As US Catholic bishops convene today for a biannual meeting in St Louis to discuss the status of the priest sex abuse scandal, the news appears less than promising. After a difficult year laden with legal battles, pricey settlements, disputes with lay Catholic groups, and diminishing financial contributions, the bishops opened their meeting faced with yesterday's resignation of Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien under felony charges for leaving a fatal hit-and-run scene and Monday's ouster of former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating as leader of the National Review Board, created to monitor and advise the Church's handling of the scandal. Keating was forced to resign after he made statements to the Los Angeles Times likening the bishops' behavior and stronghold of power to that of the Mafia, reported the New York Times. In his resignation letter, Keating insisted that despite the fact that "most bishops" support the review board, "[t]o resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church," according to the Associated Press.
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .