Local News: Regent Law Clinic Helps Home-Owners Facing Eviction
Since 2019, Regent University School of Law has offered a free legal aid clinic for people living in the Hampton Roads area. In August of 2021, the U.S. Attorney General, Merrick Garland, asked the legal community to assist those struggling to afford housing due to the pandemic, the clinic has helped hundreds of families facing eviction and in fear of losing their homes. One major concern for the Regent clinic director, Kathleen McKee, is that over half of the families facing eviction include children. This past week, she made the point that parents who are unable to provide stable housing for their children could potentially lose custody, which would further devastate families who are already struggling to make ends meet. In response to this growing need, Regent’s law clinic has expanded its staff and hired Ilinka Robinson, a recent law graduate, to serve as a full-time law fellow, as well as asking third-year Regent law students and local attorneys to assist in their efforts to keep renters from being evicted.
State News: VA Attorney General States Colleges Cannot Mandate COVID Vaccinations
This Friday, Virginia Attorney General, Jason Miyares, issued a statement that public universities cannot require students to get the COVID-19 vaccination in order to enroll or attend in-person classes. Although Miyares does acknowledge that Virginia law requires students to have certain vaccinations, such as measles and polio, Miyares concludes that universities do not have the authority to require this vaccination because COVID-19 is not specifically listed in the law. After his statement was released, several schools dropped their vaccination requirements; yet many larger universities, including the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the University of Mary Washington, have not made a decision on this matter. Spokespeople from these universities have said that leadership is currently reviewing the attorney general’s statement.
National News: Biden Vows to Elect First Black Woman to Supreme Court
This past week, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced he will be retiring from the Supreme Court, which will require President Biden to nominate a new judge to take his place. In a press release, Biden said he has not made any decisions yet on who specifically will take Justice Breyer’s place. He did reference his previous promise from his presidential campaign to elect a black female justice and stated he stands by his promise. The President plans to choose a nominee by the end of February, which means he will spend the next several weeks rigorously vetting possible candidates. Many people suspect Biden will attempt to elect a younger, liberal judge, and while this will not affect the current balance of conservative to liberal judges on the Supreme Court, it could potentially affect future court decisions if he chooses a younger candidate who could serve for many years.
International News: Taliban Takeover Causes Economic Crisis and Health Care Collapse in Afghanistan
Since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the United States and many European countries previously providing support for the country have withdrawn their aid. Despite the Taliban’s claim to power, many of these countries do not recognize their authority and refuse to continue giving them financial support. The only aid currently available to Afghans is arriving through humanitarian organizations, such as the World Food Program; however, their scope is limited, and the country is starting to suffer economically and medically. Afghanistan’s economy is plummeting, with many people experiencing the lowest levels of poverty they have ever experienced. Since the Taliban’s return to power, their internal banking system has frozen, leaving people desperate. Despite the sinking levels of money flow and job opportunities, food prices continue to soar due to inflation, making it impossible for many families to afford more than beans and rice. Currently, hospitals are overcrowded with malnourished children, too weak to walk. Furthermore, mothers are unable to carry their babies to full term due to poor health and are giving birth to premature babies, many of whom are not living more than a few days. Hospitals are calling for more aid and stating that without serious changes, the population is going to continue to suffer these consequences.