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Kenya Supreme Court says why it annulled presidential poll

Kenya's Supreme Court is delivering its full judgment on why it annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election in August.

The court annulled Kenyatta's victory in the August 8 election saying there were irregularities and illegalities, in response to opposition leader Raila Odinga's petition challenging the official results that Kenyatta won with 54 percent of the vote. The electoral commission has set Oct. 17 as the date for a fresh election. Kenya's Chief Justice David Maraga said Tuesday that since the September 1 judgment nullifying the election results, there have been attempts to intimidate judges.

Kenyatta has called the Supreme Court judges "crooks" and warned of unspecified action against the judiciary if he is re-elected next month. Kenyatta's supporters demonstrated outside the Supreme Court Tuesday ahead of the full judgment on Wednesday.

Israeli protesters erect golden statue of High Court chief

Jerusalem residents woke to discover a surprising spectacle outside the country's Supreme Court — a golden statue of the court's president put up in protest by members of a religious nationalist group.

Police quickly removed the statue of Miram Naor, raised outside the court overnight, but after questioning some suspects, said no criminal activity had occurred.

Derech Chaim, which wants to impose Jewish religious law in Israel, said it had put up the statue to protest what one activist called the court's "dictatorship." Many Israeli hardliners consider the court to be excessively liberal and interventionist.

Ariel Gruner, a Derech Chaim activist, said the statue was erected in response to a court ruling this week over the country's treatment of African migrants. The ruling said that while Israel can transfer migrants to a third country, it cannot incarcerate them for more than 60 days to pressure them to leave.

The ruling is among a series of decisions that "eliminates the possibility of elected officials, of the government, to make decisions and rule," Gruner said.

He acknowledged that the statue had been inspired by a golden statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erected by a left-wing artist in a main Tel Aviv square last year.

Court delay sought in $7B Obamacare subsidy case

Uncertainty over the future of health care for millions grew deeper Monday as insurers released a blueprint for stabilizing wobbly markets and the Trump administration left in limbo billions of dollars in federal payments.

At the federal courthouse, the administration and House Republicans asked appeals judges for a 90-day extension in a case that involves federal payments to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes who buy their own policies. The fate of $7 billion in “cost-sharing subsidies” remains under a cloud as insurers finalize their premium requests for next year.

The court case is known as House v. Price. In requesting the extension, lawyers for the Trump administration and the House said the parties are continuing to work on measures, “including potential legislative action,” to resolve the issue. Requests for extensions are usually granted routinely.

Hours before the filing, a major insurer group released a framework for market stability that relies in part on a continuation of such subsidies.

The BlueCross BlueShield Association represents plans that are the backbone of insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and would also be the mainstay with a Republican approach.

As the GOP-led Congress works on rolling back major parts of the Obama law, the BlueCross BlueShield plan called for:

Continued protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and sustained federal funding to offset the cost of care for the sickest patients.

More leeway for states to experiment with health insurance benefits, with a basic floor of federal standards.

Preserving ACA consumer safeguards including no lifetime caps on benefits, no higher premium for women based on gender, and a requirement that insurers spend a minimum of 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care.

U.S. high court ruling deals blow to patent trolls

The Supreme Court is making it easier for companies to defend themselves against patent infringement lawsuits.

The justices ruled unanimously on Monday that such lawsuits can be filed only in states where defendants are incorporated. The issue is important to many companies that complained about patent owners choosing more favorable courts in other parts of the country to file lawsuits.

The case involved an appeal from TC Heartland, an Indiana-based food sweetener company sued by Kraft Foods in Delaware. Lower courts refused to transfer the case to Indiana.

But the Supreme Court’s ruling will have the biggest impact on federal courts in eastern Texas, where more than 40 percent of patent lawsuits are now filed. Local rules there favor quick trials and juries tend to be more sympathetic to plaintiffs.

The ruling will have a major effect on lawsuits from so-called patent trolls — companies that buy up patents and force businesses to pay license fees or face expensive litigation. Many of those cases now may have a tougher time getting to trial or result in jury verdicts that are less generous.

Companies including eBay, Kickstarter and online crafts site Etsy had urged the high court to restrict where such cases can be filed, saying they have been sued repeatedly in courts hundreds or thousands of miles away from corporate headquarters. Even Texas Attorney General Scott Keller led a coalition of 17 states calling for an end to so-called “forum shopping” in patent cases.

Groups representing inventors and patent owners said new restrictions would place burdens on patent holders and encourage infringing behavior and piracy.

High Court Struggles Over Hospital Pension Dispute

The Supreme Court seemed to struggle on Monday over whether some of the nation's largest hospitals should be allowed to sidestep federal laws protecting pension benefits for workers. Justices considered the cases of three church-affiliated nonprofit hospital systems being sued for underfunding pension plans covering about 100,000 employees. But the outcome ultimately could affect the retirement benefits of roughly a million employees around the country. The hospitals — Advocate Health Care Network, Dignity Health and Saint Peter's Healthcare System — say their pensions are "church plans" exempt from the law and have been treated as such for decades by the government agencies in charge. They want to overturn three lower court rulings against them. Workers suing the health systems argue that Congress never meant to exempt them and say the hospitals are shirking legal safeguards that could jeopardize retirement benefits. "I'm torn," Justices Sonia Sotomayor said at one point during the hour-long argument. "This could be read either way in my mind." Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Internal Revenue Service issued hundreds of letters over more than 30 years approving the hospitals' actions. That shows they were "proceeding in good faith with the assurance of the IRS that what they were doing was lawful," he said. The case could affect dozens of similar lawsuits over pension plans filed across the country. Much of the argument focused on how to read a federal law that generally requires pension plans to be fully funded and insured. Congress amended that law in 1980 to carve out a narrow exemption for churches and other religious organizations.

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