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The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before abortions.

The justices did not comment in refusing to review an appeals court ruling that upheld the law. Enforcement of the law had been on hold pending the legal challenge but will begin shortly, said Steve Pitt, general counsel to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on behalf of Kentucky’s lone remaining abortion clinic. The ACLU argued that “display and describe” ultrasound laws violate physicians’ speech rights under the First Amendment.

The federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the Kentucky law, but its sister court in Richmond, Virginia, struck down a similar measure in North Carolina.

The Supreme Court had previously upheld “informed consent” laws for women seeking abortions. The court will hear an abortion case in March, over Louisiana’s attempt to require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Doctors’ speech also has been an issue in non-abortion cases. The federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down parts of a 2011 Florida law that sought to prohibit doctors from talking about gun safety with their patients. Under the law, doctors faced fines and the possible loss of their medical licenses for discussing guns with patients.

In Kentucky, doctors must describe the ultrasound in detail while the pregnant woman listens to the fetal heartbeat. Women can avert their eyes and cover their ears to avoid hearing the description or the fetal heartbeat. Doctors failing to comply face fines and can be referred to the state’s medical licensing board.


Our mission is to serve our clients with unwavering integrity, expertise, and achieving the best possible outcome which underpin our method for providing high-quality and ethical legal services at reasonable rates.

Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone dies. During probate, it must be proven in court that the person’s Will is valid, their property must be inventoried and appraised, taxes and debts must be paid (as well as the lawyers and court fees), and then the remaining property is distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries. Probate becomes a matter of public record at the time of the individual’s death.

Living trust bypass probate, since technically assets you put in a trust are owned by the trustee, not you, so on your death the trustee can transfer your property and assets directly to your beneficiaries. Be aware that these assets are still taxable by federal estate tax purposes.



Former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang faces the prospect of being extradited to the United States to face trial after a South African court on Friday ruled against him being sent to his home country.

Chang's fate is now with South African Justice Minister Ronald Lamola after the court set aside his predecessor's decision to extradite him to Mozambique. Lamola has asserted that the southern African nation has not shown seriousness in prosecuting him.

Chang was arrested in South Africa last year on the request of the U.S. government in relation to the scandal involving $2 billion worth of secret loans guaranteed by Mozambique's government during his tenure from 2005 to 2015.

Companies set up by Mozambique's secret services and defense ministry borrowed the $2 billion in secret to set up maritime projects that never materialized but allegedly enriched a range of local and foreign players.


The European Union’s top court has ruled that website operators must secure internet users’ “active consent” to their storage of so-called cookies.

The European Court of Justice’s ruling Tuesday was prompted by a dispute between German firm Planet49 and a German consumer organization over the company’s use of a pre-ticked checkbox for participants in online promotional games to secure consent to cookie storage.

Judges found that EU law’s requirement for users to consent to storage of and access to cookies on their devices isn’t covered by a pre-checked box that the user “must deselect to refuse his or her consent.”

They said specific consent must be obtained. They also said the service provider must tell users how long the information about them will operate and whether third parties may access them.



The Virginia Supreme Court has a new justice.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Teresa Chafin, previously a judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals, formally joined the court Friday in a special session in Abingdon.

The General Assembly elected her in February. Chafin is the sister of state Sen. Ben Chafin, who lobbied on her behalf but didn't vote when the Senate confirmed her 36-0.

Chafin will serve a 12-year term. She's filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Elizabeth McClanahan.



Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court on Monday agreed to rule on a lawsuit that the island’s Senate filed in a bid to oust a veteran politician recently sworn in as the island’s governor.

The court gave all parties until Tuesday at noon to file all necessary paperwork, noting that no extensions will be awarded.

The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction ordering Pedro Pierluisi to cease his functions immediately and also asks that the court declare unconstitutional a 2005 law that says a secretary of state does not have to be approved by both the House and Senate if he or she has to step in as governor.

“I want to put an end to this, but I want to do it correctly,” Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said during a special session in which he stated he would let the court decide the outcome, adding that Pierluisi only had five of 15 votes needed from the Senate for his earlier nomination as secretary of state.

It is unclear how quickly the Supreme Court might rule or whether it would hold a hearing or simply issue a written opinion. The announcement comes as Puerto Ricans who successfully ousted the previous governor from office following nearly two weeks of protests await yet another twist in what is a deepening constitutional crisis.



An attorney who previously led the North Carolina chapter of a group that advocates for Southern secession has been ordered not to handle clients' money.

A Wake County judge filed an order that prohibits Harold Ray Crews of Walkertown from accepting or disbursing client funds. The order signed Monday says the North Carolina State Bar received information that Crews had mishandled money entrusted to him.

It also says that Crews wants to cooperate and won't appeal the order. As recently as 2017, Crews was chairman of the state chapter of the Alabama-based League of the South, which advocates for Southern secession.

After a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Crews sought charges against DeAndre Harris, a black man who was severely beaten during the rally. A judge acquitted Harris.

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