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Articles Posted by Sandy

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  • Clean Water Act reach limited (per SCOTUS)

    06/19/2006 10:06:40 AM PDT · by Sandy · 52 replies · 2,032+ views
    SCOTUSblog ^ | June 19, 2006 | Lyle Denniston
    <p>A pluarlity of the Supreme Court concluded on Monday that the Clean Water Act's protection of "waters of the United States" is limited to those bodies of water that are "permanent, standing or continously flowing," and thus does not embrace channels through which water flows only some of the time. And, the Court added, "navigable waters" under the Act ordinarily is no broader than U.S. waters. The decision appeared to rule out protection against filling-in or pollution of wetlands not part of actual waterways. The actual impact of the plurality opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia appears to have been qualified by a lengthy concurrence by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who supplied a fifth vote for the result. Kennedy's opinion, it appears, will be the controlling one. After Scalia announced his opinion, Kennedy discussed his separate views.</p>
  • The Speech and Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution -- Good Info

    05/28/2006 10:09:52 PM PDT · by Sandy · 31 replies · 643+ views
    The Speech and Debate Clause[F]or any Speech or Debate in either House, they [Senators or Representatives] shall not be questioned in any other Place.~U.S. Constitution Art I, sec 6, cl 1.The Federal offenses of bribery and gratuities apply to payments made in consideration for, or to thank or curry favor with, Members of Congress and their legislative staffs. However, where an official of the Legislative Branch is the intended recipient, the task of proving the "official act" element can present prosecutors with unique challenges rooted in the Speech and Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. Constit. Art I, sec...
  • Government opposes swift rulings on abortion (Excellent explanation of the upcoming SCOTUS case)

    08/12/2005 1:51:54 AM PDT · by Sandy · 11 replies · 635+ views
    SCOTUSblog ^ | August 09, 2005 | Lyle Denniston
    The Bush Administration has mounted a wide-ranging challenge in the Supreme Court to the power of federal judges to stop new anti-abortion laws before they go into effect. In a friend-of-court brief filed Monday in a pending case from New Hampshire, the U.S. Solicitor General has argued that abortion restrictions should be blocked from enforcement only if they are invalid in all possible circumstances -- an argument that lower courts have increasingly refused to accept. That is an issue the Supreme Court has never explicitly decided. (The Solicitor General's brief is posted here.) The challenge was made in the pending...
  • States' Case Challenging Species Act Is Rebuffed (Supreme Court, Federalism, and the Texas Cave Bug)

    06/14/2005 11:20:23 AM PDT · by Sandy · 17 replies · 573+ views
    New York Times ^ | June 14, 2005 | LINDA GREENHOUSE
    A states'-rights challenge to enforcement of the Endangered Species Act...failed Monday when the justices, without comment, refused to hear it.The appeal had attracted widespread attention as the most potent of several efforts around the country to make the case that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce did not extend to protecting animal or plant species that lack commercial value and that live in only one state....[T]he justices' action on Monday provided the latest evidence that the Rehnquist Court's federalism revolution is on the wane....[The case] concerned six endangered species of small insects that live only in caves and sinkholes in...
  • Gonzales v Raich (The medical marijuana decision--key passages plus links)

    06/06/2005 10:34:17 AM PDT · by Sandy · 69 replies · 1,877+ views
    Lawrence Solum's Legal Theory Website | 6-6-2005 | Larry Solum
    IntroductionGonzales v. Raich, the medical marijuana case, was decided today. The decision was 6-3 to reverse the Ninth Circuit's opinion, which held that the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 exceeded Congress's power when applied to noncommercial marijuana consumed for medical use pursuant to a doctor's recommendation. Justice Stevens authored the majority opinion, and Justice O'Connor authored a dissenting opinion joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas, and Justice Thomas also wrote a dissent. Justice Scalia wrote a concurrence in the judgment. Links to the Opinions Majority (per Stevens, J.) Justice Scalia's Concurrence Justice O'Connor's Dissent, joined by the Chief...
  • From hostage to celeb in a blink (Ashley Smith)

