Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

March 21, 2017 - 3:12 pm


Gorsuch: No one is above the law

WASHINGTON (AP) — Judge Neil Gorsuch says no one is above the law when pressed about President Donald Trump and national security issues.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Gorsuch if the president has the right to authorize torture if it violates laws passed by Congress.

Gorsuch said "no man is above the law."

On the campaign trail, Trump spoke emphatically about toughening the U.S. approach to fighting the Islamic State group. He said he would authorize waterboarding and a "hell of a lot worse."


Gorsuch says he wasn't asked to overturn Roe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says President Donald Trump didn't ask him to overturn the landmark abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade when he interviewed him before his nomination.

Gorsuch added that he "would have walked out the door" if Trump had asked him that.

The nominee added that making such promises is "not what judges do." The comments came under questioning from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Gorsuch has strong support from conservative groups who support overturning Roe vs. Wade. But the appeals court judge hasn't ruled directly on abortion, and he said earlier that he wouldn't weigh in with his personal views on that case or any other Supreme Court decision during his confirmation hearing.


Gorsuch pushes back on former student account

WASHINGTON (AP) — Neil Gorsuch says he was just reading out of a law textbook. But a one of his former law students said he implied in class that many female job applicants unfairly manipulate companies by hiding plans to begin families.

Jennifer R. Sisk provided her recollections of the class in a letter Friday to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Supreme Court nominee said he was just reading questions in an ethics law textbook that asked what a woman would do if an older male partner asks if she's going to get pregnant soon.

He said the answers are to tell the truth, lie or push back in some way. He said he asked how many women had been asked questions like that, and many raised their hands.

Gorsuch said he is "shocked" that women are still asked that question.


White House issues gag order to officials on budget details

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump White House is instructing Cabinet heads and agency officials what to tell and not tell Congress about the last week's proposed budget.

The order by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says administration officials should not provide any further details about the budget plan beyond what was in the 53-page document. The budget traded a $54 billion boost for the military for crushing cuts to domestic programs like medical research, community development, foreign aid, and a slew of other programs.

Mulvaney said in a memo to department and agency heads that they should not make "commitments about specific programs" or provide further detail about cuts to programs that went unmentioned in last week's summary budget, which glossed over many of the most politically difficult details.


UPDATE: GOP senator rejects revised health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has become the latest Republican senator to go on record against the GOP health care bill that is nearing a vote in the House.

In a statement Tuesday, Cotton said he cannot support the legislation even after the latest changes by House leaders. And Cotton added he doesn't think it can pass the Senate. He urged the House to slow down and continue to refine the legislation.

Cotton said the changes to the House Republicans' American Health Care Act "do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans."

Republicans can only afford to lose two of their own party members in the Senate, in which they hold a 52-seat majority.


New security measures could cause travelers to reroute trips

DALLAS (AP) — A new U.S. security measure banning many electronic devices on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries is leading travelers to reconsider their plans to fly through some airports in the Middle East.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that passengers on U.S.-bound flights at 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa will have to check electronics bigger than a cellphone. Laptops, tablets, cameras and other gadgets will have to be placed in checked baggage.

The order is a concern for business travelers, journalists and other professionals who work on the devices and use them to store sensitive information.

Paula Berger, an energy-company manager, and a co-worker have tickets to fly from Houston through Dubai to India, where her company has an office. The new rules would require Berger to surrender the laptop she carries and put it in checked baggage on the return trip next month. She is worried the device could be stolen. She says she hasn't yet found a way to re-route the trip without it costing thousands of dollars more.


NEW: US exploring range of new measures to respond to North Korea

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States says it's exploring new diplomatic, security and economic measures in response to the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says the U.S. is coordinating with allies.

North Korea on Saturday conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un has described as a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program.

Spicer on Tuesday described as "grave and escalating" the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

During a recent trip to the region, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened North Korea with tougher sanctions, more pressure and possible military action.

North Korea responded by saying it is not frightened by threats from the U.S.


NEW: Military seeks new ways to punish bad online behavior

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy and the Marine Corps say they're considering new ways to punish inappropriate online activity by service members, including posts of "intimate" images on social media sites.

Senior military leaders from the four services are testifying Tuesday before a House panel to explain how they are improving online policies after a nude photo-sharing scandal by Marine Corps members and others. Their testimony was obtained by the Associated Press.

Marine Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis says the Navy and Marine Corps are weighing regulations to prohibit the knowing and wrongful disclosure of an intimate image. They are looking at expanded ways to discharge service members guilty of online misconduct.

Former and current female Marines reported that their photographs were posted online without their consent.


27-month sentence for friend of Dylann Roof

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The only person with whom Dylann Roof shared his plans to massacre worshippers at a South Carolina church has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for failing to report a crime and lying to the FBI.

Joey Meek apologized Tuesday at sentencing in connection with Roof's plans for a shooting attack that killed nine worshippers in June 2015 at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

"I'm really, really sorry. A lot of beautiful lives were taken," said Meek, who began to cry at sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he wanted Meek to spend time in prison as a deterrent for anyone in the future who knows about something so serious and fails to report it.

Meek has said Roof told the outlines of his plan as they drank vodka and snorted cocaine a week before the killings.

Federal prosecutors say Meek had lied to the FBI about knowing of Roof's plot.


UPDATE: Indictment: Williams defrauded Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia's top prosecutor has been charged with taking gifts in exchange for providing favors. An indictment Tuesday also accuses District Attorney Seth Williams of using his position to seek help limiting security screening of a business owner at the airport.

He's accused defrauding the city of Philadelphia in a scheme of bribes and kickbacks. He faces bribery, wire fraud and extortion-related charges.

The charges come after a lengthy investigation into $160,000 in gifts that Williams failed to report, including a new roof, a $2,700 couch and luxury vacations.

Williams is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

His lawyer is promising to fight the charges.


NEW: Student sues Pennsylvania school over transgender policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pennsylvania high school student is suing his school district, saying its transgender-friendly policy constitutes sexual harassment and a violation of privacy.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group representing the student.

In October, the plaintiff, identified as Joel Doe, was changing into gym clothes in the boys' locker room when he saw a student, wearing shorts and a bra, who had recently begun transitioning from female to male, said Kellie Fiedorek, legal counsel at ADF.

The office of the superintendent of the Boyertown Area School District, which is being sued, declined immediate comment.

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