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Under a settlement with the Justice Department, the National Association of Realtors agreed to help provide more transparency to buyers about commissions. A federal judge Wednesday said the Justice Department must honor an agreement it made with the real-estate industry’s largest trade association to close an antitrust investigation into rules governing how agents market properties and set commissions for home sales. During the Trump administration, the Justice Department investigated whether a lack of transparency to buyers around the roughly 5% to 6% commission rate for agents had caused artificially high transaction costs, despite disruptive forces such as the proliferation of online listings and venture capital-funded startups. In nearly every residential real estate transaction in the U.S. the buyers’ agents are paid by the home seller and not directly by the buyer.
WASHINGTON—A push by the White House and Democratic lawmakers who support abortion rights to renew protections for the procedure is expected to stall in Congress along with Republicans’ efforts to further limit abortion access. That will leave the issue largely determined by states, as the Supreme Court intended when it overturned Roe v. Wade in June and ended the constitutional right to an abortion. Several Republican-controlled states are now pursuing new restrictions, while states under Democratic control, including Michigan, are looking to protect access.
ALBANY, N.Y.— Kathy Hochul ‘s nominee for chief judge of New York’s highest court has divided her fellow Democrats and is shaping up to be her first major political test since being elected governor. The state Senate’s judiciary committee on Wednesday will consider Hector LaSalle to lead the New York State Court of Appeals. He currently runs a regional mid-level appellate court based in Brooklyn. More than a dozen Democrats in the chamber said they will vote against Justice LaSalle’s nomination to the chief judge role because of his previous rulings on workers’ rights and other matters, highlighting the increasingly political nature of state judicial appointments. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins , a Democrat, has said the judge doesn’t have the support needed to be confirmed.
As Cities Get Tough on Homelessness, Legal Battles Follow
  + stars: | 2023-01-17 | by ( Laura Kusisto | ) www.wsj.com   time to read: 1 min
Cities across the U.S. have been introducing tougher measures to address the growing problem of homelessness, prompting a number of court challenges that could set guideposts on how far municipalities can go. Local governments have been experimenting with a range of homeless policies, such as involuntarily removing people from the streets when they appear to be mentally ill, confiscating belongings or evicting the homeless from public property. City officials say the measures are necessary to address situations that are threatening public safety and leaving homeless people themselves living in conditions that are unsafe and unsanitary.
The South Carolina court said laws limiting abortion access must allow enough time for women to determine whether they are pregnant and get an abortion. The South Carolina Supreme Court permanently blocked enforcement of the state’s ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, ruling the 2021 law violated the right to privacy in the state constitution. In a 3-2 decision Thursday, the court ruled state constitutional protections for a person’s privacy included decisions about whether to get an abortion. The decision marks the first major victory for abortion-rights groups in a state high court since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending federal constitutional protections for the procedure.
A novel Texas law caused a national stir in late 2021 by allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers and others for monetary damages, essentially ending state abortion access months before the Supreme Court removed legal protections for the procedure. The law’s practical significance faded this year when the high court overruled Roe v. Wade in June, but it continues to complicate the legal landscape and inspire imitation laws, leaving questions for the courts heading into 2023.
In recent years, federal courts have generally affirmed the rights of transgender students to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity. A federal appeals court ruled a Florida school district can require that students use bathrooms according to their biological sex, rejecting a legal challenge by a transgender student and teeing up the issue for potential review by the Supreme Court. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-4 that the St. Johns County school board’s decision to segregate bathrooms by sex passes constitutional muster because it advances a legitimate objective of protecting students’ privacy and shielding their developing bodies from the opposite sex.
Defeated Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is scheduled to receive a two-day court hearing beginning Wednesday to air some of her allegations that electoral improprieties caused her to lose the race, but a judge said she’ll have to prove there was intentional misconduct that affected the outcome. An Arizona judge on Monday dismissed most of Ms. Lake’s claims that illegal voting and misconduct cost her a victory, saying they weren’t proper or valid. But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson said Ms. Lake should be given the opportunity to attempt to prove a pair of claims related to the malfunctioning of ballot printers and the handling of ballots.
State legislatures across the country are preparing to convene for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court ended federal constitutional protections for abortion, with Republicans facing questions about whether to adopt new restrictions after the party’s tepid performance in the midterm elections. More than 20 states were expected to ban many or most abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision this summer in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. But in roughly half of those places, efforts to impose new restrictions have hit legal and political obstacles. Now, lawmakers are grappling with how to respond to an electoral season that saw voters signal resistance to sweeping prohibitions on abortion, including in some conservative-leaning states.
Cochise County, Ariz., elections officials voted Thursday to certify the results of the midterm elections following a court order, ending a gambit that had left the fate of tens of thousands of votes in the state uncertain. The county’s three-member board of supervisors voted 2-0 in favor of certification, shortly after an Arizona judge ordered them to certify the results immediately. One Republican member of the board didn’t participate in the vote.
