SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Court rejects Argentina's appeal of award

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has rejected Argentina's appeal of a British natural gas company's multimillion dollar award against the government.

The justices on Monday let stand without comment an arbitration tribunal's award of $185 million to BG Group in a dispute with Argentina over a natural gas development.

It was the second time the high court has considered the case. Earlier this year, the justices reversed the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., which had thrown out the award.

In the latest appeal, Argentina argued that the tribunal disregarded the law in reaching its decision. But same federal appeals court ruled against Argentina.

The case is Argentina v. BG Group, 14-211.

Justices decline to hear dispute over abortion clinic law

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal challenging the constitutionality of a Colorado law that prohibits people from obstructing entry to abortion clinics.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that said the law does not restrict free speech or otherwise violate the rights of abortion protesters.

Protester Jo Ann Scott was convicted of violating the law after a jury found that she made physical contact with a woman trying to enter a Planned Parenthood clinic in Denver. An appeals court affirmed.

Scott argued that the law contains vague and overly broad terms that give police too much discretion to enforce it.

Crisis pregnancy center case turned away by court

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is leaving in place a portion of a New York City law aimed at regulating crisis pregnancy centers that are run by anti-abortion organizations.

The court rejected a free-speech appeal Monday in which the centers argued that the law's requirement that they disclose whether a licensed medical provider works at the facilities is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

City officials said the 2011 law protects consumers and demands truth in advertising.

Courts have blocked other parts of the law, including a requirement that centers disclose whether they provide referrals for abortion, emergency contraception or prenatal care.

Court won't hear dispute overSherlock Holmes

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't take up a copyright dispute over the right to depict Sherlock Holmes in a new anthology of stories.

The justices on Monday declined to hear an appeal from heirs of legendary writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who say anyone portraying characters from the popular detective series must seek permission or pay a licensing fee.

A U.S. district court ruled that copyrights had expired on all Sherlock novels and stories published before 1923, but not on the final 10 stories published after that. The lower court said author Leslie Klinger could use characters from pre-1923 works and a federal appeals court agreed.

The Doyle estate argued that the characters continued to develop in later works so they should remain off-limits until remaining copyrights run out in 2022.

Court declines to take up Episcopal Church dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has turned away a pair of appeals from the national Episcopal Church in a dispute over church property claimed by a breakaway sect in Texas.

The justices on Monday let stand two Texas Supreme Court rulings in favor of the Fort Worth Episcopal diocese, which has held on to 52 church properties worth more than $100 million since breaking away in 2008. The diocese opposes the consecration of gay bishops, ordination of women and other policies its leadership considers too liberal.

A lower court had ruled in favor of the national church. But a divided Texas Supreme Court reversed, saying the rift should be resolved on neutral principles of law that apply to nonreligious disputes. It sent the case back to the lower court for further review.

Justices turn down Texas

rape-murder appeal

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a Texas death row inmate who was convicted of raping and killing a 19-year-old woman 18 years ago.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that rejected inmate Rodney Reed's plea for a new court hearing to determine whether his lawyers did enough to defend him at his trial for the murder of Stacey Stites of Bastrop, Texas.

Reed said he was having a secret romantic relationship with Stites, who was engaged to a local police officer. Reed first denied knowing Stites when questioned about her death.

A judge has set Reed's execution for January 14.

Appeal overSenate filibuster rules turned down

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a public interest group and four members of Congress who challenged the Senate filibuster as unconstitutional.

The justices let stand a lower court ruling that said Common Cause and the lawmakers did not have legal standing to pursue the case.

The plaintiffs argued that Senate rules requiring at least 60 votes to bring legislation to a vote violates the constitutional principle of majority rule. A federal appeals court said the lawsuit was filed against the wrong parties.

The case was brought against Vice President Joe Biden in his role as president of the Senate, and against the Senate's secretary, parliamentarian and sergeant at arms.

Common Cause says it can't sue the Senate directly because that is barred under the Constitution's Speech and Debate Clause.

Last year, the Senate voted to end use of the filibuster rule from blocking most presidential nominees. Democrats said they ended the rule out of frustration that Republicans were routinely using the tactic to block President Barack Obama's nominees for pivotal judgeships and other top jobs.

But 60 votes are still required to end filibusters against legislation.

Published: Wed, Nov 05, 2014

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