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    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) suffered a judicial setback on Thursday when a federal judge suspended the enforcement of the Stop WOKE Act, ruling it violated free speech. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida Chief Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction suspending the law and issued a strongly worded opinion slamming Florida’s recent approach toward free speech. “In the popular television series Stranger Things, the “upside down” describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world. See Stranger Things (Netflix 2022). Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down,” Walker wrote in the first paragraph of his opinion. “Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely,” he added before citing various statutes. The Stop WOKE Act was signed into law in April by DeSantis, who has branded himself as a GOP culture warrior fighting back against progressive politics. The law banned various...
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Abortion clinics in Louisiana can continue operating until a lawsuit challenging the state’s near total ban on abortions is resolved, a state judge ruled Thursday. The order from state district judge Donald Johnson in Baton Rouge is the latest development amid a flurry of court challenges to state “trigger” laws that were crafted in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights, which it did on June 24. For weeks, access to abortion has been flickering in Louisiana where there are three clinics. A statewide abortion ban has taken effect twice and been blocked twice since the Supreme Court’s ruling in June. Johnson had entered a temporary hold on enforcement July 11, pending arguments in the case that were heard Monday. Johnson’s new ruling allows clinics to continue providing abortion procedures while a lawsuit filed by a north Louisiana abortion clinic and others continues. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit don’t deny that the state can now ban abortion as a result of the Supreme Court ruling....
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana law banning most abortions remains blocked by state judge while lawsuit against legislation proceeds. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    A court order that keeps Louisiana authorities from enforcing a ban on most abortions remained in effect Monday after a judge asked for more information from both sides in a lawsuit over the state's 'trigger law.' State District Judge Donald Johnson said both sides have until Tuesday morning to submit their 'proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law' in the case.  Johnson is pondering whether to allow enforcement of the abortion ban that was written in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1973 decision that established abortion rights.  Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry was drowned out by a series of hecklers during a Monday news conference when he declared that 'we will prevail and the rule of law will be upheld' After the historic Roe v. Wade decision, Louisiana was set to enact trigger laws that would have outlawed abortion in 10 days That decision came June 24 and abortion access in Louisiana has been flickering ever since with a series of on-again-off-again court rulings. In the meantime, Johnson said the temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of...
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Enforcement of Louisiana law banning most abortions blocked again by judge in state’s capital as lawsuit proceeds. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    A Virginia judge on Friday blocked Virginia Gov. Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinPennsylvania lt. gov., Senate hopeful Fetterman: Republicans' use of critical race theory 'divisive dog whistling' Youngkin, Virgina AG join parent lawsuit challenging county school mask mandate Suspect in Bridgewater College shooting a former student, records show MORE’s (R ) executive order giving parents the power to decide whether their children wear masks in schools or not. Virginia Circuit Court Judge Louise M. DiMatteo said in her ruling that the seven school boards seeking injunctive relief from Youngkin’s executive order on masks were likely to succeed on the merits of their case. Specifically, the Virginia judge wrote that while Youngkin had been given wide authority to address a state emergency, he did not have the authority to overrule decisions made by school boards under a state law requiring them to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “While the General Assembly has granted the Governor significant and sweeping general powers to address an emergency, when confronted with a specific statute addressing the manner in which in-person learning can...
    Abortions after six weeks of pregnancy quickly resumed in at least six Texas clinics after a federal judge temporarily blocked the state's controversial near-total ban on the procedure.  It was unclear how many abortions Texas clinics rushed to perform on Thursday after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman suspended the abortion law, which prohibits women from getting the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy - the time a fetal heartbeat is detected but before some women even know they're pregnant. The action by Pitman prevents the state from enforcing the law and he did not delay the effective date of his ruling to give Texas time to seek an immediate stay from an appeals court.  This means that state abortion providers have a short window of time to resume offering abortions to patients - and on Thursday, some clinics in Texas rushed to perform the procedures.  But other physicians remained hesitant, afraid the court order would not stand for long and thrust them back into legal jeopardy.   A woman enters Alamo Women's Reproductive Services on Thursday in San Antonio Protesters take part...
    A Montana state judge blocked three laws Thursday that restrict abortion pending a review of their constitutionality. Judge Michael Moses, a Yellowstone district court judge, blocked the laws from going into effect at the last minute in response to an August lawsuit from Planned Parenthood, according to The Associated Press. SUPREME COURT POISED TO MAKE LANDMARK RULINGS ON ABORTION, GUNS, RELIGIOUS RIGHTS Planned Parenthood argued that the laws, which ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and limit abortifacient drugs, violate the Montana State Constitution. The Montana state legislature passed the laws earlier this year before Montana's Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed them into law. The judge's ruling comes amid rising tensions over abortion laws nationwide. In May, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law prohibiting abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy. That law was also blocked by a judge this week. The Texas law offers citizens a private right of action against individuals who commit or aid and abet an abortion that violates the law, but it does not extend...
