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Published: 04/6/11

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Too Close to Call

By  not in system - AOL News
Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Too Close to Call

MADISON, Wis. - The race between a conservative-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and a little-known challenger fueled by a wave of anger over the state's divisive new union rights law was too close to call early Wednesday morning. Unofficial returns from Tuesday's election showed Justice David Prosser and his opponent, JoAnne Kloppenburg, were separated by fewer than 600 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting. The contest was close enough that a recount appeared likely. Under Wisconsin election law, a candidate has three days after the official results have been tallied to reque...

Published: 04/4/11

Supreme Court to Hear NJ Man's Appeal Over Strip Searches

By  not in system - AOL News
Supreme Court to Hear NJ Man's Appeal Over Strip Searches

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear the case of a man who claims that strip searches in two New Jersey jails violated his constitutional rights. Albert Florence was searched twice in seven days after he was arrested on a warrant for a traffic fine he had already paid. The justices will review an appeals court decision upholding the searches. Most other federal courts have found routine strip searches to be unconstitutional, although more recent decisions have gone the other way. Florence argues the jailhouse searches were unreasonable because he was being held for failu...

Published: 03/28/11

New Jersey Man Protests, Sues Over Routine Strip Search

By  not in system - AOL News
New Jersey Man Protests, Sues Over Routine Strip Search

WASHINGTON -- Albert Florence was strip-searched twice in seven days in two New Jersey jails after he was arrested on a warrant for a traffic fine he had already paid. Florence said he should never have been ordered to undress for the searches, much less been arrested. He sued over his treatment, but a divided panel of federal appeals court judges in Philadelphia said that it is reasonable to search everyone being jailed, even without suspicion that a person may be concealing a weapon or drugs. Most other federal courts have ruled otherwise, and now Florence is asking the Supreme Court to ta...

Published: 03/27/11

Supreme Court to Take Up Huge Sex Bias Claim Against Wal-Mart

By  not in system - AOL News
Supreme Court to Take Up Huge Sex Bias Claim Against Wal-Mart

WASHINGTON -- Christine Kwapnoski hasn't done too badly in nearly 25 years in the Wal-Mart family, making more than $60,000 a year in a job she enjoys most days. But Kwapnoski says she faced obstacles at Wal-Mart-owned Sam's Club stores in both Missouri and California: Men making more than women and getting promoted faster. She never heard a supervisor tell a man, as she says one told her, to "doll up" or "blow the cobwebs off" her make-up. Once she got over the fear that she might be fired, she joined what has turned into the largest job discrimination lawsuit ever. The 46-year-old single...

Published: 03/7/11

High Court Rules for Texas Inmate Who Wants DNA Testing

By  not in system - AOL News
High Court Rules for Texas Inmate Who Wants DNA Testing

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday gave a glimmer of hope to a death row inmate in Texas who wants to test crime-scene evidence that he says may show he is innocent. The court's narrow, 6-3 ruling means that Hank Skinner, who was about an hour away from execution when the Supreme Court intervened last year, will not be put to death soon while his legal case continues. Michael Graczyk, AP Hank Skinner, here in December 2009, is on death row in Texas for triple slaying in on New Year's Even 1993. But the decision will not necessarily result in Skinner winning the right to perf...

Published: 03/2/11

Dissenting Justice: Westboro Ruling Goes Too Far

By  Joseph Schuman - AOL News
Dissenting Justice: Westboro Ruling Goes Too Far

Where should the nation draw the line on free speech? For Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the defense of First Amendment rights expressed by today's majority ruling in the Westboro Baptist Church case goes too far. The 8-1 decision found that the fringe church's hate-filled picketing at the funeral of a Marine corporal killed in Iraq qualified as public discourse protected by the First Amendment. Church members claim soldiers' deaths are God's punishment for U.S. tolerance of homosexuality. Kris Connor, Getty Images Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. was the lone dissente...

Published: 03/2/11

One Family's Fight Against the Westboro Baptist Church

By  Theunis Bates - AOL News
One Family's Fight Against the Westboro Baptist Church

On March 10, 2006, more than 1,200 people gathered at St. John's Catholic Church in Westminster, Md., to say their farewells to Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. The 20-year-old Marine had died a week earlier, when his Humvee rolled over in western Iraq while he was manning the gun turret. His father, Albert Snyder, later told the Marine Corps Times how beautiful it was to see strangers come out on the streets of Westminster and salute the funeral procession as it drove to a nearby veterans cemetery. "I've never seen a funeral like this in my life," Snyder said. "It was just amazing to see." ...

Published: 03/2/11

Westboro's 'Church of Hate' Leader Once Championed Civil Rights

By  Mara Gay - AOL News
Westboro's 'Church of Hate' Leader Once Championed Civil Rights

Fred Phelps has been testing America's laws -- and patience -- for years, long before the Supreme Court today gave his anti-gay church group the OK to protest its gospel of hate at military funerals. But in the beginning, Phelps, now the 80-year-old pastor of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, had a very different cause -- civil rights. Before the bombastic, Kansas-based preacher began picketing high-profile funerals with signs like, "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," he was a prominent civil-rights attorney known for waging successful anti-discrimination suits in Topeka. ...

Published: 03/2/11

Westboro Court Decision Pits Free Speech Against Common Decency

By  Andrea Stone - AOL News
Westboro Court Decision Pits Free Speech Against Common Decency

WASHINGTON -- Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church may have won their case in the U.S. Supreme Court today, but not even the most ardent advocates of free speech are rejoicing. "On a personal level, I can't imagine a single person in this country who doesn't feel the pain of this father" whose Marine son's funeral was picketed by the hate-spewing church, said Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center. "But a free and open marketplace of ideas requires us to hear positions and views that we don't like and which deeply offend us." The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that...

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