News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: States ratified ERA too late, judge says; US supports school in cheerleader’s SCOTUS case

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Federal judge rules ERA ratified too late

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras of the District of Columbia has ruled that the last three states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment acted too late. Contreras said Congress had set deadlines for ratification that expired long ago, and the three states that sued did not have standing. Contreras, a judge in Washington, D.C., is an appointee of former President Barack Obama. (NBC News, Courthouse News Service, Contreras’ opinion via How Appealing)

US supports school in cheerleader’s First Amendment case

The U.S. Department of Justice is siding with a Pennsylvania school district that suspended a junior varsity cheerleader for using the F-word in a Snapchat post after she failed to make the varsity squad. In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the DOJ said the First Amendment doesn’t categorically prevent public schools from disciplining students for off-campus speech. Students who join extracurricular athletic teams “reasonably should expect that if they engage in off-campus speech that intentionally targets their teammates or teams regarding matters essential to or inherent in the program, their speech might properly be considered school speech that coaches and team administrators could potentially discipline,” the brief said. The case is Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. (The Washington Times via How Appealing, the Department of Justice brief)

Judge tosses murder convictions because evidence withheld

Judge Joseph A. Zayas of Queens County, New York, has tossed the murder convictions of three men who were convicted for the 1996 killings of a shop owner and an off-duty police officer. Zayas said the district attorney’s office had withheld credible evidence that other people may have been the perpetrators. The ruling freed Gary Johnson, 46; George Bell, 44; and Rohan Bolt, 59. The district attorney plans to review the case before deciding whether to retry the men. (The New York Times, the Washington Post, Zayas’ decision)

Another suit is filed against Trump over Capitol attacks

A House impeachment manager in former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is suing Trump for negligence, emotional distress and conspiracy to violate civil rights in connection with the U.S. Capitol attack Jan. 6. The March 5 lawsuit, filed by Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, also targets lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr. and Republican U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. Another Democratic lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, filed a similar lawsuit last month. (Law360, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Floridian, the lawsuit)

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