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Mass. Supremes Hand Chavez Victory

BOSTON -- In a 4-3 decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned Governor Mitt Romney's veto of a bill establishing a mutual defense pact between the Bay State and Venezuela.

The ruling by the court on the Massachusetts Constitution could set new legal ground, and drew quick reaction from advocates on both sides of the issue. Massachusetts' governor immediately denounced Tuesday's decision and said he would work for a constitutional amendment to overturn it. But in Caracas the news was greeted with citizens dancing in the streets, including their controversial leader.

"The radial policies of the Bush Administration and his Republican lap dogs continue to isolate our nation from the rest of the world," said former President Jimmy Carter. "Republicans would rather have the poor freeze to death than to have to deal with the real issues facing this country.

The pact had grown out of the a 2005 program initiated by Chavez to provide cheaper heating fuel for low income families in several areas of the United States. Some have questioned the motives of this generosity. Conservative Legislative leaders in Maine have asked that state's governor to refuse the subsidized oil, and New York Daily News criticized his offer by calling him an "oil pimp".

The Bush Administration has vowed to fight the state's intrusion into foreign policy all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.



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