Excessive Force

A disciplinary review board improperly reinstated a fired Seattle police officer who punched an intoxicated, handcuffed woman in the face hard enough to cause an orbital fracture, an appeals court in Washington ruled, finding the board’s decision sends a message that violation of a clear policy is “not that serious if the officer is dealing with a difficult subject, losing patience, or passionate in believing that he or she did nothing wrong.”

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Employment Discrimination

A provision in Washington’s Law Against Discrimination that exempts religious nonprofits from the definition of “employer” does not violate the state’s constitution, a federal court ruled, but it may be unconstitutional as applied to a lawyer who was denied a staff attorney position at a Christian organization that helps the homeless because he disclosed that he was in a same-sex relationship.

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Fossil Fuels

An appeals court in Washington upheld the dismissal of a case brought by 13 people between the ages of 8 and 18 who claim the state’s reliance on fossil fuel-based energy and transportation systems violated their rights. While the judges “firmly believe that the right to a stable environment should be fundamental,” they found they would violate the separation of powers doctrine if they resolved the youths’ claims.

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