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The Supreme Court is declining to get involved in a dispute that began when a group tried to have Washington transit officials display an ad with a provocative cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

The justices said Monday they would not get involved in the case.

The Texas-based American Freedom Defense Initiative in 2015 submitted an ad that depicted a sword-wielding Prophet Muhammad saying: “You can’t draw me!” Muslims generally believe any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is blasphemous. The cartoon won a contest the group sponsored.

After the ad was submitted, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board of directors voted to temporarily suspend all issue-oriented advertisements on the region’s rail and bus system.



Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack has been re-elected to a third, two-year term leading the court.

The court announced her re-election by fellow justices Tuesday. The result was public, but the vote was done in secret and the breakdown was not announced.

Roggensack replaced Justice Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice in 2015 after voters approved a constitutional amendment giving justices the power to elect the chief justice. Prior to that it had automatically gone to the longest-serving member, who is Abrahamson.

Roggensack is one of the four majority conservative justices. Abrahamson is one of three minority liberal members.

Roggensack says in a statement that she is honored to continue serving as chief justice. She has been on the Supreme Court since 2003.

The chief justice also serves as the administrative head of Wisconsin's judicial system.


The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out a nearly $315 million judgment against Sudan stemming from the USS Cole bombing, saying Sudan hadn't properly been notified of the lawsuit.

The justices ruled 8-1 that notice of the lawsuit should have been mailed to Sudan's foreign ministry in the country's capital, Khartoum. The notice was instead mailed to Sudan's embassy in Washington.

The lawsuit in which the justices ruled involves sailors who were injured in the 2000 bombing of the Cole in Yemen. Sailors and their spouses sued Sudan in a U.S. court, arguing that Sudan had provided support to al-Qaida, which claimed responsibility for the Cole attack. Seventeen sailors died when the ship was struck by a bomb-laden boat. Dozens of others were injured.

In order to alert Sudan to the lawsuit, the group mailed the required notice to Sudan's embassy in Washington. Sudan didn't initially respond to the lawsuit in court, and a judge entered an approximately $315 million judgment against the country. Sudan then tried to get the judgment thrown out.

Sudan and the sailors who were suing disagreed about the requirements of a 1976 law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The statute lays out how to properly notify another country of a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court. If other agreements between the countries don't exist, the law says that notice should be "addressed and dispatched ... to the head of the ministry of foreign affairs of the foreign state concerned."

Lawyers for Sudan and for the U.S. government had argued that the best reading of that phrase is that it requires the notice to be sent to the foreign minister in the foreign country. The Supreme Court agreed.


The Arizona Supreme Court will consider if judges can allow evidence on whether defendants have brain damage making it more than likely a crime was committed impulsively rather than with premeditation.

The court agreed Tuesday to consider the appeal of Stephen Jay Malone Jr., a Tucson man convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes in the 2013 killing of his wife, 25-year-old Augustina Soto. Her sister was wounded in the same shooting.

A state Court of Appeals July 2018 decision on Malone’s appeal upheld his convictions and said past Supreme Court decisions on admission of impulsivity are “nuanced.”

According to the decision, courts can’t consider evidence that a defendant’s mental disorder short of insanity negates criminal intent but can consider evidence that a character trait for impulsivity didn’t indicate premeditation.


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is making her first public appearance since undergoing lung cancer surgery in December.

The 85-year-old Ginsburg is attending a concert at a museum a few blocks from the White House that is being given by her daughter-in-law and other musicians. Patrice Michaels is married to Ginsburg’s son, James. Michaels is a soprano and composer.

The concert is dedicated to Ginsburg’s life in the law.

Ginsburg had surgery in New York on Dec. 21. She missed arguments at the court in January, her first illness-related absence in more than 25 years as a justice.

She has been recuperating at her home in Washington since late December.

Ginsburg had two previous bouts with cancer. She had colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.

The justice sat in the back of the darkened auditorium at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The National Constitution Center, which sponsored the concert, did not permit photography.

James Ginsburg said before the concert that his mother is walking a mile a day and meeting with her personal trainer twice a week.

The performance concluded with a song set to Ginsburg’s answers to questions.

In introducing the last song, Michaels said, “bring our show to a close, but not the epic and notorious story of RBG.”


North Carolina's highest court is holding a "legal party" to observe the anniversary of its first meeting 200 years ago this month.

The state Supreme Court scheduled a special session Monday in its downtown Raleigh courtroom to celebrate the court's bicentennial.

The General Assembly created the court in 1818 and appointed a chief justice and two judges. The court met the first time in January 1819.

The court was formalized permanently in the 1868 state constitution and now has seven justices, each elected in statewide elections to serve eight-year terms. The chief justice is also head of the state's judicial branch.

The bicentennial is the latest in recently observed anniversaries by the court system, including the 50th anniversary of the Court of Appeals in 2017.


A civil rights attorney elected to North Carolina's highest court is taking office.

Anita Earls is being sworn into office as a state Supreme Court associate justice on Thursday. The Democrat defeated Republican incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson in November.

Earls founded and led the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice. She was a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Justice Department during the Clinton administration.

Earls also served the state elections board and taught at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Maryland. She earned her law degree from Yale.


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