Federal Court Says Fla. County Board Cannot Discriminate Against Non-Theists
A federal court last night struck down the Brevard County, Fla., Board of County Commissioners policy of excluding non-theists from giving opening invocations, a ruling that is being hailed by the groups that sponsored the litigation.
In its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida said a local governing body cannot limit its invocation speakers to those from monotheistic religions.
It is unconstitutional for any governing body to discriminate against people who dont believe in God, said Alex J. Luchenitser, associate legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and lead counsel in the case. Yet that is exactly what Brevard County did through its invocation policy. Were pleased that the court put an end to the countys discriminatory practice.
The Williamson v. Brevard County lawsuit was filed in 2015 by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida on behalf of multiple plaintiffs. It asserted that Brevard Countys rejection of atheists, humanists and other non-theists who sought to deliver solemnizing messages at the beginning of commission meetings violated the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.
A federal judge has blocked a Florida law that would require people and groups that provide abortion advice to register with the state and furnish women with a detailed explanation of the procedure and alternatives.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle issued the ruling late Friday saying that the lawsuit filed by a minister, two rabbis, the Palm Beach chapter of the National Organization for Women and others would likely succeed at trial. The plaintiffs argued that the 2016 law would compel them to pay a $200 fee and make statements they disagreed with and weren't qualified to make. The plaintiffs don't provide abortions but make referrals. They receive no government funds.
The state's attorneys argued the plaintiffs had not been harmed by the law, that it wasn't being enforced and that there was no penalty for not registering.
Hinkle, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, said the advice the plaintiffs provide is protected by the First Amendment, so the state cannot usually require them to register and pay a fee. He pointed out the state does not require similar individuals and groups giving advice on cancer treatment, vaccines and other legal medical procedures to register, only abortion.
Stephanie Ruhle: "I have to say they're stunning to hear the president talk about the honor and beauty of American-made craftsmanship where we have to remind you, both the president and his daughter ... do not make any of their products in the United States"
Video at link
The (Florida) high courts decision to clarify the controversial law was unanimous.
Just because a criminal defendant might be granted immunity under the states Stand Your Ground law, that doesnt mean theyll be automatically protected from potential civil repercussions, the Florida Supreme Court said in a ruling released Thursday.
The seven justices unanimously found that separate determinations are needed in criminal versus civil court when it comes to a defendants claim that they acted lawfully in self-defense when fearing for their life or property.
The ruling was prompted by a use-of-force case in Tampa involving a violent confrontation between two men at a local bar.
Wave of Puerto Rican evacuees may shift Florida landscape
The crisis in Puerto Rico could send tens of thousands of people to Florida, accelerating an already steady exodus from the economically depressed island and triggering wide-ranging effects on schools, housing and jobs.
This is a humanitarian crisis and Florida needs to brace for the influx, said Dennis Freytes, a political activist in the Orlando area. Many of the people coming are the most vulnerable. Im desperately trying to get my 92-year-old mother out of there and havent been able to even with my connections.
The wave might also carry political ramifications.
Florida is a big swing state and Central Florida is the epicenter of that, Freytes said. This could be a very big deal. There are going to be voter registration drives and both parties are going to be after them. They already are.
(Reuters) - Demonstrators unfurled a banner that read Stop Killing Us at a Major League baseball game on Friday in St. Louis, where they were protesting the acquittal of a white former police officer who was accused of murdering a black man, local media reported.
A video posted on Facebook showed a group of demonstrators high above the playing field holding a banner with the St. Louis Cardinals mascot drawn on it as they shouted No Justice. No Baseball and You cant stop the revolution.
The demonstrators were ushered out of the Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals lost to the Brewers 5-3. They then joined 200 other people in a march before the group was confronted by police in riot gear, who used a Taser on one and pepper spray on others, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
At least two people were arrested, police said on Twitter.
Equifax is investigating three executives who sold company shares worth nearly $2 million shortly after a massive data breach was discovered, but before the company announced the breach to the public.
TRUMP tells press asking if he'll fire TOM PRICE:
"He's a fine man, we're going to make a decision tonight."
President Trump could cut his tax bills by more than $1.1 billion, including saving tens of millions of dollars in a single year, under his proposed tax changes, a New York Times analysis has found.
On Wednesday, the White House announced a sweeping plan to cut a variety of taxes that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy. The estimate of Mr. Trumps savings is based in part on information from his 2005 federal tax return. The analysis compares what his tax burden would be under current law with what it would be under the proposal.
Mr. Trumps 2005 return is the most recent available publicly and was released in March by David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter. The Timess figure also relies on an estimate of Mr. Trumps net worth, calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to be $2.86 billion.
I dont benefit. I dont benefit, Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think theres very little benefit for people of wealth.
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