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Hague court declines inquiry into church abuse cover-up

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has decided not to investigate or prosecute the former pope and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Victims of sexual abuse filed a complaint in 2011 asking the court to prosecute Benedict XVI, then the pope, and three other Vatican officials for what they called an international and systemic cover-up of sexual abuse that amounted to “crimes against humanity.”

The court responded in a letter dated May 31 that after analyzing the complaint, it determined that the matters “do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the Court.” The letter said that “some of the allegations” fell outside the court’s jurisdiction, which is to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In addition, the case did not appear to meet the court’s time limits. For the most part, the court may prosecute only crimes committed after it was constituted in July 2002, and even though the cases submitted by the victims involved more recent allegations, some of the supporting material the victims submitted predated 2002.

—Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Obama’s pen may determine scope of gay marriage ruling

WASHINGTON - A Supreme Court ruling this month that could overturn the ban on federal benefits for same-sex couples is presenting the Obama administration with a series of complicated and politically sensitive decisions: how aggressively to overhaul references to marriage throughout the many volumes that lay out the laws of the United States.

The decisions could affect Social Security checks, immigration laws and military benefits for same-sex couples, among many other issues, with the outcomes based on whether the couples live in a state that allows them to marry.

“We’re going to fight to ensure that legally married gay couples have access to all federal benefits and protections, irrespective of state borders,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization in Washington. “When it comes to federal benefits, it shouldn’t matter what side of a state border you live on.”

The court is expected to rule in the next two weeks. Based on the justices’ questions at oral arguments in March, legal analysts predict that the justices will overturn the law on the grounds that marriage is a matter for the states.

—Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

Palin returns to Fox News, after a brief split

Months after ending a sometimes tense working relationship, Sarah Palin and the Fox News Channel are back together.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate, has returned to Fox News as a paid contributor, Roger Ailes, the channel’s chairman, announced Thursday. Her first appearance will come Monday on “Fox and Friends,” the channel’s conservative morning show.

The announcement came about five months after Palin’s contract with Fox News expired. That contract, signed barely a year after Palin’s unsuccessful 2008 bid for vice president, was said to be worth $1 million a year, making her the highest-paid pundit at the channel.

Her new contract is almost certainly less costly for Fox, since Palin does not have the star power she once did. (Fox’s news release Thursday noted that in 2010, the year she joined Fox the first time, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.)

—Brian Stelter, The New York Times