federal courts

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Court Strikes Down Kentucky Gay Marriage Ban

But ruling on hold pending appeal

(Newser) - You can put yet another mark in same-sex marriage's win column, because a federal judge in Kentucky just struck down the state's ban on same-sex couples marrying in the state. The ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution by treating gay couples differently than straight... More »

2 More Courts Find Gay Marriage Bans Unconstitutional

Same-sex marriage's post-DOMA winning streak continues

(Newser) - Same-sex marriage continued its remarkable legal winning streak today, as a federal appeals court affirmed that Utah's ban was unconstitutional, and a separate court said the same of Indiana's ban. The Utah decision is the first such ruling from a federal appeals court, according to the AP . "... More »

Secret Tapes of Gitmo Force-Feedings Do Exist

Well, at least tapes of one detainee being force-fed

(Newser) - In an unprecedented ruling, non-government officials have been given the go-ahead to view secret recordings that depict force-feedings at Guantanamo Bay—a ruling that by its nature establishes the fact that these tapes actually do exist, reports the Guardian . A federal judge yesterday ruled that lawyers for Abu Wa’el... More »

Judge: Kentucky Must Recognize Gay Marriages

Court rules state's ban unconstitutional

(Newser) - Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, a federal judge ruled today, striking down a 2004 amendment to Kentucky's constitution. "It is clear that Kentucky's laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them," Judge John Heyburn said, citing the... More »

Court Strikes Big Blow to Net Neutrality

Says ISPs can discriminate against traffic

(Newser) - A federal court has rejected FCC Open Internet regulations to ensure Internet service providers can’t discriminate when it comes to web traffic. In Verizon v. FCC, the Washington, DC, court found that ISPs can legally prioritize or block some traffic, the Washington Post reports. The court did, however, rule... More »

Bomb Threat Clears Boston Courthouse

Police declare it safe after about an hour

(Newser) - More confusion and stress in Boston: The federal courthouse had to be evacuated briefly today over a bomb threat, reports ABC News . Police conducted an hourlong sweep and gave the all-clear to return late this afternoon. The courthouse was especially packed after reports surfaced that a suspect in the marathon... More »

Judge Orders Ohio to Lift Early Voting Ban

State had tried to block voting for non-troops in three days before election

(Newser) - A federal judge today struck down a new Ohio law that forbids early voting in the three days before Election Day for non-military voters, the Toledo Blade reports. Ohio has long allowed voters to cast absentee ballots by mail or in person starting 35 days before the election, but the... More »

Texas Voting Maps Discriminate: US Court

Victory for minority activists, but state plans to appeal

(Newser) - A federal court says Texas' new voting maps, redrawn by a Republican legislature, violate the Voting Rights Act. They contain signs of discrimination against minorities, judges said in a 154-page opinion. "The three-judge panel unanimously found intentional discrimination across the state. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about... More »

Study: Voter ID Laws Will Keep Poor From Ballot Box

Many don't have money or a car to get the new documents

(Newser) - A new report asserts that voter ID laws passed in 10 states will discourage low-income voters because they do not have the money or transportation to meet the new requirements. Conducted by NYU Law School's Brennan Center, which opposes the laws, the report reveals that roughly half a million... More »

Netflix May Have to Provide Captions Online

Deaf advocacy groups win one round of legal battle over disability act

(Newser) - Netflix could soon be legally forced to offer closed captions on its streaming videos. The National Association for the Deaf sued the company, saying it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide captions for the bulk of its online content. Netflix asked a federal judge to dismiss... More »

Court Kills Terrorist's Suit Against Bush Lawyer

Jose Padilla can't sue John Yoo, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules

(Newser) - Convicted terrorist Jose Padilla can't sue the Bush administration lawyer who helped craft the legal justification for torturing him—nor can any American citizen in the same predicament, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. Padilla, an American citizen dubbed an "enemy combatant" in 2002, has been... More »

Mexican-American Studies Are Illegal: Arizona Judge

State law bars studies promoting ethnic solidarity

(Newser) - An Arizona judge has declared that a Tucson Mexican-American ethnic studies program in city high schools violates state law. The ruling backs a determination by controversial state Schools Superintendent John Huppenthal that the program is illegal under a new law banning educational programs that promote ethnic solidarity and provoke "... More »

Whitey Bulger: I Could Afford a Lawyer if...

... the feds would give 'me my money back,' he tells court

(Newser) - Suspected mobster and longtime flight risk James "Whitey" Bulger will be cooling his heels in lockup after a federal judge denied him bail in his first court appearance yesterday. Bulger, who had $800,000 stashed in his Santa Monica apartment, asked to be declared indigent so that he could... More »

Judge: States Can't Ignore Health Care Law—Yet

They must continue implementing it while it winds through courts

(Newser) - A federal judge who declared President Obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled today that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the courts. US District Judge Roger Vinson was responding to a request from Obama administration attorneys who sought to ensure Florida and 25 other... More »

Vacancies Leave Federal Courts in Crisis

Republican holds on judicial nominees taking a toll

(Newser) - Republicans’ refusal to allow votes on President Obama’s judicial nominees has pushed courts to the breaking point, particularly in southwestern courts struggling with drug and illegal immigration trials, the Washington Post reports. In Arizona, for example, some judges are handling about 1200 criminal cases simultaneously. The state recently declared... More »

Blago Lawyer Walks Off the Job

After dispute over closing argument, Sam Adam Jr. departs

(Newser) - Rod Blagojevich's lawyer left a federal courthouse in Chicago today without delivering his closing argument after the judge threatened to cite him for contempt of court, the Tribune reports . Sam Adam Jr. wanted to tell jurors about witnesses the government didn't call and planned to contend that their testimony would... More »

Palin Hacker Found Guilty on 2 Counts

David Kernell convicted of obstruction of justice, unlawful email access

(Newser) - A federal jury has convicted a 22-year-old former University of Tennessee student of hacking Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account during the 2008 campaign. David Kernell was acquitted of wire fraud but convicted of a felony, obstruction of justice, and a misdemeanor, unlawful computer access. The jury failed to reach a... More »

Hutaree Members Denied Bail

Barring appeal, militia members to be held until trial

(Newser) - A federal judge today ordered all nine defendants in the Hutaree militia case held in jail until their trials. “It is difficult to underestimate the dangers inherent in the crimes charged in this case,” Donald Scheer said. Though appeals are expected, the militia members, who are accused of... More »

Erin Andrews' Stalker Sentenced to 2½ Years

ESPN reporter sought harsher punishment for peeping tom

(Newser) - The Illinois insurance executive who followed Erin Andrews around the country and shot nude videos of her at hotels was sentenced to 2½ years in prison today. The ESPN reporter was in court in Los Angeles to see Michael Barrett, 48, learn his fate. At a December court hearing where... More »

Apple Sues HTC for Aping iPhone

Says smartphone maker violated 20 patents

(Newser) - Apple has filed a lawsuit against HTC, one of its biggest competitors in the smartphone market, saying it infringed on 20 iPhone-related patents. “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it,” Steve Jobs said in a statement. “... More »

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