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Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a Wyandotte County judge to dismiss two lawsuits filed over new Kansas congressional district lines enacted by Republican lawmakers.

Schmidt’s request Monday came three days after the Kansas Supreme Court refused to dismiss the lawsuits and another in Douglas County at the Republican attorney general’s request.

Democrats and the voting-rights group Loud Light argue that the congressional redistricting law enacted over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto represents partisan and racial gerrymandering. They say it violates the Kansas Constitution. They’re suing Secretary of State Scott Schwab and county election officials because they would administer the new law.

The map makes it harder for the only Kansas Democrat in Congress, Rep. Sharice Davids, to get reelected in her Kansas City-area district.

Schmidt and fellow Republicans argue that the new map isn’t gerrymandering and even if it were, state courts have no power under the Kansas Constitution to rule on congressional districts.



A British lawyer and climate campaigner was fined 5,000 pounds ($7,070) on Monday after being convicted of contempt of court for a tweet which broke an embargo on a U.K. Supreme Court judgment over Heathrow Airport’s expansion.

Tim Crosland, a director of an environmental campaign group, revealed on social media the court ruling on Heathrow Airport’s proposed third runway a day before it was made public in December. He was among involved parties to receive a draft of the appeal judgment, and has said that he broke the embargo deliberately as “an act of civil disobedience” to protest the “deep immorality of the court’s ruling.”

The court had ruled that a planned third runway at Heathrow was legal. The case was at the center of a long-running controversy and environmentalists had argued for years that the climate impact far outweighed the economic benefits of expanding the airport.

Crosland said the proposed 14 billion-pound ($19.8 billion) expansion of Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest, would breach Britain’s commitments to the Paris climate agreement.

He argued that the government “deliberately suppressed” information about the effect that the airport’s expansion would have on the climate crisis, and said the publicity gained over breaking the embargo would act as an “antidote” to that.

Addressing the court, Crosland said: “If complicity in the mass loss of life that makes the planet uninhabitable is not a crime, then nothing is a crime.”

Three Supreme Court justices found Crosland in contempt of court for his “deliberate and calculated breaches of the embargo” and fined him 5,000 pounds.

The judges said he “wanted to demonstrate his deliberate defiance of the prohibition and to bring this to the attention of as large an audience as possible.”

Crosland had brought a small suitcase to Monday’s hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in case he was given immediate jail time. The maximum sentence had been up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.




A federal appeals court ordered work to stop at a major oil project on Alaska’s North Slope, siding with conservation and Indigenous groups.

The decision Saturday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will stop on-the-ground work for the winter at the Willow project operated by ConocoPhillips Co., the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

Ice roads support wintertime work at projects on Alaska’s North Slope, but they melt in the spring and that drastically reduces what can be done for all but a handful of months.

The Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska was expected to provide jobs for about 120 people this year.

Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and other groups sued last fall to stop the project altogether, not just in winter. They argue that the Trump administration didn’t follow environmental laws before approving the project.

This month, the groups asked the 9th Circuit to overturn a U.S. District Court decision to allow winter work to continue. After the groups appealed, short-term work was halted.

Ninth Circuit Judges William Canby and Michelle Friedland agreed that the plaintiffs would be harmed without an injunction that stops the work until the court can rule on the case itself.

ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman didn’t say in an email Sunday whether the company plans to appeal the work stoppage.




A Texas appeals court has delayed a second execution this year to review claims that an inmate is intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for the death penalty.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday granted a request by attorneys for Edward Lee Busby to stay his execution, which had been scheduled for Feb. 10.

Busby’s attorneys have argued he has shown “significant limitations in intellectual functioning.”

The U.S, Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of intellectually disabled people, but it has given states some discretion to decide how to determine such disabilities.


Busby’s execution would have been the first in the state this year after the appeals court last month delayed the Jan. 21 lethal injection of Blaine Milam to review his intellectual disability claims.

Busby, 48, was condemned for the 2004 suffocation of a retired 77-year-old college professor abducted in Fort Worth and whose body was later recovered in Oklahoma.

Texas’ first execution of 2021 is now set for March 4, with Ramiro Ibarra set to receive a lethal injection for the 1987 sexual assault and strangulation of a 16-year-old girl in Waco.




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