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Supreme Court to hear second 'partial birth' abortion ban case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday announced it would hear a second case challenging the constitutionality of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 [text, PDF]. The court granted certiorari in Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood [docket], a Bush administration appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit [official website] in San Francisco, which struck down the law [JURIST report; opinion, PDF] because it did not make an exception to preserve the health of the woman seeking the abortion. In February, the court agreed to review the statute [JURIST report] in Gonzales v. Carhart [docket], an appeal from the 8th Circuit, which also found the law unconstitutional. The vote of Justice Samuel Alito [official profile] is expected to be pivotal in the cases; his predecessor, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, voted to strike down a Nebraska law banning the same late-term procedure in a 5-4 decision [text] handed down in 2000. AP has more.

Also on Monday, the court granted certiorari in Watters v. Wachovia Bank [docket; Reuters report], an appeal of a 6th Circuit decision [PDF text] holding that the National Bank Act and regulations promulgated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [official website] preempt state laws regulating mortgage lending by subsidiaries of national banks, and in Wallace v. Chicago [docket], in which the 7th Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that false arrest claims accrue at the time of arrest, rather than after a conviction and sentence has been overturned on appeal. Oral arguments in the three cases will be heard during the next Supreme Court term, which begins in October.

The court declined to take up a fourth case, Texas v. Leavitt [docket], in which five states sued the federal government directly in the Supreme Court over the funding of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Without comment, the court also declined to issue a preliminary injunction in the case. The states may now sue in a lower court. AP has more. SCOTUSblog has additional coverage of Monday's developments at the court. Read the Court's full Order List [PDF text].

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