SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Court denies Mississippi, Wisconsin abortion appeals

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has rejected appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin seeking to put in place restrictions on abortion clinics that were struck down by lower courts.

The justices on Tuesday refused to hear appeals involving laws that would have forced doctors who perform abortions at clinics in the two states to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The orders follow Monday's decision in which the court struck down a similar provision in Texas.

Federal appeals courts in Chicago and New Orleans earlier ruled against the states.

Mississippi's law would have closed the lone abortion clinic in the state, in Jackson.

The cases are Currier v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, 14-997, and Schimel v. Planned Parenthood, 15-1200.

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Justices won't hear appeal of pharmacists' religious rights

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is allowing Washington state to require pharmacies to dispense Plan B or other emergency contraceptives, rejecting an appeal from pharmacists who said they have religious objections to providing the drugs.

The justices' order on Tuesday leaves in place rules first adopted in 2007 following reports that some women had been denied access to emergency contraceptives that are effective when taken within a few days of unprotected sex. Pharmacies must fill lawful prescriptions, but individual pharmacists with moral objections can refer patients to another pharmacist at the same store.

A Ralph's Thriftway pharmacy in Olympia, Washington, and two pharmacists sued, saying the rules required them to violate their religious beliefs.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would have heard the appeal.

Calling the court's action an "ominous sign," Alito wrote a stinging 15-page dissent for the three dissenting justices. "If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern," he wrote.

A trial judge twice ruled for the pharmacists in the long-running lawsuit, but was twice overturned by the federal appeals court in San Francisco.

The case is Stormans Inc. v. Wiesman, 15-862.

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Request to rehear tied union case rejected by court

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has turned down a long-shot request to hold new arguments in a major labor union case that ended in a 4-4 tie.

The justices on Tuesday denied without comment a petition from a group of California teachers urging the court to reconsider the case once a new justice is confirmed.

The court almost never rehears cases. It would have taken five justices to agree to a rehearing.

The tie vote in March was a victory for unions in a case they once seemed all but certain to lose before Justice Antonin Scalia died in February. The deadlock left in place a nearly four-decade-old practice that lets public-sector unions collect fees from non-members to cover collective bargaining costs.

The teachers claim the fees infringe free speech rights.

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Challenge to campaign finance law turned down

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is rejecting a conservative group's challenge to a Delaware campaign finance law.

The justices on Tuesday left in place a lower court ruling allowing the 2012 law to be enforced. The measure requires third-party groups working independently of candidates to influence elections to disclose the source of donations.

Delaware Strong Families challenged the disclosure requirements.

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said they would have heard the group's appeal.

The case is Delaware Strong Families v. Denn, 15-1234.

Published: Thu, Jun 30, 2016

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