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A Cleveland abortion clinic asked Ohio's high court on Tuesday to grant it legal standing to sue over abortion-related restrictions tucked into the state's 2013 budget bill.

Preterm of Cleveland argued that the provisions impose added administrative and caseload burdens that clearly qualify the clinic to proceed with its constitutional challenge to the manner in which the bill was put together.

The clinic's attorney, B. Jessie Hill, told justices significant new hurdles are not required to meet the legal burden for standing.

"We have to do something we didn't have to do before: We have to enter into a new contract every two years," she said. "That's all we need to demonstrate."

The clinic disputes budget provisions that required more frequent renewal of a clinic's emergency transfer agreement with a local hospital after prohibiting public hospitals from participating and required testing for a fetal heartbeat before an abortion can be performed.

The state's attorney, Ryan Richardson, argued the clinic has not demonstrated true or threatened harm and so can't legally sue.

"As this court has said, really the essence of standing is having a plaintiff that has a direct and concrete stake in the issues, so that the plaintiff is able to properly sharpen the issues for the court's resolution," she said. "Bringing a plaintiff who is not directly affected impacts the ability to properly present the facts and legal issues that the court needs to properly adjudicate the case."

The lawsuit comes amid abortion clinic closures across Ohio that have coincided with falling abortion rates.



A federal appeals court has partially lifted a judge's order that blocked much of a Texas law targeting "sanctuary cities."

Monday's ruling by three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel allows more of the law to take effect, and says that the law could survive with some language changes.

The law requires Texas cities and counties to comply with federal immigration officials' requests to detain people who are suspected of being in the country illegally and jailed on non-immigration offenses.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked much of the law on Aug. 31, a day before it was to take effect. The state asked the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let the law take effect ahead of oral arguments set for November.




Vermont’s state supreme court has issued a decision that a Vermont Gas pipeline going under a public park will not impact its use.

Activists who oppose the pipeline going under the Hinesburg park argued the 85-acre park was already designated for public use, so it couldn’t be claimed under eminent domain.

WCAX-TV reports the high court ruled on Friday that the “prior public use” doctrine didn’t apply. It ruled the installation of the pipeline will have a negligible effect on existing use.

The park represented the final piece connecting a 41-mile Addison pipeline project completed earlier this year.




The case of whether government leaders in Vermont were complicit in ski resort fraud is headed to a courtroom for the first time.

Foreign investors sued Vermont. The Burlington Free Press reports the case moves to Vermont Superior Court in Hyde Park on Monday.

The lawsuit alleges the Vermont Regional EB-5 Center and Jay Peak were essentially partners in fraud. It says the scheme involved millions of dollars from the investors.

Jay Peak's leadership was accused last year of misusing more than $200 million raised from foreign investors through the EB-5 visa program for developments at or near the ski resort.

Lawyers for the investors and for the state are expected to argue whether the government should be immune from the lawsuit and whether the case should be dismissed.




Thousands of protesters stood firm outside a Spanish court in Barcelona after night fell Thursday, continuing to shout demands for the release of a dozen regional officials arrested in connection with a planned vote on Catalan independence.

Spanish authorities maintain the referendum scheduled for Oct. 1 is illegal and are challenging its constitutionality. But Catalan pro-independence groups also are digging in their heels as they fight for what they say is their right to vote.

The demonstrators who spent the day outside the Catalan Superior Court of Justice, a branch of the Spain’s national legal system, answered a call by pro-independence civic groups to stage long-term street protests against the surprise crackdown by police the previous day.

As the sun set, a large crowd sang, waved pro-independence flags and held banners proclaiming “Democracia!” (Democracy!) Unlike the previous night, when there were scuffles with police and patrol cars were vandalized, the mood remained festive.


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