In brief: Enforcement of health law sought
PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Justice Department asked a federal judge in Florida on Thursday to tell states that they must continue to enact the Obama administration’s health care overhaul despite the judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional.
In a motion to clarify, administration attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to make clear that states cannot ignore the new health care laws while his ruling is being appealed.
Florida and 25 other states filed the lawsuit that said Congress exceeded its authority by requiring all citizens to purchase health insurance or face tax penalties.
Comments sought on selling churches
BOSTON – Cardinal Sean O’Malley is seeking opinions from Catholics who attended seven closed parishes as he decides whether to sell their former churches, some of which have been occupied in protest for six years.
O’Malley said he’s considering starting a process to convert the churches from holy to secular use, he wrote in a letter Thursday.
The “relegation to profane use,” if approved by the Vatican, would allow the archdiocese to sell the buildings.
This “consultation,” which is required when an archdiocese is considering converting a church to secular use, begins Friday and ends March 18. Parishioners can give their views online or by mailing in a form.
Ohio executes Neo-Nazi
LUCASVILLE, Ohio – Ohio executed a neo-Nazi on Thursday who shot two men and a teen to death at Cleveland State University more than a quarter-century ago in a shooting spree that targeted blacks.
Frank Spisak, who read Bible verses in German for a final statement, was pronounced dead at 10:34 a.m. after an injection of sodium thiopental at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
Spisak, 59, is expected to be the last Ohio inmate to die by sodium thiopental, the scarce drug the state is giving up in favor of a more readily available substitute.
Musicians’ father admits sex abuse
PROVO, Utah – The distraught father of The 5 Browns musical group pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing his daughters when they were children in a deal that will send him to prison for at least 10 years.
Keith Brown, 55, entered his plea to three felony counts in 4th District Court.
His response to the judge when asked for his plea on each charge was a barely audible, “guilty.”
Brown’s three daughters and two sons are part of the classical piano group The 5 Browns.