Ballot Order

A federal court dismissed a case against the Texas Secretary of State brought by a voter and the state’s Democratic Party, which challenged a state election law governing the order in which candidates appear on the ballot. The plaintiffs had asked the court to require the state to use a ballot order system that would have given major party candidates an “equal opportunity to be listed first on the ballot.”

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Ballot Access

The Sixth Circuit denied Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a stay pending appeal of a case relating to ballot signature requirements. Proponents of a criminal justice reform initiative say the combination of the governor’s stay-at-home order and the signature requirements create an unconstitutionally severe restriction on their access to the ballot. 

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BB Gun

The Montana Supreme Court reversed a man’s conviction of assault on a peace officer. The man thought he was pulling a prank on a friend when he aimed a broken BB gun out of his front door, but he actually aimed the gun at a police sergeant, who was there to tell him he had been banned from a casino. The man, who was sentenced to eight years in prison, did not use a “weapon” pursuant to state law.

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Dinosaur Fossils

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling in favor of ranch owners, finding they are the sole owners of dinosaur fossils discovered on their property. The Montana Supreme Court answered a certified question concluding that dinosaur fossils were not a “mineral” and belonged to the surface estate, and that decision requires a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. 

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