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Latest United States federal courts Stories

2008-06-25 15:00:32

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down for Eighth Amendment reasons a Louisiana law that permitted the death penalty for defendants convicted of child rape. The Eighth Amendment bars the imposition of the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim's death, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 5-4 majority opinion issued Wednesday. The Court has spent more than 32 years developing a foundational jurisprudence for capital...

2008-06-24 06:02:31

By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a dispute over the Navy's sonar training exercises off the Southern California coast. Environmentalists say the exercises threaten dolphins, whales and other marine mammals. The case presents an important test of competing environmental and military interests. It began when the Navy did not prepare the required environmental-impact report for anti-submarine exercises scheduled for 2007-09 to train strike groups for...

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2008-01-12 00:45:00

A federal judge blocked the government Friday from conducting background checks of low-risk employees at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory after an appeals court said the investigations threaten the constitutional rights of workers. U.S. District Judge Otis Wright issued the injunction after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his earlier ruling and issued a sharp rebuke to the judge. The higher court said the 28 scientists and engineers who refused to submit to the background...

2006-07-01 09:19:04

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court's just-ended term saw dramatic changes, with two new conservative jurists picked by President George W. Bush, and major rulings that rejected Bush's policies on Guantanamo military tribunals and doctor-assisted suicide. For the first time in more than 11 years, the court's composition changed, with Bush appointing John Roberts to succeed the late William Rehnquist as chief justice and Samuel Alito to replace Justice...

2006-06-22 14:09:38

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court made it easier on Thursday for an employer to be held liable for money damages when a worker has been retaliated against after a discrimination complaint. The unanimous ruling upheld a lower court decision for a woman forklift operator who said she had been retaliated against after accusing a supervisor of sexual discrimination. Adopting a broad legal standard for such claims, the high court ruled that a provision of the...

2006-06-19 12:20:26

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A splintered U.S. Supreme Court failed on Monday to decide whether the federal government can regulate wetlands away from navigable waters in a case that provided the first indication of anti-environmentalist views by President George W. Bush's two appointees. By a 5-4 vote, the justices set aside a U.S. appeals court ruling that upheld the government's authority to regulate the specific wetlands at issue and sent both cases back for more...

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2006-06-19 12:10:00

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A splintered U.S. Supreme Court failed on Monday to decide whether the federal government can regulate wetlands away from navigable waters in a case that provided the first indication of anti-environmentalist views by President George W. Bush's two appointees. By a 5-4 vote, the justices set aside a U.S. appeals court ruling that upheld the government's authority to regulate the specific wetlands at issue and sent both cases back for more hearings. While...

2006-06-19 10:31:57

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that police do not need suspicion of wrongdoing to search a convicted felon who has agreed to be searched as a condition of parole. By a 6-3 vote in a case from California, the high court ruled against Donald Samson, who had agreed in writing as a condition of his parole to allow a search at any time. The justices rejected Samson's argument that his constitutional rights had been violated because the...

2006-06-15 10:40:02

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that evidence can be used even if the police violated the rule requiring them to knock on the door and announce their presence before entering to search a suspect's home. By a 5-4 vote, the justices upheld a Michigan court ruling that the officers' failure to knock did not disqualify evidence seized under a valid search warrant. The ruling was the latest in a series by the court's conservative...

2006-06-05 14:59:34

By James Vicini WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it would decide whether race can be used as a factor in deciding which students are admitted to specific public schools, the first time President George W. Bush's two appointees will rule on a racial issue. Taking up a politically charged issue in an election year, the justices agreed to decide whether the need for diversity justified using race as a factor to determine which elementary and secondary public...