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February 13, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
The effort to close Santa Monica Airport suffered a major setback Thursday when a federal judge threw out the city's lawsuit that sought to wrest control of the facility from the federal government. U.S. District Judge John F. Walters dismissed the claim that title to the oldest operating airport in Los Angeles County should be returned to the city because the action was brought too late under the statute of limitations. Walters also threw out the allegations that the city was denied due process and that the federal government did not properly compensate the city for taking the property in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
February 12, 2014 | Matt Pearce
Same-sex marriage may soon be coming to the South. A federal judge struck down part of Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday, joining a string of similar rulings in conservative states that have put the future of the country's remaining bans in doubt. District Judge John G. Heyburn ordered that Kentucky recognize same-sex marriages that had been legally performed in other states and opened the door wide for activists to strike down Kentucky's ban entirely. No federal judge has ruled in favor of such bans since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue last summer.
January 23, 2014 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown is again asking federal judges for more time to reduce crowding in California's prisons, this time proposing to release prisoners early if the state misses future deadlines. In papers filed in U.S. District Court late Thursday, Brown asked that an April 2014 deadline to lower crowding to safe levels be pushed back two years. Lawyers for the governor say that is "the minimum length of time needed to allow new reform measures to responsibly draw down the prison population while avoiding the early release of inmates.
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.
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