    03/15/2005 4:34:02 AM PST · by Sandy · 480 replies · 10,186+ views
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | 03/15/05 | MICHELLE HISKEY, DON PLUMMER
    Two days after being held hostage in a killing spree that stunned metro Atlanta and much of the nation, Ashley Smith spent Monday discovering the perks--and the price--of sudden celebrity.National media outlets, film studios and book publishers--even a hostage training company--sought out the 26-year-old widowed mother to tell again the dramatic story of the seven hours she spent Saturday in her Duluth apartment with Brian G. Nichols. But with the national clamor to know the woman who said Nichols called her "an angel sent from God" comes a dark side. Smith is an angel with a troubled past--a record of...
  • Patents Pending [Eminent Domain--"Government takings" of drug patents. A way to get cheaper drugs.]

    02/25/2005 7:23:25 AM PST · by Sandy · 25 replies · 1,219+ views
    The American Prospect ^ | 2-23-05 | Barbara T. Dreyfuss
    Unless the drug industry starts to negotiate significantly lower prices, it may find itself battling debt-strapped states for control over the manufacture of drugs. States already take land and other property in order to benefit the public by building things such as roads and schools. Now some legislators and officials are saying they should be able to take away a drug company’s intellectual property, its patent. They want to give these patents, which allow a company to manufacture a product, to competitors that agree to sell the drugs to the states at much lower prices. Patents are the key to...
  • Doorknob swabs challenged--Technique to detect drugs, guns violates rights, cases contend (Oh FGS)

    09/09/2004 2:09:10 PM PDT · by Sandy · 28 replies · 1,406+ views
    The Salt Lake Tribune ^ | 09/06/2004 | Pamela Manson
    A man's home is his castle. To three Utahns, that means their sanctuary extends all the way to their doorknobs.    But they claim police are trespassing by wiping door handles with a cloth that collects traces of illegal drugs.   The men, in separate cases, are challenging the use of test results that allegedly revealed microscopic drug particles on their front doors - information officers used to bolster their requests for search warrants.   To the trio, the high-tech approach is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches.   A person has a subjective expectation of privacy in their...
  • Famed lawyer Gerry Spence will represent Muslim Oregonian lawyer accused in Madrid bombing

    08/29/2004 4:34:06 PM PDT · by Sandy · 29 replies · 918+ views
    The Oregonian ^ | August 27, 2004 | NOELLE CROMBIE
    Brandon Mayfield, the Portland-area lawyer and Muslim convert wrongly accused in the deadly Madrid train bombing, has hired celebrity trial lawyer Gerry Spence in a possible civil suit against the federal government. Spence has a high-profile client list that includes former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, the family of plutonium worker Karen Silkwood and white separatist Randy Weaver. The Wyoming-based Spence will work on the Mayfield case with a Portland civil rights lawyer, Elden Rosenthal, and a Newport lawyer, Michele Longo Eder. The attorneys, none of whom were available for comment Thursday, notified the federal court in Portland this week...
  • Pryor Casts Key Vote in Gay Adoption Case; Florida suit blocked from being reheard by 11th Circuit

    07/23/2004 1:02:15 PM PDT · by Sandy · 11 replies · 1,034+ views
    Fulton County Daily Report via ^ | 7-23-2004 | Jonathan Ringel
    Until Wednesday afternoon, the significance of Judge William H. Pryor Jr.'s recess appointment to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was largely symbolic. His appointment by President Bush outraged senators who objected to Pryor's record on issues such as gay rights, abortion and federalism. As Alabama attorney general, Pryor defended statutes criminalizing homosexual sodomy, spoke out against decisions legalizing abortion and won cases trimming congressional power over the states. Democrats blocked a vote on his nomination, but the president's recess appointment will allow him to be on the court through 2005. Since Pryor joined the bench in February, his...
  • Mass. High Court Grants 'Marriage' Benefits to Singles

