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Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was remembered Monday as a trailblazer who never lost sight of how the high court’s decisions affected all Americans.

O’Connor, an Arizona native who was an unwavering voice of moderate conservatism for more than two decades, died Dec. 1 at age 93. Mourners at the court on Monday included Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve in her role, and her husband Doug Emhoff.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke at a private ceremony that included the nine justices and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, as well as O’Connor’s family and court colleagues.

She would often say, ‘It was good to be the first, but I don’t want to be the last,’” Sotomayor said of O’Connor’s distinction as the first woman. She lived to see a record four women serving on the high court.

“For the four us, and for so many others of every background and aspiration, Sandra was a living example that women could take on any challenge, could more than hold their own in any spaces dominated by men and could do so with grace,” Sotomayor said.

O’Connor’s body lay in repose after her casket was carried up the court steps with her seven grandchildren serving as honorary pallbearers. It passed under the iconic words engraved on the pediment, “Equal Justice Under Law,” before being placed in the court’s Great Hall for the public to pay their respects.

Funeral services are set for Tuesday at Washington National Cathedral, where President Joe Biden and Chief Justice John Roberts are scheduled to speak.

O’Connor was nominated in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate, ending 191 years of male exclusivity on the high court. A rancher’s daughter who was largely unknown on the national scene until her appointment, she received more letters than any other member in the court’s history in her first year and would come to be referred to by commentators as the nation’s most powerful woman.

O’Connor had “an extraordinary understanding of the American people,” and never lost sight of how high court rulings affected ordinary Americans, Sotomayor said.

She was also instrumental in bringing the justices together with regular lunches, barbecues and trips to the theater. “She understood that personal relationships are critical to working together,” the justice said.



Nigeria’s Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court ruling dismissing terrorism charges against a popular separatist leader whose trial has been blamed for an outbreak of violence in the country’s southeast region.

The Court said Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist group that seeks independence for Nigeria’s southeastern region, still faces terrorism charges despite the lower court ruling. Kanu, who also holds British citizenship, has already pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In announcing the decision, Justice Garba Mohammed said that although Nigeria’s secret police violated Kanu’s rights during his arrest and extradition from Kenya in 2021, the Court of Appeal was wrong to rule in October last year that the violation was grounds for the dismissal of the charges.

“No legislation in the country stripped the trial court of the jurisdiction to go ahead with Kanu’s case, despite the illegal action,” of the secret police, the justice said. The trial of the separatist leader, who also holds British citizenship, is expected to resume next year.

Kanu has remained in detention since the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The Supreme Court decisoin further complicates the fate of Kanu who has been in and out of jail since 2015 when he was first arrested and charged with terrorism and treason. He has denied any wrongdoing and his supporters have accused the government of unjustly targeting him to clamp down on the group’s separatist campaign.

The IPOB campaign for an independent state of Biafra follows the short-lived Republic of Biafra which fought and lost a civil war from 1967 to 1970 to gain independence from Nigeria. An estimated 1 million people died in the war, many from the southeastern region.

However, the Nigerian government has said the country’s unity is “not negotiable” and has often accused Kanu’s group of instigating violence in the southeast, often by imposing lockdowns and targeting prominent people in the region. Dozens have been killed this year in the violence blamed on IPOB, which the group denies.



Donald Trump said Sunday he has decided against testifying for a second time at his New York civil fraud trial, posting on social media a day before his scheduled appearance that he “very successfully & conclusively” testified last month and saw no need to do so again.

The former president, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, had been expected to return to the witness stand Monday as a coda to his defense against New York Attorney General Letitia James ' lawsuit.

James, a Democrat, alleges Trump inflated his wealth on financial statements used in securing loans and making deals. The case threatens Trump’s real estate empire and cuts to the heart of his image as a successful businessman.

“I will not be testifying on Monday,” Trump wrote in an all-capital-letters, multipart statement on his Truth Social platform less than 20 hours before he was to take the witness stand.

