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Ruth Bader Ginsburg eviscerates same-sex marriage opponents in court

Ginsburg v attorney to retain ban on gay marriageAt a turning point in history where most of the male members of the US supreme court seemed unsure which way to turn, one justice stood out during Tuesday’s hearing on the constitutionality of gay marriage for her spatial awareness.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has long been a liberal champion – dubbed ‘Notorious RBG’ by her younger fans – for her withering dissent from the court’s increasingly conservative consensus.


Texas considers more abortion limits after clinic closures

Greg AbbottTwo years after Texas adopted sweeping abortion restrictions despite Wendy Davis' star-making filibuster, Republicans are pushing a smaller encore of additional limits for new Gov. Greg Abbott to sign within the next month.

New battlegrounds over abortion access for minors and insurance don't pack the same impact of a 2013 measure that would leave as few as eight abortion facilities in Texas if a federal appeals court upholds stringent new clinic standards. That decision is potentially still weeks out.


After riots, Baltimore residents work to restore peace

BaltimoreMid-morning, when the crew outside Shake and Bake Family Fun Center was ready to pack it in, Jasmine Forbes and Emma Richardson were still clearing old brush out of a gutter, taking turns holding a trash bag. The friends had been cleaning all morning, and would keep at it, in different spots around West Baltimore, well into the afternoon.

“I’ve turned my back on my community so many times,” says Ms. Forbes, who works at the Maryland Science Center. “I can’t sit and watch my brothers and sisters suffering anymore. We need to do better as a community, as for everyone – black, white, whatever race you are. Everyone needs to do better.”


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.


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