News briefs from around the nation
N. Dakota guv signs abortion restrictions
Bismarck, N.D. • North Dakota's governor positioned the oil-rich state Tuesday as a primary battleground in the decades-old fight over abortion rights, signing into law the nation's toughest restriction on the procedure and urging lawmakers to set aside cash for an inevitable legal challenge.
Minutes after Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed three anti-abortion measures one banning them as early as six weeks into a pregnancy unsolicited donations began pouring into the state's lone abortion clinic to help opponents prove the new laws are unconstitutional.
"Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade," Dalrymple said in a statement, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion up until a fetus is considered viable usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
Dalrymple also signed into law measures that would makes North Dakota the first state to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome and require a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.
School voucher ruling gives supporters hope
Indianapolis • The Indiana Supreme Court's unanimous ruling upholding the state's sweeping school voucher program has voucher supporters hoping they've found a national precedent.
The state's highest court unanimously upheld a 2011 law providing vouchers for low- and middle-income families and cleared the way for an expansion being debated in the Indiana Statehouse.
Bert Gall, of the Washington-based Institute for Justice, says the Indiana case was decided in part on a state law replicated in most other states.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court said in 2002 that voucher programs don't violate the U.S. Constitution, the main hurdle for supporters has been claims that they violate state constitutions. Gall says the Indiana decision shows they don't. But voucher opponents say the impact of Tuesday's ruling ends at Indiana's border.
Bomb equipment in car of murder suspect
Decatur, Texas • Investigators found bomb-making materials and pants with apparent blood on them in the car of a man suspected in the death of the Colorado prisons chief.
Documents made public Tuesday show that authorities also found documents from the Department of Corrections, maps and handwritten directions in Evan Spencer Ebel's car. Also found were parts of the uniform of a Domino's Pizza worker, zip ties and duct tape. Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas authorities last week. Authorities in Decatur sent the items to Colorado agencies investigating the death of Corrections chief Tom Clements and the slaying of the pizza deliveryman whose body was found two days before Clements was killed.
No drug-sniffing dogs without warrant
A drug-sniffing dog at your doorstep is a step too far, the Supreme Court has decided.
While the high court had ruled last month that a Florida police officer's use of a drug-sniffing dog to search a truck during a routine traffic stop was OK, it drew the line Tuesday at the entrance to a private home.
Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said a dog sniffing at a house where police suspect drugs are being grown constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the circumstances did not justify the officers' entry into the home.
"At the Fourth Amendment's 'very core' stands 'the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.'" wrote Scalia, citing previous precedents.
The majority opinion added: "The area 'immediately surrounding and associated with the home' the curtilage is 'part of the home itself for Fourth Amendment purposes.'"
Writing in dissent, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the homeowner in this case did not have a reasonable expectation of total privacy.
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