    Washington (CNN)West Virginia must pause its enforcement of a new law that prohibits transgender women and girls from participating in public school sports, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, allowing the plaintiff in the lawsuit to sign up for her school's girls' cross-country and track teams while the challenge awaits a final decision. In a 15-page preliminary injunction, District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin handed a temporary win to 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson, a transgender athlete who, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal and Cooley LLP, sued the state in May over its sports ban. Becky is referred to in the lawsuit as B.P.J., but is named and quoted in ACLU news releases."At this point, I have been provided with scant evidence that this law addresses any problem at all, let alone an important problem," Goodwin wrote in his ruling. The decision means West Virginia must stop enforcing the ban, which went into effect earlier this month, while the lawsuit awaits a final ruling. It also means Becky "will be permitted to...
    A Baltimore judge has blocked Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan from ending federal unemployment benefits, citing public interest. The preliminary injunction was issued Tuesday by Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill of the Circuit Court for Baltimore following multiple lawsuits against the governor after he announced in early June that he will end all federal unemployment benefits due to slow economic recovery and worker shortage. “We have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages,” Hogan said at the time. In his ruling, the judge said that the plaintiffs “have shown that they will suffer irreparable harm” if the injunction was not issued and that it was in public interest for him to take action. The plaintiffs are Unite Here Workers 7, Public Justice Center and Maryland Unemployed Workers Union, according to The Washington Post. BREAKING: Preliminary Injunction GRANTED. MD Dept of Labor and Governor Larry Hogan ordered to continue federal unemployment benefits in Maryland. @FOXBaltimore pic.twitter.com/wxyjjb1KwP — Amy Simpson (@AmySimpsonTV) July 13, 2021 The governor and state’s secretary of...
    (CNN)A federal judge has blocked a law in Tennessee that would require some businesses to post signs outside their doors if they allow transgender or nonbinary customers to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. An injunction from US District Judge Aleta Trauger of the Middle District of Tennessee has temporarily halted the state from enforcing the law, which went into effect earlier this month. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit last month to challenge the law on behalf of business owners in Nashville and Chattanooga who allow customers to use their preferred restroom. It's a short-term victory for trans Tennesseans and potentially indicative, advocates hope, of the outcome of future legal challenges to legislation that targets trans people.The law, sponsored in the Tennessee House by Republican Rep. Tim Rudd, would have required businesses to post a notice that reads, "THIS FACILITY MAINTAINS A POLICY OF ALLOWING THE USE OF RESTROOMS BY EITHER BIOLOGICAL SEX, REGARDLESS OF THE DESIGNATION ON THE RESTROOM."This record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation would affect minors the most LGBTQ activists in...
    A judge in Colorado blocked Boulder's two-year-old ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines earlier this month — less than two weeks later, 10 people were killed during a mass shooting at one of the city's supermarkets. According to the affidavit, investigators determined that the suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa,  purchased an assault rifle on March 16, 2021. Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled on March 12 that the 2018 ban, which outlawed the possession, sale or transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines (LCMs), was invalid because it runs contrary to state law.  "The Court finds that the Ordinance's Assault Weapons Possession, Sale, and Transfer Ban is operationally preempted because it materially impedes the state's interest in firearms regulation, and it forbids what state law authorizes," reads Hartman's ruling. He pointed to the state legislature's declaration that firearms regulation is a state interest, in order to prevent "a patchwork of inconsistent local laws involving firearms," and to best protect Coloradans.  "The Court finds that the need for statewide uniformity favors the state's interest in regulating assault weapons...
    A judge blocked Boulder from enforcing a ban on assault rifles less than two weeks before the city was rocked by a mass shooting that left 10 people dead at a supermarket.   Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled on March 12 that the city's two-year-old bans on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines violated a 2003 state law prohibiting municipalities from enacting their own firearms regulations.  The National Rifle Association praised Hartman's ruling in a tweet on March 16, saying it 'gave law-abiding gun owners something to celebrate'.  Six days later, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Issa went on a 20-minute shooting spree inside a King Soopers grocery store on Monday afternoon, killing 10 people with what witnesses described as an AR-15-style rifle. Authorities have not confirmed what weapon was used, so it remains unclear whether it would have been covered under the ban that the Boulder Police Department stopped enforcing after Hartman's ruling.   The Boulder attack marked the seventh mass shooting in the US in the span of a single week, coming just six days after eight people were killed by a...
