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Trump choosing white men as judges, highest rate in decades
Legal Interview | 2017/11/12 06:05
President Donald Trump is nominating white men to America's federal courts at a rate not seen in nearly 30 years, threatening to reverse a slow transformation toward a judiciary that reflects the nation's diversity.

So far, 91 percent of Trump's nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found. Three of every four are white men, with few African-Americans and Hispanics in the mix. The last president to nominate a similarly homogenous group was George H.W. Bush.

The shift could prove to be one of Trump's most enduring legacies. These are lifetime appointments, and Trump has inherited both an unusually high number of vacancies and an aging population of judges. That puts him in position to significantly reshape the courts that decide thousands of civil rights, environmental, criminal justice and other disputes across the country. The White House has been upfront about its plans to quickly fill the seats with conservatives, and has made clear that judicial philosophy tops any concerns about shrinking racial or gender diversity.



Ohio court won't hear case in seizure of exotic animals
Legal Interview | 2017/10/25 01:29
Another court has dealt a blow to an Ohio man who is trying to get his six tigers and several other exotic animals back from the state.

The Ohio Supreme Court earlier this month said it would not hear an appeal in the case involving the owner of a roadside animal sanctuary near Toledo.

Ohio took custody of 11 animals from Kenny Hetrick in January 2015 after officials say he ignored warnings that he needed a permit.

Hetrick argues he was treated differently than other exotic animal owners and has asked the courts to force the state to give him a permit and return the animals.

The tigers, bear, leopard and cougar are now being kept in out-of-state sanctuaries during the state's appeal.


Court: Movie theaters must accommodate deaf-blind patrons
Legal Interview | 2017/10/03 15:28
Federal disability law requires movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Cinemark, the nation's third-largest movie chain, in a case involving a Pennsylvania man who wanted to see the 2014 movie "Gone Girl" and asked a Cinemark theater in Pittsburgh to supply a "tactile interpreter." The theater denied his request.

The plaintiff, Paul McGann, is a movie enthusiast who reads American Sign Language through touch. He uses a method of tactile interpretation that involves placing his hands over the hands of an interpreter who uses sign language to describe the movie's action, dialogue and even the audience response.

The federal appeals court concluded Friday that tactile interpreters are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that public accommodations furnish "auxiliary aids and services" to patrons with vision, hearing and speech disabilities.


Court sides with teacher fired for sex with 18-year-old
Legal Interview | 2017/09/13 07:00
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a decision that would allow a teacher fired for having sex with an 18-year-old on her graduation night to return to teaching.

The Lebanon Daily News reports the court ruled against the Cornwall-Lebanon School District, which fired social studies teacher Luke "Todd" Scipioni in 2014 after learning details of the sexual relationship that occurred a decade earlier.

An arbitrator said there was no accusation of a sexual relationship prior to the student's graduation and Scipioni was not culpable for any relationship that occurred after that.

The arbitrator said Scipioni should be reinstated after a one-year suspension for not being truthful. A lower court reversed the arbitrator but was overruled by an appeals court. The supreme court upheld the appeals court's decision.



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