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For Grades 9-12 , week of June 17, 2024

1. SUPREME COURT RULES ON BUMP STOCKS

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down a ban on bump stocks, devices that increase the firing speed of semiautomatic rifles like machine guns. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion, arguing that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had gone beyond its authority by classifying bump stocks as machine guns. The decision stemmed from the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and is seen as a setback in government efforts to regulate firearms. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented strongly, criticizing the ruling for allowing what she described as "machine guns" back into civilian hands. Research the ban on bump stocks that was previously put in place and how it affected Americans. Then, write an article that summarizes the Supreme Court decision and how it would change these affects that the ban created.

2. JONES ASKED TO PAY UP

A judge in Houston decided that Alex Jones, known for spreading conspiracy theories, must sell his personal assets to pay damages to families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims. This ruling allows Jones to keep running Infowars, his media company, while money from his assets will go to the families who sued him for defamation. The families are split on the decision: some prefer Jones to stay on air so they might get more money, while others wanted to shut down Infowars entirely. Jones plans to appeal the judgments, and his assets are worth far less than the damages awarded, complicating the payment process. Research the history of the case against Alex Jones and the fight Sandy Hook victims’ parents undertook against him. Then, write an article that summarizes the current status of the case and Jones’ ongoing legal battles.

3. ONGOING FIGHT FOR AUDIO

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced that the House plans to take legal action against Attorney General Merrick Garland. This comes after the Justice Department refused to prosecute Garland for not complying with a subpoena to release President Biden’s special counsel audio interview. Republicans accuse the Biden administration of a double standard, citing cases where they prosecuted others for similar actions. The dispute centers around executive privilege, which Biden claimed to block the release of the interview audio. Republicans argue the tape is being withheld for political reasons. The Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Garland has sparked criticism and legal maneuvers by House Republicans. Write an article that summarizes the audio interview involved in this dispute and how it could affect future cases, both positively and negatively, if this audio were turned over to Congress and/or shared with the American public.

4. TITLE IX CHANGES

A federal judge in Louisiana has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's new Title IX rule, which aimed to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students. The judge, appointed by former President Trump, ruled that the rule overstepped the Education Department’s authority and posed a threat to state sovereignty. The injunction affects Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho, which had challenged the rule in court. The Biden administration had introduced the rule to enhance civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ students, redefine sexual harassment in schools, and provide more safeguards for victims. However, opponents, including several Republican-led states, argued that the rule went against existing state laws and could force costly updates to school facilities. They also claimed it infringed on free speech by mandating the use of certain pronouns. The ruling is seen as a setback for the administration's efforts to broaden Title IX protections, which were supported by civil rights advocates but criticized by those who believe they undermine the original intent of the law, which prohibits sex discrimination in education. The decision is likely to influence similar cases pending in other states and could impact future policies regarding transgender students' participation in school sports. Write an option article about your stance on the new Title IX rule and subsequent ban, using research about Title IX protections and the communities it protects as a basis for your article.

5. ATLANTA FALCONS UNDER FIRE

The Atlanta Falcons got in trouble with the NFL for breaking rules about talking to players before they were allowed to. They were fined $250,000 and lost a draft pick for signing Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney, and Charlie Woerner too early. The Falcons' general manager was also fined $50,000. The NFL didn't punish the Philadelphia Eagles for talking to Saquon Barkley too soon because they didn't find enough proof. This happens sometimes, but teams are only supposed to talk to players' agents during a short period before free agency officially starts. Research previous instances of tampering in the NFL. Then, write an article that summarizes what you learned.