SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

One of two travel ban cases dismissed

By Mark Sherman
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed one of two cases over President Donald Trump's ban on visitors from mostly Muslim countries, suggesting it will step away from the controversy for now.

The court got rid of a case that originated in Maryland and involves a ban that has now expired and been replaced by a new version.

But the justices took no action on a separate case from Hawaii. That dispute concerns both the travel ban and a separate ban on refugees, which does not expire until Oct. 24.

Dismissing the cases would allow the court to avoid ruling on difficult legal issues, at least for a while.

The justices had combined the two cases and set them for argument that was to have taken place Tuesday. But after the travel ban expired last month and a new policy was rolled out, the court canceled the argument and began to weigh whether it should decide the legality of the policy after all.

The third and latest version of the travel ban is supposed to take full effect Oct. 18 and already has been challenged in the courts.

Five of the six countries included in the travel ban the Supreme Court was supposed to review remain in the latest version.


Free speech appeal in sexting case denied

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has turned away a free-speech appeal from a former school lunch server in Minnesota who was charged with sexting a 15-year-old student.

The justices did not comment Tuesday in allowing the criminal case against Krista Muccio to proceed.

Muccio was charged with sending words and photos of a sexual nature to the student. The teen's father found them on his son's Instagram account.

A Minnesota appeals court had struck down a state law aimed at adults who use social media to lure children into sexual encounters. The state's Supreme Court overruled the lower court.


Court won't take up case of ex-CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is leaving in place the conviction of ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for misdemeanor conspiracy to violate federal safety standards at a West Virginia mine where 29 miners died in 2010.

The court declined Tuesday to take up Blankenship's case. Blankenship, who recently finished a one-year prison term, had asked the court to review his conviction, which a federal appeals court upheld in January.

Blankenship had said he's "more than 100 percent innocent" and the case was colored by emotion and publicity. He says natural gas caused the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, and the trial judge erred in instructing the jury and limiting cross-examination.

Four investigations found worn and broken cutting equipment created a spark that ignited accumulations of coal dust and methane gas.


Gitmo detainee's conviction remains

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is leaving in place the conspiracy conviction of Osama bin Laden's former personal assistant by a military tribunal.

The justices' order Tuesday was issued without comment and could be the final legal appeal by Guantanamo detainee Ali Hamza al-Bahlul.

A military commission convicted Bahlul of conspiracy and other crimes in 2008.

An appellate panel at one point ruled the military tribunal lacked the authority to convict defendants of conspiracy and other crimes that are not international war crimes.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit later upheld the conviction.

Published: Thu, Oct 12, 2017

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