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An appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether Congress effectively invalidated former President Barack Obama’s entire signature health care law when it zeroed out the tax imposed on those who chose not to buy insurance.

It’s unclear when the three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel will rule in a case that appears destined for the Supreme Court, which has reviewed the law, and its coverage and insurance protections for millions of Americans, before. The ultimate outcome will affect protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansions covering roughly 12 million people, and subsidies that help about 10 million others afford health insurance.

Tuesday’s arguments are the latest in a lawsuit filed by Republican officials in 18 states, led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. It was filed after Congress ? which didn’t repeal the law, despite pressure from President Donald Trump ? reduced to zero the unpopular tax imposed on those without insurance.

In challenging the law anew, “Obamacare” opponents noted the 2012 ruling of a divided Supreme Court that upheld the law. Conservative justices had rejected the argument that Congress could require everyone to buy insurance under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. But Chief Justice John Roberts, joining four liberal justices, said Congress did have the power to impose a tax on those without insurance.

With no tax penalty now in effect, the Texas lawsuit argues, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall without it. Texas-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor agreed in a December ruling. The law’s supporters appealed.



Brazil's supreme court officially made homophobia and transphobia crimes similar to racism on Thursday, with the final justices casting their votes in a ruling that comes amid fears the country's far-right administration is seeking to roll back LGBT social gains.

Six of the Supreme Federal Tribunal's 11 judges had already voted in favor of the measure in late May, giving the ruling a majority. The final justices voted Thursday for a tally of eight votes for and three against.

Racism was made a crime in Brazil in 1989 with prison sentences of up to five years. The court's judges ruled that homophobia should be framed within the racism law until the country's congress approves legislation specifically dealing with LGBT discrimination.

The court's judges have said the ruling was to address an omission that had left the LGBT community legally unprotected.

"In a discriminatory society like the one we live in, the homosexual is different and the transsexual is different. Every preconception is violence, but some impose more suffering than others," said justice Carmen Lucia.

Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, one of the judges who voted against the measure, recognized the lack of congressional legislation on the issue but said he voted against putting homophobia inside the framework of the racism legislation because only the legislature has the power to create "types of crimes" and set punishments.



Former FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi will challenge his life ban from soccer for financial corruption at the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month.

The court says the hearing is on July 4. Verdicts typically follow within a few months.

Nyantakyi was filmed by a Ghanaian television program accepting $65,000 in cash from undercover reporters posing as businessmen seeking favors.

He resigned days before the 2018 World Cup as the senior vice president of African soccer's governing body and president of Ghana's soccer federation.

Nyantakyi also left FIFA's ruling committee, which paid an annual $250,000 stipend. He was one of Africa's elected delegates since 2016.




A lawsuit by a Nevada woman accusing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo of raping her in 2009 at a Las Vegas Strip resort has been moved from state to federal court in Las Vegas, her lawyer said Wednesday.

“We basically just switched venues, but the claims remain,” said attorney Larissa Drohobyczer, who represents former model and schoolteacher Kathryn Mayorga and sought the change in venue for the civil filings seeking money.

Ronaldo’s attorney Peter Christiansen declined to comment about the change or an ongoing police investigation.

The lawsuit says Mayorga met Ronaldo at a nightclub and went with him and other people to his suite. It says the attack occurred in a bedroom.

Mayorga also accuses Ronaldo or those working for him of conspiracy, coercion and fraud, defamation and breach of contract for allowing details of a confidential financial settlement to become public.

Christiansen has previously acknowledged that Ronaldo met Mayorga in 2009, but denied the rape allegation. The attorney maintained it was consensual sex.

Las Vegas police have refused to release their report because the investigation is open. Ronaldo plays in Italy for the Turin-based soccer club Juventus.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sex crimes. Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to make her name public.

Word of the change of venue came after the lawsuit filed in September in Nevada state court was voluntarily dismissed on May 8 by Mayorga’s attorneys.

Drohobyczer said Mayorga filed identical claims in January in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas to take advantage of federal court rules on serving foreigners with court filings.



Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his former colleagues on Monday took their fight against being extradited to the U.S. to New Zealand’s top court.

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the seven-year-old case after Dotcom and the others lost several previous court rulings.

But even if the men lose their latest appeal, they have legal options which could keep their case alive in the New Zealand court system and delay any extradition for several more years.

U.S. authorities in 2012 shut down Dotcom’s file-sharing website Megaupload and filed charges of conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering. If found guilty, the men could face decades in prison.

Megaupload was once one of the internet’s most popular sites. U.S. prosecutors say it raked in at least $175 million, mainly from people using it to illegally download songs, television shows and movies.

Ira Rothken, one of Dotcom’s lawyers, said in an interview that if anyone did something illegal in relation to Megaupload, it was the users.

“This case is all about trying to hold Megaupload and Kim Dotcom and the others responsible for the acts of users,” Rothken said. “And we’re saying you can’t do that. You can’t do that in the United States and you can’t do that in New Zealand.”

The Supreme Court has scheduled five days to hear the appeal. After that, it could take them several months to issue their decision.

Should the Supreme Court uphold the earlier court rulings and find the men are eligible for extradition, then New Zealand’s Justice Minister Andrew Little would need to make the final decision on whether the extraditions should proceed. And Little’s decision could also be appealed in the courts.

Dotcom, who was arrested in 2012 during a dramatic police raid on his mansion and incarcerated for a month, was released on bail more than seven years ago.

In addition to Dotcom, who founded Megaupload and was its biggest shareholder, the U.S. is also seeking to extradite former Megaupload officers Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato. The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court in eastern Virginia.

Dotcom did not attend Monday’s hearing, although the other three men did. Rothken said Dotcom was at his home in Queenstown and was being kept informed of developments.


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