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Fed Appeals Court Tosses $19 Trillion Claim Against Google

Have you ever googled yourself? Did you find anything disconcerting? Do you wish you could do something about it? That is how Colin O'Kroley felt when he saw his name associated with a child indecency case in a Google search.

He sued Google and other defendants for $19 trillion, claiming "severe mental anguish" from the listing. A federal appeals court this month rejected O'Kroley's claim. Although the plaintiff really wasn't involved in the indecency case, reports the American Bar Association Journal, the search engine is protected by the Communications Decency Act.

Supreme Ct: Abortion Clinic Restrictions Can't Unduly Burden Women

Today the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Texas legal provisions that would have severely restricted access to abortions in that state. Five justices agreed that the law placed an undue burden on women in violation of constitutional rights, and the decision is considered significant nationwide.

At question were provisions in a law that added requirements for clinics performing abortions and their physicians, ostensibly to protect women. But the majority of the court found the contrary, writing that the restrictions did little for women's health. Let's consider the decision.

Net Neutrality Matters: Internet Is a Utility, Not a Luxury, Court Rules

We the people need the web, according to a federal appellate court decision issued today. Specifically, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that strict regulation of broadband companies by the Federal Communications Commission is legal because broadband access is a utility, not a luxury, reports The New York Times.

In a 184-page decision, the court concluded that the internet is a tool for all and, as such, subject to strict regulation, unlike luxury items which are just for a few. It is no longer optional but integral to life in our society, kind of like water and electricity. Let's consider the decision and its significance to all of us.

Despite all the public backlash against Minnesota dentists travelling to Zimbabwe to shoot celebrity lions and countries auctioning off the right to hunt species whose numbers are already threatened by poaching, there are still people that want to travel to exotic places, see beautiful animals, and kill them dead. And there are still nations that will allow people to riddle endangered species with bullets. But there might not be a way for folks to get their big game trophies home anymore.

A federal court in Texas has ruled that Delta (and, presumably other similarly conscientious airlines) doesn't need to transport a hunter's endangered rhino trophy, upholding the airline's ban on "Big Five" trophies.

President Obama Commutes 42 Sentences: More to Come

Last week President Obama announced that he will commute the sentences of 42 federal prisoners, bringing to 348 his administration's total commuted sentences. This president has used the power of commutation more often than seven previous presidents combined, according to the Huffington Post, focusing particularly on commuting the too-severe mandatory minimum sentences of those imprisoned on drug crimes.

The White House's lead counsel, Neil Eggleston, issued a blog post last week explaining the decision and emphasizing the fact that serious reforms to criminal sentencing will have to take place at a congressional level. "There remain thousands of men and women in federal prison serving sentences longer than necessary, often due to overly harsh mandatory minimum sentences," he wrote.

KS High Court Says School Funding Unconstitutional, Threatens Shutdown

Parents in Kansas have reason to fear for the future of their children's education: there may be no public schools open at the end of summer vacation. The state's Supreme Court today ruled that the legislature had not abided by its constitutional mandate to finance public schools equitably, especially poorer districts with less property wealth, and gave authorities an ultimatum.

The court gave the state a deadline -- until June 30 -- to fix the funding issues or face a total shutdown, demanding $40 million or more be added to the public education budget. The court's demand is worrisome to managers of other public programs who are afraid they will face more cuts as a result, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, Governor Sam Brownback's office insists school budgets are sufficient and that he is committed to public education.

CT Death Penalty Ban Upheld, State Death Row Is Dead

Connecticut's death row inmates got the ultimate reprieve this week as the state Supreme Court ruled again that abolition of the death penalty applies even to those who were already sentenced to execution before the ban. The state abolished the death penalty in 2012 but there was still some question regarding the execution of inmates already on death row when the ban passed.

The 11 inmates who were to be executed will be re-sentenced to life in prison and will join the general prison population, reports the Hartford Courant. The now-total repeal of the death penalty in Connecticut was met with dismay by some victims' families and with relief by death row inmates.

Donald Trump Woos Classic Conservatives With SCOTUS Wish List

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not exactly the conciliatory type, and he seems to like getting people riled up. But today Trump tried to woo conservatives by releasing a list of Supreme Court nominees that is, reports CNN, widely pleasing to people in the Republican Party.

The list contains the names of 11 conservative judges who could ostensibly replace the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, both physically and in spirit. Trump's move is viewed as an effort to relieve conservative fears that Trump will not be a reliable Republican representative.

Federal Regulators Block Staples and Office Depot Merger

A federal judge this week granted a request from trade regulators, halting a merger between office supply giants Staples and Office Depot to prevent a monopoly. This is the second time that the Federal Trade Commission has blocked consolidation of these two companies and the office suppliers announced that they will not appeal the ruling.

The blocked merger is likely to save hundreds of jobs for Staples workers in Boca Raton, Florida, reports the Florida Sun Sentinel. But not everyone responded positively to the government intervention, and stocks for both Staples and Office Depot reportedly dropped after the announcement that they are scrapping the $6 billion merger.

NY Trump University Fraud Case Will Go to Trial in Fall

Donald Trump is a busy billionaire and this fall it seems his steak-filled plate will be very full. The businessman-turned-politician is running a presidential campaign while facing a trial for fraud associated with Trump University.

Across the country, there are a few cases against Trump University, a real estate seminar that costs tens of thousands of dollars to attend. Yesterday a New York court found sufficient questions of fact that a fraud case brought by New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman should go to trial. The AG sought summary judgment, or a ruling based on the evidence submitted thus far, but this was denied and the judge has reportedly expressed a desire to "move expeditiously as possible."