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Friday, Apr 25th

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Lawsuit challenging Ga. gay marriage ban filed

GA ban on same sex marriage challengedA gay rights group on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta challenging the state of Georgia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven people and seeks class action status. They are suing the state registrar, a clerk of the Gwinnett County Probate Clerk and a Fulton County Probate Court judge in their official capacities.

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New Jersey family files discrimination lawsuit over 'under God' in Pledge of Allegiance

under god law suitThe American Humanist Association has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an unidentified family against a New Jersey school district alleging the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is discriminatory toward atheist children.

The suit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District contends the phrase "marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots."

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Oklahoma Supreme Court stays executions, orders hearing on drugs

execution drugsTwo inmates scheduled to die in Oklahoma this week and next have received stays from the state Supreme Court pending a hearing on the execution drugs.

The high court ruled late Monday in a decision Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said had caused a "constitutional crisis for our state." The state Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals have been fighting about jurisdiction since a lower-court judge ruled last month that the Oklahoma law protecting the identity of the companies supplying the drugs is unconstitutional.

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Divided Supreme Court upholds Michigan measure banning race-based preferences

SC affirmative action michiganAffirmative action again split the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as sharply divided justices upheld a Michigan measure that bans preferential treatment in college admissions based on race or ethnicity.

In a highly anticipated and fractured decision, justices in a plurality decision said courts lacked authority to interfere with the political decision made by Michigan voters.

“Courts may not disempower the voters from choosing which path to follow,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

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Chicago police face overwhelming gun crime as 45 people shot over weekend

Chicago gun deathsA senior Chicago police officer said that parts of the city are being overwhelmed by gun violence, after a weekend in which nine people were shot dead and at least 36 – including six children – were wounded.

Ronald Holt, the commander of the Chicago police department’s special activities division, said that the city was witnessing “fratricide” among young men who had come to believe “that the only way to resolve a conflict is to get a gun and go shoot to kill”.

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Thousands of prisoners could qualify for clemency

Thousands could get clemencyThousands of federal offenders could become eligible for clemency consideration by President Obama under new guidelines set to be released later this week by the Justice Department.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a video message posted Monday on the Justice website, said the expanded program will allow the president to consider clemency requests from "a larger field of eligible individuals.''

The Justice Department's action comes less than a week after the White House asked the department to revamp the rules for the solicitation of additional commutation and pardon requests.

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Boy Scouts toss out church over gay Scoutmaster

Boy Scouts toss out entire churchThe Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has revoked the charter of a Seattle-area church because of the church's support for an openly gay Scoutmaster.

On March 31, the BSA notified Chief Seattle Council Troop 98 Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath that his registration would be revoked because he is gay.  However, the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which charters Troop 98, said it would stand by McGrath and allow him to continue his duties as Scoutmaster. As a result of its continued support, the BSA on Thursday stripped the church of its charter.

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