    More On: boulder king soopers shooting Sister of cop killed in Boulder shooting shares heartbreaking tribute ‘We need 911 here now!’ Terrifying new video shows horror inside Boulder shooting rampage A hero’s honor: Cops line streets in stunning tribute for officer killed in supermarket carnage Terrified teens hid in closet for an hour during market massacre: grandfather Ten days before a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket, a judge blocked the city from enforcing a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines — likely setting up a renewed gun control debate in the state. Boulder County District Judge Andrew Hartman ruled on March 12 that the city could not enforce its 2018 ordinance banning possession, transfer or sale of assault weapons and large-capacity magazine since state law says local governments can’t block the possession or sale of firearms, the Denver Post reported. “These provisions are invalid, and enforcement of them is enjoined,” Hartman wrote. “The court has determined that only Colorado state (or federal) law can prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons and...
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge in Oklahoma has ruled in favor of a railroad that challenged a state law that bans stopped trains from blocking streets for more than 10 minutes. BNSF Railway Co. sued Oklahoma last year after police officers in Edmond and Davis issued citations over blocked streets. The lawsuit listed the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the cities of Edmond and Davis as defendants, The Oklahoman reported. U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin on Monday found that the 2019 law is unconstitutional because it does not align with a federal law, the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act. He wrote that the statute “intrudes on the territory reserved to the ICCTA.” In defense of the state law, state Attorney General Mike Hunter and his assistants cited instances when blocked crossings caused safety issues. But the Texas-based railroad said that U.S. law governing rail carriers supersedes any state law. The judge said “blocked train crossings indisputably have safety implications." But he also wrote that state or local government can address railroad crossing issues in a way “that does...
    A New York couple were blocked from having their wedding with 175 guests on Saturday after a judge postponed a ruling on the state's 50 person limit Friday.   Pamella Giglia and Joe Durolek, as well as another couple, sued this summer, saying it was unfair to restrict attendance to 50 at weddings — as religious ceremonies — when some restaurants could have more people. A federal judge in Syracuse ruled in the couples' favor August 7. The other couple, Jenna DiMartile and Justin Crawford, married shortly after with around 115 guests at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Akron, where Giglia and Durolek's wedding also was planned.  But on Friday Giglia and Durolek were forced to postpone their Saturday wedding after a federal appellate judge in Manhattan granted a state request that effectively blocked their nuptials. A couple were effectively blocked from having their wedding at Arrowhead Golf Club in Akron, pictured, Saturday after a judge postponed a ruling on the state's 50 person limit Jenna DiMartile and Justin Crawford, married shortly after a federal judge in Syracuse ruled in the...
    By JEFF AMY, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge on Monday permanently blocked Georgia's 2019 “heartbeat" abortion law, finding that it violates the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled against the state in a lawsuit filed by abortion providers and an advocacy group. Jones had temporarily blocked the law in October, and it never went into effect. The new ruling permanently enjoins the state from ever enforcing House Bill 481. Georgia's measure sought to ban abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” was present, with some limited exceptions. Cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women realize they’re pregnant, according to a legal challenge. The bill narrowly passed the Georgia General Assembly amid intense lobbying for and against. Those who challenged the lawsuit said the ruling proves their contention that the measure was unconstitutional. Lead plaintiff SisterSong, an Atlanta-based group that fights abortion restrictions on behalf of African American and other women of color, called it a “huge win for bodily autonomy.” “No one should have to...
    ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge on Monday permanently blocked Georgia’s 2019 “heartbeat” abortion law, finding that it violates the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled against the state in a lawsuit filed by abortion providers and an advocacy group. Jones had temporarily blocked the law in October, and it never went into effect. The new ruling permanently enjoins the state from ever enforcing House Bill 481. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has supported the restriction, immediately vowed an appeal. “We will appeal the court’s decision,” Kemp said in a statement. “Georgia values life and we will keep fighting for the rights of the unborn.” The prospects of an appeal are uncertain, though, considering the U.S. Supreme Court last month struck down other abortion restrictions from Louisiana. Georgia’s measure sought to ban abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” was present, with some limited exceptions. Cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women realize they’re pregnant, according to a legal challenge. The bill narrowly passed the Georgia General...
    SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A state judge on Friday blocked a northwest Louisiana city from enforcing a masking requirement recently issued by the mayor in hopes of fighting the spread of the new coronavirus. The restraining order was issued by state District Judge Craig Marcotte in a lawsuit filed by five Shreveport businesses, The Shreveport Times reported. The businesses' owners said in their lawsuit that they could lose customers because of Mayor Adrian Perkins’ order. “Compounding the disruption caused by the Order itself, consumers have threatened to boycott businesses that comply with the Order in view of the potent political symbolism that is associated with masks. This could result in a loss of good will to these businesses with masks, and for other individual reasons,” the petition read. A hearing on the issue is set for July 20. As confirmed cases of the disease caused by the virus increase in Louisiana, hospitals in the state’s southwest corner are concerned about the rising use of intensive care beds. KPLC-TV reports that Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on Thursday had 19 patients in...
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