On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: On abortion, chief justice wanted to go slow but the court was in a hurry
Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze sits down with producer PJ Elliott. Plus, G7 meetings continue as leaders push for more Russia sanctions, travel reporter Zach Wichter looks into the airline pilot shortage, at least three people are dead after an Amtrak crash and Wimbledon begins.
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Monday, the 27th of June, 2022. Today, a look at Chief Justice John Roberts’ hold on the Supreme Court in the wake of overturning Roe. Plus a look at the national pilot shortage and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
- The suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting during an LGBTQ festival in Norway has agreed to be held in pre-trial custody for four weeks, and will therefore not appear in court today. Zaniar Matapour was arrested after the shooting that killed two people and injured more than 20.
- The Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions. The Avs beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were searching for their third cup in a row.
- And Ole Miss are college baseball champions. The team won its first College World Series title after beating Oklahoma yesterday.
The decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has raised new questions about Chief Justice John Roberts’ grip on the Supreme Court, and whether his fellow conservatives are speeding past his incrementalist approach. 5 Things producer PJ Elliott spoke with USA TODAY Supreme Court Reporter John Fritze about that, and more from Friday’s ruling.
Well, I think it says that Robert’s role is diminished. I mean, I think there was a lot of speculation that Roberts might be able to find some middle ground here in this case. That was what he talked about at oral argument. And that’s what he ultimately wrote in his concurring opinion, but not a single other justice signed off on onto that. And that’s, just to be clear, pretty rare for a chief justice. I think there the Court left him hanging and I think the rest of the Court, both liberals and conservatives, came to the conclusion that there just isn’t a middle ground in this case, it’s one way or the other.
Is there any reason to be concerned about Justice Thomas writing in his opinion that other rulings by the Court should be looked at as well, including contraception in gay marriage?
I mean, look, in some ways that’s not a surprise. Thomas has made similar arguments to this in the past. I think it’s notable that Thomas wrote alone, so that means that no other justice, none of the other conservatives are embracing that perspective. The majority opinion, of course, and also a concurrence by Justice Kavanaugh, argue that that’s not on the table. It’s not really up for discussion. I think that that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
I think the more telling and important thing about these other rights is what Republican governors and Republican state lawmakers are saying. This thing about gay marriage and contraception really now is a political question, not a legal one. Because in order to bring a case like that to the Supreme Court, it’s going to require a state legislature to sign a law banning contraception. And I think it remains to be seen whether there’s political will for that or not. There’s some Republican governors over the weekend that I think really hedged away from that. Again, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, but I do think we’re a long way off and there’s a lot of steps that would need to happen before some of those other rights where rolled back.
Are we going to start seeing rulings go back and forth and continuously get overturned as the majority in the Court changes over the years?
I mean, that’s a great question. I don’t think the majority is going to switch back and forth all that often. I mean, the way it works now is that, by and large, these justices don’t leave the bench until a president of their party is in power.
Now, sometimes they die in office. Certainly it’s what happened with Justice Ginsburg, but that’s not the usual course these days. And so I think because of that, the chances for it to flip back and forth are probably pretty small. I think we’re going to be looking at a conservative court for some time to come.
You can follow along with more of John’s work covering the Supreme Court on Twitter @jfritze. And be sure to stay with USATODAY.com.
A second day of G7 meetings is on tap in Germany today featuring leaders from the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan, and including President Joe Biden. Leaders are expected to announce an agreement to pursue a price cap on Russian oil, raise tariffs on Russian goods, and impose new sanctions on hundreds of Russian officials. The moves come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine moves past the four-month point. China will also be on the docket for G7 leaders. Countries in the Group of 7 are expected to announce a global infrastructure partnership that sets them up as potential lenders to developing nations that might otherwise get their investment from China.
Airlines say a lack of pilots is behind schedule cuts and bottlenecks this summer. So when will things get better? Travel reporter Zach Wichter looks into it.
It all goes back to 2020. When the pandemic hit, demand for travel tanked. By some estimates, it went down as much as 90% or more. And in response to that, airlines were doing everything that they could to try to stay financially viable, and a big part of that was incentivizing pilots to retire. They were doing buyouts, they were doing benefits for early retirement. A lot of people left the industry when travel was way down. It recovered a lot faster, I think, than anyone was really anticipating. No one knew in 2020 what the recovery would look like, and we’ve snapped back to pre-2020 levels of travel pretty quickly. And so that’s the problem. Airlines shrank in the earlier stage of the pandemic and now they’re struggling to get back to where they were to meet the demand that’s come up.
