A New Jersey lawyer has decided to resign from his job as a part-time municipal judge after the state's Supreme Court ruled he could not moonlight as a comedian or actor due to his off-colored jokes on nationality and religion.
The New Jersey Supreme Court released a unanimous ruling Thursday that Vincent August Sicari, a municipal judge in South Hackensack, could no longer continue his 15-year career moonlighting as a well-established comedian because some of his jokes related to peoples' nationality and religion, and therefore it is possible the public would not be able to decipher between Sicari's stage personality and his ability to make unbiased decisions in court.
"In the course of his routines, Sicari has demeaned certain people based on national origin and religion and has revealed his political leanings," the court's opinion read, according to the Associated Press. "The court cannot ignore the distinct possibility that a person who has heard a routine founded on humor disparaging certain ethnic groups and religions will not be able to readily accept that the judge before whom he or she appears can maintain the objectivity and impartiality that must govern all municipal court proceedings." more >>
A transgendered man is suing the University of Pittsburgh, arguing that he was discriminated against due to his gender identity.
Seamus Johnston of Cambria County filed suit against the University Monday, arguing officials at the Johnstown campus violated his rights regarding use of male locker rooms and restrooms.
Brought before the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, the 24-year-old Johnston will be representing himself. more >>
Dirk and Petra Wunderlich were reunited with their children Thursday after they were taken by their German government because the Wunderlichs homeschooled. The Wunderlichs had to agree to send their kids to public school before their kids were returned to them.
On Aug. 29, armed police officers raided the Wunderlich's home and forcibly took their four children, ages 7 to 14. There were no accusations of abuse nor neglect. The Wunderlich's were homeschooling their kids, in violation of German law.
The case has gained attention in the United States through the efforts of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has been assisting the Wunderlichs. HSLDA encouraged its supporters to contact German officials and relay their support for the Wunderlichs. An article on the HSLDA website claims that thousands of Americans contacted the German embassy to complain about how the Wunderlichs were treated. HSLDA hopes that their efforts will "change Germany's attitude ... by embarrassing the authorities." more >>
The United States government has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court in a case regarding a Christian business that refuses on religious grounds to comply with the Department of Health and Human Services' preventive services mandate.
Filed Thursday, the appeal regards the retail giant Hobby Lobby and its owners' refusal to comply with the HHS mandate.
"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., provides that the government "shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest," reads the appeal in part. more >>
A Tennessee couple will be allowed to name their 8-month old baby "Messiah," after a judge reversed an earlier court order that blocked the name, arguing that it was a title reserved solely for Jesus Christ.
"The magistrate's decision is vacated in part," Chancellor Telford Forgety announced in court on Wednesday, WBIR reported.
The decision allows the mother and father, Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough, to name their baby boy "Messiah," reversing Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew's decision in August to name the baby "Martin DeShawn McCullough" instead. more >>
"Liking" a page on Facebook is protected under the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech clause, the Fourth U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
When someone clicks the "like" button on a Facebook page (which is the equivalent of "follow" on Twitter or "+1" on Google Plus), it constitutes "pure speech," the Court ruled. It can also be considered a "symbolic expression" protected under the First Amendment.
The decision overruled a lower court that said a Facebook "like" was "insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection." more >>