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In early testimony during Senate hearings Tuesday on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, he said he'd be open-minded as a justice in dealing with any cases on the issue of abortion. In explaining his dissent to a 1991 judicial vote that struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses, he said, "I did it because that's what I thought the law required."

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a disabled Georgia prison inmate can pursue damages for an alleged violation of his rights while behind bars. Tony Goodman claims he was kept in a cell too narrow to turn his wheelchair around. The justices delayed deciding how much latitude inmates should have in bringing other disability lawsuits before lower courts.

The Army said it would soon begin "separation hearings" that could lead to dishonorable discharges for 80 reservists who've ignored mobilization orders for likely duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. All are members of the Individual Ready Reserve, a pool of civilians with some service obligation remaining but often with no recent military experience.

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With performance No. 7,486, the cast of "The Phantom of the Opera" celebrated a record-breaking Broadway run Monday night.

A federal court in Seattle blocked as many as 144 timber sales in Washington, Oregon, and northern California with an estimated value to the government of $2.7 million by reinstating a logging restriction lifted by the Bush administration. The rule calls for more closely evaluating logging impacts on rare plants and animals.

Investigators said heating torches used by roofers were the cause of the blaze last week in Chicago that destroyed the 115-year-old Pilgrim Baptist Church, known as the birthplace of gospel music.

Before being sentenced to a year-and-a-half in prison, ferry pilot Richard Smith apologized to the families of the 11 people who died when he rammed the boat into a pier in New York harbor in 2003. Fatigued and on painkillers, Smith blacked out at the wheel.

With 22 consecutive days of measurable rain and more predicted in the coming days, Seattle is nearing its record of 33 straight days, set in 1953.

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