“I have already testified to everything & have nothing more to say,” Trump added, leaving the final word among defense witnesses to an accounting expert hired by his legal team who testified last week that he found “no evidence, whatsoever, for any accounting fraud” in Trump’s financial statements.

A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about his decision.

The decision was an abrupt change from Trump’s posture in recent days, when his lawyers said he was insistent on testifying again despite their concerns about a gag order that has cost him $15,000 in fines for disparaging the judge’s law clerk.

“President Trump has already testified. There is really nothing more to say to a judge who has imposed an unconstitutional gag order and thus far appears to have ignored President Trump’s testimony and that of everyone else involved in the complex financial transactions at issue in the case,” Trump lawyer Christopher Kise said Sunday.

Trump’s decision came days after his son, Eric Trump, ditched his return appearance on the witness stand. Trump said on social media that he’d told Eric to cancel. It also follows Trump’s first trip back to court since he testified in the case on Nov. 6. Last Thursday, he watched from the defense table as the accounting professor, New York University professor Eli Bartov, blasted the state’s case and said Trump’s financial statements “were not materially misstated.”

Trump’s cancellation caught court officials by surprise. Without Trump on the witness stand, the trial will be on hold until Tuesday, when Bartov will finish his testimony. State lawyers say they’ll then call at least one rebuttal witness.



Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a 2022 ban on bullfighting in Mexico City, opening the way for events to resume.

A panel of five justices voted to overturn a May 2022 injunction that said bullfights violated city resident’s rights to a healthy environment free from violence.

The justices did not explain their arguments for overturning the ban, but bullfight organizers claimed it violated their right to continue the tradition. The capital had a history of almost 500 years of bullfighting, but there had been no fights since the 2022 injunction.

A crowd of people gathered outside the Supreme Court building Wednesday, holding up signs reading “Bulls Yes, Bullfighters No!” and “Mexico says no to bullfights.”

Critics say the fights inherently represent cruelty to animals.

“Animals are not things, they are living beings with feelings, and these living, feeling beings deserve protection under the constitution of Mexico City,” said city councilman Jorge Gaviño, who has tried three times to pass legislation for a permanent ban. None has passed.

Bullfight organizers say it is a question of rights.

“This is not an animal welfare issue. This is an issue of freedoms, and how justice is applied to the rest of the public,” said José Saborit, the director of the Mexican Association of Bullfighting. “A small sector of the population wants to impose its moral outlook, and I think there is room for all of us in this world, in a regulated way.”

Since 2013, several of Mexico’s 32 states have banned bullfights. Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have banned bullfighting.

According to historians, Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés watched some of the first bullfights in the city in the 1520s, soon after his 1521 Conquest of the Aztec capital.



Opening statements began Monday in the criminal trial of actor Jonathan Majors, who was charged last spring for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend during an argument.

Majors did not speak as he strode into a Manhattan courthouse seeking to clear his name following an arrest in March that has effectively stalled his fast-rising career.

The six-person jury is expected to hear opposing narratives from 34-year-old Majors and his accuser, Grace Jabbari, a British dancer, about their confrontation in the back of a car.

Prosecutors said Jabbari was riding in a car with Majors in late March when she grabbed the actor’s phone out of his hand after seeing a text message, presumably sent by another woman, that said: “Wish I was kissing you right now.”

When Majors tried to snatch the phone back, he allegedly pulled her finger, twisted her arm behind her back and hit her in the face. After the pair got out out of the vehicle, he threw her back inside, Jabbari said.

Attorneys for Majors have maintained that Jabbari was the aggressor in the confrontation. They have suggested that prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are targeting Majors because he is Black.

The arrest came weeks after the release of “Creed III,” a break-out role for Majors. He has also starred in the Marvel TV series “Loki” and the film “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” and was awaiting the release of another star vehicle, “Magazine Dreams,” which is now in limbo.

He could be sentenced to up to a year in jail if convicted.


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