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March 19, 2008 | From the Associated Press
A federal judge has tossed out California's challenge to a national abortion law that officials say could cost the state billions in federal funds. California sued the federal government after President Bush in 2004 authorized harsh financial penalties on states that discriminate against doctors who refuse to provide abortions. California allows doctors and hospitals to refuse to perform abortions for religious or moral reasons, but the state requires them to perform an abortion when childbirth threatens the woman's life or health.
March 25, 2003 | From Bloomberg News
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to free MGM Mirage Inc. from a lawsuit by a gay former employee who says he was sexually harassed by male co-workers. The justices turned down arguments by the casino company that the suit should be thrown out because federal law doesn't protect against job discrimination based on sexual orientation. Medina Rene worked as a butler in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas from 1993 until 1996, when he was fired.
February 28, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
President Obama endorsed a significant change to his health reform law Monday, signing on to bipartisan legislation that would allow states to opt out of federal requirements -- including the individual mandate -- three years earlier than scheduled. The announcement came during a meeting with the nation's governors at the White House, in which Obama said he was responding to state leaders' requests for greater flexibility in meeting the requirements of the landmark 2010 legislation.
March 27, 2013 | By Erwin Chemerinsky and Allen Hopper
It may be surprising, but no state is required to have a law making possession of marijuana, or any drug, a crime. Therefore, any state can legalize some or all marijuana possession if it chooses. The federal government, if it chooses, can enforce the federal law against its possession and use, but it is up to each state to decide what to criminally prohibit, based on the 10th Amendment. This basic insight has been lost in the public discussion about whether the initiatives legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana passed by Colorado and Washington voters in November are preempted by federal law. The two states will soon finalize regulations to implement those initiatives, including how to tax and regulate marijuana.
December 15, 2013 | By Richard Feldman and Arkadi Gerney
A year ago, in the days after 20 schoolchildren and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., it seemed for a moment that something had changed in America's long-running cultural debate on guns. A new kind of national conversation - even some consensus - seemed possible. But that was then. Today the voices on both sides of the gun policy debate are back to being as shrill as ever. Still, behind the heated rhetoric, there are areas of agreement.
September 25, 2002 | Dana Parsons
Hagen Place, a nondescript two-story apartment building on a corner of 3rd Street in Laguna Beach, would seem just what California voters had in mind when they passed the medical-marijuana initiative in 1996. Laguna Beach police may beg to differ. Named after a local doctor and gay activist who died of the complications of AIDS in 1991, Hagen Place has 24 apartments for people who are HIV-positive.
March 27, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
Some members of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared concerned Wednesday that a  federal law barring recognition of same-sex marriages interfered with state rights, a law professor said. Loyola law professor Dougles NeJaime, after reading a transcript of Wednesday's hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, said it suggested the court might rule in favor of gay rights but on the grounds the federal law improperly exerted control over the states. NeJaime said Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote is considered pivotal in gay rights cases, clearly seemed skeptical of the law. The section being challenged denies federal benefits to spouses of same-sex couples.
September 4, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court appeared inclined Wednesday to bar immigrants without green cards from obtaining law licenses. During a hearing, the state high court indicated it was bound by federal law to deny undocumented immigrants the right to practice law. Not one justice suggested the law favored Sergio C. Garcia, 36, a Mexican immigrant who graduated from a California law school and passed the bar exam but has been waiting...
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