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Briefs

Texas voter ID law on hold as feds object

– A photo ID requirement for voters in Texas could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered Hispanics, the Justice Department declared Monday in its latest move against Republican-led voting changes in many states that have drawn protests from minorities, poor people and students.

The objection means that a federal court in Washington will decide whether Texas, as well as South Carolina, will be allowed to enforce its new voter photo ID requirements. Justice’s move blocks the Texas law until the court rules.

Other states have similar laws and more are moving toward them as advocates portray the restrictions as needed to combat voter fraud.

The Justice Department conveyed its objection in a letter to Texas officials that was also filed in the U.S. District Court case in Washington between Texas and the department. Justice said Hispanic voters in Texas are at least 50 percent more likely and possibly more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic voters to lack a driver’s license or a personal state-issued photo ID, which the Texas law requires.

Sheriff avoids trial with guilty plea

San Francisco’s sheriff pleaded guilty Monday to false imprisonment, avoiding a domestic violence trial that could have cost him his job and ending the public airing of a personal drama worthy of the Venezuela telenovela that his wife once starred in.

Ross Mirkarimi, 50, accepted the deal Sunday night, after an appeals court said an emotional video of his 36-year-old wife displaying a bruised bicep could be shown to the jury. The deal also appears to have defused a politically charged atmosphere that included a support group for domestic violence victims erecting a downtown billboard taking a shot at Mirkarimi’s claim that the incident was a “private matter.”

Assisted suicide advocate dies at 83

Peter Goodwin fought for years to give terminally ill patients the right to die on their own terms. When he couldn’t fight anymore, that’s exactly what he did.

The Portland, Ore., physician died Sunday in his home after using lethal chemicals obtained under an Oregon law he championed. He was 83.

Goodwin was diagnosed in 2006 with a rare brain disorder, corticobasal ganglionic degeneration, that progressively robbed him of his movement.

In an interview shortly before his death, he reflected on his life.

“We just haven’t come to terms with the fact that we’re going to die, all of us, and to make concessions to that is really giving up hope,” he said.

Rather, in his view, when at death’s door, “the situation needs thought, it doesn’t need hope. It needs planning, it doesn’t need hope. Hope is too ephemeral at that time.”

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