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U.S. Supreme Court rejects Alabama sex toy ban case

Every time I go to Birmingham, when we go to the airport we pass this big sex toy adult novelty store and I wonder how this store managed to skirt by the ridiculous legislation in Alabama that bans the sale of sex toys. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, the ban stands, I suppose the store is going to have to sell out its stock of toys or change the marketing plan.

An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. Sherri Williams said she plans to sue again, this time on free speech grounds.

My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up,” she said.

Alabama's anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.”

The law does not ban the possession of sex toys, and it does not regulate other items, including condoms or virility drugs. Residents may legally buy sex toys out of state for use in Alabama, or they may buy sexual devices in Alabama that have a “bona fide medical” purpose.

Sex toys may also be procured for “law enforcement purposes.”

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Also on the docket but rejected by the Supremes were two cases that have slapped back the bible beaters. See after the jump.

Religious groups must offer employees birth control.

The US Supreme Court rejected Monday a bid by Roman Catholic and Baptist groups to stop offering their employees birth-control benefits as part of their health insurance.

…The top court rejected a petition by the groups arguing that by being forced to offer contraception pills and equipment on their employee health-insurance plans, their First Amendment rights to free speech were violated. The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is “intrinsically evil,” eight Catholic organizations backed by a Baptist church had argued in their petition.

Supreme Court turns down church barred from Antioch library.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal today by a church that argued its religious freedom had been violated when it was barred from holding worship services in a meeting room of the Contra Costa County library in Antioch.

…In the library case, the court left intact a September 2006 ruling by a federal appeals court in San Francisco that said Contra Costa County was entitled to deny use of a community meeting room for prayer services by the Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries.

“The county has a legitimate interest in … excluding meeting room activities that may interfere with the library's primary function as a sanctuary for reading, writing and quiet contemplation,” and in preventing the room from being “transformed into an occasional house of worship,” the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling.

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An appeal by one of the murderers convicted of the murder of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas in 1998 was also rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawrence Russell Brewer was one of the men who chained Mr. Byrd to the back of a pickup truck until his body parts came off.

His lawyers also argued evidence at his trial may have been constitutionally insufficient to support a kidnapping and murder charge. The kidnapping element made it capital murder, making Brewer eligible for the death penalty.

Brewer, King and Berry were portrayed as white supremacists who offered the 49-year-old black man a ride in Berry’s pickup in the early morning of June 7, 1998. Instead, Byrd was chained by his ankles to the bumper of the truck, then was dragged for three miles, his body dismembered as it bounced along a rutted dirt path and bumpy asphalt road outside Jasper.

…Brewer testified he got into the truck after fighting with Byrd and didn’t realize Berry had chained their victim to the bumper. He also insisted he knew nothing about a kidnapping, never intended to hurt Byrd and was convinced Byrd died when he said Berry slashed Byrd’s throat with a knife. Prosecutors told jurors Brewer was a leader, or “Exalted Cyclops,” in his supremacist prison gang, known as the Confederate Knights of America.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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