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Supreme Court

In this image provided by the Supreme Court, members of the Supreme Court pose for a photo during Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s formal investiture ceremony at the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. From left, Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Elena Kagan and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Fred Schilling/U.S. Supreme Court via AP

The Rundown: Race and the Supreme Court’s new term

Hey there! A new trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, out next month, provides a glimpse of the new Black Panther. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Race is at the heart of several big cases before the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court begins a new term today, and several of the court’s biggest cases are centered around race, from race-conscious college admissions policies to voting rights.

The nation’s high court tomorrow will hear a case in which Alabama is accused of “racial gerrymandering to limit the influence of African American voters” in a new congressional district, reports NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

A decision in that case could have nationwide consequences to the once-in-a-decade act of redrawing congressional districts.

Then, on Oct. 31, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether universities can consider the race of applicants in admissions policies. The court has — for four decades — ruled that race can be considered.

But the issue is now being raised before a very different court that, last summer, overturned decades’ worth of precedents surrounding abortion rights. [NPR]

2. Combating violence and homelessness are among the priorities in Lightfoot’s election-year budget plan

Mayor Lori Lightfoot today unveiled a $16.4 billion budget proposal — flush with cash from federal pandemic aid — that includes a boost in funding for the Chicago Police Department, mental health resources and more investments in homeless prevention programs.

During her budget address at City Hall, Lightfoot urged members of the City Council to “be bold with me” and “continue to right historic wrongs so that all of our residents who call this beloved city home will benefit and be able to fulfill their God-given potential.”

The mayor’s budget also attempts to tackle two heated national issues that have increasingly affected the city: abortion rights and immigration.

Lightfoot proposed setting aside $3.1 million for reproductive health care as local abortion providers face a wave of out-of-state patients. And for immigration, the mayor wants to spend $5 million to help migrants being bused to Chicago from Texas. [WBEZ]

3. The death of a 3-year-old boy in Chicago highlights the growing danger of road rage

The boy, Mateo Zastro, was shot and killed in his mother’s SUV after a “road rage incident” erupted, according to Chicago police, who added the mother tried to get away from another car that was following her.

Now, community activists say elected officials need to do more to confront the growing problem of road rage.

“Violent road rage incidents have increased over the last three years. Illinois State Police said 35% of all expressway shootings this year through June were related to road rage, up from 12% last year,” report my colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nationally, an average of 44 people per month were killed or wounded in road rage shootings last year — double the pre-pandemic average, according to Everytown Research & Policy, a gun violence advocacy group. [Sun-Times]

4. A new national suicide prevention hotline shows improvements in Illinois

Here’s some good news as the nation confronts a mental health crisis following the pandemic: Illinois is reporting a huge improvement in connecting residents with services since the rollout of the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, according to an analysis of data by WBEZ and MindSite News, a nonprofit news organization focused on mental health issues.

“In the months leading up to the July 16 rollout of 988 — and for years before — Illinois ranked last among all states in a metric critical to the success of any crisis call center: the likelihood of reaching a counselor in the same state, who may be familiar with local services,” according to the analysis. “That dubious distinction now appears to be improving.”

In August, the first full month under the new national hotline, 85% of calls placed from Illinois were handled by crisis counselors within the state.

But the analysis also found that few crisis centers are well-positioned to serve communities of color. [WBEZ]

5. Planned Parenthood will open its first mobile clinic in southern Illinois

The clinic will begin offering services later this year near Illinois’ border with states that have banned or severely restricted access to abortions, aiming to reduce the distances many patients will have to travel, reports NPR.

Patients visiting the mobile clinic will follow the same protocols used at permanent facilities, but the “only thing that will change is the fact that now they might only have to drive five hours instead of nine hours,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, a chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood.

The organization is currently evaluating where exactly out-of-state patients are traveling from and determining the best routes for the mobile clinic. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Lightfoot’s 10 p.m. youth curfew was mostly enforced on the South and West sides and had little effect on crime, reports Block Club Chicago. [BCC]
  • Threats that shut down a drag bingo show at a Downers Grove library included a bullet inside an envelope. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Residents of Argyle Street, long a refuge for Asian immigrants in Chicago, are increasingly concerned about gentrification. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • An Ikea museum includes a portrait of the retailer on the moon. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

Fat Bear Week is coming, and no, I’m not talking about that kind of bear.

From Wednesday to Oct. 11, the public can weigh in on (get it?) which of the 12 brown bears at Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve should win the title of the Fattest Bear.

The elimination tournament highlights how bears get fat before hibernation and aims to promote the importance of conservation efforts at places like Katmai. [Washington Post]

I don’t know about you, but I’m betting on 151 Walker to win this year’s competition. You can find a pic of him and the other very round bears in this year’s tournament in this link.

Tell me something good ...

I saw comedian Billy Eichner’s delightful rom-com Bros. over the weekend, and I’d like to know what you think is one of the best places to go on a date in the Chicago area.

Before we got married, I took my husband to the Garfield Park Conservatory for our first date. It was before the pandemic, and I picked a weekday so we could wander around the place when it wasn’t too crowded.

And then afterward we went to Second Story Bar off the Magnificent Mile. It’s hands down one of the best low-key gay bars in Chicago. Not only are the drinks strong and inexpensive, but the place is a story factory — you never know what will happen.

Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

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