Illinois Supreme Court

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The Illinois Supreme Court is invalidating a two-year-old Illinois law charging taxes on certain Internet sales.

The justices ruled 6-1 in an opinion released Friday to invalidate the so-called "Amazon tax." The ruling determined that the law violates a pre-emptive federal decree prohibiting "discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce."

(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (

A St. Clair County judge whose colleague died of a cocaine overdose while the two were on a hunting trip is stepping down from the bench as he defends himself against federal heroin and gun charges.

Circuit Judge Michael Cook resigned Wednesday by letter to the chief judge, John Baricevic. Baricevic says the letter is brief and doesn't offer a reason for Cook's departure.

Cook was charged last Friday with possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances. He's pleaded not guilty. 

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The Illinois Supreme Court has opened the door to divorce for people who need guardians because of mental disabilities.

For years, Illinois has barred mentally disabled people or their guardians from seeking a divorce. Experts say that included people with severe brain damage but also people who could make their wishes known despite Alzheimer's disease or mental illness.

In a ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court said an outright ban is no longer appropriate. It said case-by-case hearings should determine what is in the disabled person's best interests.

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Tomorrow morning the Illinois Supreme Court will enter orders to allow cameras in both the first judicial circuit in the southern part of the state and the 18th circuit, which is outside of Chicago.   

The announcement was made this afternoon by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, who was in St. Louis to accept the “Illinoisan of the Year” award from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.

Kilbride is the driving force behind a pilot program aimed at increasing accessibility to the legal system and expects more courts to allow cameras in the future.

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Brian Mackey contributed reporting for this story.

A decades-long battle over an Illinois law that requires girls to notify their parents before having an abortion was in front of the state's Supreme Court on Thursday.

The parental notification law has been on the books since the 1990s, but a series of federal and state court challenges have kept it from being enforced. It was supposed to take effect in 2006, which set off a fresh round of lawsuits.

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Nixon will announce budget cuts today

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to announce today if he’ll make any reductions to the state budget – ending weeks of speculation for university and social service program administrators.

Nixon this week signed legislation funding public schools and the state departments of health and mental health without making any cuts.

A divided Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a Republican challenge to new state legislative district maps.

The GOP contended that the Democratic-controlled state House and Senate drew the boundaries to benefit Democratic candidates, in effect diluting the Republican vote. But they filed the challenge just six weeks before the March primary.

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Counterproposal for Edward Jones Dome upgrades due tomorrow

The St. Louis Rams have until tomorrow to offer their own price tag for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis.

The Rams' lease requires the Dome to be in the "top tier" of stadiums in the National Football League. That tems is not clearly defined, but it's generally meant within the top 25 percent. Otherwise, the Rams are free to depart St. Louis in 2015.

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Updated to include link to opinion.

Gun rights advocates scored a victory when the Illinois Supreme Court allowed a challenge to a Cook County assault weapons ban to proceed.

The court on Thursday ruled that lower courts were wrong to throw out the challenge. The Supreme Court says it wants the trial court to hear evidence on whether assault weapons get the same Second Amendment protections as handguns.

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Reporting from WUIS' Rachel Otwell used in this report.

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on just how bad one has to drive before police are justified in stopping to check for Driving Under the Influence, or DUI.

Dennis Hackett was driving in Joliet when his car twice crossed "slightly" into another lane. A sheriff's deputy saw it, followed the driver for a while and eventually pulled him over.


Illinois Supreme Court to announce new policy allowing cameras in trial courts

The new policy would allow cameras in trial courts on an experimental and limited basis.

Spokesman Joe Tybor says the court will make its announcement today.

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The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that police must preserve video evidence in all cases, even misdemenors.

The court upheld sanctions today in a case where police erased video of a drunken driving arrest. The defendant told prosecutors she intended to fight the charges and wanted the video, but police still followed their policy of destroying videos after 30 days.

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The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to consider a dispute over whether the state must begin enforcing a law requiring parents to be notified before their children can obtain an abortion.

The law dates back to 1995 but has never been enforced because of various court actions.

It would require doctors to notify the guardians of a girl 17 or younger before she has an abortion. There are exceptions for emergencies and cases of sexual abuse, and girls could bypass the notification requirement by going to a judge.

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Updated 3:40 p.m. with company comment.

The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA's quest to toss out a lower court's revival of a lawsuit that produced a $10.1 billion verdict against the company.

Wednesday's decision affirms a Mount Vernon-based appellate court's February ruling that sends the case back to southwestern Illinois' Madison County, where a judge sided with plaintiffs in a suit over Philip Morris' marketing of "light" cigarettes. The state's high court later threw out that verdict.

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MSD holds public hearings on rate increase

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District's independent Rate Commission is holding the first in a series of public hearings Monday on a proposed rate increase. The proposal would increase customer wastewater rates to help fund more than a billion dollars in needed wastewater system investments between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2016.

Storm water rates would not be affected by the rate increase.

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The Illinois Supreme Court calls it "absurd" to let inmates earn money in prison and then take it away to pay the cost of keeping them behind bars.

The court dismissed a lawsuit in which the Department of Corrections tried to take $11,000 from the savings of convicted murderer Kensley Hawkins. He saved the money working at a furniture-assembly job at a Joliet prison.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

According to an Illinois Supreme court stay issued today (which you can read below), the state can continue collecting higher taxes on liquor, coffee and grooming products.  But that may be only temporary.

The tax bumps have been in place since 2009.

Lawmakers intended for them, as well as proceeds from the legalization of video poker, to pay for a $31 billion infrastructure plan.