House Democrats file legal brief opposing Texas’ limits on absentee ballots

The Democratic chairs of two key House committees on Monday filed a legal brief opposing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting counties to only one drop-off location for absentee ballots.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and Zoe Lofgren of California, who chairs the Committee on House Administration, said the Republican governor’s plan restricts Texas residents’ ability to vote in the upcoming election.

“Governor Abbott’s unreasonable order to limit ballot drop off locations to one per-county will disproportionally suppress voting options and access to the ballot for millions of Texans,” Ms. Lofgren said in a statement. “This last-minute mandate in the midst of a deadly pandemic is not only ill-considered, but it poses a danger to the health and well-being of Americans seeking to safely exercise their right to vote.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Abbott issued an executive order limiting mail ballot drop-off locations to one per county. Several civil rights and voting rights groups hit back with a lawsuit opposing the plan.

A federal judge had ruled against Mr. Abbott’s plan, but a temporary order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit halted that decision.

In its order, the federal appeals court said the lower court’s injunction usurped the state’s power to govern itself. That ruling is currently being appealed.

The federal appeals court’s ruling sets up a last-minute legal battle over absentee voting in Texas as early voting is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

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Judge Accuses Epic Of Dishonesty In Fortnite-Apple Legal Battle, Disputes Anticompetitive Walled Garden

Fortnite
Liar, liar, pants on fire! That pretty much sums up what a judge accused Epic of doing in its highly publicized and costly dispute with Apple over the royalty rate it collects for apps sold in its App Store, as well as in-game purchases. The judge told Epic that even though some people might consider the team a bunch of “heroes” for taking on Apple, its claims against the company are “not honest.”
“You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue. That’s the security issue!,” Judge Gonzales Rogers told Epic during a court broadcast that was livestreamed on Zoom, according to CNN. “There are a lot of people in the public who consider you guys heroes for what you guys did, but it’s still not honest.”
The livestream is not available for viewing, as far as I can tell, though if you dig around you can find bits and pieces of it on the web. What it basically boils down to is Epic reiterating previous claims that Apple’s banishment of Epic and Fortnite from the App Store is causing the developer irreparable harm, and also harmful to consumers.

This whole mess was initiated by Epic, though, when it decided to break its contract with Apple. Every developer that makes a buck (or a whole lot of bucks, as is the case with Epic) from apps hosted on the App Store has to fork over a 30 percent cut to Apple. That includes the sale of the app itself, and in-game purchase, which for Fortnite entails exchanging real currency for V-bucks.

Epic apparently grew tired of sharing that much revenue with Apple and determined that it was being anticompetitive. So it updated Fortnite to bypass Apple’s revenue share for in-game purchases. Apple responded by booting Fortnite from the App Store, and later Epic as well, which brings us to the current legal battle.

Judge Rogers is not making a determination on the outcome. Instead, this revolves around Epic’s request for a preliminary injunction, to force Apple to reinstate Fortnite back into the App Store. However, Judge Rogers did not seem all that sympathetic, at one point saying she was “not particularly persuaded” by one of the legal arguments Epic made. She also threw cold water on Epic’s claim issue with Apple have a walled garden, so to speak.

“Walled gardens have existed for decades. Nintendo has had a walled garden. Sony has had a walled garden. Microsoft has had a walled garden. What Apple’s doing is not much different… It’s hard to ignore the economics of the industry, which is what you’re asking me to do,” Judge Rogers said.

Apple also had some harsh comments in reference to Epic, saying its CEO Tim Sweeney is “trying to be the Pied Piper of other developers,” trying to get them to “cheat” and “breach” their contracts.

While this case remains unsolved in the early going, the judge’s remarks highlight the kind of uphill

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Minister doesn’t know whether it’s legal to meet a friend in a pub garden in locked down North East England

A MINISTER caused confusion this morning after she was unable to say if new laws banning people from meeting friends from different households would apply outside.

In a chaotic interview today Gillian Keegan said she didn’t know whether people were still allowed to meet up with others outside from tomorrow, when the locked down North East faces an even tougher crackdown.

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Gillian Keegan today couldn't confirm whether the fines will apply to pub gardens

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Gillian Keegan today couldn’t confirm whether the fines will apply to pub gardens

Parts of the North East of England including Sunderland, Durham, Newcastle and Northumberland will be outlawed from popping around to visit a friend for a cup of tea, or seeing their parents for lunch out in any public setting, Matt Hancock said yesterday.

As The Sun exclusively revealed, it means they will face fines for breaking the rules, and possibly get a criminal record.

But Ms Keegan was today unable to say whether friends could meet up in a pub garden, or other outdoor settings such as a park.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “Sorry I can’t answer that question, I don’t represent the North East… I didn’t want to make a mistake”.

The Chicester MP said: “I’m sorry, I can’t clarify that.

