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The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would allow the Trump administration to continue enforcing a policy that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings, despite lower court rulings that the policy probably is illegal.

The justices’ order, over a dissenting vote by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, overturns a lower court order that would have blocked the policy, at least for people arriving at the border crossings in Arizona and California. The lower court order was to have taken effect on Thursday. Instead, the “Remain in Mexico” policy will remain in force while a lawsuit challenging it plays out in the courts, probably at least through the end of President Donald Trump’s term in January.

The next step for the administration is to file a formal appeal with the Supreme Court. But the justices may not even consider the appeal until the fall and, if the case is granted full review, arguments would not be held until early 2021.

The high court action is the latest instance of the justices siding with the administration to allow Trump’s immigration policies to continue after lower courts had moved to halt them. Other cases include the travel ban on visitors from some largely Muslim countries, construction of the border wall, and the “wealth test” for people seeking green cards.



Federal judges on Wednesday sharply questioned attorneys on both sides of an Ohio law that faces doctors with a felony charge if they perform abortions aimed at preventing the birth of a baby with Down syndrome.

Jessie Hill, an attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, argued that the law seeks unconstitutionally to take “the ultimate decision” on abortion away from the woman. Benjamin Flowers, Ohio’s solicitor general, said it seeks to prevent abortions that target and discriminate against those with Down syndrome, which would send them a message that people including some medical providers “do not think people like you are as valuable as others.”

The case is viewed as pivotal in the national debate over the procedure. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the arguments in a rare full-court hearing before 15 judges on a court that has moved rightward in recent years with Republican President Donald Trump making six appointments.

Attorneys for the government contend in legal filings that the sidelined 2017 law does not infringe on a woman’s constitutional rights — because it “does not prohibit any abortions at all.”

Judge Raymond Kethledge, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, indicated agreement with the government in his questions, suggesting that the Ohio law “strikes a balance between two extremes.” Other judges questioned whether it stands up under existing law on abortion and whether it encourages women to mislead their doctors.

The Ohio law prohibits physicians from performing an abortion if they’re aware that a diagnosis of Down syndrome, or the possibility, is influencing the decision. They could face a fourth-degree felony charge, be stripped of their medical license, and be held liable for legal damages. The pregnant woman faces no criminal liability under the law.



The most senior Catholic to be convicted of child sex abuse took his appeal to Australia’s highest court Wednesday in potentially his last bid to clear his name.

Cardinal George Pell was sentenced a year ago to six years in prison for molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral while he was the city’s archbishop in the late 1990s.

He was convicted by the unanimous verdict of a Victoria state County Court jury in December 2018 after a jury in an earlier trial was deadlocked.

A Victoria Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against his convictions in a 2-1 majority decision in August last year.

Pope Francis’ 78-year-old former finance minister is arguing before the High Court that the guilty verdicts were unreasonable and could not be supported by the whole of the evidence from more than 20 prosecution witnesses who include priests, altar servers and former choirboys.

Seven judges are hearing the case over two days.

Pell’s lawyer Bret Walker told the judges that there had been a “reversal of onus” in which Pell was expected to prove the offending didn’t happen instead of prosecutors proving the crimes were committed beyond reasonable doubt.

“That is a wrong question which sends the inquiry onto a terribly damaging wrong route,” Walker said.

Walker said the allegations that Pell had molested the two boys in a priests’ sacristy moments after a Mass could not be proved if the jury had accepted the evidence of sacristan Maxwell Potter and Monsignor Charles Portelli.

Potter had testified that the sacristy was kept locked during Masses and Portelli had given evidence that he was always with Pell while he was dressed in his archbishop’s robes.


It was a blunt warning about the dangers of youth vaping: Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced late last month that his state had joined 38 others to investigate whether Juul Labs, the nation’s largest electronic cigarette company, promoted and sold its nicotine-heavy products to teens.

Ten months earlier, a team of Juul representatives met with Carr and his senior staff. They delivered a 17-page presentation laden with information about the public-health potential of Juul’s combustion-free vaping devices for adult smokers and the company’s “commitment to ending youth use,” a pledge that included more rigorous retail and online sales controls.

It was a blunt warning about the dangers of youth vaping: Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced late last month that his state had joined 38 others to investigate whether Juul Labs, the nation’s largest electronic cigarette company, promoted and sold its nicotine-heavy products to teens.


Social media comments about protecting bears that were posted by Lake Tahoe activists referring to a longtime wildlife biologist as a murderer constitute "good faith communications" protected as free speech, the Nevada Supreme Court says.

The recent opinion doesn't end a lawsuit filed in Washoe County District Court in Reno.

But it settles a key legal question in the dispute between Carl Lackey, a Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist, and Carolyn Stark, who administers a Facebook page that posts criticism of the state's bear control tactics, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

The lawsuit is the latest development in a yearslong legal and public relations battle between the agency and a group of activists who oppose state methods for managing bears. In 2018, a judge issued a protective order to keep Stark, who lives in the community of Incline Village, away from another state biologist who says Stark stalked her in a dispute over the capture of nuisance bears.



Juul Labs, the nation’s largest electronic-cigarette company, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of state attorneys general in an effort to build relationships with these powerful officials and potentially head off legal challenges over how it promoted and sold its vaping products.

But the company’s approach hasn't stopped officials from taking action. Thirty-nine states announced late last month that they will investigate whether Juul’s early viral marketing efforts illegally targeted teens and made misleading claims about the nicotine levels in its devices.

Health officials have declared underage vaping an epidemic, largely driven by the discrete, high-nicotine, fruity flavored pods that Juul sold until late last year.


International Criminal Court judges authorized a far-reaching investigation Thursday of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Afghan government forces, the Taliban, American troops and U.S. foreign intelligence operatives.

The appellate ruling marked the first time the court’s prosecutor has been cleared to investigate U.S. forces, and set the global tribunal on a collision course with the Trump administration.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda pledged to carry out an independent and impartial investigation and called for full support and cooperation from all parties.

“The many victims of atrocious crimes committed in the context of the conflict in Afghanistan deserve to finally have justice,” Bensouda said. “Today they are one step closer to that coveted outcome.”

Washington, which has long rejected the court’s jurisdiction and refuses to cooperate with it, condemned the decision while human rights groups and lawyers for victims applauded it.

A five-judge appellate panel upheld an appeal by prosecutors against a pretrial chamber’s rejection in April last year of Bensouda’s request to open a probe in Afghanistan.

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