National Roundup

2 Muslims settle suits over church services in jail

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two Muslim women who said they were forced to attend Christian services at a county jail in Cleveland while being held there have settled federal lawsuits with county officials, according to settlement agreements released Wednesday.

They show Cuyahoga County paid $48,500 to Sakeena Majeed and $32,500 to Sonya Abderrazzaq.

The women, who served sentences for misdemeanor convictions, alleged in separate lawsuits that they were required to attend religious services led by a Baptist minister while they were housed in a trustee pod at the jail. They also said they were harangued for not actively participating.

Attorneys for the women said the practice has been stopped.

Abderrazzaq’s attorney, Raymond Vasvari, said he hopes the county recognizes that conditions of an inmate’s confinement can’t be contingent on religious beliefs.

“Hopefully, going forward, the practices identified in these cases are a thing of the past,” he said.

Majeed’s attorney, Matthew Besser, said the case was about stopping the government from telling people “which God to pray to, or whether to pray at all.”

“Sakeena wanted to bring this practice to light, and to stop it from happening to anyone else,” Besser said.

A Cuyahoga County spokeswoman said the settlements aren’t an admission of liability but are an exercise in risk management.

Majeed, of suburban Rocky River, had been jailed after pleading guilty to assault. She was arrested on her lunch hour on July 18, 2013, after getting into a confrontation with a police officer who had stopped her for jaywalking, her attorney said.

Abderrazzaq had been jailed after pleading guilty in March 2014 in Parma Municipal Court on a charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence.

Judge hears dismissal request in kids’ lawsuit

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge is considering a dismissal request from defense attorneys in a lawsuit filed by a group of youths seeking a court order to reduce emissions contributing to climate change.

The Register-Guard reports that on Wednesday lawyers for both the government and trade groups representing Exxon Mobil, BP and other energy companies asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Coffin says he will prepare a ruling to decide the lawsuit’s fate at an unspecified later date.

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Eugene last summer, saying their generation will bear the brunt of global warming and that government at every level has an obligation to protect natural resources.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says the judge has a responsibility to keep the litigation alive.

Lawmakers OK McCullough for Supreme Court

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have approved elevating Court of Appeals Judge Stephen McCullough to the state Supreme Court.

McCullough’s election Thursday ends a bitter months-long political battle over the vacant high court seat that has infuriated Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic lawmakers.

Republican leaders initially sought to put Court of Appeals Judge Rossie Alston on the bench after rejecting McAuliffe’s selection for the high court. The governor and Democrats want to elect Justice Jane Marum Roush.

But Republicans failed to get enough support for Alston and put McCullough’s nomination forward Wednesday.

Several Democrats said while they believe McCullough is qualified, they couldn’t support his nomination because of the way the situation was handled.

McAuliffe said Thursday that he’s “disgusted by the whole process” and accused Republicans of treating Roush “like dirt.”

Judge hears challenge to Cruz’s citizenship

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania judge says he’ll decide soon on a court challenge that contends Texas Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t a U.S. citizen who is eligible to run for president and shouldn’t appear on the state’s primary ballot.

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini heard arguments Thursday.

Cruz is among six Republican candidates who filed paperwork in Pennsylvania to run for president. The Pennsylvania primary is April 26.

The challenger is Carmon Elliott of Pittsburgh.

Cruz’s lawyer Robert Feltoon argues that Cruz is a natural born citizen, even if he was born in Canada, because his mother is a U.S. citizen.

Feltoon also argues that the constitution delegates the question of whether a candidate for president is eligible to take office to the Electoral College and Congress, not the court.

Great Harvest Bread sues Panera over trademark

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One restaurant chain that made its name off fresh bakery products is suing another, alleging federal trademark infringement for use of what it calls a confusingly similar advertising slogan.

Great Harvest Bread Co. filed suit Thursday in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, against Panera Bread. The suit, filed on behalf of Great Harvest’s more than 200 owner-operated stores, claims the company received a trademark in October 2014 for its mantra, “Bread. The Way it ought to be.”

The lawsuit says suburban St. Louis-based Panera debuted its “Food as it should be” advertising campaign just eight months later, in June 2015. Great Harvest, based in Dillon, Montana, says the Panera campaign intentionally causes confusion.

“We need to protect the investment being made by our individual small business owners from being drowned out or overrun by a multi-million dollar national advertising campaign,” Great Harvest president Eric Keshin said in a statement.

Great Harvest said it asked Panera to suspend advertising and promotion that used the phrase, but to no avail. Panera has since sought a trademark for “Food as it should be,” and Great Harvest has formally opposed it, Great Harvest said.

The Associated Press left messages seeking comment from Panera representatives on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Great Harvest says the suit was filed in North Carolina because franchisees there are especially concerned about the alleged infringement.

Great Harvest says it specializes in handcrafted breads with whole wheat purchased from family-owned farms. Panera operates nearly 2,000 bakery-cafes in 46 states and Ontario, Canada, under the Panera Bread, St. Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Cafe names.