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Holder sees no defense for bias laws

Washington

Holder sees no defense for bias laws

Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that state attorneys general who believe that laws in their states banning same-sex marriage are discriminatory are not obligated to defend them. For an example, he cited the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case that led to public school integration. "If I were attorney general in Kansas in 1953, I would not have defended a Kansas statute that put in place separate-but-equal facilities," Holder said in an interview with the New York Times. Holder said an attorney general should apply the highest level of scrutiny before reaching a decision on whether to defend laws that touch on core constitutional issues like equal protection. He said the decision should never be political or based on policy objections. Republicans have criticized the view that attorneys general can choose not to defend state laws.

Washington

House GOP tax plan would cut top rates

The long-awaited simplification of the tax code being drafted by House Republicans would slash the top income tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and impose a surtax on some of the nation's wealthiest households. Under the proposal, set for release Wednesday, most taxpayers would see little change in the size of their tax bills, according to a nonpartisan congressional analysis of the legislation. But the system would be dramatically simpler, with seven existing brackets collapsed into two, set at 10 percent and 25 percent. The plan would impose a 10 percent surtax on certain types of earned income over $450,000. The surtax would hit many salaried professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, but not people whose income is often derived primarily from interest and investments.

Elsewhere

Israel: An American-Israeli prisoner who was killed in shootout after opening fire on guards used a weapon that was smuggled into jail, police said Monday. Police at first said that Samuel Sheinbein, 34, stole a gun from one of his guards before special forces shot him dead Sunday.

Medina, Ohio: The three women who survived a decade-long captivity in a Cleveland house before being freed in May received Gov. John Kasich's annual courage awards Monday. The women were freed when one of them pushed her way through a door and sought help.

New York: Camels are the major source of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a viral disease that has killed 79 people since it detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012, suggests a study published in mBio, an online journal.

Times wires

Holder sees no defense for bias laws 02/24/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:12am]
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