, as Kennedy used to be, is now the key vote on the issue.

Kennedy backed abortion rights in two key cases. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who President Donald Trump appointed to replace Kennedy, joined the court’s four other conservatives in dissent.

Hope Medical Group challenged the law’s requirement that doctors who perform abortions must have an arrangement called “admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic.

Kavanaugh, writing for himself, said it was not clear whether doctors would be unable to obtain the admitting privileges were the law to go into effect. He said that he would have favored allowing them to bring a later legal challenge if their efforts were unsuccessful.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group that represents the challengers, said the law could lead to the closure of two of the three abortion clinics operating in Louisiana, a state of more than 4.6 million people.

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The law was passed in 2014 but courts had prevented it from going into effect. The Supreme Court itself blocked the law in 2016, two days after hearing another major case involving a similar Texas law that the justices struck down months later.

Kennedy, a conservative who retired in July 2018, had voted to preserve abortion rights in 1992 and again in the 2016 Texas case.

Roberts was a dissenter in the 2016 case, but his vote on Thursday for now suggests the court is not retreating from that precedent.

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Trump is now feuding with Iran’s Supreme Leader on Twitter: ‘Make Iran Great Again!’

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President Donald Trump is now replying directly to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Twitter.

I Friday, Khamenei tweeted a screenshot of a Trump tweet, with a message of his own.

"The villainous US govt repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian ppl. They lie. If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers," Khamenei posted.

"Of course, you have so far failed to do so, & you will certainly continue to fail," he added.

https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/1218141834842660864

Trump retweeted the message, adding his own argument.

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Trump raises tensions in Virginia as local authorities fear Richmond gun rally could be the next Charlottesville

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President Donald Trump appeared to pour gasoline on a political fire in Virginia only days before a far-right protest that many are worried could result in violence.

Gun activists have been threatening civil war if the commonwealth's legislature enacts new gun safety legislation.

Right-wing militias sought to organize an armed action at the capitol, but Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency to prevent firearms on the grounds.

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Trump tells Iran that political leaders must use precise language: ‘He should be very careful with his words’

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President Donald Trump went after Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday.

For the first time in eight years, Khamenei led Friday prayers in Tehran, when he mocked "American clowns" in the Trump administration.

Trump took offense.

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump said, using scare quotes around Khamenei's title.

"Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering," Trump said, apparently referring to the crippling sanctions he imposed.

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