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In a somewhat surprising decision, the Supreme Court postponed enforcement of a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The law would effectively close all but one of the state's abortion clinics, and is similar to one from Texas that the Court struck down in 2016, finding such restrictions an "undue burden" on woman's access to abortion, in violation of the Constitution.

But the case isn't over yet. The law is only being put on hold until the justices can hear further arguments from both sides.

February is Black History Month, and we thought it was the perfect time to reflect on the impact that African American lawyers have had on the nation's legal landscape. It is a history that predates the Civil War and extends to one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation today.

There is no way to encompass all the myriad contributions black lawyers have made to our legal history in the past 175 years, but here are seven African American lawyers who have had an especially pronounced impact.

Judge Reopens Teacher's Termination Lawsuit Over Authored Book

No Child Left Alive, a book authored by then-teacher Randy Turner, is at the heart of the lawsuit reopened by a Joplin, Missouri judge earlier this month. According to Turner, the title is merely a play on words, and the book is a satire on the state of public education in the United States.

According to the school district that fired him, the book contains obscene material, including profanity and graphic depiction of sexuality to children. Does such a firing violate Turner's First Amendment Rights to free speech? Now that a U.S. District Court judge has reopened the suit, we should soon find out.

Employee Terminated as Part of Systemic Layoff, Not Whistleblower Status

A Florida whistleblower claimed he was fired for alleging his boss chose to favor certain political customers over others when it came to restoring power after Hurricane Hermine. But the District Court judge disagreed, claiming there were plenty of other reasons to terminate his employment other than being a whistleblower, and the judge implied even that status was debatable.

Mandatory Court Fees Ruled Unconstitutional Against Poor Californians

Imagine trying to dig your way out of the mud without a shovel. Or stuck in an endless loop with no one to pull you out. That's how indigent people feel when faced with mandatory court fees for criminal convictions. But one court is putting a stop to it, at least in its own jurisdiction in California.

Birth Certificates in NYC Have General Neutral Option Now

New York City is now allowing its birthers to designate their own gender on birth certificates. Though this is limited to just those born in New York City, it is a major win for transgender and gender-neutral individuals, since it allows individuals to select their own gender, without requiring a doctor's note. 

"You don't need a doctor to tell you who you are and you shouldn't need a doctor to change your birth certificate to reflect your true self," states New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. NYC now joins the ranks of other states that allow for personal designations, and these numbers are expected to rise in the coming years.

You Must Now Be 21 to Purchase an Assault Rifle in Washington

Semi-automatic rifles, the weapon of choice for mass shootings, will now be as hard to buy as a pistol in the state of Washington. Voters approved I-1639, an initiative that will change many facets of gun control in the state. But some believe the new system will be confusing and complicated, and may appear more as a patchwork of bandaids rather than a total solution to curbing gun violence.

Some holiday decorations are universally beloved: garlands and candles, electric lights on trees and homes, and the odd snowman (or even fake snow or icicles). Some displays, however, are a little more controversial. Nativity scenes, for example, which depict the birth of Jesus Christ, seem to be the target of annual litigation. And 2018 is no different.

Here are just a few of the legal battles ongoing over the public display of Nativity scenes this year:

Texas Lawmakers Push to Remove Outdated Anti-Gay Law

Texas is going to get another chance to get it right. Is it wishful thinking that they will finally remove an illegal anti-gay statute still on its books? Or will it punt again, dragging this out another two years?

If Border Agent Searched Your Phone, U.S. May Still Have Your Info

You may have had your phone unsuspectedly searched by federal agents when coming into America. And the data on your phone may have been downloaded to scan for national security information. Odds are high no incriminating data was found on your phone. But as it turns out, odds aren't so high that the border patrol deleted this data upon realizing you aren't a security risk.