The big thing is just pack your patience. Airlines are doing what they can to keep things as reliable as possible, but because they’re much smaller it’s taking them longer to recover when things go wrong. So if there’s a storm, whereas they may have been able to get crews back into position in a day or two before the pandemic, now it may take longer just because there are fewer people and it’s harder to shuffle everyone around. It’s going to mean fewer flights. A lot of airlines are cutting their schedules. Some have announced reductions in their schedules this summer, as much as 10%. And so it’s going to be a little bit of a hairy summer, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t be able to get where they’re going, it just means it may take a little longer.
Those who are still looking to book travel for this summer should probably prepare to be flexible. Definitely give themselves a little wiggle room. Book a day or two ahead of time if they’re trying to get to a specific event or meeting. And also it’s a good idea to know what their alternatives are. If a flight does get canceled or delayed in some way, it’s a good idea to see what their alternative flight plans may be or to figure out in advance another way to get there if things go south.
This is definitely not going to be with us forever. Airlines are doing everything that they can to staff up as quickly as they can. Obviously pilots are highly trained professionals so it’s not something that you can just pull people off the street to fill those slots. However, they’re recruiting as quickly as they can. Even by the winter most of the experts I spoke to say things should be smoother, if not quite back to normal because airlines will, A) have been able to hire more people by then, and B) will have learned from what’s going on this summer in a way that enables them to reduce their schedules in a more rational way.
Some people think that by this time next year we should be back to normal. It just depends what happens with the pandemic, how quickly airlines can recruit, and how much people continue to want to travel into the future. It’s a little bit of a question, mark, but we’re on the right track. Things are definitely improving.
For Zach’s full story, check out a link in today’s episode description.
At least three people are dead after an Amtrak commuter train crashed into a car yesterday in Northern California. The crash happened in Brentwood, about an hour’s drive from San Francisco, according to the California Highway Patrol. Victims were inside a four-door sedan when it was struck. Three people died at the scene and two adults and a child were taken to the hospital, though there’s still no update on their conditions according to KRON-TV. 80 people were on board the train, but officials said none of them were hurt. An investigation is ongoing.
Wimbledon begins today, and the build up to the grass court Grand Slam tennis tournament has mostly been about who’s playing and who isn’t. Former world number one ranked women’s singles player, Naomi Osaka, pulled out because of an Achilles injury, and men’s singles number one, Daniil Medvedev, has been barred from playing, along with every other player from Russia and Belarus as part of sanctions for the war in Ukraine. That decision was extremely controversial in the tennis world, and both the men’s and women’s tours decided to withhold ranking points from Wimbledon as a show of unity among players. Meanwhile, Serena Williams is returning to play singles. The 40-year-old legend is looking for her 24th Grand Slam singles title and seventh Wimbledon crown. USA TODAY Sports’s Mackenzie Salmon and Andy Nesbitt consider her chances.
Serena returns to the grass. The living legend announced that she will be participating in this year’s Wimbledon later this month. She hasn’t played in a major competition since last year’s Wimbledon. She’s 40-years-old. I know how you feel about me talking about age, Andy.
Take it easy over there.
Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but.
Take it easy over there.
Yeah, but she does have something to play for. She is only one major championship away from tying Margaret Court for the most all-time at 24, which would be crazy. And, Andy, if she’s going to get 24, I feel like there’s no better chance for her than a place she’s won the Rosewater Dish seven times. Do you think she has got a real shot at this?
I always think she’s got a shot, no matter what age, what day, what tournament she’s playing. Because it’s Serena Williams, the legend, the greatest to ever do it. And I think it’s nuts that she had to get a wild card to play in Wimbledon. As long as she’s alive and walking around, Wimbledon every year, it’s like, “Serena, you’re invited. Just come on over and play some tennis. You want get over here, Serena, you’re a legend.”
And whenever Tiger Woods tees up, I still think he’s going to win. Whenever Serena plays, I think she’s going to win. I just love the legends coming in and trying to do what they’ve done their whole career. It’s great for tennis, too, because the French Open happened a few weeks ago and I didn’t find out about it until the semifinals. Tennis needs to do a better job of promoting itself, in men’s and women’s right now. And have Serena, the face of tennis for all these years, come back at Wimbledon, it’s going to be a fun few weeks. Hopefully she can get there and contend for another title.
You can tune in over the next couple of weeks on the various ESPN networks. And you can find 5 Things seven mornings a week, year long, right here, wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks so much to PJ Elliot for his great work on the show, nd I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.