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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.
The justices said in 5-4 ruling Tuesday that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that doesn't reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.
The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But they said lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington's approval for election changes.
STARKE, Fla. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for a Florida inmate who orchestrated the 1987 ambush murder of a prison guard, then published three books and maintained a blog while on death row.
William Van Poyck (pronounced poyk) is set to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Florida State Prison for the murder of prison guard Fred Griffis. His case garnered international attention because Van Poyck went on to write books.
The 58-year-old Van Poyck declined a final meal and visited Wednesday with his sister, four friends and a spiritual adviser.
Van Poyck and Frank Valdes ambushed a prison van outside a West Palm Beach doctor's office in a failed attempt to free their friend, James O'Brien. Griffis was fatally shot.
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed with Monsanto, that and elderly Indiana farmer infringed on the company's patent.
The high court ruled that 75-year-old Vernon Bowman illegally used some of the biotech company's Roundup-resistant soybeans to grow a new crop. Bowman argued that he bought the seeds through a third party. He said the company had abandoned their patent-protected seeds by allowing them to be mixed-in with non-patented seeds.
Experts say this is a victory for inventors who create self-replicating products--like computer software. the ruling will protect their intellectual property. Still, consumers could end up paying higher food prices--farmers will pass on the higher cost of Monsanto's seeds to customers.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says it's "good news" for Illinois that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to stay out of the gun debate in New York.
The justices declined Monday to hear a challenge to a strict New York law making it difficult to get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.
In Illinois, lawmakers are crafting guidelines for concealed carry after a federal appeals court said Illinois' concealed carry ban was unconstitutional. Lawmakers have until early June to come up with a law.
Quinn wants Madigan to appeal to the Supreme Court. She's said she'll see what lawmakers do and hasn't decided yet.
New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and Quinn says it's a model for other states.