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DeRay Mckesson in a panel discussion in 2017. Photo by Steve Jennings via Getty

In a 7-1 ruling, the Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit filed by a Louisiana police officer against Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson on Monday, sending the case back to state courts and giving Mckesson a temporary win.

Why it matters: A federal district court had previously sided with Mckesson, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the suit to proceed, arguing that a jury could implicate Mckesson because “a violent confrontation with a police officer was a foreseeable effect of negligently directing a protest” onto a highway.

Details: In July 2016, Mckesson organized a protest in front of police headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to rally against police officers’ killing of Alton Sterling, a Black man.

  • An unidentified protester allegedly threw a piece of concrete or rock, which hit the lawsuit’s unnamed officer in the face.
  • Mckesson became the target of the officer’s resulting lawsuit, which alleged that Mckesson was liable for damages because he was the protest’s organizer.

The state of play: Without knowing whether Louisiana law could implicate Mckesson in the given circumstances, the suit should not have been allowed to proceed, the Supreme Court concluded.

  • “[T]he Fifth Circuit should not have ventured into so uncertain an area of tort law — one laden with value judgments and fraught with implications for First Amendment rights — without first seeking guidance on potentially controlling Louisiana law from the Louisiana Supreme Court,” the justices wrote.
  • Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.
  • Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the case.
  • Some called the 7-1 decision a win for Black Lives Matter on Monday.

What they’re saying: An attorney for the officer claimed the Supreme Court decision signaled that the 5th Circuit “got it right,” according to CNBC, while an attorney at the ACLU representing Mckesson said the decision recognized “important First Amendment issues at stake.”

The bottom line: Black Lives Matter and police brutality are issues that have been on the table throughout the election, and they aren't likely to leave national consciousness anytime soon.

Go deeper

Supreme Court sides with Trump administration on abortion pill rule

Capitol Police stand guard at the Supreme Court Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Photo:y Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Supreme Court granted a Trump administration appeal on Tuesday and reinstated a federal requirement obligating women seeking an abortion pill to obtain the drug from a hospital or medical center in person.

Why it matters: It's the court's first ruling on abortion since the arrival of the conservative Trump-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.