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Judge Strikes Texas Fetal Abortion Law

A high-profile feud over abortion laws continues in Texas, where a judge stopped -- again -- a law that would require abortion providers to bury or cremate fetuses.

The fetal burial law, set to take effect in February, applies to abortions, miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancies. The decision was a defeat for lawmakers and the state Attorney General's Office, which defended the statute in Whole Women's Health v. Smith.

Judge David A. Ezra said the law violated due process rights and interfered with a woman's decision to have an abortion. He also re-ignited his own inter-court battle over the controversial law.

When it comes to guns, few states are as gung-ho as Texas. After all, Yosemite Sam was almost named "Texas Tiny" for a reason.

In keeping with the gung-ho mentality, the recent decision in Glass v. Paxton explains that a 2015 Texas law allows handgun owners with concealed carry permits to carry their concealed handguns on college campuses and even inside college classrooms.

The case focused on a challenge to that law due to the fact that teachers that wanted to ban guns in their own classrooms would face discipline from their institutions, and were prohibited from doing so.

5th Circuit Rejects Texas Teen Love Triangle Case

Zamora v. Stephens would hardly merit a case note, except for one sensational thing: Diane Zamora murdered her boyfriend's teenaged lover.

It stemmed from a one-night stand that turned into years of stories, a book, a movie, and life sentences for Zamora and David Graham, who was also convicted in a love-triangle that ended the life of Adrianne Jones. They were all teenagers.

Zamora is 40 now, and just lost her appeal in a civil rights suit against a prison. In four pages, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said she didn't have a case.

If there was a prize for most tragic case dismissed on appeal, the case filed by John Gorman's wife would certainly be a contender.

The facts of Gorman v. Sharp really are tragic. After a recent promotion, Gorman attended an officer firearm safety training session, which he was required to attend for his job as the director of investigations with the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Unfortunately, the Special Agent in charge of training, Robert Sharp, forgot to replace his regular real firearm that he carried with a dummy firearm for a roleplaying exercise. As a result of the instructor's own negligence, he shot and killed John Gorman during that exercise.

In an appeal to the Fifth Circuit, an injured former employee of Tyson Foods sought to reverse the trial judge's refusal to grant a new trial, as well as a peculiar request seemingly on behalf of the appellant's attorney involving the jury.

In short, the underlying case, Benson v. Tyson Foods, involved a claim of disability discrimination, which was undercut at trial by evidence and testimony the jury relied on to find that the plaintiff-appellant was not actually disabled. Although the plaintiff did suffer a severe injury, medical experts testified that the injury had fully healed, and the plaintiff testified that she was able to play basketball and work two jobs where she stood for most of the time.

5th Circuit Upholds Texas Voter ID Law

A federal appeals court upheld a controversial voter ID law in Texas, concluding that the state legislature remedied discriminatory elements that were at issue in a previous version of the law.

The prior law -- SB14 -- had required residents to present government identification when they voted, resulting in a judicial ruling that the law discriminated against certain minorities. Then the legislature incorporated changes proposed by the federal court into SB5.

Opponents then sued to invalidate the new law, but the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said it was acceptable in Veasey v. Abbott.

Federal Judge OKs Challenge to Male-Only Draft

Women aren't suing for equal everything, like registering for the military draft.

But the National Coalition for Men wants to change all that. The organization sued, alleging that male-only mandatory enlistment discriminates against men, and a judge says the plaintiffs have a case.

However, they still have a long way to go in National Coalition of Men v. Selective Service System. They filed in 2013, and just got standing to proceed.

Judge Throws Out 'Clock Boy' Discrimination Case

Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student, made a clock and took it to school.

But it looked like a bomb, his teacher said. The principal agreed and summoned police, who arrested the teenager.

It turned out to be a clock, but blew up in a media storm and an invitation to the White House for the baffled "clock boy." His parents sued unsuccessfully, apparently because there is no case for being smarter than your teacher.

It is no secret that the justice system tends to favor the wealthy. People with more money are better able to afford the cost of accessing justice. And it's not just paying the costs for private attorneys and experts in civil cases, in the criminal justice system simply being able to afford bail provides the wealthy with a significant privilege and advantage compared to those who can't afford any amount of bail.

The Fifth Circuit recently weighed in on the Harris County bail system which relies on fixed bail amounts for various charges, and which been recently been upended by a district court ruling that could have potential released many pretrial detainees. Both courts agreed and ruled the fixed bail amounts were unconstitutional as a result of due process and equal protection violations, but the circuit court had to reign in the lower court's order for going a bit too far.

The civil rights case of a man alleging a violation of his right to privacy against Verizon is notable for a couple reasons. But the Alexander v. Verizon matter might not be getting as much attention for the substantive part of the case, but rather for an interesting footnote.

First off, there is actually an interesting legal case that involves not-so-emerging technology and how it is now used by law enforcement, and whether service providers can be liable for bad police work.

Secondly, the case contains that rather loaded footnote discussing the great online debate of whether the word internet should be capitalized, or not, and when.