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The grandson of U.S. President Warren G. Harding and his lover, Nan Britton, went to court in an effort to get the Republican’s remains exhumed from the presidential memorial where they have lain since 1927. James Blaesing told an Ohio court that he is seeking Harding’s disinterment as a way “to establish with scientific certainty” that he is the 29th president’s blood relation.

The dispute looms as benefactors prepare to mark the centennial of Harding’s 1920 election with site upgrades and a new presidential center in Marion, the Ohio city near which he was born in 1865. Blaesing says he deserves to “have his story, his mother’s story and his grandmother’s story included within the hallowed halls and museums in this town.”

A branch of the Harding family has pushed back against the suit filed in May — not because they dispute Blaesing’s ancestry, but because they don’t.  They argue they already have accepted as fact DNA evidence that Blaesing’s mother, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, was the daughter of Harding and Britton and that she is set to be acknowledged in the museum. Harding had no other children.

“Sadly, widespread, public recognition and acceptance by the descendants, historians, and biographers (and Mr. Blaesing himself) that Mr. Blaesing is President Harding’s grandson is not enough for him,” relatives said in a court filing. They called the lawsuit a ploy for attention.

In 2015, a match between James Blaesing’s DNA and that of two Harding descendants prompted AncestryDNA, a DNA-testing division of Ancestry.com, to declare his link to the president official.




The Wisconsin Supreme Court has temporarily blocked an order that prevented most students in Dane County from attending school in person, restrictions issued by health leaders to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

The court, a 4-3 vote, agreed Thursday night to hear a lawsuit challenging the Public Health Madison and Dane County order.

The court's conservative justices were in favor of hearing the case, while more liberal justices opposed. The county's order issued Aug. 21 required students in grades 3-12 be taught online.

The court issued a temporary injunction on the county's order, which means schools across the county can open immediately.




Those backing a plan to put an independent commission in charge of Oregon’s redistricting process will get additional time to gather signatures and a lower threshold to qualify their initiative for the November ballot because of the pandemic, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum had asked the federal appeals court last week to step in to halt the effort, after a federal judge in Eugene ordered Secretary of State Bev Clarno to either accept the signatures the campaign gathered by the deadline or give organizers more time and a lower bar to qualify for the ballot.

Clarno, who is a Republican, opposed the People Not Politicians campaign’s request for more time and a lower signature requirement but she chose the option of lowering the threshold to 58,789 valid signatures by Aug. 17. The normal requirement was 149,360 valid signatures by July 2.

Rosenblum, a Democrat, appealed U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane’s decision to the 9th Circuit. The two appeals court judges appointed by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton who upheld McShane’s order did not explain their reasoning, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Only Judge Consuelo M. Callahan, appointed by President George W. Bush, explained her dissent, writing that “adherence to Oregon’s constitutionally mandated signature threshold for ballot initiatives either does not implicate the First Amendment at all or does not do so in a way” that does not violate the People Not Politicians campaign’s free speech rights.

Oregon’s Legislature is in charge of redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional district lines once a decade, with the secretary of state handling it when lawmakers are unable to finish. Secretaries of state have completed Oregon’s redistricting process nearly every time over the last century, according to the City Club of Portland.

Initiative Petition 57 would transfer the job of carving up Oregon’s electoral map from the Legislature to a new 12-member commission. Supporters include groups such as the League of Women Voters, business associations and branches of the NAACP. They have argued lawmakers face a conflict in setting the boundaries of their own electoral districts.

“We are thrilled that our people-powered campaign to make redistricting in Oregon fair and transparent has scored another victory in court,” said Kate Titus, executive director of Common Cause Oregon which is part of the campaign.


A divided Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era.

Chief Justice John Roberts and his four more liberal colleagues ruled that the law requiring doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals violates the abortion rights the court first announced in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The Louisiana law is virtually identical to one in Texas that the court struck down in 2016. But Roberts, who had dissented in that Texas case, did not join the opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer for the other liberals in Monday’s decision, and his position left abortion-rights supporters more relieved than elated.

The chief justice explained that he continues to think the Texas case was wrongly decided, but believes it’s important for the court to stand by its prior decisions.

In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.”

President Donald Trump’s two appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were in dissent, along with Justice Samuel Alito. The presence of the new justices is what fueled hopes among abortion opponents, and fears on the other side, that the Supreme Court would be more likely to uphold restrictions.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Monday’s decision by no means ends the struggle over abortion rights in legislatures and the courts.


Germany's top security official violated the rights of a far-right party by posting remarks criticizing it on his ministry's website, the country's highest court ruled Tuesday.

The Alternative for Germany party, known as AfD, whose anti-migration and anti-establishment stance helped it get into the German parliament in 2017, is currently the largest of several opposition parties.

Its case against Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stems from an interview that his ministry posted on its website in 2018, in which he decried a broadside by AfD against President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. AfD had accused Steinmeier of drumming up support for a “radical left-wing event” after he backed a left-wing punk group's anti-racism concert, and the party sought to debate his budget in parliament.

Seehofer described AfD's behavior as “undermining the state” and asserted that “they stand against this state. They can say 1,000 times that they are democrats ... this is highly dangerous for our state.”

The Federal Constitutional Court found that parties must be allowed to compete on an equal footing. Presiding Judge Andreas Vosskuhle said the legitimacy of the government's public relations work “ends where advertis ing for or exerting influence against individual parties or people in political competition begins.”

The court found that the government is entitled to defend itself publicly against criticism of its policies using official channels, but should avoid comments that have no substantial link to the criticism and are “distorting or disparaging.”

The verdict has no direct consequences for Seehofer. The interview was taken down from his ministry's website a little over two weeks after it was posted there.


A court in Milan has ordered the appointment of a judicial administrator to oversee Uber Italy for one year after determining the company’s food delivery service exploited workers, according to Italian news reports.

The decision on Friday came amid an ongoing investigation into Uber’s activities in Italy.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted the court saying that Uber’s treatment of delivery workers was similar to the “caporalato” system used by organized crime groups to pay desperate migrants a pittance to do farm or construction work off the books.

In a statement carried by ANSA, Uber said it condemned “every form of capolarato” and complies with Italian laws. Uber said it would “continue working to be a true, long-term partner in Italy.”

Uber has faced opposition before in Italy. The company is only allowed to offer its higher-end Uber Black service after Italy’s taxi lobby protested the ride-sharing service in 2017.

The Italian General Confederation of Labor vowed to stand by the food delivery riders and said the issue of inadequate pay showed “we are in the presence of a digital caporalato.”


The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's appointment of Pima County Superior Court Judge Scott Rash as a U.S. District Court judge for Arizona.

The Senate's vote Tuesday on confirmation of Rash's appointment was 74-20..

Trump nominated Rash last September to fill a vacancy created in April 2018 by Judge Cindy Jorgenson's shift to senior status.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Rash's appointment last year and formally endorsed it in January.

Then-Gov. Jan Brewer appointed Rash as a Superior Court judge in 2010. He previously worked in private practice with a Tucson law firm and before that as an Arizona assistant attorney general.

Republican Sen. Martha McSally said Rash has a strong work ethic and is fair-minded and will be an excellent federal judge.


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