Court Backs Immigration Law

PHOENIX -- A federal appeals court refused Tuesday to block part of an Arizona law that denies some public benefits to illegal immigrants, saying the plaintiffs had no right to sue.

The voter-approved law appeared on Arizona's November ballot. The portion at issue bars illegal immigrants from getting certain public benefits and makes it a crime for public employees to fail to report undocumented immigrants who seek the benefits.

A separate provision, unaffected by the court challenge, requires people to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

The plaintiffs had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to rule that U.S. District Judge David C. Bury had abused his discretion when he refused to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect until after a trial to determine its constitutionality. The appeals court panel denied their request, saying the plaintiffs had not demonstrated they were hurt by the law.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund had argued that the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that it usurps the federal government's power over immigration and naturalization.

Supporters argued it was necessary because Arizona, the busiest illegal entry point on the country's southern border, spends millions of dollars annually to provide food stamps, welfare and other social services to illegal immigrants.

* SAN FRANCISCO -- A judge refused to set bail for a Muslim cleric from Pakistan who faces deportation and has been accused of planning to set up a camp to train followers to kill Americans. Shabbir Ahmed, 39, is charged with overstaying his visa while he was heading a mosque in Lodi. The allegation about the terrorist camp came from an FBI agent's testimony during the immigration hearing.

* TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas Board of Education voted 6 to 4 to include greater criticism of evolution in its school science standards, but it decided to send the standards to an outside academic for review before taking a final vote, probably in October.

* HOUSTON -- FBI agents arrested Elias Jeremiah Cervantez, 20, of San Antonio, for allegedly writing on a gum wrapper that there was a bomb aboard a Southwest Airlines flight last Friday. If convicted, Cervantez faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

* SACRAMENTO -- A state appeals court refused to put Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to change the redistricting process on November's special election ballot because supporters used two versions of the initiative. The measure seeks to shift responsibility for drawing congressional and legislative boundaries from the legislature to a panel of retired judges.

* COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Charles McCoy Jr., 29, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and 10 other charges in Ohio highway shooting incidents and was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

* LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Instead of cutting out of town, runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks is cutting lawns. Wearing an orange community service vest, Wilbanks did part of her court-ordered community service for lying to police after she ran off days before her wedding. Her mower kept dying in the tall, wet grass, and after the eighth time she had to restart it, her sigh was audible.

-- From News Services