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The Supreme Court is leaving in place a Nebraska law that bars protests around funerals.

Nebraska enacted the law in 2006. It prohibits protests near a cemetery, mortuary or church from one hour before the beginning of a funeral to two hours after.

Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church challenged the law but have lost in lower courts. Members of the church routinely conduct anti-gay protests outside military funerals. The protests have been a way of drawing attention to their incendiary view that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are God's punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

The Supreme Court said Monday it would not take up the church's challenge to Nebraska's law.



A Colorado court has overturned Weld County’s approval of a $20 million concrete and asphalt plant currently under construction, saying the county had evidence the plant would violate noise standards.

The Greeley Tribune reports the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday the county commissioners improperly approved the Martin Marietta Materials plant near a residential neighborhood.

The site is also near an organic farm and a planned wedding venue along U.S. 34 between Greeley and Loveland.

Officials for Martin Marietta and Weld County said they were reviewing the decision before deciding their next steps. County commissioners approved the plant in August 2015 and neighbors filed suit a month later.

Construction began in October of 2015, and Martin Marietta regional vice president David Hagerman says the plant is nearly complete.



The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a First Amendment case brought by a Florida man who previously won a landmark ruling from the justices on whether his floating home was a house, not a boat subject to easier government seizure under laws that govern ships and boats.

This time, the justices agreed to hear a case in which Fane Lozman sued after being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at a public meeting.

Lozman, 56, was never brought to trial on the charges — prosecutors dropped them after concluding there was no possibility of a conviction. Lozman then sued Riviera Beach, claiming his arrest at a 2006 city council meeting violated the First Amendment's free speech guarantee because it was in retaliation for opposing a marina redevelopment plan and accusing council members of corruption.

A jury sided with the city after a trial and an appeals court upheld that verdict. Lozman, however, took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing in part that U.S. appeals courts across the country are split on the issue of retaliatory arrest versus free speech.


A law passed last year requires every judicial circuit in Illinois to have a veterans treatment court starting Jan. 1.

The courts allow veterans who were honorably discharged to plead guilty to a crime in exchange for a probation sentence, The Chicago Tribune reported. The sentence requires frequent court visits and mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Veterans can also apply to have their records expunged upon completing the sentence. Those who use the courts typically face lower level felonies.

Supporters say the program will help those who risked their lives for their country.

Army veteran Gregory Parker enrolled in the Lake County Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court after his fourth drunken driving arrest resulted in a felony reckless driving charge. Parker graduated from the program in about 18 months. He's quit drinking and continues to go to therapy.

"I finally find myself enjoying things in life I've never enjoyed before," he said.

But some wonder if every community has the resources or the need for a court dedicated to veterans.

Some rural communities may only have a few veterans moving through the court system, said Michelle Rock, executive director of the Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice, which provides support for treatment courts statewide.

"We know that it may not be cost-effective for every county in the state to have one," she said.

Before the new law, Kane County officials weighed the need for a veterans court with the availability of resources and decided against offering the court, said Court Administrator Doug Naughton.


The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a county elections board’s decision to reject another ballot measure that would have allowed Youngstown voters to ban the natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing in their city.
   
The Supreme Court agreed with the elections board in a 4-3 decision issued Friday.
   
Youngstown voters have previously voted down a proposed ban on fracking and fracking-related activities six times.
   
The Mahoning County Board of Elections last month rejected an attempt by fracking opponents to get a proposed charter amendment on the ballot this fall.
   
The Vindicator has reported that the board cited a new state law that says elections boards must invalidate initiative petitions if they seek to change laws that fall outside a local government’s authority to enact them.


The Supreme Court is giving car dealerships a second chance to put the brakes on overtime pay for service advisers.

The court has agreed to take up — again — a case involving a California dealership that claims those advisers are similar to salesmen or mechanics, and therefore exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed. Last year, the Supreme Court told the appeals court to take another look — but this time, don't defer to a Labor Department rule that service advisers aren't exempt from overtime requirements.

The lower court once again ruled that service advisers are eligible for overtime pay. Now the Supreme Court will get a chance to review that ruling.



Democrats and Republicans are poised for a Supreme Court fight about political line-drawing with the potential to alter the balance of power across a country starkly divided between the two parties.

The big question at the heart of next week's high court clash is whether there can be too much politics in the inherently political task of drawing electoral districts.

The Supreme Court has never struck down a districting plan because it was too political.

The test case comes from Wisconsin, where Democratic voters sued after Republicans drew political maps in 2011 that entrenched their hold on power in a state that is essentially evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The case will be argued before the nine justices on Tuesday.

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