Former colleagues, judges to testify for Supreme Court pick

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawyers, advocacy groups and former colleagues get their say on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee after Judge Neil Gorsuch emerged unscathed from two days of tough questioning at his confirmation hearing. Assured of support from majority Republicans, Gorsuch received glowing GOP reviews but complaints from frustrated Democrats that he concealed his views from the American public.

Rights of learning-disabled students bolstered by high court

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A unanimous Supreme Court has 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.

Judge blocks Louisiana law that kept refugee from marrying

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A judge presided, and the beaming couple embraced teary-eyed well-wishers when it was over. It wasn't a wedding, but it brought Viet Anh Vo and Heather Pham a bit closer to marriage. Vo is 32. He's been a Louisiana resident since he was a baby and a U.S. citizen since he was 8. But he was born in an Indonesian refugee camp after his parents fled Vietnam.

Parents empowered by Supreme Court ruling in special ed case

Parents of learning disabled students say a unanimous Supreme Court ruling will make it easier for them to insist on appropriate services for their children, and harder for the schools to say no. The court on Wednesday said that it is not enough for school districts to get by with minimal instruction for special needs children.

Trucker: 'Surreal' to be topic of Supreme Court nomination

DETROIT (AP) -- During Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's Senate confirmation hearings, one case came up repeatedly: A truck driver was fired for leaving his trailer of meat on the side of an Illinois road after breaking down on a frigid night in 2009, fearing he'd freeze to death. The federal appeals court judge last year dissented from a ruling ordering a trucking company to rehire Alphonse Maddin.

What led to the Supreme Court's student disabilities ruling?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday bolstered the rights of millions of learning-disabled students, requiring public schools to offer special education programs that meet higher standards. Here is a look at the main issues and challenges surrounding the case: IDEA The court ruling centers around the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a landmark piece of legislation initially passed by Congress in 1975.

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.

After surgery, Georgia senator could miss crucial votes

ATLANTA (AP) -- Sen. Johnny Isakson is recuperating from his second back surgery this year at his Georgia home, complicating Republican leaders' plans as they count the votes for the GOP health care overhaul and a Supreme Court nominee. Aides to the third-term Republican senator said Wednesday that Isakson is still awaiting his physician's approval to travel back to Washington. The senator underwent back surgery Feb.

1st sex reassignment inmate says women's prison is 'torture'

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The first U.S. inmate to have taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery says she's been mistreated since being transferred to a California women's prison, where she now has a beard and mustache because officials have denied her a razor. In a hand-written federal court filing, convicted killer Shiloh Heavenly Quine called her new housing at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla a "torture unit.

The Latest: Court reviews practice of prayers at meetings

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Latest on a case in front of a federal appeals court examining a North Carolina county commission's practice of opening meetings with Christian prayer (all times local): 1 p.m. A federal appeals court is wrestling with whether it matters if a prayer opening a government meeting is led by local clergy or an elected official. The full 15-judge bench of the 4th U.S.

Preliminary approval given to $208.7 million NCAA settlement

About 40,000 college football and basketball players will not need to submit a claim to receive a portion of the $208.7 million the NCAA will pay to settle a federal class-action lawsuit that claimed the value of their athletic scholarships was illegally capped. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in California gave preliminary approval Tuesday to the settlement that was agreed upon by the NCAA and plaintiffs in February.

The Latest: Cruz needles Democrats over criticism of judges

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch: (all times EDT): 2:40 p.m. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says "it's a little rich" that Democrats are criticizing President Donald Trump's comments attacking the federal judiciary while also criticizing Neil Gorsuch. The Supreme Court nominee is a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of 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.

Justices side with leading cheerleading uniform maker

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with the leading maker of cheerleading uniforms in a copyright dispute with a smaller rival, ruling that uniform designs can be protected under copyright law. The justices ruled 6-2 on Wednesday to uphold a lower court ruling in favor of Varsity Brands in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Star Athletica.

Court sides with workers in bankruptcy case over lost wages

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with hundreds of former workers at a New Jersey trucking company who said they were unfairly denied a claim for lost wages after the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The justices ruled 6-2 that a bankruptcy court should not have approved a plan allowing Jevic Transportation Inc. to settle other legal claims first, leaving nothing for the workers.

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.

AP Explains: A doctrine in focus at Neil Gorsuch's hearings

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers questioning Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch at his Senate confirmation are asking about something called "Chevron deference." For the record, it is not about letting someone ahead of you in line at the gas station. But it is a legal concept Gorsuch has addressed as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver since 2006.

Tearful friend of Dylann Roof apologizes at sentencing

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- During a night of vodka, cocaine, marijuana and video games, Joey Meek listened as a childhood buddy confided that he hated blacks so much he was going to kill them at a South Carolina church. Meek said he thought his friend was all talk until a week later, when news broke of a deadly shooting rampage at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Gorsuch to Democrats: No return to 'horse and buggy' era

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Assured of support from majority Republicans, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch wrapped up two days of Senate questioning Wednesday to glowing GOP reviews but complaints from frustrated Democrats that he concealed his views from the American public. Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver, refused repeated attempts to get him to talk about key legal and political issues of the day. But he did tell Sen.

BC-AP News Digest 7 am

Here are the AP's latest coverage plans, top stories and promotable content. All times EDT. -------------------------- NEW & DEVELOPING -------------------------- SYRIA -- Dozens dead or missing from airstrike in IS-held north Syria. SENT: 120 words.