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The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Wisconsin officials who want to keep in place a decades-old ruling that bars Chippewa tribes from hunting deer at night.

The justices did not comment on their decision to let stand an appeals court ruling that orders a federal judge to reconsider the ban.

The Chippewa have pushed for years for a night hunt in northern Wisconsin in large swath of the state that the tribes handed over to the federal government in the 19th century. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in 1991 that night hunting was too dangerous.

Last year, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered her to re-open that ruling, noting that that Oregon, Washington, Minnesota and Michigan allow tribal night hunts. The appeals court said the deer hunting has grown much safer over the past 20 years and said hunting at night was not likely to pose serious safety problems.

The Chippewa renewed their push for night hunting in 2012 after state lawmakers angered the tribes by allowing hunters to kill wolves at night. The Chippewa consider the wolf a spiritual brother. The wolf-hunting program ended after one season.


The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a North Carolina court ruling that upheld Republican-drawn electoral districts for state and congressional lawmakers.

The justices ordered the state Supreme Court to consider anew whether the North Carolina legislature relied too heavily on race when it redrew voting districts following the 2010 census.

The high court issued a similar ruling last month involving a complaint from black Alabama Democrats that the Republican-dominated legislature illegally packed black voters into too few voting districts.

In Alabama, the justices said a lower court used the wrong test when it upheld legislative districts and determined that race was not the primary motivating factor in drawing boundary lines.

The Supreme Court said judges in North Carolina must revisit their ruling in light of the Alabama decision.

In both states, Republicans strengthened their grip on power through redistricting.

Election and civil rights advocacy groups and Democratic voters in North Carolina sued over the maps and argued that lawmakers created oddly shaped districts to create clusters of Democratic-leaning black voters. The redrawing of the map had the effect of benefiting Republicans elsewhere in the state. Republicans said the districts were lawful and designed to protect the state from legal claims under the federal Voting Rights Act.



The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from relatives of thousands of victims of guerrilla conflict in Colombia who want to sue Chiquita Brand International in U.S. courts.

A divided federal appeals court last year threw out claims worth potentially billions of dollars against the produce giant in a ruling that said American courts have no jurisdiction over events that took place in Colombia. The court relied on a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that limited attempts by foreigners to use U.S. courts to seek damages against corporations for human rights abuses abroad.

The justices did not comment Monday on their order that left the appellate ruling in place.

The cases are Cardona v. Chiquita Brands International, 14-777, and Does 1-144 v. Chiquita Brands International.



As demonstrators gathered Friday outside a New Orleans federal courthouse, appellate judges were preparing to consider whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama's executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a closely watched case that is holding up Obama's immigration action.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville granted a preliminary injunction on Feb. 16 at the request of 26 states that oppose Obama's action. Hanen's rulings have temporarily blocked the Obama administration from implementing the policies that would allow as many as 5 million people in the U.S. illegally to remain.

Under grey skies threatening rain, immigrants and protesters in favor of Obama's immigration policy held banners and waved at passing cars. One banner read "Immigration reform" and another said "Deportation Destroys Families." They also shouted demands and could be heard inside the courtroom from the street.



Even after he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez is nowhere near done with his legal troubles. He still faces double murder charges in Boston, as well as civil lawsuits over the killings and a lawsuit in Florida from a former friend who said he was shot in the face and left for dead after arguing with Hernandez.

A jury on Wednesday found Hernandez guilty of the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Lloyd was killed - shot six times in a deserted industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home - for reasons that still remain unclear. Hernandez's lawyer acknowledged his client witnessed the crime but insisted he did not do it.

After the verdict, Hernandez was brought to a state prison less than a 4-mile drive from Gillette Stadium, the place where he once used to catch touchdown passes by Tom Brady in front of tens of thousands of fans. He will eventually be moved to another maximum-security institution.

A first-degree murder conviction in Massachusetts automatically triggers an appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court. A date for the Hernandez appeal wasn't immediately set.

Hernandez also is charged in a 2012 double killing in Boston. His alleged connection to that slaying emerged as the Lloyd investigation unfolded. Prosecutors in Boston say that Hernandez killed two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, after one of them accidentally bumped into him and spilled Hernandez's drink at a nightclub. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.



The sheriff for metro Phoenix on Wednesday lost a bid to overturn a 2013 racial profiling ruling that blunted his signature immigration enforcement efforts and represents the thorniest legal troubles the defiant lawman has faced in his 22-year career.
 
The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals marks the latest in a long string of defeats for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the case in which his officers were found to have racially profiled Latinos.

Arpaio and four aides face hearings beginning Tuesday on whether they should be held in contempt of court for violating a 2011 order by a judge who barred Arpaio's immigration patrols.

The sheriff has acknowledged the violation and offered to make a donation a civil rights group to make amends for disobeying court orders.

Arpaio, who voluntarily gave up his last major foothold in immigration enforcement late last year, vigorously disputes that his officers have racially profiled Latinos.

Over the past year, the judge in the profiling case has grown increasingly frustrated with the sheriff's office for mischaracterizing his profiling ruling during a training session and over what the judge said were inadequate internal investigations into wrongdoing by Arpaio's squad working immigrant smuggling cases.

The 9th Circuit upheld the previous ruling by U.S. District Judge Murray Snow that the sheriff's unconstitutional practices targeting immigrants had extended traffic stops in the Phoenix area.

The appeals court also backed Snow's requirements that Arpaio's officers video-record traffic stops, collect data on stops and undergo training to ensure they aren't acting unconstitutionally.

Arpaio's sole victory in his appeal came when the appeals court reined in a court-appointed official who is investigating misconduct at the agency.



A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a 2009 bankruptcy order shields General Motors from billions of dollars in death and injury claims tied to defective ignition switches in older small cars.

But Judge Robert Gerber in New York, who handled GM's government-funded bankruptcy case six years ago, also ruled that plaintiffs who claim a loss in the value of their cars can still sue General Motors Co., but only for company actions that happened after it left bankruptcy in July of 2009.

The ruling is at least a partial victory for GM, with one plaintiffs' attorney saying it shields the company from $7 billion to $10 billion in potential legal liabilities. But it also leaves open the possibility of costly claims for decreased values of cars.

In 2009, Gerber allowed "new GM" to emerge from bankruptcy protection free from liabilities of the company before bankruptcy. But the plaintiffs recently argued that GM misled the court six years ago because it knew about but failed to disclose the ignition switch problem. The switches, which can slip out of the run position and cause cars to stall unexpectedly, are now linked to at least 84 deaths.

Lawyers for plaintiffs in more than 140 lawsuits had argued that their clients never got a chance to dispute the bankruptcy order and were never notified of the bankruptcy because GM concealed the defective switches.

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