States brief ~ UT high court to hear case on child visitation if biological parent objects

[JURIST] Leading Monday's states brief, the Utah Supreme Court [official website] will hear oral arguments tomorrow on whether former lesbian Keri Lynn is legally entitled to a parental relationship with a child born to a former girlfriend, when the child's biological mother objects. Utah has previously allowed visitation by divorced stepparents, but US Supreme Court decisions have stressed the biological parent's right to decide who visits with their child. Last December, a lower court granted visitation rights to Jones even though she had no legal right by adoption or blood to the child, by finding that there was a parental relationship between Jones and the child. The child was born during a three year relationship between Jones and the biological mother. The Alliance Defense Fund is an advocate for the biological mother and its press release can be viewed here. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • Organizers seeking an election to recall Spokane Washington Mayor Jim West [official website] announced today that they had collected around 5,000 signatures or 40% of the necessary signatures to make the ballot. Last Wednesday, the state Supreme Court cleared the way for the circulation of recall petitions [JURIST report] filed by Shannon Sullivan, alleged that the mayor used his office for personal gain. Citizens for Government Integrity [advocacy website], hope to turn in 16,000 signatures to account for invalid signatures, but must collect 12,600 signatures to make the ballot. AP has more.

  • As briefly noted over the weekend in JURIST's Paper Chase, the US Department of Justice has approved a Georgia law [PDF text] that requires all voters to show photo identification at the polls, and does ways with previously accepted forms of voter identification, including social security cards, birth certificates or utility bills. Sponsor Cecil Station, R-Macon, said the law "will further ensure the integrity of voting in the state of Georgia," but opponent Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta and chairman of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials [advocacy website], said the law will be challenged in federal court. Democrats argued that the photo identification idea was a political move by Republicans to suppress voting among minorities, the elderly and the poor. Georgia needs the Justice Department's permission to change its voting laws under the Voting Rights Act because of its history of suppressing minority voting. View Governor Sonny Perdue's press release regarding the decision here. AP has more.


 

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