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A transgender student’s fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta will hear arguments about whether a Florida school district should be ordered to allow students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys’ restroom. The district has appealed, arguing that although it will permit transgender students to use single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms, it shouldn’t be forced to let students use the restroom of the gender they identify with.

The 11th Circuit could become the first federal appeals court to issue a binding ruling on the issue, which has arisen in several states. The ruling would cover schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and could carry the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th Circuit had ruled in favor of a Virginia student, but the Supreme Court sent the case back down for further consideration. That’s because the U.S. Department of Education, under President Donald Trump, withdrew guidance that said federal law called for treating transgender students equally, including allowing them to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.



The International Criminal Court opened a three-day hearing Wednesday at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping a proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s brutal conflict.

Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing 82 Afghan victims, called it “a historic day for accountability in Afghanistan.”

In April, judges rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and American military and intelligence agencies.

In the ruling, which was condemned by victims and rights groups, the judges said that an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" because it would likely fail due to lack of cooperation.

The decision came a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for ICC staff seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes and other abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

“Whether the two events are in fact related is unknown, but for many — victims as well as commentators — the timing appeared more than coincidental,” said lawyer Katherine Gallagher, who was representing two men being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The United States is not a member of the global court and refuses to cooperate with it, seeing the institution as a threat to U.S. sovereignty and arguing American courts are capable of dealing with allegations of abuse by U.S. nationals.




A federal appeals court in New York on Tuesday upheld the legality of congressional subpoenas seeking President Donald Trump’s banking records but said sensitive personal information should be protected.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued the ruling, with Judge Debra Ann Livingston saying in a partial dissent that the lower court should take a longer look at the “serious questions” raised by the case and give the parties time to negotiate.

The court said the application by the president and his children to block the subpoenas was properly denied by a judge this year.

The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees have asked Deutsche Bank and Capital One to turn over records related to Trump’s business ventures. The lawyers for the congressional committees say they need access to documents from the banks to investigate possible “foreign influence in the U.S. political process” and possible money laundering from abroad.

Trump and three of his children challenged the subpoenas. In May, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos said Trump and his company were “highly unlikely” to succeed in proving that the subpoenas were unlawful and unconstitutional.


The Supreme Court is turning to gun rights for the first time in nearly a decade, even though those who brought the case, New York City gun owners, already have won changes to the regulation they challenged.

The justices’ persistence in hearing arguments today despite the city’s action has made gun control advocates fearful that the court’s conservative majority could use the case to call into question gun restrictions across the country.

Gun rights groups are hoping the high court is on the verge of extending its landmark rulings from 2008 and 2010 that enshrined the right to have a gun for self-defense at home.

For years, the National Rifle Association and its allies had tried to get the court to say more about gun rights, even as mass shootings may have caused the justices to shy away from taking on new disputes over gun limits. Justice Clarence Thomas has been among members of the court who have complained that lower courts are treating the Second Amendment’s right to “keep and bear arms” as a second-class right.

The lawsuit in New York began as a challenge to the city’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits, either to a shooting range or a second home.



An Israeli man detained in Jordan has appeared before a state security court where he was charged with illegally entering the country and possessing drugs.

The 35-year-old Israeli pleaded guilty on Monday to entering Jordan illegally but denied the other charge. Konstantin Kotov said that possessing a small amount of marijuana is legal in Israel. The judge rejected that argument, saying he had violated Jordanian law.

Kotov, who was arrested on Oct. 29, did not say why he traveled to Jordan.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty 25 years ago, but relations have cooled in recent years over the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Israeli policies in occupied and annexed east Jerusalem, where Jordan has custodianship over Muslim holy sites.


Our mission is to serve our clients with unwavering integrity, expertise, and achieving the best possible outcome which underpin our method for providing high-quality and ethical legal services at reasonable rates.

Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies. During probate, it must be proven in court that the person’s Will is valid, their property must be inventoried and appraised, taxes and debts must be paid (as well as the lawyers and court fees), and then the remaining property is distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries. Probate becomes a matter of public record at the time of the individual’s death.

Living trust bypass probate, since technically assets you put in a trust are owned by the trustee, not you, so on your death the trustee can transfer your property and assets directly to your beneficiaries. Be aware that these assets are still taxable by federal estate tax purposes.



A court on Wednesday upheld a corruption conviction against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was released from prison earlier this month.

A three-judge panel in Porto Alegre also ruled that da Silva’s prison sentence should be raised by four years to 17 years.

Da Silva remains free for now. He was released Nov. 8 after 19 months in jail when the Supreme Court ruled a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals have been exhausted.

Da Silva, who governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010, denies wrongdoing and says corruption cases against him are politically motivated.

The judges in Porto Alegre were ruling on a case in which da Silva allegedly benefited from upgrades that the Odebrecht and OAS firms made to a Sao Paulo farm.

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