gavelA federal judge in California is preparing to rule whether a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Testimony began January 11 in San Francisco and could last for weeks in a case expected to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

donkeyThe announcements by Democrat Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.) last week that they will not be running for reelection in 2010 raised both concerns by Democrats and hopes of Republicans.

Yemeni intelligence officials asserted Friday that their investigation revealed that Umar Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of attempted to bomb Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day in Detroit, met in Yemen with known al-Qaeda operatives, probably including American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

In order to determine his competency to stand trial, Major Nidal Hasan is to undergo a mental evaluation by a team of three military medical professionals. The panel is composed of doctors chosen from the Army, Air Force, and Navy medical corps, and it will begin its evaluation of the case by reviewing the voluminous material contained in Hasan’s file.

Wearing the typical garb of a federal prisoner, Umar Abdulmutallab entered the courtroom wearing khaki trousers, a plain white t-shirt, and shackles on his ankles. The defendant was flanked by his attorney, a federal public defender, Miriam Siefer. Abdulmutallab was arraigned Friday in a Detroit federal court and the 23-year-old Nigerian stood before a magistrate, and Siefer plead not guilty all charges on behalf of her client.