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January 13, 2014 | By David G. Savage and Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's refusal Monday to revive an Arizona law that largely banned abortions after 20 weeks put off for at least another year a clear constitutional ruling on whether conservative states may adopt new restrictions on women seeking to end their pregnancies. The decision, marking the third time this term that justices have declined to take up an abortion case, suggested the closely split court is not anxious to jump into the divide between red states and blue states over abortion rights.
January 13, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court hinted Monday it may move to limit a presidential power used since the days of George Washington to fill high-level vacancies during Senate recesses. A top Obama administration attorney ran into sharp skepticism from justices while defending the presidential power, granted in the Constitution, to bypass the Senate and make recess appointments when lawmakers are not in session. Use of this power has grown more controversial in recent decades as both Republican and Democratic presidents have clashed with Senates controlled by the opposing party.
January 13, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel and Adolfo Flores
As the not-guilty verdicts were read for two former Fullerton police officers, Kelly Thomas' father leaned back in his seat and shook his head. "I just don't get it," Ron Thomas said, moments after an Orange County jury acquitted former police officers Manual Ramos and Jay Cicinelli in the beating of his son, who died five days later. "I've never seen such a miscarriage of justice. " "They got away with murdering my son," Cathy Thomas said. Ramos had been facing second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, and Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force under the color of authority.
January 12, 2014 | By Teresa Watanabe
Federal officials kicked up their campaign against discriminatory school discipline policies last week, issuing first-ever guidelines for school districts on how to avoid racial disparities in student punishment. In a 23-page letter, officials with the U.S. departments of justice and education said they recognized that schools must use discipline to promote a "safe and orderly" environment but that federal data and investigations showed that African Americans were punished more harshly and frequently than whites in similar situations.
January 9, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The head of a criminal probe into allegations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups and tea party supporters personally donated a total of $6,750 to President Obama's election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, spurring Republicans to call for her removal. Republicans said Thursday that political contributions by Barbara Bosserman, a prosecutor in the Justice Department's civil rights division, raised questions about her objectivity and the integrity of the investigation into the IRS. "It is unbelievable that the department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government's systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the president's policies," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista)
January 9, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
Federal investigators have come down with a case of coulrophobia and now have to explain how the fear of clowns and their fans is not a violation of the U.S. Constitution: The Insane Clown Posse, a hip-hop rap duo, and their fans, known as Juggalos, are suing the U.S. Justice Department for including them in a 2011 FBI report “as a loosely organized hybrid gang.” The government argued that some Juggalos have been involved in assaults and a...
January 2, 2014 | By Hannah Fry
Nearly two years after a jury found former Beverly Hills schools Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard guilty of misappropriating public funds, a state appellate court panel has reversed his two felony convictions. Hubbard was convicted in January 2012 of two counts of misappropriating public funds while acting as superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District from July 2003 to June 2006. The charges stemmed from allegations that Hubbard paid Karen Christiansen, former district director of planning and facilities, an unauthorized bonus and increased car allowance, the Daily Pilot reported.
December 31, 2013 | By David G. Savage and Maeve Reston
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary exemption late Tuesday to a small group of Catholic nuns that shields it from having to comply with a part of President Obama's healthcare law that requires it to provide contraceptive coverage in its insurance plans. She acted on an emergency appeal from lawyers for the group who said the nuns faced "draconian fines" beginning on New Year's Day if they failed to comply with the law widely known as Obamacare. Sotomayor gave the government until Friday to file a response in the case.
December 31, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - With an emergency appeal filed Tuesday by Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court is again facing a difficult decision on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry - a question the justices carefully dodged last year. Utah's attorney general is asking the high court to issue an emergency stay to restore a state law banning same-sex marriage that was struck down a week and a half ago by a U.S. District Court judge. Since then, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in Utah have rushed to marry.
December 30, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
New York City is going to kick in the new year with one of its own: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a native of the Bronx, has been tapped to lead the Times Square countdown on New Year's Eve on Tuesday. The announcement was made Sunday by the organizers of America's highest-profile New Year's Eve event, which typically features star performances and always concludes with the dropping of a ball to mark the stroke of midnight. Sotomayor -- who grew up in the Bronx housing projects and became the first Latina on the nation's highest court in 2009 -- will push the button to start the dropping of the ball, and will lead the final 60-second countdown to the new year, organizers said.
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