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A United States federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Mexican government against U.S. gun manufacturers that argued their commercial practices has led to bloodshed in Mexico. Judge F. Dennis Saylor in Boston ruled Friday that Mexico’s claims did not overcome the broad protection provided gun manufacturers by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed in 2005. The law shields gun manufacturers from damages “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse” of a firearm. Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says it will appeal the decision.
A federal judge has found that Georgia election practices challenged by a group associated with Democrat Stacey Abrams do not violate the constitutional rights of voters. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones on Friday ruled in favor of the state on all remaining issues in the lawsuit that was filed nearly four years ago. The federal lawsuit alleged serious problems with Georgia’s election system. It was filed in 2018 by Fair Fight Action, an organization founded by Abrams, a voting rights activist and the Democratic nominee for Georgia governor. Jones wrote that while “Georgia's election system is not perfect,” the practices challenged in the lawsuit don't violate the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Gun rights groups and firearms owners have launched another attempt to overturn Connecticut’s ban on certain semiautomatic rifles that was enacted in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A new lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned a New York law and expanded gun rights. The high court had earlier upheld assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York passed in response to the school shooting that killed 20 first graders and six educators in 2012. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says the state's gun laws save lives and he will defend them against the new lawsuit.
Nearly a dozen candidates are running in Brazil’s presidential election but only two stand a chance of reaching a runoff: former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Eight of 10 Brazilians say they will vote for one of these two political titans on Sunday, leaving little space for challengers. The election could signal the return of the world’s fourth-largest democracy to a leftist government after four years of far-right politics, a pandemic that killed nearly 700,000 people and a poorly performing economy. Polls show da Silva with a commanding lead that could possibly even give him a first-round victory without any need for a runoff.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a high school football coach’s right to pray on the field after games, there were predictions of dramatic consequences from across the ideological spectrum. But three months after the decision, there’s no sign that large numbers of coaches have been newly inspired to follow Joseph Kennedy’s high-profile example. The Court ruled 6-3 for the coach on June 27, with the conservative justices in the majority and the liberals in dissent. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 54% of Americans approve of the decision, while 22% disapprove and 23% hold neither opinion.
Today in History
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been waging an all-out campaign to shore up the crucial evangelical vote ahead of Oct. 2 elections. Evangelicals helped carry him to power in 2018, and he proceeded to tap members of their churches for important ministries and for a Supreme Court nomination. But in this electoral cycle, Bolsonaro initially found more difficulty winning their favor. The campaign involves the first lady and keyboard crusaders. Influential pastors and politicians are warning their followers, on Facebook and in pulpits, that the race’s front-runner, leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, would close Christian churches. The campaign also involves associating da Silva with Afro Brazilian religions.
Joan Didion, a master of rhythm and of the meaning of the unsaid, was remembered Wednesday as an inspiring and fearless writer and valued, exacting and sometimes eccentric friend. She was described as a woman who didn’t like to speak on the phone unless asked to or who might serve chocolate soufflés at a child’s birthday party because she didn’t know how to bake a cake. Carl Bernstein, Donna Tartt and Fran Liebowitz were among those attending, along with relatives, friends and editors and other colleagues from The New Yorker and her last publishing house, Penguin Random House.
The state of Maine and a fishing group are appealing a federal judge’s decision that new rules intended to protect endangered whales must stand. The judge earlier this month denied a request from fishermen to stop federal regulators from placing the new restrictions on lobster fishing. The rules are intended to protect North Atlantic right whales, which number less than 340. Maine Gov. Janet Mills and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said this week they’re appealing that decision. Lobstermen have long contended the new rules are based on flawed data and are too punitive to the fishing industry.
A federal judge in Miami has awarded $73 million in damages to the family of a prominent opponent of Venezuela’s socialist government who died while in custody in what he described as a “murder for hire” carried out by a criminal enterprise led by President Nicolás Maduro. Fernando Albán was arrested in 2018 upon arrival to the Caracas airport from New York. He died three days later in what authorities initially described as a suicide jump from the 10th floor of a building belonging to Venezuela’s intelligence services. Last year his widow and two children sued Maduro and several high-ranking members of his government for carrying out the kidnapping, torture and murder.