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Federal appeals panel in NY restores Apple monitor but spells out limits to his authority

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A court-appointed monitor evaluating Apple's antitrust policies can resume his work but must adhere to the strict limits on his duties spelled out by the judge who appointed him, a federal appeals panel said on Monday. A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued the order after hearing oral arguments last week on Apple Inc.'s request that the monitor's work be suspended until the appeals court decides whether it was proper to appoint him. That ruling could be months away.

U.S. spy courts add two judges with Democratic ties

By David Ingram WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two secret courts that authorize U.S. spying operations such as the massive collection of telephone data are adding two judges who were put on the bench by Democratic presidents, a spokesman said on Friday, in a shift following criticism that one of the two courts is one-sided.

Supreme Court skeptical on abortion clinic buffer-zone law

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices raised questions on Wednesday about the scope of a Massachusetts law ensuring access for patients at abortion clinics, making it likely they will strike it down as unconstitutional as anti-abortion protesters have demanded. Anti-abortion protesters have challenged the law, saying it violated their freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by preventing them from standing on the sidewalk and speaking to those entering clinics.

Analysis: At Supreme Court hearing, passions over religion and its rules

By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When the U.S. Supreme Court talks about religion, all hell breaks loose. A dispute over an upstate New York town's prayer before council meetings produced an unusually testy oral-argument session on Wednesday that recalled the decades of difficulty Supreme Court justices have had drawing the line between church and state.

Analysis: In removing stop-and-frisk judge, U.S. court enters rare territory

By Joseph Ax and Julia Edwards NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a series of interviews in May, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin said federal judges are too cautious in exercising their creativity and independence. On Thursday, her own efforts to avoid that pitfall landed her in trouble with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which removed her from a high-profile case involving the New York City Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk program. Her actions had compromised the appearance of impartiality, the court said.

U.S. justices appear inclined to uphold affirmative action ban

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a potential boost to opponents of affirmative action, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared inclined on Tuesday to uphold a Michigan law that bans the use of racial preferences in state university admissions. During an hour-long oral argument, several of the eight justices questioned whether a 2006 state constitutional amendment that banned the practice had imposed burdens on racial minorities in violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

Justices weigh whether Michigan's voter ban on affirmative action is discrimination

WASHINGTON - Affirmative action opponents persuaded Michigan voters to outlaw any consideration of race after the Supreme Court ruled a decade ago that race could be a factor in college admissions. That state's constitutional amendment is now being examined by the high court to determine whether the change the voters sought is in fact discriminatory. It is a proposition that even the lawyer for civil rights groups in favour of affirmative action acknowledges is a tough sell, at first glance.

Broadcasters take Aereo battle to U.S. Supreme Court

By Erin Geiger Smith (Reuters) - The four major broadcasters asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to hear their case against Aereo Inc, arguing the online television service steals copyrighted television content.

Ecuadorean villagers lose bid to remove judge in Chevron dispute

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected a bid by Ecuadorean villagers to remove a judge overseeing a trial next month in a decades-old dispute between the villagers and Chevron Corp. At the trial, Chevron is seeking to prove that the Ecuadoreans and a lawyer who works on their behalf used fraud and bribery to obtain an $18 billion pollution award against Chevron in an Ecuadorean court.

Rebel claimants in BP spill settlement get expedited hearing

(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court will hold an expedited hearing for a small group of claimants in a Gulf spill settlement with BP Plc, with oral arguments set for the week of November 4, the court said on Friday.
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