Court OK of student-led school board prayers to be appealed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court in New Orleans will be asked to reconsider its ruling allowing student-led prayer at school board meetings. On Monday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in a Texas case that such prayers don't run afoul of the prohibition against government-established religion. The American Humanist Association, a plaintiff in the case, disagreed.

N Carolina Gov. Cooper appeals confirmation law ruling

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is appealing a court ruling that in part left intact a Republican-passed law subjecting his Cabinet secretaries to state Senate confirmation. Cooper's private attorneys filed his notice this week with the state Court of Appeals. The lawyers also asked the three-judge panel that ruled against Cooper on the law last week to prevent confirmation hearings by the Senate during the appeals.

High Court bolsters rights of learning-disabled students

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A unanimous Supreme Court on Wednesday bolstered the rights of millions of learning-disabled students in a ruling that requires public schools to offer special education programs that meet higher standards. The court struck down a lower standard endorsed by President Donald Trump's nominee to the high court. Chief Justice John Roberts said that it is not enough for school districts to get by with minimal instruction for special needs children.

Ex-pharmacy exec convicted in deadly meningitis outbreak

BOSTON (AP) -- The former head of a Massachusetts pharmacy was acquitted Wednesday of murder allegations but convicted of racketeering and other crimes in a meningitis outbreak that was traced to fungus-contaminated drugs and killed 64 people across the country. Prosecutors said Barry Cadden, 50, ran the business in an "extraordinarily dangerous" way by disregarding unsanitary conditions to boost production and make more money.

Court asks who should lead prayer before government meeting

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Does it matter whether a prayer opening a government meeting is led by local clergy or an elected official? That's a question a federal appeals court is wrestling with in a unique case examining the constitutional requirement of separating church and state. The case will likely eventually wind up before the Supreme Court. An attorney for a North Carolina county commission told the 4th U.S.

The Latest: Gorsuch says Trump disappointed he lost Colorado

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (all times EDT): 6:45 p.m. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says President Donald Trump told him he was disappointed he lost Colorado and believed that with more time he might have won. Gorsuch, a federal judge in Denver, made the disclosure during his confirmation hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.

Ex-MMA fighter guilty of 29 felonies in kidnap, beating case

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The former mixed martial arts fighter known as War Machine was found guilty Monday of kidnapping, beating and sexually assaulting his porn actress ex-girlfriend over several months in 2014, and of beating her male friend when he found them together in her bedroom. Nevada jurors deadlocked on two attempted-murder counts against Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver but convicted him of 29 felonies stemming from attacks on Christy Mack and Corey Thomas.

Court: Student prayers OK at school board meetings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led public prayers without running afoul of the Constitution's prohibition against government-established religion, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District.

The Latest: Judge to rule later in Roman Polanski sex case

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Latest on Roman Polanski's long-running sex abuse case (all times local): 11:15 a.m. A Los Angeles judge says he will issue a written ruling about director Roman Polanski's requests to end his long-running sex abuse case. Polanski's attorney, Harland Braun, argued Monday that Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon should give some indication of how Polanski would be sentenced if he returned to Los Angeles.

SC couple gets $1.3M verdict in racial profiling lawsuit

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- A black couple who says they were arrested because they accused a white state trooper of racial profiling has received a $1.3 million verdict from a Charleston jury. The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/2mxFXZ3) the jury awarded the money to Catherine and Jean Newkirk, who were pulled over in 2012 in Florence County by then-Trooper James Enzor.

Q&A: A look at questions about the abortion debate in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas might chart its own legal path on abortion through a lawsuit that could turn a state in which the anti-abortion movement has won a long string of legislative victories into fairly friendly territory for abortion rights. The state Supreme Court heard arguments this past week in a legal challenge to a 2015 law that bans a common second-trimester procedure.

The Latest: Seattle judge puts off ruling on travel ban

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Latest on lawsuits challenging the Trump administration's revised travel ban (all times local): 5:10 p.m. A federal judge in Seattle says he won't rule on a request from Washington state to block President Donald Trump's revised travel ban because two other judges have already halted it. Judge James Robart said Friday the state could ask him to reconsider should circumstances change.

High court pick Gorsuch is harsh critic of assisted suicide

NEW YORK (AP) -- Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch made it clear in a book and other writings what he thinks about assisted suicide and euthanasia: He's not a fan. His reasoning is not based on religious conviction but rather stems from his investigation of the subject stretching from ancient Greece to modern times.

Lack of comma sense ignites debate after ruling in $10M suit

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- It all came down to a missing comma, and not just any one. And it's reignited a longstanding debate over whether the punctuation is necessary. A federal appeals court decided this week to keep alive a lawsuit by dairy drivers seeking more than $10 million in an overtime pay dispute.

Judge won't toss fatal shooting video from officer's case

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Jurors will see a key piece of video evidence in the upcoming trial of a white ex-South Carolina police officer in the shooting death of a black motorist, despite the defense's request that it be tossed out. During a hearing lasting more than an hour Friday, U.S. District Judge David Norton denied a motion by attorneys for Michael Slager to exclude the shooting video from his trial.

Trump's Muslim rhetoric key issue in travel ban rulings

SEATTLE (AP) -- Federal law gives the president broad authority over immigration. Jimmy Carter used it to deny some Iranians entry to the U.S. during the hostage crisis, Ronald Reagan to bar Cubans who didn't already have relatives here and President Barack Obama to keep out North Korean officials.

Excerpts of travel ban rulings by Hawaii, Maryland judges

HONOLULU (AP) -- Judges on opposite sides of the U.S. have ruled against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, temporarily blocking it from taking effect as scheduled Thursday. Here are some key excerpts from the decisions in Hawaii and Maryland : ___ HAWAII RULING: MUSLIM DISCRIMINATION U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson blocked the executive order that suspends new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries and halts the U.S. refugee program.