Gavel Drop: More First Amendment Fights About Abortion Clinics

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Gavel Drop: More First Amendment Fights About Abortion Clinics

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

New First Amendment battles are heating up around abortion clinics as anti-choice protesters look for more ways to gain access to patients and staff.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

A federal judge in Illinois will allow anti-choice activists to move forward with their lawsuit claiming the City of Chicago is unfairly enforcing local ordinances to create a “bubble zone” around abortion clinics.

Meanwhile, a Washington, D.C.-area abortion clinic has been banned from running ads in subway stations because Metro officials say the ads violate the transportation agency’s ban on political advertising.

Attorneys for the State of North Carolina have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a review of the decision against its sweeping voter restriction law, which cut early voting and imposed strict voter ID requirements, among other provisions. The petition was filed before Democrat Roy Cooper became governor, so it is unclear if his administration will continue to defend the law or instead withdraw the petition and let stand the decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals striking the law.

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A federal judge ruled officials in Pasadena, Texas, intentionally diluted the clout of Latino voters by changing the system of electing city council members.

We are pretty sure what Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is doing with this bill—which would prevent the Supreme Court from citing the Hobby Lobby and other Affordable Care Act decisions in future cases—is mostly political theater, but the whole thing is so weird even the Washington Post‘s conservative translator the Volokh Conspiracy is at a loss.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) is likely our next attorney general. Plenty of senators think Sessions is the wrong choice to head the U.S. Department of Justice, but they plan to vote for him anyway because he’s just so gosh darn nice.

However, more than 1,300 law professors have signed onto a letter urging opposing Sessions’ nomination, arguing the senator has a horrible record on civil rights and noting he was rejected by a bipartisan Congress for a federal judgeship for being too racist.

Speaking of Trump cabinet confirmation hearings, is it any surprise Senate Republicans are refusing to hold themselves to the same standards to which they held Democratic nominees?

A third lien has been filed against a Trump-owned business for unpaid salaries and bills related to Trump’s D.C. hotel. Trump reportedly owes more than $5 million in outstanding bills associated with the property, which opened in September.

In places like Denver, being homeless can sometimes be a crime. Advocates are working to change that.