Moore Defies Federal Order, Refuses to Remove Ten Commandments
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore declared yesterday that he would disobey a federal order and leave in place a 2.5-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Federal District Judge Myron Thompson ordered Moore to remove the monument after both he and a Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the monument violated the constitutional separation of church and state. Judge Thompson gave Moore a deadline of Aug. 20 to remove the monument, after which a $5,000 fine would be imposed on the state of Alabama each day, according to the Associated Press. Moore plans to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. "It's a sad day when a judicial officer says that he's not going to comply with a court order. It's pretty bizarre," Richard Cohen, general counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is involved in the lawsuit, told the Los Angeles Times.
A rally in support of Moore this weekend will feature Rev. Jerry Falwell, whose remarks blaming September 11th on feminists, homosexuals, and atheists caused public outrage. Moore is also supported by Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, currently a nominee to serve as a judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination by President Bush is being blocked by a Democratic filibuster in the Senate because of Pryor's far-right, extremist views on religion, women's rights, lesbian and gay rights, and reproductive rights.
The situation is complicated by a measure tacked on to the Commerce, State, and Justice spending bill that would bar federal funds from being used to remove the monument from Alabama's judicial building. The spending bill, including this amendment, added by Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), has already cleared the House but has not yet passed the Senate. Congress is in recess during the month of August.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .