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German court receives suit against EU bank union

•  Headline News     updated  2014/07/29 13:57

A group of German professors has filed a complaint to the country's highest court against the European Union's plans to create a so-called banking union, a central part of the effort to make the continent's financial system more resilient.

The Federal Constitutional Court said Monday it had received the complaint. It wasn't clear when the court might rule; verdicts on previous attempts to block measures meant to stem Europe's debt crisis took at least several months.

The group behind the complaint says the banking union "has no legal basis in the European treaties."

It objects to handing the European Central Bank direct supervision of the eurozone's biggest lenders with binding powers over national authorities, and opposes plans for a separate authority with the power to dissolve or restructure failing banks.

Federal court: Virginia marriage is for all

•  Headline News     updated  2014/07/29 13:56

An appeals courts' decision to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban adds to the growing list of decrees on a hot-button issue that will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, is the second federal appellate court to overturn gay marriage bans, after the Denver circuit, and is the first to affect the South, a region where the rising tide of rulings favoring marriage equality is testing concepts of states' rights and traditional, conservative moral values that have long held sway.

"I am proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia is leading on one of the most important civil rights issues of our day," said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who had refused to defend the state ban when he took office in January. "We are fighting for the right of loving, committed couples to enter the bonds of marriage."

Virginians voted 57 percent to 43 percent in 2006 to amend their constitution to ban gay marriage and state law prohibits recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, which the court said infringes on its citizens' fundamental right to marry.

Montana court sends wind farm clash to California

•  Court News     updated  2014/07/22 13:50

A dispute over a Montana wind farm's potential to harm nearby nesting eagles and other birds should be heard in California, the Montana Supreme Court said Friday, in an opinion that deals a legal setback to the project's developers.

The legal row over the Rim Rock wind farm near Cut Bank began last year, when San Diego Gas & Electric accused developer NaturEner of concealing the possibility that eagles and other birds could be harmed by the 126-turbine project.

NaturEner, whose parent company is based in Spain, filed a competing lawsuit in Montana. Its attorneys alleged SDG&E was trying to get out of an unfavorable contract and using the eagle issue as an excuse.

The Rim Rock wind farm is near an area with seven golden eagle nests and Montana's densest concentration of ferruginous hawks. Under federal law, a take permit is required for activities that could injure, kill or otherwise harm protected birds such as eagles.

SDG&E alleges federal officials recommended to NaturEner that the wind farm needed such a permit. NaturEner has denied the claim.

Montana District Judge Brenda Gilbert ruled in May that the case should be heard in Montana because of Rim Rock's importance to the economies of Glacier and Toole counties. She also issued an injunction requiring the utility to pay NaturEner nearly $2 million a month.

German court: chronically ill could grow marijuana

•  Court News     updated  2014/07/22 13:49


Some Germans may soon be able to grow their own marijuana to relieve chronic pain after a ruling from a court in Cologne.

The Cologne administrative court ruled Tuesday in favor of three plaintiffs who had sued for the right to grow marijuana for therapeutic purposes, sending the cases back to the government agency responsible for approving medical marijuana products.

The court says the three demonstrated they could not combat their pain any other way and could not afford to purchase medical marijuana, which is permitted in Germany but not usually covered by the country's health insurance system.

The court also stipulated that allowing marijuana cultivation should depend upon a "thorough and individual" examination of each case, and rejected two other claims.

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