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Holder: State AGs Needn't Defend Bans on Gay Marriage

Attorney general: It's up to them to 'make that determination'

(Newser) - As attorney general Eric Holder pushes for marriage equality, he's taking a controversial stance on the duties of his state counterparts: They don't need to defend laws they believe violate key constitutional values, he tells the New York Times . They shouldn't make their decisions based on politics,... More »

Judge Hearing Prop 8 Case Is Gay

Not that there's anything wrong with that ... at least for now

(Newser) - The judge who will rule on the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban is gay. Vaughn Walker, who drew the assignment at random, has a reputation as a conservative and libertarian. Gay activists say his sexual orientation isn't an issue, but a rep for the group that sponsored the... More »

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Local Gun Laws

Challenge to Chicago handgun ban could neuter local gun control measures

(Newser) - The Supreme Court will take up a case that could radically alter legal precedent regarding gun ownership and Second Amendment rights. The case is an appeal brought by Chicago-area gun owners who challenged the city’s ban on handguns. The high court overturned such a ban last year in Washington,... More »

Sudan Woman Tried for Pants Gets Fined, Not Flogged

Lubna Hussein plans appeal to country's constitutional court

(Newser) - The Sudanese woman arrested in July for wearing pants has been fined around $200 but will not receive the 40 lashes once threatened, CNN reports. Lubna Hussein, an erstwhile UN worker who resigned in order to waive immunity and challenge her prosecution, says she will not pay the fine and... More »

Montana May Be 1st to Make Suicide a Right

If affirmed, state would be first to guarantee right constitutionally

(Newser) - The Montana Supreme Court tomorrow will take up the issue of—and likely affirm the right to—assisted suicide, the New York Times reports. The case is being brought on behalf of Robert Baxter, who died last year from leukemia after fighting for the right to end his own life.... More »

Fed Judge Tosses DoMA Suit

(Newser) - A federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act yesterday, supporting the Obama administration's claim that a gay couple had not suffered "an injury in fact." The Justice Department filed a brief agreeing with the plaintiffs that DoMA is discriminatory, but said it... More »

Mass. Sues US Over Definition of Marriage

(Newser) - Massachusetts has challenged the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, saying it interferes with a state's right to define and regulate marriage, the Boston Globe reports. “In enacting DOMA,” the lawsuit reads, “Congress... More »

Court Will Quash Key Voting Act Provision—Next Time

(Newser) - Today’ non-decision by the Supreme Court on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is actually a stern repudiation, Tom Goldstein writes for SCOTUSblog. Reading between the lines, Goldstein surmises that the court will strike down Section 5 when the next challenge comes if Congress does not significantly alter it... More »

Calif. Gay-Marriage Ruling Comes Next Week

(Newser) - The California state Supreme Court will issue its opinion on gay marriage Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The court will rule on three questions, including two challenges to the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex nuptials. One challenge comes from gay-rights lawyers who argue that Prop 8 was... More »

Prop 8 Furor Squeezes Calif. Court

Groups would move to oust any high court members who overturn gay-marriage ban

(Newser) - California’s moderately conservative Supreme Court faces pressure from both fronts of the gay-marriage battle, the Los Angeles Times reports. Opponents of Proposition 8—including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger—are collecting arguments for why the amendment should be struck down, while supporters have promised to oust judges who rule the other... More »

Korea Backs Monopoly for Blind Masseurs

Profession will remain reserved for the blind in South Korea

(Newser) - A South Korean court has upheld a law allowing only blind people to work as masseurs, the AP reports. The profession has been reserved for the blind for almost a century, but a legal battle had raged for years over the constitutionality of the rule. The perceived threat to their... More »

S. Korea's Blind Masseurs Protest Threat to Livelihood

Government opens profession to sighted

(Newser) - Blind masseurs in South Korea are protesting what they see as the end of a way of life—and their livelihood, CNN reports. Police arrested 26 yesterday who gathered on a bridge and threatened to jump because the government is for the first time allowing sighted people to become licensed... More »

Court Boots Thai PM Over Cooking Show

Samak forced to resign as protests continue in Bangkok

(Newser) - Thailand's supreme court has ruled that the prime minister and his government must resign, declaring that his participation in a TV cooking show violated the constitution. The unanimous ruling comes as opponents of Samak Sundaravej continue to occupy Government House in Bangkok, reports the AP. While Samak may seek a... More »

Supremes to Weigh On-Air Swearing

Fox battles the FCC in next big court case

(Newser) - The Supreme Court might take up a gavel in one hand and a bar of soap in the other next term, when it considers a case challenging the FCC’s “fleeting utterances” standards, it announced today. The FCC is appealing a lower-court ruling—which arose when Cher dropped an... More »

Court Skeptical of Challenge to Lethal Injection

Justices cite low chance of painful death, lack of better option

(Newser) - As the Supreme Court opened its hearing on lethal injection today, justices expressed serious doubts that the method amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, the LA Times reports. Most of the panel, including Chief Justice John Roberts, seemed unconvinced that the three-chemical cocktail results in a painful death, or that... More »

Candidate Paul: Awkward But Authentic

Carlson takes the measure of the Libertarian Republican

(Newser) - Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul speaks tonelessly about such drab subjects as the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve, but people like him anyway, writes Tucker Carlson in the New Republic, perhaps because they see “authenticity.” The no-longer-bow-tied pundit returns from the campaign trail sure about one thing: "... More »

Supreme Court Stops Another Execution

Justices halt lethal injection in Florida to review constitutionality

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today halted the execution of Florida man convicted of killing a child in 1991—another sign the court wants executions halted as it considers the constitutionality of lethal injection. Mark Dean Schwab was scheduled to die at 6 p.m., but he will now wait until the... More »

Justices Stay Execution, Signaling Moratorium

Lower courts will defer until 2008 review

(Newser) - The Supreme Court delivered an eleventh-hour stay for a prisoner slated to die by lethal injection last night, giving what the New York Times calls a "nearly indisputable indication" that a majority of justices are willing to block all executions until they rule on a death penalty case next... More »

A Death Penalty Moratorium?

Not so fast: the Supreme Court is sending mixed messages

(Newser) - Is there a stay on all US executions? The Supreme Court has recently granted 2 and refused to nix a third, as more inmates challenge lethal injection. “The states are getting the message,” says one expert, while another mentions “moratorium mojo” on his blog. But critics warn... More »

Texas Executions at Standstill

Case before US Supreme Court used to stay death order

(Newser) - As the US Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality of lethal-injection methods, a Texas appeals court yesterday stayed an execution order scheduled to be carried out tonight—bringing the country's busiest death row to a standstill. The Supreme Court is looking at a case brought by death-row inmates in Kentucky who... More »

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