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How Might The Addition Of Brett Kavanaugh Affect This Season's SCOTUS Cases?

J. Scott Applewhite
Justice Brett Kavanaugh missed opening arguments for six cases, including a death penalty case involving an inmate with dementia.


Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh missed opening arguments for a handful of cases on the high court's docket this season, adding a fair amount of intrigue into an already controversial agenda.

The court is likely to see two death penalty cases; a challenge to an Indiana law that would outlaw abortion if the woman is seeking it for sex selection or because the fetus could be disabled; a California court decision that requires paint companies to pay for the removal of lead paint from California homes; and a First Amendment case regarding a private operator of a public access TV channel.

They could all have implications for Pennsylvania, says Amy Wildermuth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and former clerk for Justice John Paul Stephens.

Later in the program, Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Local No. 1 are the only union in Pittsburgh permitting employees to obtain medical marijuana cards. 90.5 WESA’s Kathleen Davis reports the union advocated for access to medical marijuana because many firefighters suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, a qualifying condition under the state's medical marijuana law.

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA
90.5 WESA
Founder of the Institute for Cyber Law, David Hickton

David Hickton, founder of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security and former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, breaks down his recent recommendations for upgrading the security of state elections. Hickton co-chaired a Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania's Election Security.

Wet weather put a damper on this year’s pumpkin harvest. 90.5 WESA’s Amy Sisk reports that a fungus problem has impacted nearly 15 percent of the pumpkin crops at Harvest Valley Farms.

And a local controversy over another common crop this time of year: political signs. Democrats are crying foul over lawn signs labeling the state Senate candidate a socialist and using a nearly identical design to her own campaign signs. 90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring reports Williams’ camp suspects the campaign manager of her Republican rival, Jeremy Shaffer, is behind the fraudulent signs. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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