Diane Wood interviewed for Supreme Court opening

President Barack Obama interviewed federal judge Diane Wood of Chicago on Tuesday for an opening on the Supreme Court, the fourth candidate known to have had face-to-face talks with the president, a person familiar with the conversation told The Associated Press.

Wood met with Obama in the Oval Office and also interviewed separately with Vice President Joe Biden. The source familiar with those sessions spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of Obama’s deliberations.

The president appears to be homing in on a decision. He has done sit-down interviews in recent days with at least three other finalists: Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appeals court judges Merrick Garland, who serves in the District of Columbia, and Sidney Thomas, who is based in Montana.


Lutheran Church reinstalls gay pastor and his partner

A gay Atlanta pastor and his partner who have been at the center of a battle over the treatment of gay clergy by the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination are being reinstated to the denomination’s clergy roster, church officials announced Tuesday.

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, have been approved for reinstatement, the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said in a news release. The approval came just weeks after the ELCA’s church council officially revised the church’s policy on gay ministers.

Schmeling, who serves as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta, was removed from the church’s clergy roster in 2007 for being in a same-sex relationship with Easler. A disciplinary committee ruled that Schmeling was violating an ELCA policy regarding the sexual conduct of pastors.


Apple Growers group gets license for new varieties

Move over Honeycrisp, there’s a new apple in the basket.

Cornell University has licensed a new industry group, New York State Apple Growers, to grow and market two new, patented apple varieties developed by Susan Brown at Cornell’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

The varieties, under development for 14 years, are Cornell’s 65th and 66th apple releases. One recalls the juicy snap of its Honeycrisp parent, but the trees produce more reliably and the fruit stores well. The second is suited for baking or fresh use and has a higher level of vitamin C.

Their formal names will be announced in the fall.


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