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Botched Executions, Supreme Court Weighs Lethal Drug Cocktail

Execution drugsThe U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in three death penalty cases testing what drug combinations constitute cruel and unusual punishment when used to execute a convicted murderer by lethal injection.

It is the second time in seven years that the justices have looked at the lethal injection question, and it comes after three botched executions over the past year.

Oklahoma was the first state to execute prisoners by lethal injection. The three-drug cocktail it developed and used for the first time in 1977 was soon adopted by every other capital punishment state. It was seen as the most humane way to impose the death penalty.


8th graders struggle in US history, civics on national exam

US stedents test grades lowTime for another history lesson.

Only about a quarter of eighth graders showed solid performance or better in U.S. history, civics and geography on tests known as the Nation's Report Card.

The 2014 results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress released Wednesday were similar to those four years ago when the assessments were last administered. Students did better overall in U.S. history and civics than their peers in the 1990s when the tests were first given, but geography scores have remained stagnant since 1994.


Heavy National Guard presence in central Baltimore

Baltimore National GuardDozens of National Guard soldiers stood watch outside Baltimore City Hall and lined the streets at the Inner Harbor Tuesday morning, lending a feeling of tense calm to downtown on a cool morning after a night of rioting throughout the city.

The Maryland guard had deployed 500 soldiers and airmen by 8 a.m. Tuesday, Col. Charles Kohler said. That number was expected to increase to at least 1,000 during the day, he said.


Texas strict voter ID law in U.S. Court of Appeals for decision

Texas ID law to Cout of AppealsThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will consider on Tuesday whether to uphold a decision striking down Texas's strict voter identification law, the strictest in the nation.

A panel of three judges in New Orleans, La., will listen to the appeals.

Texas's voter-ID laws were labeled as an "unconstitutional poll tax" by a lower court in October 2014 in the Southern District of Texas, where more than 600,000 registered voters, did not have the required voter ID.


CIA manager who had been removed from his job is back

CIA's Jonathan BanksA top CIA manager who had been removed from his job last year for abusive management has been named to a senior role in the agency department that conducts drone strikes.

Jonathan Bank, 47, has been installed as deputy chief for counterintelligence at the Counter Terrorism Center, or CTC, which conducts the agency's operations against al-Qaida, the Islamic State and other groups. He supervises a team charged with protecting CTC operations by ferreting out spies, double agents, bad tradecraft and other security risks


Deeply conservative Wyoming loses its only ACLU chapte

ACLULinda Burt, the executive director of the Wyoming American Civil Liberties Union, had planned to push hard for juvenile justice reform during the upcoming state legislative session. Wyoming is the only state from which the federal government withholds funds under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act because it fails to meet the law’s standards.

She prepared a presentation for an April 14 meeting of the legislature’s joint judiciary committee that outlined how most Wyoming children are processed in adult courts, many are jailed alongside adults and few receive protections afforded by traditional juvenile systems.


Supreme Court to hear historic same-sex marriage arguments

Spreme CourtThe Supreme Court is set to hear historic arguments in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land.

The justices are meeting Tuesday to offer the first public indication of where they stand in the dispute over whether states can continue defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, or whether the Constitution gives gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.


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