Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nation Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nation Digest

Article excerpt

Supreme Court sides with military in protest case

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a unanimous decision that military commanders have broad power to keep protesters off of bases, including the public roads that pass through them.

The decision upholds the prosecution of a veteran peace activist from Santa Barbara, Calif., who repeatedly returned to protest on a highway outside Vandenberg Air Force Base even after he had been ordered to stay away.

John Dennis Apel had been barred from Vandenberg in 2003 after he threw blood on a base sign. But he returned repeatedly in the years after to protest inside a designated protest zone along Highway 1.

NSA spying open to court challenges * The government is notifying some defendants accused of terrorism that it used more National Security Agency surveillance than it disclosed during their court proceedings.

The third such notification was made Monday to an Albanian citizen who pleaded guilty and is serving a 15-year prison sentence.

The notifications are a result of a Justice Department review of certain terrorism cases. It is unclear how many cases are affected or what the notifications could mean for defendants' abilities to challenge evidence or their convictions.

The secret surveillance at issue is the NSA's collection of communications of non-Americans living outside the U.S. Former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed details of this program when he disclosed classified documents last year. The president has called for a review of the surveillance.

Judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban * A federal judge declared Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday but left it in place until an appeals court can rule on the case.

Judge Orlando Garcia issued the preliminary injunction after two gay couples challenged a state constitutional amendment and a longstanding law. He said that the couples were likely to win their case and that the ban should be lifted, but said he would give the state time to appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals .

"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," Garcia wrote. …

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