The U.S. Supreme Court was urged on Tuesday to uphold the constitutionality of two laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as it prepares to hear arguments in the historic same-sex marriage cases two months from now, Reuters reports. Supporters of the 2008 California prohibition on same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8 told the court that defining marriage should be left to voters rather than judges, and that the ban did not dishonor gays and lesbians. In a separate filing, the top three Republican members of the House of Representatives – Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy – urged the court to uphold Section 3 of a 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, that has the effect of denying same-sex couples a variety of federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive. The Supreme Court will on March 26-27 hear arguments on the California and federal laws, in two of the most anticipated cases of its current term. Nine U.S. states have legalized same-sex marriage. Opponents of both provisions are expected to file their briefs next month. The Obama administration has stopped defending Section 3.
While lawmakers in Washington try to hammer out what should be done, if anything, some Arizona lawmakers are saying “No thanks.” Five state representatives are proposing House Bill 2291, titled “Arizona Firearms: prohibited enforcement.” Last week, President Barack Obama proposed a ban on assault weapons and any magazine that holds more than 10 bullets. If passed and signed into law, HB 2291 would make it a Class 6 felony for federal government employees to enforce new federal laws or regulations on guns, accessories and ammunition owned or manufactured in our state. A Class 6 felony is Arizona’s least severe felony classification, but a conviction can carry a jail or prison sentence. The proposed bill would also make Arizona exempt from any new federal restrictions on semi-automatic firearms and magazines and new registration rules. Under the introduced version of HB 2291, such restrictions or registration rules taking effect after Jan. 1 would be “… unenforceable within the borders of this state ….” HB 2291, which sponsors say is meant to protect Arizonans’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms,” is not unique. Nearly a dozen other states reportedly have similar bills on the table.
Oral arguments in a lawsuit brought against New York City’s health board over Mayor Bloomberg’s super-size soda ban will be heard at 10am today, the American Beverage Association (ABA) has confirmed. The ban, which comes into force on March 12, prohibits sales of sugary beverages in containers larger than 16oz by any outlet that receives letter grades for food service, including movie theaters, fast food chains, mobile food carts and delis. It will not apply to grocery stores. The New York City health board is bypassing the proper legislative process for the governing the city. The ABA and other opponents of the ban have filed a lawsuit arguing that the health board does not have the authority to implement the ban. CBS news reports that the city’s limit of sugary drinks are raising racial fairness questions. The issue is complex for the minority advocates, especially given obesity rates that are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. The groups say in court papers they’re concerned about the discrepancy, but the soda rule will unduly harm minority businesses and “freedom of choice in low-income communities.”
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs threatened to file a patent lawsuit against Palm if that company’s chief executive didn’t agree to refrain from poaching Apple employees, according to a court filing made public Tuesday. The communication from Jobs surfaced in a civil lawsuit brought by five tech workers against Apple, Google, Intel and others, alleging an illegal conspiracy to eliminate competition for each other’s employees and drive down wages. The defendant tech companies have attempted to keep a range of documents secret. However, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose rejected parts of that request, which led to details of Jobs’ 2007 communications with then-Palm chief executive Edward Colligan becoming part of the public record. Jobs proposed eliminating competition between the two companies for talent, according to a sworn statement from Colligan cited by the plaintiffs. Jobs proposed eliminating competition between the two companies for talent, according to a sworn statement from Colligan cited by the plaintiffs. Colligan told Jobs that the plan was “likely illegal,” and that Palm was not “intimidated” by the threat.
The U.S. government has joined a lawsuit from college and professional sports leagues seeking to stop New Jersey from implementing a law that would allow gambling on sports in the state. In papers filed in a New Jersey federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said it wants to defend the constitutionality of a federal law that restricts sports gambling. New Jersey’s law, signed last year by Governor Chris Christie, would allow sports betting at the state’s racetracks and at Atlantic City casinos. It would allow the racetracks and casinos to apply for licenses and open gambling operations for amateur and professional sports. A slew of leagues, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, sued the state in August, saying the law would violate the federal restrictions on sports betting. Last month, Judge Michael Shipp denied an effort by New Jersey to have the case thrown out, ruling that the leagues had standing to sue. On Tuesday, the judge granted the government’s request to intervene in the case, and said it could participate in oral arguments slated for Feb. 14 on the constitutionality of the federal sports betting regulations.