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US justices sympathetic to death row inmate on intellectual disability

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A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared ready to side with a man sentenced to death for a 1980 Houston murder who is challenging how Texas gauges whether a defendant has intellectual disabilities that would preclude execution.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that the execution of people who are intellectually disabled violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. At issue in the arguments the eight justices heard on Tuesday was whether Texas is using an obsolete standard to assess whether a defendant is intellectually disabled.

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Bobby Moore, convicted at age 20 of fatally shooting a 70-year-old grocery clerk during a 1980 Houston robbery, is challenging his sentence in Texas, which carries out more executions than any other U.S. state.

Moore’s lawyers argued that a lower court that upheld his sentence wrongly used an “outdated” 24-year-old definition used in Texas when it determined he was not intellectually disabled.

Based on the questions asked during the argument, the justices, equally divided between liberals and conservatives, appeared likely to rule for Moore, 57. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sides with the liberals, looked likely to be the key vote. Kennedy and two other current justices were in the majority in the pivotal 2002 ruling precluding executing people with an intellectual disability.

Moore’s appeal focused on how judges should weigh medical evidence of intellectual disability. His lawyers said that a lower court found that Moore’s IQ of 70 was “within the range of mild mental retardation.”

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(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)


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Benjamin Netanyahu ditches campaign rally after new data shows him losing — now he’s turning to Trump

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the fight for his political career after failing to form a coalition government in his previous reelection.

An MSNBC report revealed that Netanyahu was a no-show at a campaign rally after his team got a new poll that showed him losing on Tuesday.

Five months ago, the election was inconclusive, so Netanyahu declared himself the victor. The law dictates he must choose his coalition government by May, which automatically resets and requires another election. Ironically, it's one of the ways that Netanyahu was able to rise to power in his first election.

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GOP lawmakers working behind the scenes with Democrats to curb Trump’s tariff madness

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According to a report from Wall Street Journal, Republican lawmakers are working behind the scenes to rein in Donald Trump's penchant for declaring tariffs willy-nilly depending on how he feels about other countries and their leaders at any given time.

As the president trade war rages on -- impacting manufacturers, farmers and consumers alike -- Republicans looking at the 2020 election are desperate to turn around a U.S. economy that looks headed for a recession.

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Beto O’Rourke doubles down on gun buybacks

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Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Texas Democrat who is running for president in 2020, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he believes assault weapons are "instruments of terror" and the government should implement a mandatory buyback policy.

I was asked about @SenToomey saying mandatory buybacks are "awful."

I said the priorities in D.C. are screwed up.

What's awful is a 17 month-old baby shot in the face with an AR-15 in Odessa. What's awful is 22 people killed in a Walmart buying school supplies in El Paso. pic.twitter.com/JAN1xfrQYS

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