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The conventional wisdom that the court is split along partisan lines based on the political views of the president that appointed each justice is false, a U.S. Supreme Court justice said.

Justice Neil Gorsuch spoke about civility to an audience of about 1,000 at Brigham Young University on Friday, refuting the notion that judges are just "like politicians with robes."

Gorsuch is considered one of the Supreme Court's most conservative members, though he recently agreed with more liberal colleagues in a decision reaffirming a criminal defendant's right to a jury trial.

Gorsuch denied that justices' decisions are predictable, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News reported. Gorsuch noted he uses the original meaning of the Constitution to guide his judicial decisions, in contrast with judges who believe interpretations of the document should evolve over time.


A federal judge has ruled that a liberal advocacy group has a First Amendment right to call a Christian ministry a hate group for its opposition to homosexuality.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, in a 141-page decision issued late Thursday, threw out a complaint filed by the Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries Media Inc. against the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery.

Coral Ridge, also called James Kennedy Ministries of Fort Lauderdale, sued the nonprofit law center, Amazon and others in 2017 because it wasn’t included in a program that lets Amazon customers donate to nonprofit groups. The suit said the refusal was because the law center had labeled the ministry a hate group for its stance against homosexual behavior.

The judge ruled that the liberal watchdog organization has a free-speech right to make the claim, but he didn’t address whether the ministry is a hate organization.

Attorneys representing the ministry did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. In a statement, the Southern Poverty Law Center said the decision is a win for groups that want to “share their opinions and educate the public.”

“Any organization we list as a hate group is free to disagree with us about our designation, but this ruling underscores that the designation is constitutionally protected speech and not defamatory,” said Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim president of the organization.



A Japanese court on Thursday ruled that three former executives for Tokyo Electric Power Company were not guilty of professional negligence in the 2011 Fukushima meltdown. It was the only criminal trial in the nuclear disaster that has kept tens of thousands of residents away from their homes because of lingering radiation contamination.

The court said ex-TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 79, and two former executives were also not guilty of causing the deaths of 44 elderly patients whose health deteriorated during or after forced evacuations from a local hospital.

The executives were charged with failing to foresee the tsunami that struck the plant after an earthquake and for failing to take preventive measures that might have protected the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant on Japan’s northeastern coast.

Katsumata and co-defendants, Sakae Muto, 69, and Ichiro Takekuro, 73, pleaded not guilty during the trial’s opening session in June 2017. They said predicting the enormous tsunami was impossible.

Three of the plant’s reactors had meltdowns after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, spreading radiation into surrounding communities and into the sea.

Prosecutors in December demanded a five-year prison sentence for each executive, accusing them of professional negligence for not taking sufficient measures to guard against the threat of a tsunami despite knowing the risks.

Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the more than 5,700 Fukushima residents who filed the criminal complaint to prosecutors, said before the ruling that he expected the legal battle to last about a decade because the losing side will appeal.



Hearings in tent courts in South Texas are underway for asylum-seekers forced to wait in Mexico while their immigration applications are considered.

Monday's hearings mark the formal opening of the courts. Twenty-one migrants lined up in Mexico to cross the border for their appearances.

Officials say they want 200 migrants appear each day in the tents in Laredo. A judge in a brick courthouse in San Antonio is presiding over the Laredo court via video chat.

Outside observers are barred from the tents, but journalists were allowed into the San Antonio courthouse.

The Trump administration introduced its "Remain in Mexico" policy in January in response to an increase in asylum-seeking families, especially from Central America.

Critics have assailed the policy for making families and children wait in violent Mexico border cities.


A British court ruled Wednesday that a police force's use of automated facial recognition technology is lawful, dealing a blow to an activist concerned about its implications for privacy.

Existing laws adequately cover the South Wales police force's deployment of the technology in a trial, two judges said , in what's believed to be the world's first legal case on how a law enforcement agency uses the new technology.

The decision comes amid a broader global debate about the rising use of facial recognition technology. Recent advances in artificial intelligence make it easier for police to automatically scan faces and instantly match them to "watchlists" of suspects, missing people and persons of interest, but it also raises concerns about mass surveillance.

"The algorithms of the law must keep pace with new and emerging technologies," Judges Charles Haddon-Cave and Jonathan Swift said.

Ed Bridges, a Cardiff resident and human rights campaigner who filed the judicial review, said South Wales police scanned his face twice as it tested the technology - once while he was Christmas shopping in 2017 and again when he was at a peaceful protest against a defense expo in 2018.

"This sinister technology undermines our privacy and I will continue to fight against its unlawful use to ensure our rights are protected and we are free from disproportionate government surveillance," he said in a statement released by Liberty, a rights group that worked on his case.

His legal team argued that he suffered "distress" and his privacy and data protection rights were violated when South Wales police processed an image taken of him in public.

But the judges said that the police force's use of the technology was in line with British human rights and data privacy legislation. They said that all images and biometric data of anyone who wasn't a match on the "watchlist" of suspects was deleted immediately.



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of “lasting and catastrophic damage” to Britain’s political parties if the result of the Brexit referendum is not honored.

He told Sky News Friday that people protesting his decision to suspend Parliament during part of the run-up to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline must realize that “the worst thing for democracy” would be to fail to make Brexit a reality.

He also says the protests and legal challenges to his policy are making it harder for Britain to forge a new deal with European Union leaders because they may believe Parliament can stop Brexit.

A court hearing in Scotland on a legal challenge seeking to block the British government’s plan to suspend Parliament has been moved up and will be heard on Tuesday.

The Court of Session hearing in Edinburgh had originally been set for Sept. 6.

Judge Raymond Doherty on Friday refused to grant a request to immediately halt Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament for several weeks but agreed that a “substantive” hearing would be held.

The government’s plan would shorten the time political opponents in Parliament would have in their bid to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31 if no agreement with the EU is reached by then.



Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas and there is no evidence of the disease remaining, according to the Supreme Court.

It is the fourth time that the 86-year-old justice has announced that she has been treated for cancer over the last two decades and follows lung cancer surgery in December that kept her away from the court for weeks. December’s surgery was her first illness-related absence from the court since being appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prompted even closer attention to her health.

As the court’s oldest member, Ginsburg has been asked questions for years about her health and retirement plans. She has also in recent years attracted particularly enthusiastic fans as the leader of the liberal wing of the court, which includes four members appointed by Democratic presidents and five by Republicans. Both liberals and conservatives watch her health closely because it’s understood the court would shift right for decades if President Donald Trump were to get the ability to nominate someone to replace her.

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