Archive for January, 2011


Court delays gay marriage ruling

Proposition 8 opponents celebrate a ruling to overturn the law on August 4, 2010, in San Fransisco, California.
Proposition 8 opponents celebrate a ruling to overturn the law on August 4, 2010, in San Fransisco, California.
  • The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has put on hold a ruling on California’s Proposition 8
  • The measure, passed in 2008, bans gay marriage
  • The federal court is seeking guidance on whether state or local officials have standing to defend the measure

(CNN) — A federal appeals court in San Francisco, California, decided Tuesday to indefinitely delay consideration of a controversial case regarding the constitutionality of that state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

The decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asks the Supreme Court of California to consider the issue of “standing” — whether state or county officials have the authority to defend Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.

Top state officials — including former attorney general and current Gov. Jerry Brown — have refused to defend the initiative in court, setting up a unresolved fight over the so-called “gateway” legal issue.

If California’s high court fails to provide any guidance to the 9th Circuit, the federal court could decide on its own either to grant standing or refuse to issue a final ruling on the case. Top state officials — including the governor — also could have the discretion to allow other individuals to defend Proposition 8 in court.

What is California’s Proposition 8?

A refusal to issue a ruling could leave the statute intact and derail a final decision on the larger question of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. A three-judge federal appeals panel heard oral arguments last month.

Brian Brown, head of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, characterized the decision as a rebuke of U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s August ruling, which found the law unconstitutional.



Lights out on old bulbs at Ikea

IKEA said  it has stopped selling incandescent light bulbs in its U.S. home furnishing stores.

The Swedish-based company said that it is the first retailer to completely pull the plug on the bulbs, after phasing out incandescent lights beginning in August.

IKEA’s move to no longer stock or sell the traditional light bulbs comes ahead of a government-mandated phase-out of the incandescents from 2012 to 2014. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, aimed at reducing energy consumption, will require light bulbs to be 30% more energy efficient than current incandescent bulbs.

IKEA will instead offer fluorescent bulbs, as well as LED, halogen and solar-powered lamps.

“Eliminating incandescents is just one simple way for IKEA customers to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases,” Mike Ward, US IKEA President, said in a prepared statement.



Breakup of Motorola is complete

Hello Moto! Times two.

Motorola is no longer one company. A long-in-the-works breakup of the smartphone and telecom equipment maker finally took effect  — probably to the delight of frustrated institutional shareholders like corporate agitator Carl Icahn.

For several years, analysts and investors have argued that Motorola lacked focus and needed to split. So Motorola and its ticker symbol MOT now no longer exist.

Instead, we have Motorola Mobility — which owns the smartphone and cable set-top box assets and trades under the symbol MMI — and Motorola Solutions, which makes two-way radios and other public safety equipment and trades under the ticker MSI.

Motorola’s phone business has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround thanks to the success of its Droid line of phones running on Google’s (GOOGFortune 500) Android operating system.



Jobs a priority for new Congress

Republican and Democratic leaders will launch the new Congress pledging to make job creation their No. 1 priority.

After that, bipartisanship may be tricky.

“We gather here today at a time of great challenges. Nearly one in ten of our neighbors are looking for work,” incoming House Speaker John Boehner will tell the new Congress. “Health care costs are still rising for families and small businesses. Our spending has caught up with us, and our debt will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy.”

“Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress. No longer can we fall short,” the Ohio Republican says in an excerpt from his first speech as speaker. “No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions.”

Boehner replaces Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, who will serve as House Minority Leader.

Pelosi will say she stood for families and their health, education and welfare during her tenure as speaker.

“Our most important job is to fight for American jobs. And so Democrats will judge what comes before Congress by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit — not burdening future generations with debt,” she says in excerpts of her remarks. “When the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and the new Republican majority, come forward with solutions that address these American challenges, you will find in us a willing partner.”

Boehner has vowed to make the “people’s House” more transparent, and the first order of business will be passing a new set of rules for the House. In a nod to many new GOP freshmen with ties to the Tea Party, the Constitution will be read aloud on the House floor on the second day of the new session, and all new bills must meet a test that they are constitutional.

House Republicans plan to follow through on their campaign pledge to repeal the new health care law, and they plan a vote on a bill early in the new session. But with a Democratic Senate, this effort is unlikely to succeed.