Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 29, 1993 · Page 11
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 11

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Ukiah, California
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Tuesday, June 29, 1993
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Page 11
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-THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL- TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1993 — 11 Minority voter districts may violate whites' rights, high court rules WASHINGTON (AP) — State legislatures may be violating white voters' rights by creating congressional districts that are designed to give minorities an electoral majority, the Supreme Court ruled today. . The 5-4 decision revived a challenge to a congressional redistricting plan for North Carolina that created two majority- black districts. The challenged plan was drawn to satisfy a Justice Department objection to a previous plan the state Legislature drew. The decision could jeopardize action in other states that recently created so-called majority- minority districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act. The court issued its ruling on the final day of the 1992-93 term — also the last day on the bench for Justice Byron White, who is retiring after 31 years high court Clinton has nominated federal appellate Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg to succeed White and her Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for next month. In other actions, the court: • Ruled unanimously that government seizures of property from convicted drug dealers cannot exceed constitutional limits on fines or punishment. The court ruled separately that government agents do not violate free-speech rights when they seize the entire stock of pomographers who sold some obscene materials. • Cleared the way for a trial in a huge lawsuit by 19 states against four insurance giants and other carriers, holding that the companies are not exempt from federal antitrust law. The court's Voting Rights Act ruling came on a challenge .by two white voters who contended that the North Carolina legislature's 1992 redistricting plan amounted to "racial gerrymandering." The two contested North Carolina districts are among about two dozen new districts across the nation with black or Hispan" ' ""'' • ic majorities. They were created under Justice Department pressure following the 1990 census. As a result, 13 additional blacks and six more Hispanics were elected to Congress last year. The current Congress has the largest number ever of each minority — 38 blacks and 17 Hispanics, many of whom were elected from majority-minority districts. "Racial classifications of any sort pose the risk of lasting harm to our society," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the court. "They reinforce the belief, held by too many for too much of our history, that individuals should be judged by the color of their skin." O'Connor said racial classifications in voting pose "particular dangers," adding, "Racial gerrymandering, even for remedial purposes ... demands close judicial scrutiny." But today's decision appeared to say that such close scrutiny should be applied by courts when the districts drawn are "so bizarre" they appear to be "unexplainable on grounds other than race." O'Connor was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justices Byron R. White, Harry A. Blackmun, John Paul Stevens and David H. Souter dissented. Based on the 1990 census, North Carolina increased its congressional delegation, from 11 to 12 seats in the House. The state Legislature in 1991 drew a reapportionment plan that included one black-majority district but it was rejected by the Justice Department as insufficient in a state where 22 percent of the population is black. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, changes in North Carolina's congressional redistricting plan have to be "precleared" by the Justice Department. Judges get more discretion on scientific evidence WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court gave federal judges wider latitude to decide whether scientific data is reliable enough to be admitted into evidence in federal trials. Ruling unanimously in a California birth-defects case Monday, the court threw out a strict rule that most federal courts have used for decades in deciding whether to let scientific testimony be presented to a jury. Trial judges may consider a variety of factors to "ensure that any and all scientific testimony or evidence admitted is not only relevant, but reliable," Justice Harry A. Blackmun wrote for the court. "Proposed testimony must be supported by appropriate valida- tion — i.e., 'good grounds,' based on what is known," Blackmun wrote. "We are confident that federal judges possess the capacity to undertake this review." Scientific expert testimony is used in a variety of civil and criminal cases involving evidence from DNA fingerprinting to the health dangers of toxic materials in the workplace. Lawyers, doctors and businesses have sharply disputed what kinds of scientific theories and techniques are valid and what should be dismissed as "junk science." Monday's ruling ordered a federal appeals court to restudy a lawsuit filed in 1984 by the families of two San Diego youths whose parents blamed their birth defects on the anti-nausea drug Bendectia More than 33 million pregnant women took the drug to combat morning sickness before it was taken off the market in 1983. Jason Daubert, now 19, was born missing three fingers and a major bone in his right arm. Eric Schuller, now 