19 Stories

Now in California: Streamlined Executions

Opponents of the newly passed Proposition 66 say it's unconstitutional

(Newser) - The Election Day count is finally complete, and California voters have approved a measure aimed at speeding up executions for those on death row, the Los Angeles Times reports. Proposition 66 is designed to make the legal process more efficient by providing a bigger pool of lawyers to handle cases,... More »

Thou Shalt Not Erect Religious Monuments on City Grounds: Court

Ten Commandments structure in Bloomfield, NM, declared unconstitutional

(Newser) - Much like those "rapid-fire warnings at the end of prescription drug commercials," a disclaimer on a Ten Commandments monument in New Mexico might require "a reasonable observer … to get on his knees" to read it, an appeals declared this week. That was one of the factors... More »

Good News, NH: You Can Take Ballot Selfies Again

Federal court says ban infringes on 1st Amendment rights to 'core political speech'

(Newser) - If you live in New Hampshire and want to take a picture of your Election Day ballot to post on Facebook so your friends can argue over your judgment, that's your call. So says a federal appeals court that overturned a ban on ballot selfies, ruling that the 2014... More »

Trump Calls for Nationwide Stop-and-Frisk Policy

'We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well'

(Newser) - Donald Trump made what Politico calls a "puzzling pitch" to black voters Wednesday with a call to use the controversial "stop and frisk" tactic to reduce crime in cities across America. The practice involves officers stopping and questioning pedestrians before frisking them for drugs or weapons. "We... More »

Texas County Agrees to Take Crosses Off Cop Cars

Gov. Greg Abbott had supported decals, but nonprofit's suit said they were 'unconstitutional'

(Newser) - A group known for fighting for the separation of church and state has won a victory against Brewster County, Texas, reaching a settlement that has county cops agreeing to remove decals with crosses on them from police cars, Reuters reports. In response to a suit filed this year by the... More »

Tennessee Lawmakers: We Want Bible as State Book

It's up to Gov. Haslam whether bill is 'unconstitutional,' 'sacrilegious,' or neither

(Newser) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has a bill coming his way that has the Bible nominated as the official state book, a move critics say would be both "unconstitutional and sacrilegious," per Nashville Public Radio . The state Senate approved the holy tome 19-8 Monday night, which could make Tennessee... More »

Florida Revamping Death Penalty to Reboot Executions

Bill sent to governor requires a 10-2 jury vote for judge to OK execution

(Newser) - In January, the US Supreme Court ruled that the way Florida's death penalty was carried out was unconstitutional. Now, in reaction to that decision, the state is overhauling its system, with the Florida Legislature sending a bill to Gov. Rick Scott that would mandate at least 10 out of... More »

Japan Supreme Court: Couple Must Use Same Surname

Women's rights activists say the rule is antiquated, discriminatory

(Newser) - Japan's Supreme Court issued a ruling Wednesday that maintains a longtime civil rule some say is unconstitutional and discriminatory: forcing married couples to officially choose one surname, the BBC reports. Presiding Justice Itsuro Terada said that the surname mandate wasn't discriminatory, since a couple could choose to use... More »

Lawsuit: New Orleans Runs Modern 'Debtors' Prison'

System targeting poor is 'illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust': complaint

(Newser) - Six plaintiffs filed a federal class-action lawsuit yesterday against Louisiana's Orleans Parish for instituting what amounts to an "illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust modern debtors' prison" for people who fail to pay court fines over what are often minor offenses, the New Orleans Advocate reports. The complaint alleges individuals... More »

Okla. Gov to Court: Ten Commandments Monument Stays

Mary Fallin rejects state Supreme Court ruling to remove monument

(Newser) - Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has no plans to take down the 6-foot-tall stone Ten Commandments monument from state Capitol grounds—despite a state Supreme Court ruling ordering just that, reports Reuters . Fallin says her attorney general is asking the high court to reconsider its 7-2 ruling, saying, per Tulsa World ... More »

California's Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional

Federal judge says systemic delays amount to cruel and unusual punishment

(Newser) - A potentially huge ruling on the death penalty out of California: A federal judge says the state's system of capital punishment is so inept that California must stop killing inmates, period, reports NBC Bay Area . The decision by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney isn't about the ongoing... More »

Judge: NSA Spying 'Almost Certainly' Unconstitutional

Meanwhile, White House says no amnesty for Snowden

(Newser) - The NSA's massive collection of phone metadata is "almost certainly" unconstitutional, a federal judge declared in a blistering statement today. Judge Richard Leon issued an injunction banning the agency from spying on the plaintiffs in the lawsuit he was reviewing—legal analyst Larry Klayman and one of his... More »

Arkansas High Court Strikes Down Execution Law

Legislature, not corrections dept., must set death penalty rules: court

(Newser) - A split Arkansas Supreme Court says the state's execution law is unconstitutional. The state's constitution says that execution rules must be set by the legislature, but a 2009 law put matters in the hands of the Department of Corrections, the AP reports. Under that law, the director of... More »

Muslims Sue to Stop NYPD Surveillance

'We thought this died with McCarthy era'

(Newser) - A group of New Jersey Muslims and organizations are suing the New York City Police Department over its discriminatory and "unconstitutional" practice of monitoring law-abiding Muslims, they're charging in a federal lawsuit. “The facts are just so compelling, what the NYPD is doing is egregious," said... More »

Female Soldiers Sue Over Combat Ban

With 130 women killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, combat roles evolving

(Newser) - Two female army reservists filed suit against the US military yesterday, claiming the policy preventing women from serving in combat is unconstitutional, reports Reuters . Being banned from combat "solely on the basis of sex" violates their Fifth Amendment rights and "restricts their current and future earnings, their potential... More »

Va. Ruling Won't Stall ObamaCare: White House

Implementation of it will proceed, says administration

(Newser) - Implementation of the new health care law will continue to move forward in spite of yesterday's federal court ruling that a key provision of ObamaCare is unconstitutional , the White House says. Regulations will continue to be written, plans to expand Medicaid will be considered, and this week, 150 officials from... More »

Texas Could Soon Rule Death Penalty Unconstitutional

State has unfair risk of wrongful conviction, lawyers will argue

(Newser) - In Texas of all places, the death penalty could soon be declared unconstitutional. The state (which leads the US in number of executions since 1976, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice ) has a disproportionately high number of wrongful convictions, attorneys will argue at a hearing Monday. Twelve... More »

Dems Don't Care About Constitution

Since when can the US require people to buy something?

(Newser) - Everyone's putting out best-of lists these days, so in that spirit Bill Pascoe nominates Senate Roll Call Vote Number 392 as the "most significant vote of the decade." No, it's not the big one that passed health care reform. It came just before that, on an amendment questioning... More »

Court: Ashcroft on Hook in Post-9/11 Detention Case

Bush attorney general slammed for imprisonment without charges

(Newser) - Former Bush attorney general John Ashcroft can be held personally responsible in a lawsuit brought by a US citizen who was detained on suspicion of being a material witness to terrorism but was never charged with a crime, an appellate court ruled today. Abdullah al-Kidd alleged the detention, begun in... More »

19 Stories