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January 19, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - The Department of Homeland Security made a "mistake" when it put a former Stanford University PhD student on the government's no-fly terrorist watch list and must give her an opportunity to apply for reentry to the United States, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge William Alsup said the government's refusal to allow Rahinah Ibrahim, 48, to board a plane in San Francisco in 2005 stemmed from an error that the government must correct. Ibrahim was eventually allowed to leave the country, but she has not been permitted to return from her home in Malaysia.
January 18, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
A former chief federal judge in Montana who retired after forwarding a racist email about President Obama sent hundreds of other inappropriate messages from his court email account, according to  judicial review panel findings released Friday . U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull  admitted  in 2012 that he had sent the email appearing to equate the president and African Americans with dogs and raising questions about Obama's biracial ancestry....
January 17, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
For once, it was a pretty good idea to get hitched in a hurry. Utah has announced that same-sex couples who were married at the end of 2013 will be eligible to file joint state tax returns, granting some legal recognition to more than 1,000 couples who wed when the practice was briefly legal there. Those unions remain in legal and political limbo, however. A federal judge stuck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Dec. 20, spurring gay and lesbian couples to wed -- and to earn the legal and financial benefits that often come with wedlock.
January 14, 2014 | By Matt Pearce and Hailey Branson-Potts
A federal judge in Tulsa struck down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday but suspended his decision while it's appealed to higher courts. The ruling is the latest in a series of legal victories for same-sex marriage proponents around the country. U.S. District Judge Terence Kern's ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2004, the same year Oklahoma passed its constitutional amendment with 76% of voters in favor of banning same-sex marriage. Kern's ruling said Oklahoma's ban violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
January 13, 2014 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- Federal judges Monday confirmed that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawyers for inmates failed to agree on a plan to handle crowding in the state's prisons and announced they will order a solution instead. The judges Monday gave Brown and lawyers for inmates until Jan. 23 to file proposed terms "to achieve durable compliance" with crowding limits that were to go into effect April 18. They said they will push that ultimate deadline back by however long it takes the jurists to decide their own solution.
January 11, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
The long and contentious legal battle between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball came to a head on Saturday when arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced the original 211-game suspension for the New York Yankees star to 162 games, which would ban Rodriguez for the entire 2014 regular season and postseason. But Rodriguez, punished for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, has vowed to continue his fight, saying through a spokesman that he will contest Saturday's decision in federal court.
January 6, 2014 | By Dahleen Glanton and Jason Meisner
CHICAGO - A federal judge Monday stripped away a key element of Chicago's gun ordinance, ruling that it was unconstitutional to prohibit licensed gun stores from operating in the city. U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang said Chicago had failed to persuade him that banning the sale of guns by licensed dealers was necessary to reduce gun violence that has plagued the city. The ruling also would make it legal for individuals to transfer ownership of firearms as gifts or in private sales as long as the recipients were over 18 and had state firearm owner identification cards.
January 5, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
As President Obama ponders a task force's recommendations for reining in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, a federal judge in New York has allowed another government agency to invade the privacy of Americans. Judge Edward R. Korman ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents may confiscate and examine the contents of laptop computers of Americans returning to the country even if they lack reasonable suspicion that the devices contain evidence of criminal activity.
December 23, 2013 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge has rejected legal claims by environmental groups that sued Caltrans and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in hopes of stopping construction of a controversial freeway bypass in Willits, Calif. The four-lane bypass that will carry U.S. 101 traffic around the Mendocino County town rather than through its Main Street heart was first proposed a half-century ago, and local officials long expressed unanimous support for it. But demographic shifts and heightened environmental consciousness recently split public opinion.
December 23, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
The federal judge who threw out Utah's ban on same-sex marriages has refused a state request to block gay weddings while the matter is taken to a high court. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby on Monday denied a request by the state that sought to bar gay weddings until the appeals process is completed. State officials are expected to seek action by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court had refused to issue a stay Sunday, saying it would wait until Shelby ruled.
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