News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Embryos can be tax dependents; top state court upholds mail voting

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Photo by Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Georgia allows embryos to be claimed as dependents

Embryos with a “detectable human heartbeat” can be claimed as dependents on state income tax returns in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Revenue issued guidance on the deduction after a federal appeals court upheld the state’s six-week abortion ban, which expands the definition of a “natural person” to include a fetus or an embryo. (CBS News, the Washington Post, CNBC, the Georgia Department of Revenue guidance)

Top Pennsylvania court upholds mail-voting law

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a law on Tuesday that allows all voters in the state to cast mail-in votes in future elections. The 5-2 decision held that the state constitution does not require in-person voting. (NPR, Axios, Law360, the Aug. 2 decision)

6th Circuit nominee gets tie committee vote

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday split 10-10 on whether to advance the nomination of Rachel Bloomekatz to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati. Republican senators had criticized Bloomekatz’s work on behalf of a gun safety group and for her pro bono work on behalf of a 15-year-old boy in a rape case. The tie vote means that the Senate will have to have an extra vote to move the nomination out of committee. (Reuters, Courthouse News Service)

Former judge accused of sexual misconduct won’t be charged

A special prosecutor has decided that there isn’t enough evidence to support criminal charges against former Judge Tim Henderson of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Henderson has admitted that he had sexual relationships with two prosecutors but said they were consensual. During a sexual misconduct investigation, at least three other women, including a sheriff’s deputy, came forward. Henderson has denied sexually assaulting anyone. The special prosecutor, Jason Hicks, said it was “crystal clear that Henderson preyed on young women,” but the relationships appeared to be cordial. That left doubt about whether touching between Henderson and the women was uninvited or nonconsensual, Hicks said. (The Oklahoman, the Associated Press)

Visa, Mastercard quit processing payments for child porn

Visa and Mastercard said Thursday they are no longer processing payments for advertising on Pornhub and other sites owned by MindGeek, its parent company. The credit card companies took action after a federal judge in California refused to toss a lawsuit against Visa by a woman who alleged that the company facilitated the distribution of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of the Central District of California ruled July 29 that the plaintiff’s lawyers from Brown Rudnick adequately alleged a criminal conspiracy to monetize child pornography. Visa’s CEO said the company condemns child sexual abuse, and it does not permit its network to be used for criminal activity. (CNBC, Reuters, Brown Rudnick press releases here and here, Carney’s July 29 decision)

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