They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

The former mayor of Bernards Township, New Jersey had a simple goal: build an Islamic Center where he and his fellow Muslim residents could worship.

What Mohammed Ali Chaudry got instead was a protracted four-year battle with the local planning board, who ultimately rejected his plan for the mosque.

Now Chaudry and his group, the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge (ISBR), are suing Bernards Township and its planning board for allegedly threatening their right to worship under the guise of land use regulations.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in New Jersey, charges that the community masked a xenophobic fear of bringing an Islamic house of worship into their neighborhood with concerns about mundane land use issues, such as parking and stormwater management. Planning board members were ultimately swayed by this tide of community opposition, the suit alleges.

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The full Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has decided to hear a challenge to Texas' voter ID law, after a three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that the law violated the Voting Rights Act.

The state of Texas had appealed the earlier decision to be reviewed "en banc"—meaning by the entire 15-judge court—in August, and the Fifth Circuit announced that it accepted it in an order released Wednesday.

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Authorities in Oregon have publicly revealed new information about the shooting of Oregon wildlife refuge standoff leader LaVoy Finicum at the hands of law enforcement that could have a major impact on the way the public views the entire confrontation that led to his death.

In announcing Tuesday that the fatal shooting of Finicum was justified, authorities also divulged that additional shots were fired in the incident, including two shots that were allegedly concealed by one or more FBI agents who are now under investigation.

The new information didn't lead authorities to conclude the shootings were unjustified but it does help paint a clearer picture of what happened in the tense final moments before Finicum died.

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A federal judge declined Tuesday a request by voting rights groups to block temporarily a new voting restriction in three states. The groups are suing a federal official over his unilateral move to approve a proof-of-citizenship requirement to register to vote in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama.

In his order refusing to issue a temporary restraining order on the measure, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington suggested that he was skeptical the challengers would succeed when a full case was heard on the merits. The order comes after the Department of Justice had signaled it was siding with the voting rights groups, at least when it came to temporarily blocking the requirement.

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In an unusual move Monday, the Department of Justice signaled it would be siding with the voting rights groups and against a federal official over whether proof of citizenship should be required to register to vote in three states.

The groups are suing Brian Newby, the recently appointed executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), over his decision to change the federal voting registration forms in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama to require proof of citizenship. The challengers say adding the requirement to the form violates the National Voter Registration Act and additionally that Newby failed to go through the typical protocols of making the change, which the commission opposed in the past.

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The list of legal troubles Kansas faces in implementing its voter proof-of-citizenship requirement has grown longer. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a new lawsuit challenging the policy, as well as the state's plans to purge 30,000 people from the state's voter rolls because they did not submit a proof of citizenship in the 90-day period mandated by the state.

The lawsuit, Fish v. Kobach, was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. It is being brought by Kansas residents who say they have been disenfranchised by the requirement. The complaint alleges the requirement that Kansans show proof of citizenship when they register to vote at a driver's license office violates the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the "Motor Voter" law. It also says the move to block the voters who already registered for not showing a proof of citizenship violates a section of the NVRA that outlines when a voter can be removed from a state's voter registration roll.

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Shawna Cox, a leader and one of the few women involved in the Oregon standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, is demanding that the federal government pay her $666 billion.

In a lawsuit she filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland, she claims she was "maliciously prosecuted by State and Federal Bar Association members because they do not want to be held accountable for their subversive activities against the people of the United States of America," according to the Oregonian.

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She thought she'd be on the phone for a few minutes.

KrisAnne Hall, an attorney and self-proclaimed traveling constitutional educator, had called into a livestream radio show Thursday morning to promote her interpretation of the Constitution and applaud the final occupants at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge for a peaceful end to a more than month-long standoff.

But one man, David Fry, was not ready to go.

"I am actually feeling suicidal right now," Fry said after the three others had walked out and surrendered to the FBI.

“When he said 'I am not going,' for us, there was a moment of silence like we had been punched in the gut," Hall told TPM the next day.

The saga unfolded for well over an hour as Hall (pictured below) and internet broadcaster Gavin Seim pivoted from constitutional evangelists to mental health counselors. This had not been part of the plan, but they encouraged Fry to walk out of his tent and into law enforcement custody.

When Fry finally gave up, Hall broke down in tears.

"I don’t think I really fully understood the stress of the situation until the FBI turned off the phone, and we knew that he was safe," Hall said. "You could not see me, obviously, but in my hotel room, my body physically collapsed, and I could not hold back the emotion."

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