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Tuesday, Jul 29th

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Appeals Court Strikes Down Virginia's Gay Marriage Ban

Virginia gay marriageThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled Monday that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The 2-1 ruling upheld a previous decision issued earlier this year by a Virginia district court, which struck down the state's ban on gay marriages.

"Virginia has failed to advance a compelling state interest justifying its definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman," reads the ruling. "Virginia's laws declining to recognize same-sex marriage infringe the fundamental right to marriage and are therefore unconstitutional."

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Immunity lets bad judges off hook for bad behavior

bad judges immune from lawsuitsWade McCree Jr. lost his job, but he won't lose his shirt.

The disgraced judge — who once texted a shirtless photo of himself to a female court bailiff — had an affair with a woman while overseeing her child custody case, had sex with her in his chambers and sexted her from the bench.

But he can't be sued for money damages over any of that because judges are immune from civil lawsuits — a well-established doctrine that has many in the legal profession demanding change, arguing the McCree case highlights a pervasive problem in the justice system: judges getting away with bad behavior on immunity grounds.

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Washington D.C. handgun ban ruled unconstitutional, again

DC hand gun lawWashington D.C. residents can now legally carry handguns in the streets of the District, according to a federal judge.

In his ruling, Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote that the current D.C. ban on carrying handguns outside the home was "unconstitutional."

Second Amendment advocates now have another legal victory. And both Washington D.C. and Chicago have lost another round in their decades-old legal battles to ban guns from their cities.

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Detroit not alone in shutting off water for unpaid bills

Cutting off waterDetroit has drawn fire from all over the world for shutting off water to customers delinquent on their bills, but the city isn't unique. Cities across the country do it also.

In Michigan, Hamtramck, Warren, Pontiac, Eastpointe, Romulus and other cities have shut off delinquent customers as a way to improve collections. Elsewhere, so have other big cities such as Baltimore and St. Louis.

"It's universal in the utility world that at some point, you have to shut off service as part of your larger commitment to the community," said Tom Curtis, deputy executive director of the American Water Works Association, a nonprofit group with more than 50,000 members who work in the industry.

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Kids, guns and the American way

Kids, guns and the American wayn February, a nine-year-old Arkansas boy called Hank asked his uncle if he could head off on his own from their remote camp to hunt a rabbit with his .22 calibre rifle. “I said all right,” recalled his uncle Brent later. “It wasn’t a concern. Some people are like, ‘a nine year old shouldn’t be off by himself,’ but he wasn’t an average nine year old.”

Hank was steeped in hunting: when he was two, his father, Brad, would put him in a rucksack on his back when he went turkey hunting. Brad regularly took Hank hunting and said that his son often went off hunting by himself. On this particular day, Hank and his uncle Brent had gone squirrel hunting together as his father was too sick to go.

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Detroit Shuts Off Water to Residents but Not to Businesses Who Owe Millions

Detroit shuts water to people not businessMore than 15,000 households have had their taps turned off for being past due. Yet the bankrupt city hasn’t touched 40 businesses who owe $9.5 million in total.

DETROIT — In Detroit, even the most basic necessity cannot be taken for granted.

Some 15,000 residential customers have lost water service, and tens of thousands more are in danger of losing it, thanks to past due bills. But businesses owing hundreds of thousands of dollars have not been disconnected, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department records show.

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State judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

Gay marriage allowed in FloridaA state judge struck down Florida's gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade County said Florida's ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, as well as offended "basic human decency." Florida's attorney general quickly appealed the ruling.

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