“I just don’t have the details of those seven areas.”

The Department of Health confirmed to The Sun today that people will only face fines if they meet with others in indoor settings.

The North East’s guidance says that people should not socialise with people they don’t live with in any public space – meaning pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops or elsewhere.

The household mixing rules will be put into law as of 00.01 tomorrow.

The level of fines is not yet clear.

 

People in the North East will be fined for visiting others in their own homes, Matt Hancock reveals

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Trustee wins back garden after 10-year legal battle

The Lady Muriel Blake Garden that was allocated in her honour in the 1950s. It is situated along Haile selassie/Lower Hill Road, Nairobi. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Two private developers who had encroached on a botanical garden, established 64 years ago, have been ordered to pay Sh3.5 million and never set foot on the property. 

This is after the court established that the multi-million-shilling property within Nairobi’s Central Business District in honour of the daughter of England’s 11th Earl of Montgomery – Lady Muriel Jex Blake – was grabbed using a fake title.

High Court judge Loice Komingoi said the court cannot protect Anthony Boro and Qian Quo since the property, measuring 0.59 hectares, has not been sub-divided or transferred. The ruling has brought to an end a legal battle that has been in court for more than a decade.

“It was also not possible to have two genuine titles for the same parcel of land. Even if a trespasser mistakenly believes that the land is his, this would not be an excuse for him to trespass,” the judge said.

The registered trustee of Lady Murel Jex Blake Memorial Garden was issued with a letter of allotment for the piece of land by Sir Philip Euen Mitchell who served as a governor in Kenya between 1944 and 1956.

The grant was then signed by Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring on May 22, 1956 and since then the trustees have not given out the property situated between Haile Selassie Avenue and the corner of Lower Hill Road.

Susan Deverell told the court that Lady Muriel was a founder member of the Kenya Horticultural Society and when she died, the society wanted to do something in her memory and decided to open a memorial garden in her honour. 

However, in October 2008, the suit property was fenced by unknown people who cut down all the indigenous trees that have a rich history about the country, and the matter was reported to the police who advised the society to deploy security guards.

A surveyor engaged in 2009 to confirm the property’s beacons using the deed plan signed on April 26, 1953 only located four of them and re-established the missing ones.

The court was told a new fence was put up at a cost of Sh85,080, surveyor Sh96,579 and restoration of the garden Sh3,046,160.

The trustees then moved to court to stop Boro and Quo from entering the suit property and to pay the society special damages and for trespassing. They also sought a declaration that the trustee is the absolute and indefeasible owner of the parcel of land.

In his response, Boro told the court that he is the registered owner of the property having been issued with an allotment letter on January 4, 1999 and paid a premium of Sh1.3 million and stamp duty of Sh5,280 before being issued with a certificate on May 31, 2007. He also paid Sh250,000 for the deed plan and took possession of the land. He later sold

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The White House asked the Justice Department to handle Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by his rape accuser



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr during the 38th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci


© AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr during the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • In a highly unusual move, the Justice Department on Tuesday attempted to take over President Donald Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape. A claim the president denies.
  • Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the DOJ intervened at the request of the White House, according to The New York Times.
  • Barr defended the DOJ’s move, saying it “was a normal application of the law,” The New York Times reported.
  • But legal experts have cast doubt on that reasoning and why the DOJ waited ten months to intervene — just weeks after a court ruled Carroll could seek evidence from Trump such as DNA samples and a deposition.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the Department of Justice’s surprising decision Tuesday to intervene in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump came at the direct request of the White House.

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On Tuesday, the DOJ said in court filings that it intends to replace Trump’s personal lawyers in a defamation case brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has publicly accused Trump of raping her and sued him in November after he denied the allegations.

While Trump’s personal lawyers have been defending him since then, DOJ lawyers argued Tuesday that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office” when he made the comments, meaning the suit should fall under the Federal Torts Claim Act, which would put the US government on the hook for defending him and taxpayers for covering his legal costs.

The timing and highly unusual nature of the DOJ’s intervention has raised questions about its motivations and drawn scrutiny from legal experts.

Last month, a New York state court ruled that Carroll could proceed with efforts to gather evidence, including DNA samples and a deposition of Trump. But the DOJ’s move, which came on the last day Trump could have appealed the ruling, could stall that discovery process and put Carroll’s case in jeopardy.

Under the FTCA, which is also known as the Westfall Act, federal employees cannot be sued while acting in their official capacity. If the new federal judge assigned to the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, agrees with the DOJ’s rationale for intervening, he could toss the case out.

“This was a normal application of the law,” Barr said in defense of the move, according to The New York Times, adding: “The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”

While the government has won several cases involving the Westfall Act, legal experts have cast doubt on the DOJ’s assertion that the law applies to Carroll’s

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