The Washington Supreme Court is marking the beginning of school with a mandatory assembly for the Legislature on education finance.
The court has ordered lawmakers to come to court on Wednesday to explain why they haven't followed its orders to fix the way Washington pays for public education.
Lawmakers, the governor and others say the court needs to be patient and give the Legislature more time to fulfil the orders in the 2012 McCleary decision.
Thomas Ahearne, the attorney for the coalition that sued the state over education funding, says the Legislature has made so little progress toward meeting the goal that only more pressure from the court will make it happen.
The McCleary decision said lawmakers are not meeting their constitutional responsibility to fully pay for basic education and they are relying too much on local tax-levy dollars to balance the education budget.
The court commended the Legislature for passing some reforms in the K-12 system and for starting to pay for them. The McCleary decision orders the Legislature to finish paying for the reforms, which may add more than $4 billion to the state's biennial budget, according to some government estimates.
The Legislature was given until the 2017-18 school year to fix the problem.
Among the reforms awaiting payment: all-day kindergarten in every school; more instructional hours for high school students to help them earn 24 credits to graduate; pupil transportation fully supported by state dollars; a new formula for school staffing levels, smaller classes in the lower grades; and more state support for school equipment and supplies.
A full federal appeals court will review the decision allowing Alaska's Tongass National Forest to be exempt from federal restrictions on road-building and timber harvests in "roadless" areas."
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday announced an 11-member panel will review a split decision rendered by a three-judge panel in March, which said the U.S. Department of Agriculture had legitimate grounds in 2003 to temporarily exempt the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.
Earthjustice attorney Tom Waldo said by phone from Juneau that the decision was great news for residents of southeast Alaska.
"This case is about the wild and undeveloped part of the Tongass, which are really important for hunting, fishing, tourism and recreation," he said. "These are the driving forces of the local economy, and today's order ensures that those places will remain protected until the court can give the issue a thorough review."
"Today's decision is extremely disappointing," said Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Gov. Sean Parnell. "It was the state's position that this case did not meet the criteria for a rehearing and was properly decided by the three-judge panel."
"As a result of today's ruling, the status of the Roadless Rule in the Tongass will remain in doubt well into 2015, further harming the economy in Southeast Alaska," she said in a statement.
A federal appeals court is refusing Oracle Corp.'s request to reinstate a $1.3 billion verdict it won against German rival SAP SE in a long-running copyright dispute.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Friday that the jury's award was excessive. A trial judge in 2011 reached the same conclusion and slashed the verdict from $1.3 billion to $272 million.
The appeals court gave Oracle a choice between an award of $356.7 million or a new trial. An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment.
The legal battle revolves around SAP's $10 million acquisition of the small software services firm TomorrowNow, which helped service Oracle applications.
Oracle uncovered evidence that TomorrowNow was breaking into Oracle's computers to steal instruction manuals and other technical information about software Oracle had copyrighted.
Singer Chris Brown is scheduled to appear in a District of Columbia court for what would be a third attempt at a plea deal to resolve an assault case that dates to October 2013.
According to court filings, Brown was scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Friday for a plea hearing but was unable due to travel issues. The hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, confirmed Brown is due in court. But he declined to comment on the case.
In January and June, Brown rejected plea deals on a misdemeanor assault charge. At the time of the incident, Brown was on probation in California for a 2009 attack on his then-girlfriend singer Rihanna.
Brown's attorney, Stuart Sears, declined to comment on the case.
A Thai court on Thursday dismissed a murder case against ex-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy, who were both indicted for their role in ordering a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters in 2010.
The judges ruled the Criminal Court has no authority to handle the case because the two accused were holders of political office at the time they gave the orders.
The ruling came three months after Thailand's army chief overthrew the country's elected government in a bloodless coup.
Abhisit and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban had opposed the ousted government.
Dozens of people were killed in the 2010 crackdown when the army and police violently dispersed demonstrators who occupied downtown Bangkok for nine weeks.
A federal court has ruled that FedEx Corp. improperly classified about 2,300 drivers in California as independent contractors instead of employees.
The decision by a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday covered drivers who worked for FedEx between 2000 and 2007. Similar lawsuits were filed in about 40 states before 2009.
A lawyer for the drivers estimated that they could receive at least $250 million in back pay and damages if the ruling stands up.
The judges said that under California law, the drivers were employees because FedEx controlled how they did their work. They had to wear company uniforms, drive approved trucks, and follow other company procedures.
FedEx said it will appeal to the full appeals court in San Francisco. FedEx general counsel Cary Blancett said that other courts had upheld contract language with "thousands" of independent contractors.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based company said that since 2011, it has only contracted with incorporated businesses that treat drivers as their employees. It also said it will shift to new service agreements in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.
In their lawsuit, the drivers sought back pay for overtime, expenses, punitive damages and attorney costs. That would total more than $75,000 for each of the drivers in the original lawsuit, according to filings.
California Gov. Jerry Brown's nominee to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court has received strong support during the run-up to his confirmation hearing.
The three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments is widely expected to confirm Stanford University law professor Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuellar after a two-hour hearing Thursday in San Francisco.
If approved, the registered Democrat would fill a vacancy created by the retirement in January of conservative Justice Marvin Baxter. The Mexican-born Cuellar will also be placed on the November ballot for voter approval if confirmed Thursday.
The three witnesses scheduled to testify say they are supporters. In addition, the commission received seven written endorsements, including one from former FBI chief Robert Mueller. The commission hasn't received any written opposition.
"I believe Tino to be of the highest caliber and a man of character," Mueller wrote. "He is reasonable, even-tempered and moderate in his approach to the law."
Cuellar was born in Matamoros, Mexico, and walked across the border to attend school in Brownsville, Texas, according to the governor's office. He earned his law degree from Yale Law School and a doctoral degree in political science from Stanford University. He has been a law professor at Stanford since 2001.