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Rulings stop Ga. from requiring voter IDs

Published July 13, 2006

ROME, Ga. - The same federal judge who threw out Georgia's voter ID law last year has blocked the state from enforcing its revised law in this year's elections.

The Wednesday ruling came less than two hours after the Georgia Supreme Court denied the state's request to overrule a state court order that blocked enforcement of the new photo ID law during next week's primary elections and any runoffs.

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy's ruling, which he delivered verbally from the bench, was much broader, also including the Nov. 7 general elections and any runoffs.

If the rulings stand, Georgia voters will not have to show a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot this year. The state's primary election is scheduled for Tuesday.

Mass. lawmakers recess without gay marriage vote

BOSTON - Massachusetts lawmakers ended debate on proposed constitutional amendments Wednesday before dealing with the most volatile issue on their agenda: a proposal to outlaw marriage for same-sex couples in the only state where it is legal.

The move to recess until Nov. 9 put off the decision on the politically charged issue until after the general election.

If approved, the gay marriage amendment would block future gay marriages in Massachusetts. More than 8,000 same-sex couples have taken vows since gay marriages began in May 2004.

Novak: Talk with Rove about Plame lasted '20 seconds'

WASHINGTON - Columnist Robert Novak said Wednesday that a conversation with White House aide Karl Rove that became an important part of the Valerie Plame affair lasted about 20 seconds.

Novak gave his first extended interview about his role in the CIA leak probe, saying on Fox News that Rove was merely a confirming source for Novak's column that outed Plame's CIA identity.

The Novak-Rove conversation became a focus of the investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into who leaked Plame's identity to the news media. A month ago, the prosecutor said he doesn't anticipate seeking criminal charges against Rove.

Novak said he called Rove in July 2003 to talk about a CIA-sponsored mission to Africa by Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson pertaining to an alleged Iraqi deal to acquire yellowcake uranium from the government of Niger.

Wilson, who is Plame's husband, had accused the Bush administration a few days earlier of manipulating prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction.

Regarding Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip, Novak said he told Rove, "I understand that his wife works at the CIA and she initiated the mission." The columnist said Rove replied, "Oh, you know that, too."

"I took that as a confirmation that she worked with the CIA and initiated" her husband's mission to Africa, Novak said.

"We talked about Joe Wilson's wife for about maybe 20 seconds," Novak said.

[Last modified July 13, 2006, 06:32:40]

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