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Georgia's highest court on Thursday affirmed a lower court dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the outcome of last year's race for lieutenant governor in a case that put a spotlight on the outdated voting machines the state is in the process of replacing.

The lawsuit alleged that an undercount of tens of thousands of votes in the lieutenant governor's race was likely caused by problems with the state's paperless touchscreen voting machines that either caused voters not to vote in that race or those votes to go uncounted.

That assertion is "wholly unsupported" by the record in the case, so the trial court wasn't wrong to conclude that the plaintiffs "failed to meet their burden of showing an irregularity in Georgia's electronic voting system sufficient to cast doubt on the 2018 election," Georgia Supreme Court Justice Sarah Warren wrote in the unanimous opinion.

Republican Geoff Duncan beat Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico by 123,172 votes to become lieutenant governor. Amico is not a party to the lawsuit, which was filed in November by the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity advocacy organization; Smythe Duval, who ran for secretary of state as a Libertarian; and two Georgia voters. It was filed against Duncan and election officials.

Senior Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs dismissed the lawsuit in January. In their appeal to the high court, the plaintiffs argued that Grubbs erred by not allowing discovery prior to trial.





A historian’s effort to unseal grand jury records from the brazen 1946 lynching of two black couples on a Georgia riverbank prompted tough questions in a federal appeals court, but the judges also suggested there might be another way to win release of the records.

The young black sharecroppers were traveling a rural road in the summer of 1946 when a white mob stopped the car beside the Apalachee River, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Atlanta. The mob dragged them out, led them to the river’s edge and shot them to death in a case that horrified the nation that year.

The FBI investigated for months and more than 100 people reportedly testified before a grand jury, but no one was ever indicted in the deaths of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey at Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County.

Historian Anthony Pitch wrote about the unsolved killings ? “The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town” ? and continued his research after the book’s 2016 publication. He learned transcripts of the grand jury proceedings, once thought to have been destroyed, were stored by the National Archives.

Pitch, died in June at age 80, before his case could be resolved, but his widow is continuing the fight, along with Laura Wexler, who wrote another book about the lynching and joined the case at the family’s request.



The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard highly anticipated cases on whether federal civil rights law should apply to LGBT people, with Chief Justice John Roberts questioning how doing so would affect employers.

In the first of two cases, the justices heard arguments on whether a federal law banning job discrimination on the basis of sex should also protect sexual orientation. Lower courts have split on the issue. A related case on transgender employees is also being heard Tuesday.

Roberts, a possible swing vote in the cases, wondered about the implications of what he described as an expansion of the job-discrimination law.

“If we’re going to be expanding the definition of what ‘sex’ covers, what do we do about that issue?” Roberts asked.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, suggested that the high court would be usurping the role of Congress by reading protection for sexual orientation into the 1964 Civil Rights Act, when lawmakers at the time likely envisioned they were doing no such thing.

“You’re trying to change the meaning of ‘sex,’” he said.

Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, suggested sexual orientation is a clear subset of sex discrimination, saying that a man who loves other men cannot be treated differently by an employer than a woman who loves men.

The cases Tuesday are the court’s first on LGBT rights since Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement and replacement by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Kennedy was a voice for gay rights and the author of the landmark ruling in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States. Kavanaugh generally is regarded as more conservative.



Aimee Stephens lost her job at a suburban Detroit funeral home and she could lose her Supreme Court case over discrimination against transgender people. Amid her legal fight, her health is failing.

But seven years after Stephens thought seriously of suicide and six years after she announced that she would henceforth be known as Aimee instead of Anthony, she has something no one can take away.

The Supreme Court will hear Stephens' case Oct. 8 over whether federal civil rights law that bars job discrimination on the basis of sex protects transgender people. Other arguments that day deal with whether the same law covers sexual orientation.

The cases are the first involving LGBT rights since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's gay-rights champion and decisive vote on those issues. They probably won't be decided before spring, during the 2020 presidential campaign.

The 58-year-old Stephens plans to attend the arguments despite dialysis treatments three times a week to deal with kidney failure and breathing problems that require further treatment. She used a walker the day she spoke to AP at an LGBT support center in the Ferndale suburb north of Detroit.



Bulgaria's highest court says it will look into a petition by the chief prosecutor to revoke the parole by a lower court to an Australian man convicted of fatally stabbing a Bulgarian student during a 2007 brawl.

The Supreme Court of Cassation announced Thursday it will hold a hearing Oct. 23 to review a lower court's ruling to grant parole to Jock Palfreeman. The Australian man had served 11 years of his 20-year prison sentence when a three-judge Court of Appeals panel unexpectedly ordered him freed last Thursday.

The 32-year-old left prison but was transferred to an immigration detention facility to await a new passport from the nearest Australian Embassy, in Athens.

The release of the Australian has sparked angry reactions among Bulgarians, who accused the judiciary of double standards and a leniency toward foreigners.

Palfreeman's lawyer, Kalin Angelov, said he had advised Australian authorities to speed up the passport and put Palfreeman on a plane home.

The new development, however, means that Palfreeman has to remain in custody pending the supreme court's ruling and "for his personal security," according to Deputy Interior Minister Stefan Balabanov.

Dozens of relatives and friends of the slain student rallied Thursday in downtown Sofia to protest Palfreeman's parole.


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