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The American Bar Association took a jurisdictional stance on gay marriage Monday, announcing that same-sex unions were a matter to be decided by states rather than the federal government. The association, which was winding up its winter meeting in San Antonio, also lent its official support to videotaping police interrogations of criminal suspects. The group declined, however, to take any position on the handling of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay … Proving a defendant’s retardation is a job for the defense, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled. The high court reversed a district judge, who had put the burden on prosecutors to establish that murder defendant Jimmy Vasquez was not mentally disabled … Three judges could get punished for trying too hard to cut a backlog of Social Security benefit appeals. Cleveland jurists Robert Isbell, Edmund Round and Morely White are facing 15-day suspensions. The Social Security Administration says the judges exceeded their authority by reforms such as threatening to reduce fees for attorneys whose clients showed up without their paperwork in order … The only U.S. governor with an active military commitment has won the support of his state’s high court. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who serves in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, had been sued on the grounds that state law condoned service only to a state militia. The court disagreed, saying that “militia” referred to any group of citizen-soldiers … Still too affirmative, said a federal judge in Florida looking into a program to end affirmative action in the awarding of state contracts. U.S. District Judge Stephan P. Mickle agreed with the Florida Associated General Contractors that race and gender continued to play too large a role in the contracting process. A spokesperson for Gov. Jeb Bush said the state will not appeal. – Lori Patel

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