Blazing hot summer events have yet to cool down


Saba Nabaeighahroudi

THE WORLD IS ON FIRE: Heated responses to Supreme Court decisions, wildfires and inflated prices.

Annie Lee, Viewpoint Editor

Responsibilities tend to collapse like a house of cards over summer break, a prime time for venturing to picturesque destinations and testing the limits of ruined sleep schedules. While these good times pass too quickly, several newsworthy events this summer have lasting impacts that students who overly immersed in studies or relaxation should catch up on.

Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court’s official reversal of Roe v. Wade on June 24 ended nearly 50 years of federal protection of women’s abortion rights by granting states the authority to regulate abortion policies.

Immediately after the decision, legal fights broke out in both states with trigger laws to criminalize abortion and states planning to codify abortion rights into state laws. Currently, 9 out of 10 states with abortion bans do not have exceptions for incest or rape cases and all 10 criminalize abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Three other states have gestational limits where abortion is banned after six weeks of pregnancy, claiming that the point at which a cluster of cells emits electrical signals is when a fetus should be considered a human with constitutionally protected rights.

While pro-life supporters have rejoiced at the overturn of Roe v. Wade, pro-choice activism has flooded social media and advocates for legalized abortion still make up the public’s majority opinion, with 62% of adults believing abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 57% of adults critical of the court’s decision.

“I think that it was the most inconsiderate decision to leave the right of abortion up to the states,” junior Kristen Lew said. “Abortion is a basic human right, thus our entire country should protect it.”

Kansas was the first state to have a vote on abortion rights since the Supreme Court’s decision. Despite being a historically conservative state, 59% of voters voted to continue protecting abortion in the state constitution on Aug. 2. Three Supreme Court members have also written a dissent to the decision of the majority, stating that “whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

The overturning of Roe v. Wade may set a precedent for reconsiderations of cases like Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriages and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriages. Justice Clarence Thomas alluded to revisiting these cases in his concurring opinion where he argues that “because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.” The revoking of Roe v. Wade could jeopardize the progress made by women and LGBTQ groups in protecting substantive rights under the Due Process Clause.

Europe Heat Waves

Persistent heat waves across Europe induced thousands of heat-stroke deaths and triggered ravaging wildfires during June and July.

Over five European countries have already declared states of emergency. The U.K. announced that temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, smashing the U.K.’s previous highest temperature record. Spain and Portugal recorded 1,682 heat-related deaths over the course of two weeks. In addition to damages caused by wildfires, the severe heat has prompted various unprecedented infrastructure problems, such as melting roads and warped train rails.

“Europe has experienced an insane heatwave this past summer,” senior Bruce Duong said. “Given this, I am concerned about if we will be in direct contact with wildfires as we were in recent years.”

The deadly consequences of the heat waves should be viewed as a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. The U.S. continues to be short staffed by a thousand firefighters, making the containment of fires and protection of people and property much harder. California, a typically arid state prone to wildfires, will likely see record-breaking high temperatures and the effects of climate change inaction.

“A lot of the people at our school evacuated during the Silverado fire a year and a half ago,” senior Christy Han said. “I hope we don’t have to do that again.”

Soaring Inflation

Gas, groceries and even back-to-school supplies have all skyrocketed in price as consumer price has jumped up 9.1% from last year.

“I remember that one cup of bubble tea used to cost me 4 dollars without any toppings,” junior Amelia Liu said. “However, the price has risen to around 6 dollars in most stores.”

Various events precipitated the accelerating inflation, which has been the largest increase since 1981. During the pandemic, people stockpiled food and essentials and spent a lot on home furnishings and utilities. After lockdowns and social distancing guidelines were lifted, spending became geared towards services like restaurant meals. Because of the millions of unemployed people and the disruptions in transportation, supply chains and businesses could not acquire enough workers or materials to meet the sharp surge in demand, so the prices of goods increased instead. Some critics blame inflation on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, while others criticize the Federal Reserve for not raising interest rates quick enough to combat inflation.

Inflation has more severely affected low-income households, since a disproportionate share of their income goes towards necessities. Additionally, underprivileged families tend to be more dependent on their monthly wages, but there has been a 3.6% decrease in the average worker’s hourly wages from last summer.

To further combat inflation, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Aug. 16. The legislation calls for a 15% minimum tax on companies with assets of over $1 billion to aid deficit reduction and tackles global warming and healthcare costs by investing billions in domestic production of clean energy technologies and lowering prescription drug prices.

As America continues to battle with economic instability, proposals for stabilizing the American economy are bound to be a topic debated by candidates for the midterm elections in November.