Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) — The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Texas’ strict voter ID laws Tuesday, meaning that hundreds of thousands of registered voters might be ineligible for the Nov. 4 midterm election.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that the law requiring people to present photo IDS to get regular ballots was unconstitutional by discriminating against minorities who might not be able to easily attain this form of identification.

However, the 5th Circuit Court, considered one of the most conservative in the nation, overturned the injunction, explaining that it was important to maintain “the status quo on the eve of an election.”

As a result, voters who can’t produce a valid driver’s license will need to obtain a photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles within the next two weeks. Meanwhile, early voting in Texas begins next Monday.

Photo IDS are typically supported by GOP lawmakers who argue they prevent fraud, multiple voting and voting by non-citizens. However, there has been little evidence over the years of widespread voter fraud anywhere in the U.S.

Opponents, generally Democrats, say it’s a thinly veiled attempt to suppress voting by minorities and the young, who mostly vote for Democratic candidates.

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Credit: US Department of State(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine and call for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In a press availability, Kerry said that he spoke with Lavrov “to discuss a broad array of issues,” including Ukraine. Kerry highlighted the need to implement all parts of a September agreement that centered around a cease-fire in Ukraine. “The shooting around Donetsk airport and other parts of eastern Ukraine has to stop,” Kerry said, adding that “foreign forces and weapons need to be withdrawn.”

Kerry also called for the restoration of sovereignty of the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Kerry told Lavrov that the only legitimate elections in Ukraine are those taking place in Rada on Oct. 26, and those in the Donbas special status zone on Dec. 7. “Any efforts to hold independence referenda in Luhansk and Donetsk at this time would be a violation of the Minsk agreements and the results will not be recognized by Ukraine or by the international community.”

“It is no secret that the United States and Russia have had our differences over Ukraine,” Kerry said on Tuesday. He did, however, note that he and Lavrov also discussed international issues including the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, situations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East peace process. On those topics, and on the issue of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, both the U.S. and Russia are in agreement and will continue to work closely together.

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Hisham Ibrahim/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. State Department announced rewards totaling up to $45 million for information leading to the capture of eight key leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a known terrorist organization.

The Department of State authorized a $10 million reward for information that helps them capture Nasir al-Wahishi, the “top leader” of AQAP. According to a State Department press release, al-Wahishi is responsible for “approving AQAP targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources and directing AQAP operatives to conduct attacks.” An additional $5 million each in rewards were authorized for information that aids in the capture of seven other AQAP leaders.

The State Department named Qasim al-Rimi, Othman al-Ghamdi, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, Shawki Ali Ahmed Al-Badani, Jalal Bala’idi, Ibrahim al-Rubaysh and Ibrahim al-Banna as the seven other leaders for whom rewards were offered.

AQAP was formed in January 2009, according to the State Department, by al-Wahishi, who had previously led the organization’s predecessor group — al-Qaeda in Yemen. The organization has since been involved in numerous terrorist attacks against the Yemeni government, the U.S. and other foreign interests, and was named a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in January 2010. Most recently, AQAP threats closed over 20 U.S. embassies in 2013.

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ABC/ LOU ROCCO(TRENTON, N.J.) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told an NAACP conference on Saturday that he “would rather die” than become a U.S. senator.

“The only job left for me to run for is United States Senate, and let me just say this: I would rather die than be in the United States Senate,” Christie told the conference attendees. “I would be bored to death.”

Christie continued, painting a picture of what Chris Christie, U.S. senator would look like. “Could you imagine me banging around that chamber with 99 other people? Asking for a motion on the amendment in the subcommittee? Forget it. It would be over, everybody,” the New Jersey governor said in his first address to the state’s NAACP conference in that position. “You’d watch me just walk out and walk right into the Potomac River and drown.”

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zimmytws/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Supreme Court blocked key aspects of a Texas law that would have closed all but a number of the state’s abortion clinics.

The court overturned a circuit court ruling that allowed the state to require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and also vacated an order that required doctors performing abortions at clinics in McAllen and El Paso to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The original law was heavily criticized, in part because it would have forced most of the state’s abortion clinics to close their doors.

In August, a district court rejected parts of the original law, a ruling that was overturned by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s decision allows abortion clinics to remain open during the appeals process, the New York Times says.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said that they would have allowed the law to be enforced.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — If you’ve taken a wrong turn on the GOP’s website lately, you may have come across an unusual error message.

First pointed out by TIME’s Zeke Miller, the 404 error page reads: “What do Hillary Clinton and this link have in common? They’re both ‘dead broke.’”

The former secretary of state told Diane Sawyer earlier this year that she and President Bill Clinton “came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt” following his presidency. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton reportedly makes an average of $20,000 per individual speaking appearance.

The Republican National Committee decided to take advantage of Clinton’s choice of words on its website’s error page.

