Each week, NBN Politics recaps the top five news stories from the past week and brings you a look at the week ahead. Welcome to the Fast Five.
Supreme Court strikes down limits on federal campaign donations
In a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines, the Supreme Court struck down limits on the total contributions donors could make to federal candidates in a two-year cycle. In the majority opinion Chief Justice Roberts cited the defense of the First Amendment right to free speech as the reason for their ruling. Dissenting from the bench, Justice Stephen G. Breyer commented that the ruling is a blow to the First Amendment and American democracy. The decision will provide a boost to political parties, which lost their dominance with the emergence of SuperPACs that could independently raise unlimited funds.
7.1 million sign up for the Affordable Care Act
More than 7 million people enrolled for the Affordable Care Act by the March 31 deadline. “The debate over repealing this law is over,” President Obama said. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.” President Obama admitted that the law and its rollout weren’t perfect yet called the first six months a “step forward.” Not everyone who has chosen a plan has paid for it yet, according to officials. While the enrollment period has ended, people who started an application before the deadline still have more time to complete it.
Earthquake hits off the coast of Chile
An 8.2 earthquake struck off the northern coast of Chile late Tuesday, triggering a tsunami, small landslides and power outages. The earthquake killed at least six people. Thousands of people who were evacuated from the low-lying coast returned home on Wednesday after the tsunami warning was called off. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet declared the affected area a disaster zone after visiting it on Wednesday. She promised troops and police reinforcements to maintain order while the damage is repaired. The quake led to tsunami warnings for several Latin countries on the Pacific coast. Some seismologists remained concerned that the quake was only a foreshock to a larger one in the region because it is a section of the plate boundary that hasn’t seen a major rupture in 137 years.
On Thursday’s episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert mocked "American Rediskins Original Americans Foundation," the name of the new charity effort funded by Washington Redskins owner, Dan Snyder. Colbert mocked the charity effort's name, which many have called racist, by issuing his own mock foundation that possessed a racist name. Later, Comedy Central posted a tweet that has now been deleted on behalf of Colbert reading: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." A large number of Twitter users, offended by the tweet got #CancelColbert to trend, leading to a response on The Colbert Report Monday that pundits have both upheld and criticized.
Death toll rising in Washington landslide
The death toll from the Washington landslide rose to 29 on Wednesday. 20 people remain missing and of the 29 dead 22 have been identified. The search for the missing continues with new tools and cadaver dogs. The rescuers and volunteers have to search through a debris field filled with toxic sludge consisting of human waste, toxic chemicals from households, oil and gas. The landslide occurred on Saturday, March 22, four miles east of Oso, Washington. This was the single deadliest landslide event in U.S. history.
The week ahead
Following a federal court’s upholding of parts of anti-abortion laws in Texas, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a new suit with the hopes of keeping more clinics open. Meanwhile, Obama has continued his push for a minimum wage hike with a visit to the University of Michigan on Wednesday and various other media events. Finally, due to the Supreme Court ruling described in the first story this week, spending power will likely be shifted back to parties in the upcoming elections.