12, was bom without a left hand and with a shorter left leg. A federal judge dismissed the families' lawsuits, saving that scientific expert testimony offered by the plaintiffs could not be admitted in court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the case. "There are important differences between the quest for truth in the courtroom and the quest for truth in the laboratory," Blackmun wrote. "Scientific conclusions arc subject to perpetual revision. Law, on the other hand, must resolve disputes finally and quickly." Most federal appeals courts have relied on a strict rule adopted in 1923 by a federal appeals court requiring that proposed scientific testimony be generally accepted by others in the field. This usually means the technique involved must have gone through peer review such as that required before publication in a medical journal. But the high court ruled today that the rule was replaced in 1975 by a more flexible standard in the Federal Rules of Evidence adopted by Congress. Court says Constitution limits seizures from drug dealers WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court today blunted a major weapon in the war on drugs, ruling that government seizures of property from convicted drug dealers must comply with constitutional limits. The government may not seize so much money or property that it violates the constitutional bans on excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishment, the court ruled unanimously in a drug-forfeiture case from South Dakota. In a separate decision, the justices ruled in a Minnesota case that Prices at the pump show downward trend LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prices at the nation's gas pumps slipped about a penny per gallon during the past two weeks, reflecting a refiners' oversupply and some lower wholesale prices, according to the Lundberg Survey. The average price of gasoline, all grades and including taxes, was 116.64 cents per gallon during the two week period ending Friday, according to the survey of 10,000 service stations nationwide. That's down 1.01 cents from the previous survey on June 11. "It's a continuation of lower wholesale prices," industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday. "It's occurring in all parts of the country to all kinds of buyers." At the self-serve pumps, prices nationally averaged 110.41 cents for regular unleaded, 120.6 cents for .mid-grade,, unleaded. , government agents do not violate free-speech rights when they seize virtually all assets from Demographers who sold some obscene materials. The forfeiture of money and property by convicted drug dealers is punishment "and, as such, is subject to the limitations of the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause," Justice Harry A. Blackmun wrote for the court in the South Dakota case. The court rejected the Justice Department's argument that the forfeiture of drug dealers' property is not punishment, but serves the remedial purpose of removing property that might be used to commit future crimes. The decision overturned a federal appeals court ruling that the Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on excessive fines does not apply to drug forfeitures because they are civil cases, not criminal. The Supreme Court ordered lower courts to review the case of Richard Lyle Austin to determine whether the forfeiture of his home and business after he pleaded guilty to a drug charge violated the Constitution. The 5 -4 decision in the Minnesota case said the 1989 forced closing of a multimillion-dollar "adult entertainment" business did not violate the owner's free-speech rights. Federal agents used the forfeiture provisions of the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act to put Ferris Alexander out of business, a tactic he said amounted to an unlawful "prior restraint" of the non-obscene erotica he sold. ATTENTION ADVERTISERS The Ukiah Daily Journal office will be closed Monday, July 5th so our employees may enjoy the July 4th Holiday. As a result, the following EARLY DEADLINES will be in effect: Publication Date Monday, July 5 Tuesday, July 6 Wednesday, July 7 ON THE MARKET Friday, July 9 Display Advertising Deadline Wednesday, June 30 - 5 pm Thursday, July 1 -5 pm Friday, July 2 - Noon Friday, July 2 - Noon Classified Liner Deadline Friday, July 2 - 2 pm Friday, July 2 - 3 pm Tuesday, July 6 - 2 pm Ukiah Dally "Journal 468-0123 Thank you lor your cooperation. Have a sale, enjoyable July 4th Holiday. Celebrate the 4th of July with the Coprs family of fine Products! SME MANUf ACTWU'S COUNN ONUS MY I, IHJ This Cwpw GMd N ONE 12-Mtt * TWO 4-MOB erf ORIGINAL COOK, COORS LIGHT, COORS EXTRA GOLD, COORS EXTRA GOLD LIGHT, COOK DRY or COORS CUTTER HOH-ALCOHOLK NEW 12IL M. MOTIES « CANS. Retailer: COOTS Brewing Company will reimburse you lor the lac* value of this coupon plus 8« hawing, provided you receive Won the sate of ONE 12-PACK or TWO 6- PACKS of ORIGINAL COORS, COORS LIGHT, COORS EXTRA GOLD, COOfiS EXTRA GOLD LIGHT, COORS DRY or COORS CUTTER NON-ALCOHOLIC BREW 12II. oz. BOTTLES or CANS. Invoices proving purchase of sufficient Mock to cover coupons presented must be shown upon request. Customers must pay any tales tax. Coupon Is non-transferable, non-assignable and non-reproducible. Offer redeemable only to residents of CA and NV who are of legal drinking age. Void wherever prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Cash value 1/20 of one cent. For coupon redemption, send to: Coons Brewing Company, NCH Promotional Services, P.O. Box 880244, El Paso, TX 88588-0244. 71990 2000M LIGHT 'Bmww^ |

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