President Biden has already seen 85 of his judicial nominees confirmed. President Biden is primed to make federal judicial appointments a continuing priority during his next two years in office after Democrats retained a narrow Senate majority in the midterm elections. Mr. Biden took office following four years in which former President Donald Trump left a significant conservative mark on the federal judiciary, placing judges in roughly 230 life-tenured positions, the most in a single term since the Jimmy Carter administration. That included three Supreme Court justices and 54 judges for the powerful U.S. appeals courts.
A Georgia judge ruled Friday that county elections officials can offer voting on the Saturday following Thanksgiving in the runoff election for a U.S. Senate seat, a victory for Democrats who had challenged the state’s guidance that disallowed it. The lawsuit filed by the state’s Democratic Party and Sen. Raphael Warnock ’s re-election campaign centered on a provision of state law that says counties can provide voting on certain Saturdays in primaries and general elections, but makes an exception if that Saturday follows a statutory holiday. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had issued guidance saying that meant counties shouldn’t offer voting on the Saturday following the Thanksgiving holiday.
A Georgia judge permanently blocked enforcement of the state’s ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, ruling that it was clearly unlawful at the time the state legislature passed it in 2019. Judge Robert McBurney of the Superior Court of Fulton County noted Tuesday that there has been a sea change in abortion law because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended federal constitutional protections for abortion. But the judge said that if Georgia wants to impose an abortion ban, the legislature would need to revisit the issue and pass a new law.
Abortion-rights supporters in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday as the state voted to end a 1931 ban on the procedure. Voters passed measures guaranteeing abortion access in California, Michigan and Vermont, while an antiabortion proposal in Republican-leaning Kentucky was trailing early Wednesday. The midterm elections provided the first national temperature-taking on voter attitudes toward abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, ending federal constitutional protections for the procedure. The decision returned abortion policy to the states, creating a host of new battlegrounds.
The Supreme Court’s elimination of legal protections for abortion has prompted months of speculation about how the ruling would affect the political landscape. Voters will provide some answers in Tuesday’s midterm elections, where the issue is in play across state ballots. The high court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade empowered voters and politicians to make decisions about abortion policy in ways not seen in 50 years. In a range of states, races for governor, the legislature and the courts could help determine where and to what extent the procedure is available.
A judge said Thursday that New York’s attorney general had presented abundant evidence to support her contention that Trump’s family business had engaged in fraud. A New York judge on Thursday required that Donald Trump’s family business be subject to monitoring requirements while it is facing a civil-fraud lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James . State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said that given what he called “persistent misrepresentations” by the Trump family’s business in its financial statements over the last decade, “the appointment of an independent monitor is the most prudent and narrowly tailored mechanism to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality.”
Women wishing to end their pregnancies using pills generally take a two-medication regime that includes misoprostol. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June appears to be driving an increase in demand for abortion-inducing drugs administered outside of the formal medical system, according to a study released Tuesday. The new study, led by a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, found a 158% increase in requests for abortion pills to the organization Aid Access, a nonprofit based in Austria that provides mail-order abortion pills in the U.S. and worldwide after a telemedicine consultation with a physician.
With the midterms less than two weeks away, at issue in Pennsylvania is whether mail-in ballots that are sent without a date on the envelope should still be counted. After a 2020 election season that saw a wave of lawsuits on pandemic-era voting rules and ballot counting, Democrats and Republicans are engaged in a new round of legal battles as the Nov. 8 midterms approach. Guidance from the Supreme Court in recent years has made it more difficult for litigants to win last-minute changes to voting rules before an election, but some cases still could prove crucial for close contests in the midterms. In addition to dozens of cases already pending in the courts, new disputes are bubbling up over concerns about voter intimidation and other irregularities.
Leilah Zahedi-Spung, a high-risk obstetrician in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently saw a pregnant patient with rising blood pressure who the doctor believed could be facing a serious health emergency. The patient was in her second trimester of pregnancy and her unborn baby had been diagnosed with genetic abnormalities that meant the child wasn’t expected to survive. Dr. Zahedi-Spung feared the mother was at risk of a severe form of preeclampsia that can cause seizures and ultimately death. The doctor said she thought the patient needed an abortion, but Tennessee has a total ban on the procedure.
Demonstrators in favor of abortion rights at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix in June, after the decision overturning Roe v. Wade. An Arizona state court judge lifted a 50-year-old block on a 19th-century law banning nearly all abortions in the state Friday, ending three months of confusion about the legality of the procedure in the state. Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson said in her ruling that a previous decision blocking enforcement of the state’s pre-Roe v. Wade ban must now be vacated since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, the 1973 decision that created a federal constitutional right to an abortion. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich , a Republican who filed a motion in mid-July asking a court to lift the injunction on the law, shared a copy of the judge’s decision.
An Arizona state court judge lifted a 50-year-old block on a mid-19th-century law banning nearly all abortions in the state Friday, ending three months of confusion about the legality of the procedure in the state. Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson said in her ruling that a previous decision blocking enforcement of the state’s pre-Roe v. Wade ban must now be vacated since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, the 1973 decision that created a federal constitutional right to an abortion. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich , a Republican who filed a motion in mid-July asking a court to lift the injunction on the law, shared a copy of the judge’s decision.
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