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Supreme Court justices peppered opponents of President Barack Obama's health care law with skeptical questions during oral arguments Wednesday on the latest challenge to the sweeping legislation.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote is seen as pivotal, suggested that the plaintiffs' argument raises a "serious" constitutional problem affecting the relationship between states and the federal government.

The plaintiffs argue that only residents of states that set up their own insurance markets can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums.

Millions of people could be affected by the court's decision. The justices are trying to determine whether the law makes people in all 50 states eligible for federal tax subsidies to cut the cost of insurance premiums. Or, does it limit tax credits only to people who live in states that created their own health insurance marketplaces?

During oral arguments, the courts' liberal justices also expressed doubts. In an earlier case involving the law, however, Kennedy was on the opposite side, voting to strike down a key requirement.

A ruling that limits where subsidies are available would have dramatic consequences because roughly three dozen states opted against their own marketplace, or exchange, and instead rely on the U.S. Health and Human Services Department's healthcare.gov. Independent studies estimate that 8 million people could lose insurance coverage.


Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight told a judge that he is suffering from blindness and other health complications moments before he was taken to a hospital Monday morning.

Knight told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Brandlin that he had fired attorneys handling his murder case and was receiving inadequate medical treatment while in custody.

The Death Row Records co-founder said he was blind in one eye and had only about 15 percent vision in his other eye during a brief court appearance on Monday. Knight said he was having difficulty comprehending the proceedings and told the judge he had been shot six times last year and had a blood clot in his lungs and other complications. He also said he had lost 35 pounds as a result of his injuries.

Brandlin transferred Knight's case to another judge, and he was taken for medical care before his case could be called in Judge Ronald Coen's courtroom. Coen said before calling the case that Knight had been taken to a hospital, but he did not elaborate.

Knight has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges after he struck two men with his truck, killing one, on Jan. 29. He remains held without bail.



The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a group of flexible foam manufacturers challenging one of the largest class action lawsuits ever certified.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that allowed a lawsuit to go forward that seeks more than $9 billion in damages against Carpenter Co., Woodbridge Foam Corp. and others.

Buyers of flexible foam products including seat cushions, foam pillows and mattresses allege the manufacturers were involved in a decades-long conspiracy to fix the price of polyurethane foam.

The companies claim there is not enough in common between various purchasers of the foam products to allow a class action to proceed. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that argument.



The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from same-sex marriage opponents in California who want to keep the identities of their campaign donors secret.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling against ProtectMarriage.com, the National Organization for Marriage and other supporters of a 2008 ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriages in California until the ban was overturned five years later.  

The groups sought to conceal their past and future campaign finance records because they feared harassment of donors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them in part because the names have been publicly available for five years.

State law requires political committees to identify those who contribute more than $100 during or after a campaign, along with the donor's address, occupation and employer.


A German court has closed a child porn case against a prominent former German lawmaker in exchange for a 5,000-euro ($5,600) payment.

Sebastian Edathy was accused of downloading pornographic photos and videos of children on his parliamentary laptop. Edathy admitted doing so and said it was a mistake in a statement read by his lawyer Monday, news agency dpa reported.

The state court in Verden then closed the case in exchange for the payment, which will be given to a child protection group.

German law allows for proceedings to be closed in exchange for a payment or community service "if the degree of guilt does not present an obstacle."

Edathy was a rising star in Germany's junior governing Social Democrats before the allegations. He quit Parliament last February.



An Egyptian court declared Hamas a "terrorist organization" on Saturday, further isolating the blockaded rulers of the Gaza Strip once openly welcomed by the country's toppled Islamist-dominated government.

The ruling is unlikely to have any immediate effect on Hamas, still reeling from last summer's war with Israel and choked by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade set up in 2007. Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas' No. 2 leader, is based in Cairo and is receiving medical treatment there, members of the group say.

The move underlines Egypt's increasing hostility to Hamas, which the court blamed for violence in the country's restive Sinai Peninsula. The secretive movement, founded in Gaza in 1987 as an offshoot of the region's Egyptian-originated Muslim Brotherhood, faces a growing cash crunch and has yet to lay out a strategy to extract Gaza from its increasingly dire situation.

"There is no doubt that Hamas is being pushed into the corner further and further," said Mkhaimar Abu Sada, a political science professor at Gaza's Al Azhar University. Hamas' relationship with Cairo has "reached a point of no return" and is unlikely to be salvaged, he said.

The ruling Saturday by Judge Mohamed el-Sayed of the Court For Urgent Matters said Hamas had targeted both civilians and security forces inside the Sinai Peninsula, and that the group aimed to harm the country. Sinai has been under increasing attack by extremists since the Egyptian military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.



Prosecutors took a hard line Thursday with demonstrators who participated in a rare disruption inside the U.S. Supreme Court, adding additional charges against them and saying disrupting the high court is different from other protests in the nation's capital.

The demonstrators, five women and two men, were arrested last month after standing in succession inside the court and shouting protests against the court's 2010 Citizens United campaign finance ruling. Each person stood and spoke after the court's justices took the bench but before oral arguments began on Jan. 21, the fifth anniversary of the court's Citizens United decision. The decision freed corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts on Congressional and presidential elections.

On Thursday, prosecutors added two additional misdemeanor charges against the seven demonstrators. The group behind the demonstration, 99Rise, was also responsible for a similar demonstration last year in which the group's co-founder Kai Newkirk was arrested. Newkirk's protest was the first to disrupt an argument session in more than seven years.

The disruptions made news not only because they were rare but because the group managed to take videos of both events and post them on their website, despite the fact that the Supreme Court does not allow cameras inside the courtroom. Spectators, lawyers and reporters have to pass through a metal detector before entering the Supreme Court chamber, and police examine the things spectators are bringing into court.


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