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Federal judge hears arguments on Arizona immigration law
2:48 PM ET, August 22
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] heard arguments on Tuesday concerning whether to enjoin a controversial provision of Arizona's immigration law [SB 1070, PDF] that requires law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of persons they stop or arrest if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the US illegally. Judge Susan Bolton heard arguments on two questions [Arizona Republic report]. The first legal question addressed was...... [full story]

Federal appeals court sides with oil companies in animal protection suit
1:32 PM ET, August 22
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday upheld [opinion, PDF] a set of regulations issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) [official website] that provide legal protection to oil companies if the companies incidentally harm small numbers of walruses or polar bears [FWS backgrounder]. The Ninth Circuit held that oil companies operating off the northwest coast of Alaska will only have a negligible effect on polar bears and walruses, and that...... [full story]

Federal appeals court allows Texas to cut Planned Parenthood funding
12:29 PM ET, August 22
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] on Tuesdaylifted an injunction [opinion, PDF] that blocked a Texas law forbidding any clinic affiliated with abortion providers from receiving public funds. The state of Texas vowed to cut funding for Planned Parenthood [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] after the Fifth Circuit reversed a temporary injunction that allowed state funding for clinics linked to abortion providers to continue until a trial in October on Planned Parenthood's challenge to...... [full story]

Federal judge rules poker not 'gambling' under federal law
11:32 AM ET, August 22
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] ruled Tuesday that a poker game operator could not be tried under a federal gambling law essentially because poker is more a game of skill than a game of chance. Judge Jack Weinstein wrote in a 120-page judgment [order, PDF] that the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) [Cornell LII materials] does not apply to the poker room operated in a warehouse owned by...... [full story]

DOJ to establish civil rights unit in Alabama in wake of state immigration laws
11:19 AM ET, August 22
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced on Tuesday that it will establish a civil rights unit in Alabama [speech] in the wake of the state's contentious immigration law [HB 56, PDF] raising concerns about compliance with federal law. In the speech, Assistant US Attorney General Thomas Perez [official profile] argued that Alabama's immigration law threatened the rights of undocumented immigrants as well as the children of these immigrants. In addition to immigration matters, Perez stated [AP...... [full story]

Alaska files lawsuit challenging Voting Rights Act
10:22 AM ET, August 22
[JURIST] The state of Alaska filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] alleging that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) [text] unconstionally infringes on Alaska's state sovereignty. In the lawsuit, Alaska argued that Section 5 of the VRA [text], known as the preclearance requirement, is unconstitutional because it requires Alaska to seek approval from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] without evidence that the state...... [full story]

Wisconsin AG to ask state Supreme Court to reinstate voter ID law
2:31 PM ET, August 21
[JURIST] Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen [official website] announced [press release] on Tuesday that he will ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court [official website] to overturn an injunction barring enforcement of the state's voter identification law [text, PDF] in advance of the November elections. A judge for Wisconsin's Dane County Circuit Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] last month that the state's voter ID law is unconstitutional, issuing a permanent injunction against the law's enforcement. Judge David Flanagan is the...... [full story]

Federal judge rules priests not Vatican employees in sex abuse case
2:09 PM ET, August 21
[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Oregon [official website] ruled in favor of the Vatican on Monday by holding that priests are not employees of the Holy See [official website], the ecclesiastical, governmental and administrative capital of the Roman Catholic Church. The 10-year-old case was brought by a Seattle-area man who has accused the Rev. Andrew Ronan of repeatedly molesting him [AP report] in the late 1960s. The man filed a lawsuit in 2002...... [full story]

Germany party appeals law banning anonymous phone purchases
1:43 PM ET, August 21
[JURIST] A member of the the German Pirate Party [NPR backgrounder] filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights [official website] challenging a German law that requires pre-paid cell phone purchasers to provide valid identification with each purchase. Patrick Breyer, who filed the suit, believes that the law violates the right to privacy [Reuters report] protected by the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. Breyer said the law should protect anonymity as technology increasingly invades the private lives...... [full story]

Federal appeals court rules against EPA in cross-state pollution case
12:47 PM ET, August 21
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) [text, PDF] when it issued a regulation limiting power plants' emissions that cross state lines. The court ruled that the regulation, known as the Transport Rule, did not square with Congress' intention to have individual states, rather than the EPA, set emissions policies to meet...... [full story]