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The Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated the new state Senate map drawn up by Republicans this year in redistricting, ruling that a lower panel of judges didn’t properly consider how blocking the map and extending the candidate filing deadline would harm elections officials and cause voter confusion.

The 4-1 ruling doesn’t take a stance on the lower court’s determination that the GOP-controlled General Assembly violated the state’s constitution by improperly numbering the new districts. Instead, the high court focused on timing arguments.

In last week’s split decision to block the maps while the case proceeds, the lower court panel gave lawmakers 15 days to fix the maps or an “interim apportionment map” would be imposed. Meanwhile, the filing deadline for Senate hopefuls was pushed back to May 5. The order came the day before the April 7 deadline. The primary election in Tennessee is Aug. 4.

The Supreme Court ruled that the May 5 change presented “a significant delay on the election process in this state,” and the court reset the Senate filing deadline to April 14.

“We conclude that the trial court erred by granting the injunction because it failed to adequately consider the harm the injunction will have on our election officials who are detrimentally impacted by the extension of the candidate filing deadline, as well as the public interest in ensuring orderly elections and avoiding voter confusion,” Chief Justice Roger Page wrote in the majority opinion.


Environmental groups are renewing efforts to stop exploratory drilling by a Canadian mining company hoping to build a gold mine in Idaho west of Yellowstone National Park.

The Idaho Conservation League and Greater Yellowstone Coalition, in documents filed in federal court last month against the U.S. Forest Service, ask that the case involving Excellon Idaho Gold’s Kilgore Gold Exploration Project in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in Clark County be reopened.

Excellon Idaho Gold is a subsidiary of Toronto, Ontario-based Excellon Resources Inc.

The company says the area contains at least 825,000 ounces (23.4 million grams) of gold near the surface, and potentially more deeper. The company said it is looking at possibly building an open-pit mine if exploration finds that the gold is mostly near the surface, or an underground mine if the gold is deeper.

Those types of mines would require additional approval from the Forest Service.

The exploratory project was halted following federal court rulings in 2019 and 2020 concerning potential harm to Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

The Forest Service late last year approved a new plan put forward by the company involving road building and 130 drill stations.


The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday formally recognized transitional alimony as a new type of support that may be considered in divorce cases, joining several other states that have accepted the practice.

The Iowa court’s decision came at in the case of a Dubuque physician who appealed an Iowa Court of Appeals decision that had awarded his ex-wife $1.2 million in alimony over 12 years. The Supreme Court ruled that factors in the marriage supported the need for an alternative to traditional alimony.

The court said transitional alimony may address an inequity not addressed by the other recognized categories of support.

“Divorcing spouses must adjust to single life. If one is better equipped for that adjustment and the other will face hardship, then transitional alimony can be awarded to address that inequity and bridge the gap,” the court wrote. “We now formally recognize transitional alimony as another tool to do equity.”

The new type of support for a former spouse may be considered in combination with previous alimony types when one spouse’s need for education or training to become self-sufficient is significantly out of balance with the other.

The current three types of alimony are rehabilitative, which supports a spouse who left the workforce to care for children or otherwise support the home to help them return to work; reimbursement, which relates to the economic sacrifices made by one spouse during the marriage that directly enhance the future earning capacity of the other; and traditional, which pays for life or for as long as a dependent spouse is incapable of self-support.


An Ohio judge has acquitted a certified nurse practitioner of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the 2017 death of a man at a Columbus nursing home, the second acquittal since the indictment of seven workers at the facility.

A Franklin County judge acquitted 55-year-old Kimberly Potter of Delaware of all charges Wednesday, ruling that prosecutors had failed to make their case and the defense didn’t need to respond, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Defense attorney Gregory Peterson called it “an ill-conceived prosecution from the very beginning.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s office indicted Potter and six nursing home employees in 2019 on patient neglect and records tampering counts; three were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the March 2017 death at Whetstone Gardens and Care Center on the city’s northwest side. The indictments alleged failure to treat serious wounds on the patient who died, and falsification and forged signatures about treatment in a second case.

In October, a county jury acquitted Jessica Caldwell, 33, a floor nurse and unit manager at the nursing home, of involuntary manslaughter and gross patient neglect in connection with the death.

“From the beginning, Whetstone vehemently disagreed with any suggestion that our employees contributed to the tragic death of a former patient,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for the nursing home.


Samantha Elliott was sworn in as New Hampshire’s latest U.S. district judge on Wednesday.

She is replacing Judge Paul Barbadoro, who took senior status on March 1.

Elliott was a partner at Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, P.C., where she served as firm president from 2015-2020. Her areas of practice included business and commercial disputes, employment and discrimination, product liability, property rights, and municipal defense in civil rights litigation.

Elliott served as a co-chair of the founding board of 603 Legal Aid, after serving as a member of the boards of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the Legal Advice and Referral Center. She also served as the lawyer representative on the New Hampshire Court Accreditation Commission and as a member of the Federal Court Advisory Committee.


Federal regulators say Spire Inc. will be allowed to continue operating a natural gas pipeline in the St. Louis region until a long-term decision is made about the project’s future.

The 65-mile pipeline, which runs through parts of Missouri and Illinois, was granted a temporary operating permit Friday by leaders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The order will last as long as it takes for the agency to determine the project’s future, as it was ordered to do in June when a court revoked the line’s approval, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Spire sent emails to its 600,000 customers in November warning that natural gas service could be disrupted this winter if the pipeline was shut down.

Political leaders and the Environmental Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down the pipeline, criticized the utility for creating undue panic.

In June, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that FERC had not adequately demonstrated a need for the project.

The ruling vacated approval of the pipeline, and ordered to FERC to determine what to do with the project.

Also on Friday, Spire filed an appeal asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling that struck down the pipeline’s authorization.


A King County Superior Court judge has upheld a requirement issued by the Port of Seattle for all Port employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 15 as a condition of employment.

Judge Samuel Chung denied the motion for a preliminary injunction against the mandate sought by two unions representing Port employees in a lawsuit, The Seattle Times reported.

In an email to Port employees Friday, Steve Metruck, the Port’s executive director said, “I want everyone to stay safe, healthy … and remain here at the Port.”

A Port spokesperson said 90% of Port employees have been fully vaccinated. The other 10% have until 5 p.m. Monday to show they are vaccinated. They can also submit an exemption request for medical or religious reasons, or request an extension demonstrating they are in the midst of becoming vaccinated, the spokesperson said.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 117 and 763 filed the lawsuit and represent about 225 employees, including police officers and bus drivers.

“We are disappointed that the Port has put our members in a position of having to choose between maintaining their careers or doing something that violates their conscience or risks their health,” the unions said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated people are more than six times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus, and more than 11 times more likely to die from the disease.

In October, a Thurston County Superior Court judge denied a motion for a primary injunction brought by state troopers, corrections officers and ferry workers against Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate for state workers.

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