USA

The issue of the constitutionality of using marijuana for medical purposes was being considered by the Supreme Court. After hearing both sides, the court is to consider whether the federal law that bans marijuana possession can be enforced in California and nine other states that allow its use for alleviating pain in patients whose doctors agree. Attorneys for Angel Raich, an Oakland, Calif., mother of two, and Diane Monson, an Oroville, Calif., businesswoman, contend that marijuana is needed to address their clients' illnesses. The court also declined to comment on a case in which conservatives had challenged a Massachusetts state law allowing same-sex marriages. Voters can overrule the state's sanction of such unions by adopting a constitutional amendment, Attorney General Tom Reilly (D) told the justices.

When the president next nominates a Supreme Court justice, a majority of Americans favor naming one who will uphold the landmark decision protecting abortion rights, according to results of a new Associated Press/Ipsos-Public Affairs poll. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they favor supporting the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision; 31 percent want a nominee who would overturn it.

Carlos Gutierrez, the Cuban-born chief executive of breakfast cereal giant Kellogg, was named as President Bush's choice to replace Don Evans as Secretary of Commerce. The president called Gutierrez "a great American success story."

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in the Houston trial of three people accused in a failed human-smuggling attempt that resulted in 19 deaths last year. Each of the defendants faces 58 counts of harboring and transporting illegal immigrants who expired inside a sweltering trailer near Victoria, Texas. If convicted, the three alleged smugglers each could be sentenced to life in prison.

Bush voiced his support of peace efforts in Northern Ireland over the weekend with calls to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and the Rev. Ian Paisley, whose Democratic Unionist Party represents most of Northern Ireland's British Protestant majority. Bush offered to help in advancing negotiations toward a power-sharing agreement.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, a college-aged son, and an unidentified third passenger survived a corporate jet crash on takeoff Sunday from an airport near Colorado's Telluride Ski Area. Two crew members were killed and Ebersol's younger son is missing. The cause of the crash is undetermined. Meanwhile, a helicopter carrying seven soldiers from Fort Hood crashed in fog near Waco, Texas. There was no immediate word on casualties.

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