MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The unarmed black man who died at the hands of a white Wisconsin police officer suffered from attention deficit disorder and tended to be an impulsive risk-taker, court documents show.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ducked a major ruling on whether Amtrak, the government-owned passenger rail company, wields too much clout in setting regulations that private freight carriers also must follow. The court, on a 9-0 vote, threw out a lower court ruling against the government by finding that Amtrak is a government entity, not a private company. Kennedy wrote that the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was based on the "flawed premise" that Amtrak was a private entity. The case was brought by the Association of American Railroads, which had challenged a federal law that gives Amtrak a key role in setting standards for railroads, including for on-time performance.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived the University of Notre Dame's religious objections to the requirement for contraception coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, throwing out a lower court decision in favor of the federal government. The justices asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision against the South Bend, Indiana-based Roman Catholic university in light of the June 2014 Supreme Court ruling that allowed certain privately owned corporations to seek exemptions from the provision.
By Mark Hosenball and Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States offered $5 million on Monday for help in finding an American who disappeared in Iran eight years ago and appealed to Tehran to cooperate in the search for the former FBI agent, Robert Levinson. "We ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to work cooperatively with us on the investigation into Robert Levinson’s disappearance so we can ensure his safe return," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. The White House National Security Council said it was "committed to the safe return of Bob Levinson to his family." Levinson disappeared from Kish Island, an Iranian resort in the Gulf, on March 9, 2007, while on a business trip as a private investigator. Levinson traveled to Kish to meet Daoud Salahuddin, an American wanted in the murder of an Iranian diplomat in a Washington suburb in 1980.
By P.J. Huffstutter CHICAGO (Reuters) - No new research projects will begin at the U.S. government's key livestock study center until animal welfare is improved through stronger oversight and better training of standards, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday. Vilsack also ordered that USDA staff update electronic record-keeping practices at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) facility in Nebraska, to ensure all animals are being appropriately monitored and cared for. The agency announced in January it was looking into livestock conditions at the center, which seeks ways to improve profitability of the U.S. livestock industry, such as by making pork loins less fatty, after a New York Times report said staff had failed to follow basic animal welfare standards during decades of research. While "no instances of animal abuse, misuse, or mistreatment were observed," according to a draft of the report released Monday by USDA, the facility was not in compliance with Agricultural Research Service policies, in part because the center's committee charged with keeping track of animal care had fallen short of its oversight duties.
By Brendan O'Brien MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican presidential hopeful, signed a bill into law on Monday that stops private sector workers from being required to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment. The law takes effect immediately, making Wisconsin the 25th state to approve a so-called right-to-work law and marking the latest victory for Republicans targeting labor unions, following adoption of similar laws in Michigan and Indiana in 2012. "It sends a powerful message across the country and around the world," Walker said, adding that what he called freedom to work is one of the three or four things that people ask about when he is on trade and investment tours for Wisconsin. "This is one more tool that will help grow good paying, family supporting jobs here in the state of Wisconsin, particularly in the areas where you need them in manufacturing," Walker said.
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday spurned two appeals involving U.S. treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees, barring a Syrian man from suing the United States over alleged torture and blocking the release of images purported to show evidence of a Saudi man's mistreatment. In one case, the court left in place a January 2014 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit against a Syrian former detainee, Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko. He had sought to sue the United States for damages stemming from his treatment during seven years at the U.S. facility in Cuba. Janko says he was tortured and suffered physical and psychological degradation at Guantanamo from 2002 to 2009 after being detained in Afghanistan in 2001.