This Week

"This Week" Continued...

Issue: "Down Syndrome = Death Sentence?," Jan. 18, 1997

Keep paying

The responsibility for enforcing immigration laws falls to the federal government, but when those laws aren't enforced, state governments have to pick up the tab for incarcerating, hospitalizing, and even educating illegal immigrants. Unhappy with that state of affairs, Arizona and California--states with large numbers of illegal immigrants--went to court, suing for federal reimbursement of those expenses. Since the federal government had failed to protect the borders, they argued, the resulting expenses should be paid from the federal treasury. That argument got nowhere. In a Jan. 7 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed the two states, ruling the claims involved &quotnonjusticeable political questions." Similar suits filed by four other states also have failed; a case brought by Texas is pending. Arizona and California officials are planning an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Slow progress

Hoping to placate tens of thousands of protesters, the Communist government of Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic acknowledged Jan. 8 that non-communist opposition parties had won elections in Serbia's second largest city, Nis. The daily street protests have continued since Mr. Milosevic moved to invalidate the Nov. 17 elections after it became clear that opposition parties had claimed victories in 14 of Serbia's 19 largest cities. Instead of being satisfied with the admission that Nis had been won, reinvigorated demonstrators pledged to continue their daily street rallies until the communists give up control of all 14 cities.

In brief

President Clinton Jan. 8 named his fifth White House counsel in four years: Charles F.C. Ruff, a lawyer with experience in high-profile political prosecutions. Mr. Ruff was a Watergate special prosecutor and as a defense lawyer represented Sen. John Glenn during the Keating Five probe. One of Mr. Clinton's most trusted political counselors, Dick Morris, got the news Jan. 6 that his wife of 20 years was filing for divorce--five months after news reports showed Mr. Morris carrying on a regular relationship with a prostitute.

Weighing the evidence

In North Carolina, confessed serial killer Henry Wallace was convicted Jan. 7 of raping and murdering nine Charlotte-area women in a two-year-long crime spree that ended with his arrest in 1994. Prosecutors will ask for the death penalty. At the O.J. Simpson &quotwrongful death" civil trial in California, lawyers for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman showed jurors 30 previously undiscovered photographs of Mr. Simpson wearing rare Bruno Magli designer shoes; those were the same kind that left bloody shoe prints at the murder scene in 1993. In earlier testimony, Mr. Simpson had denied ever owning a pair of the Italian-made shoes, and he claimed a single photo of him wearing Bruno Maglis--introduced as evidence--was a fake. A Texas woman went on trial in the June 1996 stabbing deaths of her two sons, ages 6 and 5. Darlie Routier insists a male intruder killed the children as they slept, but prosecutors claim she invented the story. Her husband, who was asleep in another part of the house when the killings occurred, says his wife is innocent. In Florida, an assisted suicide case went to trial. With financial backing from the Hemlock Society and the Palm Beach County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, AIDS patient Charlie Hall is suing to overturn Florida's law against assisted suicide. Mr. Hall, who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion, is the only remaining plaintiff in the suit. Two others died of cancer before the case reached court.


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