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Supreme Court declines Whitewater, tobacco, Puerto Rico voting rights appeals

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] declined certiorari in several high-profile appeals Monday but did not agree to consider any new cases. In Tucker v. United States, the Court refused to consider the appeal of former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker [profile], who wanted to withdraw his 1998 guilty plea to tax conspiracy in connection with the Whitewater [Washington Post backgrounder] tax fraud investigation in which 14 were originally convicted. AP has more. The Court also refused to consider appeals involving a $50 million damage award to the family of a two-pack-a-day smoker who died of cancer in Philip Morris USA v. Boeken and Boeken v. Philip Morris Inc.. Philip Morris USA [corporate website] had asked the justices to declare the award unconstitutionally excessive and rule that the company should have been shielded from some of the smoker's claims. The Court declined both cases without comment. AP has more.

The Supreme Court also rejected a bid to give residents of Puerto Rico the right to vote in United States presidential elections, declining an appeal from an August 2005 decision of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit holding that to allow Puerto Ricans the right to vote would require amending the US Constitution or making the island the 51st state. Puerto Rico has voted in several referenda to keep its current territorial status. AFP has more. Read Monday's full Order List [PDF].

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