By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority on Wednesday signaled hostility toward the Obama administration’s refusal to consider costs before regulating emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants. Conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, based on questions he asked during a 90-minute oral argument, could be a possible swing vote on the nine-justice court, with its four liberals appearing to back the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rationale for the regulation. The case marks the latest legal test to President Barack Obama's environmental agenda to reach the high court. Under the section of the Clean Air Act in question, the agency can regulate power plants for mercury and other toxic pollutants if it deems it "appropriate and necessary." The provision does not explicitly state whether the EPA was required to include costs in making its decision, and the administration decided it did not have to.
By Elizabeth Barber BOSTON (Reuters) - The jury hearing the Boston Marathon bombing trial on Wednesday will hear more evidence about what FBI agents found when they searched Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's college dorm room days after the deadly attack. Tsarnaev, 21, is accused of killing three people and injuring 264 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the race's crowded finish line on April 15, 2013, and with fatally shooting a police officer three days later as he and 26-year-old brother Tamerlan tried to flee. Tamerlan died hours after the shooting, following a gunfight with police in Watertown, Massachusetts. His lawyers opened the trial early this month by bluntly admitting the defendant committed all the crimes of which he is accused, but contending Tamerlan was the driving force behind the attack with Dzhokhar going along out of a sense of subservience.
Italy's top court was set to rule Wednesday on Amanda Knox's murder conviction, opening the door either to a messy extradition battle or a chance for the American to finally clear her name. The court will examine the verdict that found American Knox and her former lover Raffaele Sollecito guilty of killing British student Meredith Kercher in a case that has captivated the world with its sub-texts of drugs, alleged sexual debauchery and police bungling. Sollecito arrived at the Rome court house in the pouring rain, ushering his girlfriend Greta Menegaldo before him through the crush of international media gathered at the entrance. In December 2009, Knox and Italian Sollecito were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison for their part in the killing.
(Reuters) - Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. is set to be released from prison on Thursday to a halfway house in Washington, D.C., after spending roughly half of his 30-month sentence behind bars, USA Today reported. Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy told the newspaper he spoke with Jackson at an Alabama prison on Monday. Jackson, the son of civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., had pleaded guilty to misusing about $750,000 in campaign funds on luxuries such as fur capes, celebrity memorabilia, mounted elk heads and a Rolex watch. The judge ordered Sandi Jackson to report to prison 30 days after Jesse Jackson Jr. was released to reduce the impact on their two children.
(Reuters) - A Wisconsin State Patrol officer and a bank robbery suspect were killed in a shootout on Tuesday evening, officials said. The trooper began following a car matching the description of the suspect's vehicle around 5:30 p.m. local time in the city of Fond du Lac before the gun battle, Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb told reporters at a brief news conference. Lamb said no other suspects were being sought and that the Wisconsin Department of Justice was leading the investigation. David Matthews, the administrator of the justice department's criminal investigation division, said it was too early to provide additional information about the shooting.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempted sexual assault of two women in Nevada in a deal that calls for a three- to eight-year prison sentence, to run concurrently with a nine-year Arizona prison term he received on Monday, prosecutors said. Sharper, 39, entered his plea by video conference from Los Angeles, where he pleaded guilty to yet a third sex crimes case on Monday and faces another overlapping prison term of about nine years. (Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)