Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional two state anti-corruption laws that outgoing governors passed in apparent attempts to shield themselves from investigation.
Many Mexicans were outraged when the governors of the states of Veracruz and Chihuahua pushed through the laws just months before they are to leave office giving them the power to name anti-corruption prosecutors.
The federal Attorney General's Office appealed the laws, arguing they violated new federal anti-corruption standards. It said the appeals were meant to show "there is no room for tailor-made local laws."
On Monday, the Supreme court agreed, saying neither law could stand.
There have been allegations of corruption in both Veracruz and Chihuahua, and many feared the now struck-down laws would have allowed the governors to control who would investigate them.
In fresh details provided as a young Mississippi man pleaded guilty to a terrorism-related charge, federal prosecutors said his fiancee led him toward a plan to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.
Muhammad Dakhlalla, 23, pleaded guilty Friday in Aberdeen to providing material support to terrorism and faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 fines and lifetime probation. U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock hasn't set his sentencing date yet.
His fiancee, Jaelyn Delshaun Young, is set for trial June 6 before Aycock. Plea agreements typically require cooperation with federal prosecutors, so Dakhlalla's plea makes it likely that he would testify against Young if a trial proceeds.
Both remain jailed without bail in Oxford.
A five-page statement of facts added new details about Young's conversion to Islam and her influence on Dakhlalla, who had been raised as a Muslim. The pair at one point planned to claim they were going on their honeymoon while traveling to Syria.
Young, a sophomore chemistry major at Mississippi State University at the time of her arrest, is the daughter of a school administrator and a police officer who served in the Navy reserve. She was a former honor student, cheerleader and homecoming maid at Vicksburg's Warren Central High School.
The Supreme Court is weighing whether candidates for elected judgeships have a constitutional right to make personal appeals for campaign cash.
The justices are hearing an appeal from Lanell Williams-Yulee of Tampa, Florida, who received a public reprimand for violating a Florida Bar rule that bans candidates for elected judgeships from personally soliciting donations.
The bar and many good government groups say the ban that is in place in Florida and 29 other states is important to preserve public confidence in an impartial judiciary.
A ruling for Williams-Yulee could free judicial candidates in those states to ask personally for campaign contributions.
In all, voters in 39 states elect local and state judges. In the federal judicial system, including the Supreme Court, judges are appointed to life terms and must be confirmed by the Senate.
The arguments are taking place five years after the Supreme Court freed corporations and labor unions to spend freely in federal elections. The court has generally been skeptical of limits on political campaigns, though slightly less so when it comes to those involving judges.
In 2002, the court struck down rules that were aimed at fostering impartiality among judges and barred candidates for elected judgeships from speaking out on controversial issues. But in 2009, the court held in a case from West Virginia that elected judges could be forced to step aside from ruling on cases when large campaign contributions from interested parties create the appearance of bias.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by state environmental regulators to allow construction of a nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula.
A three-judge panel unanimously sided with the Department of Environmental Quality, which issued mining and groundwater discharge permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. The Marquette County mine is now owned by Lundin Mining Corp.
DEQ officials approved a mining permit for the project in 2007, drawing legal challenges from environmentalists and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. A DEQ administrative law judge and a circuit court judge affirmed the department's decisions, and opponents took the case to the Court of Appeals.
The mine has been constructed and is scheduled to begin producing minerals this fall.