“Just like Hillary Clinton never misses a chance to charge quarter-million dollar speaking fees, we never miss a chance to hold her accountable for being out-of-touch,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said.

“When we revamped GOP.com, this ‘404 error’ page for broken links just seemed right on many levels: First, there’s the infamous ‘dead broke’ comment — self-explanatory. Second, if you try to go to a page that’s devoid of content, you see a picture of [Clinton's book] Hard Choices. Third, what better symbol for a page that’s disconnected than Hillary Clinton?” Kukowski explained.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — While party lines run deep on immigration reform, perhaps one point not up for debate is that America’s current system is broken.

Just ask Judge Dana Leigh Marks, who works in immigration courts on the front lines.

“The result of ignoring the immigration courts for so long and not giving us sufficient resources has resulted in massive dysfunction,” Marks, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told ABC News.

“We call ourselves ‘the legal Cinderellas’ in the Department of Justice, because we feel that we have been ignored resource-wise,” Marks said.

“Last year $18 billion was spent on immigration law enforcement and only 1.7 perfect of that went to the courts,” she later added, noting that a majority of that funding goes to border patrol and the technology used to police fences.

Marks cited non-functioning equipment and understaffed offices as key culprits in the “massive dysfunction” that immigration judges are currently facing.

“It’s those kinds of everyday problems that make the system far less efficient, effective and accurate,” she said.

But the shortage of judges and resources doesn’t translate into cost-savings for taxpayers. Instead, Marks said it only makes things more expensive.

“The big picture for the American public is that it does cost more money,” she said. “People remain in detention longer waiting for court hearings, cases become stale in the process. …It means that circumstances change during the course of the litigation and people will ask to have their decisions reconsidered.”

Another key issue at play is the staggering backlog of individuals waiting for immigration judges to adjudicate them.

“Nationwide there’s more than 375,000 pending cases before 227 immigration judges who are sitting in the field,” Marks said. This works out to more than 1,500 cases per judge, but individual caseloads vary across the country. For example, Marks’ docket in San Francisco has more than 2,400 pending cases.

Marks estimated that any undocumented woman or child caught crossing the border since May 1 of this year has been brought to court within roughly a month of their arrest.

“Because of the concern that one of the magnets or attractors bringing people here might be the delays in the court, the administration has chosen to flip the docket and bring recent border crossers to the court within 21 to 28 days,” she said.

While the docket flip has meant that recent immigrants get their cases heard sooner and more quickly, those who arrived before May 1 wait much longer — an average of 14 months before their first arraignment-like hearing.

“Even if they were ready to go for their final day hearing that would take us another three and a half or four years to schedule,” Marks explained.

Another negative side effect of rushing recent immigrants through the court system, Marks said, is that it’s harder for immigrants to find available attorneys, both paid and volunteer, who aren’t already swamped with other cases.

On whether she and her colleagues are under added pressure to turn cases over more quickly, Marks said the pressure is indirect.

“There is not direct pressure applied to us, but we read the newspaper. When we shift our docket and have juveniles before us sooner than the case that I put off in order to hear that juvenile’s case, that person may suffer, “she said. “They’re in legal limbo, they may lose contact with witnesses that they need, the laws may change. …There’s a lot of personal price that people pay for the docket being so unwieldy at this time.”

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Feng Li/Getty Images(DENVER) — Hillary Clinton got laughs when she took a “pot” shot at Colorado’s marijuana laws during a campaign stop at a coffee shop.

During the former secretary of state’s visit to Denver Monday, a barista at the Pigtrain Coffee shop made Clinton a latte with artwork drawn into the foam, and boy did she get excited.

“Oh my god. Oh my god,” Clinton said, summoning over Sen. Mark Udall, who she was campaigning for in the state. “Look at this. Look at this.”

Atop Clinton’s latte was an image of a smiling pig, named after the local coffee shop the two politicians stopped by, that Clinton said she liked too much to actually drink. But, it was Udall’s latte, topped with one simple leaf, that really sent Clinton cracking.

“Look at you,” she said to him in wonder as the barista handed the second beverage over. And then it clicked.

“Is that a marijuana plant?” she quipped with a wink, the room erupting in laughter.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about a widespread epidemic of the Ebola virus in the United States, and about as many in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say the federal government is not doing enough to prevent it.

Indeed, more than four in 10 – 43 percent – are worried that they or an immediate family member might catch the disease. That’s similar to the level of concern about other viral outbreaks in some previous ABC/Post polls – but more consequential, given Ebola’s high mortality rate.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Despite these concerns, more than six in 10 are at least somewhat confident in the ability of both the federal government, and their local hospitals and health agencies, to respond effectively to an outbreak. Future views remain to be seen; most interviews in this poll were done before the news Sunday morning that a nurse who treated an Ebola patient in Dallas had herself become infected. (Results of interviews conducted Sunday were essentially the same as on previous nights.)

