Class action vote delayed in Senate
WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- A vote on debating a bill curbing class action lawsuits was delayed by U.S. Senate Republican leaders Tuesday.
The bill would make class action lawsuits only actionable in federal courts.
Proponents see the move as a way to take state courts, which are where such cases are currently tried and which are more likely to allow them to go forward, out of the process.
They argue nuisance suits plague U.S. businesses in a system that makes settling the logical choice to avoid a potentially damaging jury award, which is viewed as more likely in a state court.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., delayed Tuesday's planned vote after it became clear a number of Democrats whose votes were needed to move forward with debating the measure would not support the move.
Frist has said he hopes to bring the measure up again in the next few weeks.
Bush seeks ideological fight with Kerry
WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- The White House wants this fall's presidential election to be a choice between liberalism and conservatism, the Washington Times reported Tuesday.
President Bush's re-election strategists plan to portray the November election as the first since the Reagan era to offer voters a stark choice between liberalism and conservatism.
The ideological differences between Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry -- rated by the nonpartisan National Journal magazine this year as the most liberal member of the Senate -- appear more pronounced than during recent presidential contests.
The Times said Bush campaign efforts to play up the ideological differences comes at a time when the president's job-approval ratings are at record lows.
But that almost excites Republican strategist David Winston: "The endless doom-and-gloom stories from Iraq have taken a toll in terms of voter confidence," he said. "But if this is the worst of times for the Bush administration -- and some would argue it is -- then Kerry's inability to surge to a strong lead in this ripe environment bodes ill for a November victory."
Reporter who revealed rape is arrested
DENVER, June 1 (UPI) -- A Denver journalist who wrote about being raped and then was charged on suspicion of felony stalking says he was arrested for "thought crimes."
David Holthouse, a writer for the Denver-based alternative weekly Westword,was arrested Saturday, two weeks after he wrote a cover story detailing his rape as a young child and how he planned to kill his rapist, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.
Holthouse, 33, told the Post he was arrested in the suburb of Broomfield after a friend followed the alleged rapist and staked out his home.
But, Holthouse said, the real reason behind his arrest was the story he wrote.
"Any charges against me are essentially charges of thought crimes," he said, telling the Post he has "absolutely no intention" of harming the man.
Broomfield detectives said their investigation was continuing.
SF judge blocks partial-birth abortion ban
SAN FRANCISCO, June 1 (UPI) -- A San Francisco judge Tuesday ruled the government's ban on partial-birth abortions is an unconstitutional "undue burden" on a woman's right to choose.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton's 117-page ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 did not include an exception for cases in which a woman's health is threatened by her pregnancy, as required by a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision.
In addition, Hamilton upheld the argument the ban violated women's right to choose to have an abortion, and was hampered by vague wording.
Plaintiffs from a variety of reproductive health organizations said the ruling reiterates the need for women and their physicians to make medical decisions "free from the interference of politicians."
The Planned Parenthood Federation of American said, in a statement, it expects the Justice Department to appeal the ruling and vowed to contest any appeals.