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Top eight today

Top eight stories for today including a lawyer for Boston told the Supreme Court that the city has every reason to forbid a flag bearing a cross outside City Hall; California remains woefully behind on ensuring state agencies are protecting critical public information from hackers; Germany’s new top diplomat is talking tough about how to deal with Russia, and more.

National

Flag censorship case tests limits of viewpoint discrimination

Framed by a national debate on censorship of controversial viewpoints, the Supreme Court struggled at oral arguments Tuesday on where to draw the line for private speech in public spaces that the government finds inappropriate or offensive.

Three 83-foot-tall flagpoles stand outside Boston City Hall. One always flies the U.S. flag and one always flies the state flag; the third usually flies the city flag, but citizens can petition to temporarily raise another flag. (Wikipedia Commons via Courthouse News)

Gorsuch balks at rejection of religious tax exemption case

A church fighting the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, for a property tax exemption was denied a Supreme Court audience but found a receptive audience Monday in a dissent from Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The Supreme Court is seen on what is its first day of the new term, Oct. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats still short on votes as Senate takes up voting rights

The Senate started debate Tuesday on voting rights legislation that would enshrine a key pillar of the Democrats' platform, but one that is all but doomed by insufficient votes to overcome Republican opposition.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks on the Senate floor during debate over voting rights legislation on Jan. 18, 2022.

Regional

Audit rips California’s cybersecurity watchdog over lack of oversight

Despite recent high-profile data breaches and years of warnings about lacking cybersecurity systems, California remains woefully behind on ensuring state agencies are protecting critical public information from hackers, a new audit warns.

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Challenge to Texas abortion law punted to state high court

The Texas Supreme Court, every member of which is a Republican, has been asked to decide whether abortion providers named the right defendants in their challenge to a Texas law that bans the procedure before the point when a lot of women would even know they are pregnant.

People participating in the Houston Women’s March against the Texas abortion ban walk from Discovery Green to City Hall on Oct. 2, 2021. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP)

International

Germany’s tough-talking top diplomat goes to Moscow

Germany's new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens, took her tough language to Moscow on Tuesday where she met with her Russian counterpart in a bid to kick-start negotiations in the conflict over eastern Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following their talks in Moscow on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

EU countries can’t revoke citizenship for drunken driving

The European Union’s top court found on Tuesday that traffic violations aren’t enough to revoke offers of citizenship. 

(Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay via Courthouse News)

Column

‘Rocket docket: Wonder to behold

Our bureaucratic opponents have a silent ally, slowness. But the ally is not present in the federal court for eastern Virginia where the rocket docket rolls, producing a ruling in one of our cases the same week it was argued.

Statewide reach of Virginia’s OCRA system. (Image via Courthouse News)
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