Abortion rule put
on hold for hearing

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday evening to block enforcement of a new Wisconsin law that bans doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing abortions.

U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison granted the order following a hearing in a lawsuit filed Friday by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services. It alleged the requirement would unconstitutionally restrict the availability of abortions in the state, violates the U.S. Constitution’s due-process guarantee and unconstitutionally treats doctors who perform abortions differently from those who perform other procedures.

The restraining order will remain in place pending a hearing July 17.

The bill was introduced in the legislature on June 4, passed nine days later and was signed into law Friday by Gov. Scott Walker (R). It took effect Monday. The law also requires women to obtain an ultrasound before getting an abortion, but that provision is not being challenged.

— Associated Press

Court sides with town over protective dune

New Jersey’s highest court on Monday overturned a $375,000 jury award given to an couple who complained that a protective sand dune behind their house blocked their ocean views.

In a ruling seen as a wider victory for towns that want to build barriers to protect themselves from catastrophic storms, the state Supreme Court faulted a lower court for not allowing jurors to consider the dune’s benefits in calculating its effect on property value. The high court ruled that those protective benefits should have been considered along with the loss of the ocean views.

The sand dune in question saved the Harvey Cedars home of the couple, Harvey and Phyllis Karan, from destruction in Hurricane Sandy in October.

The five-year-old case is being closely watched along the Jersey shore, which was battered by Sandy. Officials want to build protective dune systems along the state’s entire 127-mile coastline, but towns fear they won’t be able to if many homeowners seek large payouts as compensation for lost views.

— Associated Press

Fort Hood readies for Hasan trial: Tight security measures are in place at Fort Hood Army base and the neighboring city of Killeen in Texas in preparation for the start of jury selection Tuesday in the capital murder trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 mass shooting that left 13 dead and nearly three dozen wounded. Testimony starts in August and could take at least two months.