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Kansas’ highest court on Wednesday upheld a Republican redistricting law that makes it harder for the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation to win reelection in a big victory for the GOP.

The state Supreme Court declined for now to declare that overly partisan gerrymandering violates the Kansas Constitution. The ruling sets district boundaries less than a month before the state’s June 10 filing deadline for congressional candidates.

The court’s opinion was two paragraphs long, saying only that the voters and voting rights group challenging the map “have not prevailed on their claims” that the map violated the state constitution and that a full opinion would come later.

The brief decision was written by Justice Caleb Stegall, who is seen as the most conservative of the court’s seven justices, five of whom were appointed by Democratic governors. During arguments from attorneys on Monday, he questioned whether anyone could clearly define improper partisan gerrymandering.

Lawsuits over new congressional district lines have proliferated across the U.S., with Republicans looking to recapture a U.S. House majority in this year’s midterm elections. Congressional maps in at least 17 states have inspired lawsuits, according to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

In the past, congressional district lines have been reviewed by federal judges and not the state Supreme Court. The conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in 2019 that complaints about partisan gerrymandering are political issues and not for the federal courts to resolve.

The state’s Republican-appointed solicitor general argued in defending the GOP-drawn map that because the state constitution doesn’t specifically mention gerrymandering or congressional redistricting, the Kansas Supreme Court should reject the legal challenges. He and other state officials said that the justices had no guidance on how to define improper political gerrymandering.



California taxpayers would help pay for abortions for women who can’t afford them under a new spending proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday to prepare for a potential surge of people from other states seeking reproductive care if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

California already pays for some abortions through its Medicaid program, the taxpayer-funded health insurance plan for the poor and the disabled.

But some women don’t qualify for Medicaid and don’t have private health insurance. When that happens, clinics will sometimes perform abortions for free, known as “uncompensated care.” Wednesday, Newsom said he wants the state to give $40 million worth of grants to clinics to help offset those costs.

An abortion can cost between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars in California, depending on how far along the pregnancy is and what kind of insurance a patient has.

“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights; we’re going to fight like hell, making sure that all women – not just those in California – know that this state continues to recognize and protect their fundamental rights,” Newsom said in a news release.

While the grants could potentially pay for abortions for women from other states, the money would not pay for those women to travel or stay in California.

A bill in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature would set up a fund to help pay for the logistics of getting an abortion in California, including things such as travel, lodging and child care. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus has asked Newsom for $20 million to put into that fund. But Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday did not include that money.




A 28-year-old man who was rescued from a raft off the coast of New England in 2016 after his boat sank pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he killed his mother at sea to inherit the family’s estate.

Nathan Carman was arraigned in federal court in Rutland on multiple fraud charges and a first-degree murder charge in the death of Linda Carman. He shouted “not guilty” in the direction of reporters who had asked him on his way into the courthouse whether he killed his mother.

Authorities allege in the indictment unsealed Tuesday that Carman also killed his grandfather, John Chakalos, at his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013 as part of a scheme to obtain money and property from his grandfather’s estate, but he was not charged with that killing.

“As a central part of the scheme, Nathan Carman murdered John Chakalos and Linda Carman,” the indictment reads.

Carman was found in an inflatable raft eight days after leaving a Rhode Island marina to go fishing with his mother, who was never found. Prosecutors allege Carman altered the boat to make it more likely to sink that day. He has denied doing anything to intentionally make the boat unseaworthy.

Carman, who was arrested Tuesday, faces life in prison if convicted of killing his mother, Linda Carman, of Middletown, Connecticut. His attorney did not comment after the arraignment.




A New York City judge’s son who stormed the U.S. Capitol wearing a furry “caveman” costume was sentenced on Friday to eight months in prison.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg told Aaron Mostofsky that he was “literally on the front lines” of the mob’s attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

“What you and others did on that day imposed an indelible stain on how our nation is perceived, both at home and abroad, and that can’t be undone,” the judge told Mostofsky, 35.

Boasberg also sentenced Mostofsky to one year of supervised release and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service and pay $2,000 in restitution.

Mostofsky had asked the judge for mercy, saying he was ashamed of his “contribution to the chaos of that day.” “I feel sorry for the officers that had to deal with that chaos,” said Mostofsky, who must report to prison on or after June 5.

Federal sentencing guidelines in his case recommended a prison sentence ranging from 10 months to 16 months. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of 15 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.





The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval shortly before midnight Friday to a bill abortion rights advocates contend is needed to protect in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said lawmakers in Connecticut, a state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, needed to pass the legislation “in defense of our own values and our own legal system.” It comes after Texas enacted a law that authorizes lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a banned abortion, even in another state.

The bill, which already cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, passed in the Senate on a 25-9 vote. It now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The Democrat has said he will sign it.

Supporters voiced concern about the spate of new abortion restrictions being enacted in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.



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