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Egypt court releases lawyer who defied president

An Egyptian rights lawyer who had been held in solitary confinement for over 100 days after defying President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was released from jail Sunday on a court order.

Malek Adly, who was incarcerated on a rolling series of administrative detention orders, was freed after a court rejected an appeal by prosecutors a day earlier that had attempted to hold him longer over accusations that included attempting to overthrow the government.

"We don't know what will happen next — the case is still open and they could try to detain him again," said Adly's lawyer, Mahmoud Belal. "What's important though is that he is out."

Adly's supporters say authorities targeted him over a televised interview in which he objected to el-Sissi's decision in April to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, implying that such a move was traitorous.

Along with other lawyers, Adly raised a court case against the handover, arguing that the islands were historically Egypt's, as opposed to the government's position that they had always been Saudi territory and were only placed under temporary Egyptian protection.

About two months after Adly was jailed, an Egyptian court backed his legal suit with a June 21 ruling ordering the island transfer canceled. The government has appealed, and the matter now awaits discussion by a new panel of judges.

Differences aside, Supreme Court unites Trump, Senate GOP

Differences aside, Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are strongly united on one issue — ideological balance on the Supreme Court.
  
While Democrats are pushing the GOP-led Senate to confirm Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland by the end of President Barack Obama's term, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been resolute in blocking him, saying the next president should fill the high court vacancy. Republicans maintain it's a winning political strategy in a year when some GOP rank and file are struggling with reasons to vote for their nominee.

"I would argue that it's one of the few ties that binds right now in the Republican Party," said Josh Holmes, McConnell's former chief of staff. "It's one of the things that's kept a Republican coalition together that seems to be fraying with Donald Trump."

Trump himself has made the same argument.

"If you really like Donald Trump, that's great, but if you don't, you have to vote for me anyway," Trump told supporters at a rally last month. "You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges. Have no choice ... sorry, sorry, sorry."

The billionaire businessman has made the future ideological balance of the high court a key issue in the campaign, promising to nominate a conservative in the mold of former Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. He often mentions the issue in campaign speeches, as does his vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Pence often spends several minutes of his standard campaign speech reminding crowds of the importance of the court and conservative values. To loud cheers, he warns that a court in Hillary Clinton's hands could push through amnesty for immigrants living in the country illegally and strip individuals' rights to own guns, a reversal of the Second Amendment that Clinton has rejected.

'Whitey' Bulger asks US Supreme Court to hear his appeal

James "Whitey" Bulger has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal of his racketeering convictions for playing a role in 11 murders and committing a litany of other crimes.

It is unclear if the high court will take up the Boston gangster's case. The court generally agrees to hear only a small percentage of the thousands of cases it's asked to review each year.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bulger's 2013 convictions in March.

A three-judge panel of the court found that Bulger had not shown that his right to a fair trial was violated when a judge barred him from testifying about his claim that a now-deceased federal prosecutor granted him immunity. The trial judge said Bulger had not offered any hard evidence that such an agreement existed.

Bulger, now 86, led a notoriously violent gang from the 1970s through the early 1990s. He fled Boston in 1994 after an FBI agent tipped him that he was about to be indicted. Bulger remained a fugitive until 2011, when he was captured in Santa Monica, California. He is now serving a life sentence.
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