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Arizona's state court system is preparing for possible hearings and other proceedings to review any future emergency public health orders stemming from the coronavirus outbreak or other communicable and infectious diseases.

An administrative order signed Wednesday by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel assigns at least one Superior Court judges in each of the 15 counties to conduct any required judicial reviews of measures taken by public health agencies to prevent and control diseases.

Brutinel's order also authorizes presiding judges in each county to adopt or suspend local court rules and orders and to take other steps. Those could include having courts operate around the clock and for Superior Courts to handle cases originally filed in lower courts.

"Judicial review of these orders and the opportunity for a person affected by an order to secure judicial review of these measures is required by law," Brutinel's order stated. “The courts must be prepared and available to respond effectively and expeditiously.


A Spanish court has partially accepted Google's appeal against a ruling that ordered it to erase news articles about a man accused of sexual abuse, but the new judgement said the company had to display the man's acquittal at the top of any search results.

A National Court decision Friday said that freedom of expression took precedence over personal data protection in this case. However, given the case's special circumstances, the person's acquittal must appear in first place in internet searches, it ruled.

In 2017, Spain's Data Protection Agency ruled in favor of a psychologist who was tried and acquitted on three counts of sexual abuse for which he faced a possible 27 years in prison.

The man, whose name was not released, applied to have Google's search engine erase 10 news articles relating to the case that appeared when his name was keyed in. The agency ordered eight story links to be blocked, saying the news was obsolete.

Google appealed, arguing that the articles were of public interest and access to them should be protected by free speech laws. It also maintained they were of current interest and not outdated.

Spain's privacy agency has long defended people's “right to be forgotten.” Its efforts triggered a landmark ruling in 2014 by Europe's highest court that said search engines must listen, and sometimes comply, when people ask for the removal of links to newspaper articles or other sites containing outdated or otherwise objectionable information about themselves.


A seemingly divided Supreme Court struggled Wednesday with its first major abortion case of the Trump era, leaving Chief Justice John Roberts as the likely deciding vote.

Roberts did not say enough to tip his hand in an hour of spirited arguments at the high court.

The court’s election-year look at a Louisiana dispute could reveal how willing the more conservative court is to roll back abortion rights. A decision should come by late June.

The outcome could have huge consequences at a time when several states have passed laws, being challenged in the courts, that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks.

The justices are weighing a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. A federal judge found that just one of Louisiana’s three abortion clinics would remain open if the law is allowed to take effect. The federal appeals court in New Orleans, though, upheld the law, setting up the Supreme Court case.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted, as she had before, that “among medical procedures, first trimester abortion is among the safest, far safer than childbirth.” The abortion clinic in Shreveport at the heart of the case reported transferring just four patients to a hospital out of roughly 70,000 it has treated over 23 years, Justice Elena Kagan noted.



In the latest twist on a key Trump administration immigration policy, a federal appeals court said it will prevent the government from making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings starting next week unless the Supreme Court steps in sooner.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Wednesday that it would only block the “Remain in Mexico” policy in Arizona and California, the two border states under its authority.

President Donald Trump’s administration says it is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and had asked that the policy remain in effect until next week to give the high court time to decide. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled in the administration’s favor on questions of immigration and border enforcement.

The latest turn in the case comes after the 9th Circuit halted the policy along the entire southern border on Friday but suspended its own order later that day after the government warned of dire consequences. “Remain in Mexico” is a crucial part of the Trump administration’s response to large numbers of asylum-seekers appearing at the border.

On Wednesday, the court ruled that the policy will no longer be in effect on Mexico’s border with California and Arizona starting March 12 unless the Supreme Court wades in sooner. It declined to extend its order to federal courts in the two other southern border states — New Mexico and Texas.

Judges William Fletcher and Richard Paez, both appointed by President Bill Clinton, said they acknowledged that nationwide orders applied to places outside a court’s jurisdiction are “a matter of intense and active controversy.”

They reaffirmed their view that the policy, known officially as “Migrant Protection Protocols,” is illegal under U.S. law to prevent sending people to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened because of their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or membership in a particular social group.

There is no question about “the extreme danger to asylum seekers who are returned to Mexico,” they wrote.



The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide a lawsuit that threatens the Obama-era health care law, but the decision is not likely until after the 2020 election.

The court said it would hear an appeal by 20 mainly Democratic states of a lower-court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional and cast a cloud over the rest.

Defenders of the Affordable Care Act argued that the issues raised by the case are too important to let the litigation drag on for months or years in lower courts and that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans erred when it struck down the health law's now toothless requirement that Americans have health insurance.

The case will be the third major Supreme Court battle over the law popularly known as Obamacare since its passage in 2010. The court has twice upheld the heart of the law, with Chief Justice John Roberts memorably siding with the court's liberals in 2012, amid President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.

The Trump administration supports the total repeal of the law, including its provisions that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people with existing health ailments.


The Hope Medical Group for Women in northern Louisiana fields phone calls every day from anxious pregnant women who ask if abortion is still legal and if the clinic, one of only three that provides abortions in the state, is still open.

Despite the protesters who sometimes gather outside, the threats that forced the clinic to board up all the windows and the repeated restrictions put upon abortion providers in this staunchly anti-abortion state, the clinic stands. Abortion remains legal in Louisiana and elsewhere in the United States. But a Supreme Court case set for arguments Wednesday could lead to the clinic’s closure and, more fundamentally, a retreat from protecting the right to abortion that the high court first announced in 1973.

The case is just one in a series of high-stakes disputes the more conservative court, now with two appointees of President Donald Trump, is expected to decide by late June as the 2020 election campaign gathers steam.

“We're fighting this as hard as we possibly can. And for now, all three clinics are still open. And for now, abortion is still legal in all 50 states,” said Hope’s administrator, Kathaleen Pittman.

Pittman tries to keep her focus on the women who come through the door every day — generally poor women who are forced to travel increasingly longer distances as other clinics in Louisiana and neighboring states have closed. Pittman estimates as many as 80% of the women who come in get financial assistance to help pay for the abortion.


A Trump administration immigration policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. courts was blocked and then reinstated by a court in the matter of hours, creating chaos at border crossings, courtrooms and legal offices.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put the policy on hold midday Friday, delivering a setback to a policy that has become one of President Donald Trump’s signature efforts to restrict immigration.

But by the end of the day, the court allowed the program to go back into effect after the Justice Department argued that its suspension will prompt migrants to overrun the border and endanger national security. The White House argued that the suspension of the policy would overwhelm the nation’s immigration system, damage relations with the government of Mexico and increase the risk of outbreak from the new coronavirus.

Customs and Border Protection closed one border crossing leading into El Paso after the initial decision. Government attorneys said immigration lawyers had begun demanding that asylum seekers be allowed in the United States, with one insisting that 1,000 people be allowed to enter at one location.

The program was instituted last year and has sent about 60,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico. Immigration lawyers and advocates say the program is a humanitarian disaster, subjecting migrants to violence, kidnapping and extortion in dangerous Mexican border cities. Hundreds more have been living in squalid encampments just across the border.

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