In terms of preventive actions, the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds near-unanimous support (91 percent) for stricter screening of incoming passengers from Ebola-affected countries in Africa. Two-thirds support restricting entry of such individuals into the United States.

The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,000 people, mainly in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, raising broad concerns about its rapid spread there and the risk globally. Margaret Chan, head of the World Health Organization, on Monday called it “the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times.” In five U.S. airports, the federal government is beginning to screen arriving passengers whose travel originated from the three most-affected countries.

Barack Obama, for his part, gets essentially an even split in his handling of the federal response to the Ebola outbreak: Forty-one percent of Americans approve and 43 percent disapprove, with typical partisan and ideological divisions.

WHO’S WORRIED –
Worries about catching Ebola are 13 percentage points more prevalent among women than men (49 vs. 36 percent), but the biggest differences are by education, income and race. Among people who have a postgraduate degree, just 20 percent are worried that they or an immediate family member might catch the Ebola virus. That rises to 32 percent of those with an undergraduate degree and to 50 percent among all those who lack a college degree – peaking at 62 percent of those who don’t have a high school diploma.

By income, worry ranges from 19 percent of those in the $100,000-plus bracket to 51 percent in less-than-$50,000 households, including 58 percent of those with incomes less than $20,000 a year. And by race, worry about catching Ebola is 21 points higher among nonwhites than whites, 57 vs. 36 percent. Indeed, a third of nonwhites, 32 percent, are “very” worried about becoming infected, compared with fewer than half as many whites, 14 percent.

These gaps may reflect differences in information about Ebola, different levels of confidence in the quality of health care available to each group, or some of both.

VIEWS of GOVERNMENT – There’s also a sharp difference by a combination of partisanship and ideology: While 27 percent of liberal Democrats worry about catching the virus, that rises to 44 percent of conservative Republicans. (Each group accounts for about one in seven adults.)

The reason seems clear: Conservative Republicans are vastly less likely than liberal Democrats to express confidence in the federal government’s ability to respond effectively to an outbreak, 48 vs. 84 percent.

Conservative Republicans also are far more apt than liberal Democrats to express concern about the possibility of a widespread outbreak, 73 vs. 45 percent, and to say the United States should be doing more to try to prevent further cases, 77 vs. 40 percent. (Differences also are reflected by partisanship alone and ideology alone. The divisions simply peak among the two most disparate political/ideological groups.)

The difference between these groups is much wider in terms of their confidence in the federal government to respond compared with their confidence in their local hospitals and health agencies. There’s a 36-point gap between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans on the former, compared with 15 points on the latter.

There are group differences on specific actions, as well. Restricting entry by people from affected countries wins less support from young adults vs. those age 30 and older (57 vs. 70 percent), and is less popular with liberals and Democrats compared with others.

COMPARISONS – At 43 percent, worries about catching the Ebola virus are lower than worries about catching the swine flu at their peak in October 2009, but higher than worries about catching the SARS virus in late April 2003. Those concerns fluctuated, and at other times were more similar to worry about Ebola now. In one other comparison, concern about catching the bird flu virus was similar in March 2006 to today’s level on Ebola.

Confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle an outbreak is similar to what it was for bird flu, but lower than it was for swine flu; the same pattern holds for confidence in local hospitals and health agencies.

The difference between those episodes and this one, as noted, is Ebola’s very high mortality rate – but also its lower risk of contagion.

Finally, the public’s sense that the federal government is “doing all it reasonably can do” to try to prevent an outbreak stands in stark contrast to views on a very different sort of public health crisis in a very different time, the anthrax attacks of fall 2001. At that time, in the midst of a post-9/11 rally in support of the federal government, 61 percent said it was doing all it could. As noted, just 33 percent say so now.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 9-12, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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State Department photo/ Public Domain(CAIRO) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Sunday at an international conference to aid reconstruction in Gaza following the airstrikes and missiles launched between Israeli forces and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip in recent months.

Kerry pledged $212 million in assistance to the Palestinian people, promising that with it would come “immediate relief and reconstruction.” The hope, the U.S. secretary of state said, is that the funding will be used to “help promote security and stability, and economic development, and it will provide for immediate distribution of food, medicine, and shelter materials for hundreds of thousands for the coming winter.”

Calling the tensions from this past summer “a difficult few months on a difficult issue in a difficult neighborhood,” Kerry spoke of the thousands of homes that were damaged or destroyed and the millions of Gaza residents forced to flee for safety.

Kerry said the key to reconstructing Gaza is to ensure the cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis remains in place. “The United States,” he said, “remains fully, totally committed to returning to the negotiations not for the sake of it, but because the goal of this conference and the future of this region demand it.”

Kerry said a two-state solution “is even more compelling today” than it was a year ago.

“It’s a time for leaders to lead,” Kerry said Sunday. “And at a time when extremism, which offers no constructive vision for the future, is capitalizing on the vacuum, it is imperative for all of us to fill that vacuum with a prospect of peace.”

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