[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, the California Supreme Court has let stand a new law granting registered domestic partners [PDF text] many of the same rights and protections of heterosexual marriages. Without comment, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of a California court of appeals which ruled that the law did not conflict with voter initiative Proposition 22 [text] that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman because the Proposition was clearly limited to "marriage." The constitutionality of Proposition 22 is still at issue as a ruling by a superior court judge which declared the Proposition unconstitutional is being appealed. AP has more.
In other state legal news ...
- Connecticut lawmakers voted Wednesday to authorize state attorney general Richard Blumenthal to sue the federal government [PDF bill text] over the No Child Left Behind Education Act [bill summary]. It is unclear whether Governor M. Jodi Rell [official website] will sign the legislation into law, but her spokesman said she will give it consideration. The state Board of Education has not yet backed the Attorney General's plans to file suit. Connecticut is currently seeking a waiver that would exempt the state from expanding standardized testing to grades three, five and seven next year. AP has more.
- The Rhode Island Legislature has passed a bill [Rhode Island General Assembly's press release] allowing for the use of medical marijuana in the state. The Medical Marijuana Act [text] allows those with a "debilitating medical condition" to receive a statement from their doctor saying they would benefit from marijuana and to receive a state registration card permitting them to possess or grow a certain amount of marijuana. Governor Donald L. Carcieri [official website] is expected to veto the measure, but supporters of the bill are confident they have the three-fifths majority necessary to override the veto. The passage of the legislation comes in the wake of a recent US Supreme Court decision [JURIST report] allowing federal authorities to prosecute those who use medicinal marijuana under state laws. The New York Times has more.
- A Wisconsin appeals court has upheld [PDF text] an almost $400,000 jury award to a Wisconsin Indian tribe against its accounting firm, after determining the jury properly found that the firm was negligent in performing its contract with the Sokaogan Chippewa Community [tribe website]. The accounting firm was hired to audit the Sokaogon Gaming Enterprise Corp., which was established to run the tribe's gaming operations. The appeals court also upheld the decision of the trial judge to strike the jury's award of $1.4 million for lost profits while the casino was shut down for investigation of illegal activity, based on public policy. In 1998, a former tribal planner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the gaming establishment. AP has more.