Justices deal legal setback to relatives of immigrants

Foreign-born grandchildren, nieces and nephews of Americans and legal immigrants will lose their place in line to obtain a visa if they reach age 21 before the process is complete, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Upholding a disputed part of the law by a 5-4 vote, the justices decided these “more distant” relatives will “age out” at 21. That means they will no longer be considered children who can qualify for “piggy-backing” on a parent, said Justice Elena Kagan.

Justices rejected the view of immigration advocates who said the law was intended to keep extended families together.

madison, Wisconsin

Gay couples in Wisconsin rushing to get married

Gay couples across Wisconsin rushed to wed Monday, as more than half of the counties in the state began issuing licenses ahead of an expected hold on a ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison struck down the ban Friday in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the prohibition. But she didn’t order county clerks to begin issuing licenses or block them from handing them out. She said she wants the ACLU to draft an order for her spelling out how the organization wants her decision implemented.

Her stance left county clerks to decide on their own whether they can legally issue licenses to same-sex couples. Clerks in Milwaukee and Madison, the state’s liberal hubs, began issuing licenses to same-sex couples within hours of the ruling. Together the counties issued 238 licenses Friday and Saturday.


Israel hospitalizes prisoners who joined in hunger strike

Israeli authorities have hospitalized 65 Palestinian prisoners participating in an extended hunger strike over Israel’s use of administrative detention to keep prisoners in jail indefinitely without charges.

An estimated 300 prisoners are thought to be taking part in the strike. The strike has prompted the Israeli government to push legislation that would allow force feeding, something the Israeli medical association opposes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has cited force-feeding at Guantanamo in pressing for the legislation.


Court issues life sentences for shooting of journalist

A Russian court Monday sentenced two men to life in prison and three others to terms ranging from 12 to 20 years for the 2006 killing of renowned journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but her relatives said they are still seeking closure in the case.

Politkovskaya, 48, was noted for her criticism of Kremlin policies in Chechnya and human rights violations there. She was shot to death in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building.

Gunman Rustam Makhmudov and his uncle, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, who was convicted of organizing the shooting, were sentenced to life. Two of Makhmudov’s brothers were sentenced to 12 and 14 years and a former Moscow policeman, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, was given 20 years as accomplices. All five were convicted last month.

– From news service reports