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The California Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for some immigrant children who are abused or abandoned by a parent to seek a U.S. visa to avoid deportation in a ruling that advocates said would help thousands of children.

State judges cannot require that children drag an absentee parent living abroad into court in their visa application process, the justices said in a unanimous decision. Immigration rights advocates had warned that such a requirement would make it nearly impossible for the children to fight deportation. That's because courts in California cannot establish authority over a foreign citizen and the parent may want nothing to do with a child claiming abuse, and would refuse to participate in a court proceeding in the U.S., immigration groups said.

The ruling overturned a lower court decision. The California Supreme Court said it was sufficient to adequately notify the absent parent of the court proceedings, but that parent did not have to be a party to the case.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in court documents that the case had implications for a "substantial portion" of the thousands of children who have fled to the U.S. from Central America and Mexico and settled in California. Kristen Jackson, an attorney for the plaintiff in the case, estimated the ruling would affect thousands of children.




A federal appeals court says a Louisiana court rightly dismissed a deputy's lawsuit accusing Black Lives Matter and several leaders of inciting violence that led to a deadly 2016 attack on law enforcement officers.

The Advocate reports a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans unanimously supported the lower court's ruling Wednesday. A judge found last year that the lawsuit failed to state a plausible claim for relief.

The suit doesn't name the officer but its description of the plaintiff matches East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Tullier, who was critically wounded by 29-year-old Gavin Long. Long killed three law enforcement officers and was later gunned down by authorities.

The attack occurred less than two weeks after a white Baton Rouge officer killed 37-year-old black man Alton Sterling during a struggle.




A bitter and expensive fight for an Arkansas Supreme Court seat that drew more than $1 million in outside spending and a flurry of attack ads will drag on for another six months, with an incumbent justice heading into a runoff in November against an attorney backed by an out-of-state Republican group.

Justice Courtney Goodson and David Sterling, the chief counsel for the state Department of Human Services, advanced to a runoff in the November election for the state's highest court in Tuesday's non-partisan judicial election. The two were the top candidates in a three-person race for Goodson's seat, with Appeals Court Judge Kenneth Hixson finishing third.

Goodson had faced a barrage of attack ads and mailers from the Judicial Crisis Network, a Washington group that had targeted her during her unsuccessful bid for chief justice two years ago. The group, which doesn't disclose its donors, spent more than $935,000 on TV ads bashing Goodson and Hixson, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks judicial campaign spending.

"Today was a huge victory for honest people who are fed up with the lies dark money is spreading about me," Goodson told The Associated Press Tuesday night.

The ads led to a court fight over whether they should be broadcast and Goodson said she planned to continue that legal battle. Days before the primary, a state judge ordered Little Rock area TV stations to stop airing one ad, while another judge said the spot could resume running in northwest Arkansas. Goodson has filed a similar lawsuit aimed at halting the lawsuits in the Fort Smith area. Some media and free speech advocates have opposed Goodson's lawsuits, saying judges should not decide what is broadcast during elections.

The ad that sparked the court fight criticizes Goodson over gifts received from donors and a pay raise the court requested last year. An Associated Press Fact Check of the ad found that some of its claims are misleading. The Judicial Crisis Network continued its criticism of Goodson Wednesday.

"The citizens of Arkansas want and deserve integrity on the state's Supreme Court - Justice Goodson can't run from her record of pay increases, favoritism and residing in a swamp of conflicts of interest," Carrie Severino, the group's chief counsel and policy director, said in a statement.



The clerk of court in one North Carolina county says she never meant to require any of her employees to work for her re-election even though that's what a leaked memo said.

After the memo was published, Surry County Clerk of Court Teresa O'Dell told the Mount Airy News that she doesn't require staff to work for her campaign. She acknowledged that the memo "seemed to indicate otherwise" and sent a follow-up note.

A memo distributed March 27th said employees would be required to campaign for her, including taking vacation time so they weren't doing political work while on the clock.

She also told staffers that she wouldn't be in the office before the primary.

O'Dell is facing a challenge from Neil Brendle in the May 8 Republican primary.




Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is calling fellow conservatives to continue the work of the late Justice Antonin Scalia to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check.

Thomas tells 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution. He cited the decision in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country.

Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an "odd couple" of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia.

He paraphrased Lincoln's Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to "be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion."



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