SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Justices won't hear appeal over rejection of pro-Israel ads

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a pro-Israel group that wants to put ads on Boston-area mass transit that authorities rejected as inflammatory.

The justices on Monday let stand court rulings that upheld rejection of the ads by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The agency said ads from the American Freedom Defense Initiative using the word "savage" were "demeaning or disparaging" to Palestinians and Muslims.

The group claimed the rejection violates its right to free speech and shows a double standard on the part of the transit agency because it allowed a pro-Palestinian group to run a subway ad.

The ads in question described the conflict as between "civilized man and the savage." The MBTA accepted a different version that was critical of people engaged in "savage acts."

Court dismisses appeal from former Alabama governor

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman over his prison sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice.

The justices had no comment Monday on their order letting stand a lower court ruling that rejected his request for a new sentencing hearing.

Siegelman argued that a judge wrongly factored in accusations that the jury didn't convict him of when handing down a 6½ year prison sentence. He was convicted in an influence-peddling scheme with HealthSouth Corp. founder and former CEO Richard Scrushy, who already has finished his sentence.

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Siegelman's sentence, which included an enhancement for "systematic and pervasive corruption."

Siegelman is projected to get out of prison in 2017.

Appeal over Homeland Security records rejected

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a public interest group seeking to get internal records from the Department of Homeland Security about its protocol for shutting down wireless networks during emergencies.

The justices on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said the agency could refuse to release the documents under an exception to the Freedom of Information Act for disclosures that could endanger lives.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center argued that the appeals court construed the law too broadly so that the government could conceal any records by claiming they concern security measures.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the agency didn't need to specify exactly whose life would be endangered by disclosing the information.

Appeal over same-sex parental rights turned down

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a woman who claims Florida's previous ban on same-sex marriage deprived her of the same parenting rights as married couples.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said Peggy Willis had no parental rights to a child conceived by her former partner.

Willis and Anne Marie Mobley were in an 11-year relationship, but never married. They agreed to raise a child together, and Mobley gave birth after being inseminated with donor semen purchased over the Internet.

The relationship ended when the child turned one. A Florida state court threw out Willis' claim to parental rights. Willis said the ruling violated her constitutional rights because the Supreme Court last year overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.

Justices decline appeal over $124M drug penalty

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary assessed more than $124 million in penalties for deceptive marketing of an anti-psychotic drug.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. should pay the penalties for violations of South Carolina law.

In 2011, a state trial court ordered the drug maker to pay $327 million, saying Janssen broke the law by downplaying to doctors the links between diabetes and Risperdal and by improperly claiming the drug was safer than competing medications. South Carolina's supreme court reduced the penalty because of the state's three-year statute of limitations on such cases.

The company claimed the penalty was excessive and that state law was pre-empted by federal drug laws.

Published: Wed, Jan 13, 2016

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