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A German federal court on Monday mulled a Jewish man’s bid to force the removal of a 700-year-old antisemitic statue from a church where Martin Luther once preached, and said it will deliver its verdict in the long-running dispute next month.

The “Judensau,” or “Jew pig,” sculpture on the Town Church in Wittenberg is one of more than 20 such relics from the Middle Ages that still adorn churches across Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The case went to the Federal Court of Justice after lower courts ruled in 2019 and 2020 against plaintiff Michael Duellmann. He had argued that the sculpture was “a defamation of and insult to the Jewish people” that has “a terrible effect up to this day,” and has suggested moving it the nearby Luther House museum.

Placed on the church about four meters (13 feet) above ground level, the sculpture depicts people identifiable as Jews suckling the teats of a sow while a rabbi lifts the animal’s tail. In 1570, after the Protestant Reformation, an inscription referring to an anti-Jewish tract by Luther was added.

In 1988, a memorial was set into the ground below, referring to the persecution of Jews and the 6 million people who died during the Holocaust. In addition, a sign gives information about the sculpture in German and English.

In 2020, an appeals court in Naumburg ruled that “in its current context” the sculpture is not of “slanderous character” and didn’t violate the plaintiff’s rights. It said that, with the addition of the memorial and information sign, the statue was now “part of an ensemble which speaks for another objective” on the part of the parish.


The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval shortly before midnight Friday to a bill abortion rights advocates contend is needed to protect in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said lawmakers in Connecticut, a state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, needed to pass the legislation “in defense of our own values and our own legal system.” It comes after Texas enacted a law that authorizes lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a banned abortion, even in another state.

The bill, which already cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, passed in the Senate on a 25-9 vote. It now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The Democrat has said he will sign it.

Supporters voiced concern about the spate of new abortion restrictions being enacted in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.


The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a request by the New York Yankees to rehear the team’s attempt to keep sealed a letter from baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to general manager Brian Cashman detailing an investigation into sign stealing.

In a brief order without explanation Thursday, the appellate court said its active judges had denied the team’s petition to have the entire 13-member court hear the case or order a rehearing before a three-judge panel.

Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco ordered the letter unsealed on March 21 after hearing the case with Chief Judge Debra Ann Livingston and Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch. They upheld an April 2020 ruling by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff to dismiss a lawsuit by fantasy sports contestants who claimed they were damaged by sign stealing in Major League Baseball. Rakoff also ordered Manfred’s letter be unseald.

The five men who sued participated in fantasy contests hosted by DraftKings from 2017-19. Manfred ruled in January 2020 that the Houston Astros violated rules against electronic sign-stealing during home games en route to their World Series title in 2017 and again in 2018. He suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season each, and both were fired by the team. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum under MLB rules and stripped the team of its next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.


Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a group of families slated for eviction from a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighborhood can remain in their homes for the time being.

The ruling could work to ease tensions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which helped ignite the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last year.

The court ruled that the families can stay in their homes for now until Israel carries out a land arrangement, a process that could take years or may not be carried out at all, according to Ir Amim, an advocacy group that was not involved in the court case.

For the time being, the four families residing in the homes will be recognized as protected tenants. Each will deposit a largely symbolic rent amounting to $62 a month to a trust, until the property’s ownership is settled.

Sami Arsheid, a lawyer representing the families’ case before the court, said the decision was “something huge” that ran counter to the previous 63 rulings by Israeli courts on the issue of Palestinian properties in Sheikh Jarrah.

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