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January 2015 Current Events: U.S. News

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Here are the key events in United States news for the month of January 2015.

  • NYC Police Officers Turn Their Backs on Mayor (Jan. 4): Thousands of New York City police officers turn their backs when Mayor Bill de Blasio eulogizes Officer Wenjian Liu, the officer who was shot and killed along with his partner, Rafael Ramos, while on the job in Brooklyn last month. The back-turning at Liu's funeral comes despite New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton urging the officers not to do so. The death of the two officers only increases the tension of an already strained relationship between Mayor de Blasio and New York City police unions. Union leaders argue that de Blasio helped create the environment that allowed the two officers to be killed in December by supporting the protests of the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

  • Jury Selection Begins for Boston Marathon Bombing Trial (Jan. 5): The jury selection begins for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial in Boston, Mass. There are 1,200 individuals in the jury pool. To be chosen, jury members will have to be willing to impose the death penalty if Tsarnaev is convicted. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to charges in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260 as well as the killing of an M.I.T. police officer.

  • U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Louisiana Same-Sex Marriage Case (Jan. 12): The U.S. Supreme Court decides not to hear a challenge to Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage. The court declines to hear the case while it is deciding whether or not to look at the issue of same-sex marriage again. There are four other cases concerning same-sex marriage that the court can choose to hear this week. Those cases concern same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The decisions to hear one or more of the cases is significant because if the court does take them on, it will then issue a ruling that will determine if the 14 remaining state bans are struck down. Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in 36 states. (Jan. 16): The Supreme Court decides to hear the four cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee in April. The cases will be consolidated and heard together. The ruling will be issued in June.

  • Ohio State Upsets Oregon in College Football Championship (Jan. 12): Fourth ranked Ohio State beat the second ranked Oregon Ducks, 42-20, to win the inaugural College Football Playoff championship. Even this season's Heisman winner, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, cannot stop the Ohio State Buckeyes, with their third-stringer quarterback Cardale Jones, from winning its sixth national championship. This is the Buckeyes first win since 2002. This is Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer's third national title, his previous two coming at Florida.