    02/04/2004 8:30:56 PM PST · by Sandy · 10 replies · 132+ views
    ScrappleFace ^ | 2-4-2004
    (2004-02-04) -- Starting May 18, single people in Massachusetts can be granted a marriage license allowing them to enjoy all of the legal and social benefits that come with the term "married," even though they remain alone. The ruling by the state's Supreme Judicial Court comes on the same day the court declared, by a 4-3 vote, that a new law granting monogamous homosexual couples identical rights to monogamous heterosexual couples must refer to the arrangement as "marriage" rather than a civil "union." The majority ruled that any wording which differentiates among people creates a "second class" of citizens who...
  • Ban Turns Tobacco into Prison Prize -- Colorado move spawns black market, arrests

    10/15/2003 7:23:36 PM PDT · by Sandy · 18 replies · 338+ views
    Denver Post ^ | October 13, 2003 | Kirk Mitchell
    A prison-made "rollie" cigarette has one-tenth the tobacco of a Marlboro, but in Colorado prisons, where a smoke is now contraband, it is a more lucrative commodity than cocaine. An $11 can of Bugler tobacco can generate $5,000 in sales of toilet-paper-rolled cigarettes in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Cocaine, by comparison, only sees an 800 percent markup behind bars. "If people on Wall Street knew about this, they'd be investing in tobacco," said Bill Claspell, an investigator for the Colorado Department of Corrections' Office of Inspector General. A black market for tobacco sprang up the day it was outlawed...
  • A Dark Side To Home Schooling

    10/13/2003 10:32:18 PM PDT · by Sandy · 53 replies · 395+ views ^ | 10/13/03
    The school bus never stopped at the secluded trailer on Hickory Crossroads in rural North Carolina because for five years Nissa and Kent Warren home schooled their children. Then, as CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, county workers got an anonymous tip: better check on those kids. "This is one of those cases that will always haunt me," says Tom Lock, the Johnston County district attorney. For weeks, the parents tried to keep social workers out until the day detectives and Lock were called in. "I was stunned at the squalor that I saw," says Lock. "There was rotting food,...
  • No-Call List: Constitutional Doubt on Hot Political Issue

    09/27/2003 6:06:49 PM PDT · by Sandy · 80 replies · 372+ views
    New York Times ^ | September 27, 2003 | Adam Liptak
    The court decision late Thursday forbidding the government from carrying out a national do-not-call registry on First Amendment grounds will force appeals courts and lawmakers to make some excruciating choices. The registry, and indeed all measures to combat telemarketers, are enormously popular with the public. Already, Americans have listed 50 million phone numbers that they had hoped telephone solicitors would stop calling after Oct. 1, when the program was scheduled to go into effect. But the decision, by Judge Edward W. Nottingham of the Federal District Court in Denver, made what may legal experts say is a good case that...
  • Should you be scared of the Patriot Act?

    09/09/2003 6:36:44 PM PDT · by Sandy · 120 replies · 1,422+ views
    Slate ^ | September 8, 2003 | Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turner
    A Guide to the Patriot Act, Part 1What's hot for fall of 2003? Well, the USA Patriot Act, for one thing. Although it passed in Congress almost without dissent in the aftermath of Sept. 11, it's suddenly being revisited, and this time around some of the folks holding opinions have actually read the thing. Among its detractors are 152 communities, including several major cities and three states, that have now passed resolutions denouncing the Patriot Act as an assault on civil liberties. More than one member of Congress has introduced legislation taking the teeth out of its most invasive...
  • Man who crashed abortion clinic wins legal respite (Federal Judge: FACE Act partly unconstitutional)

    08/21/2003 9:03:08 PM PDT · by Sandy · 5 replies · 1,598+ views
    Houston Chronicle ^ | Aug. 20, 2003 | S.K. Bardwell
    Charges against a man accused of driving his van through the front entrance of a Houston abortion clinic in March were dismissed by a federal judge who ruled a part of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act unconstitutional. Planned Parenthood officials said they do not believe the opinion significantly weakens the FACE Act. Frank Lafayette Bird Jr., 61, of the 2300 block of Callie Street, was arrested after his van crashed through the doors of the Houston Planned Parenthood clinic on Fannin. No one was hurt in the crash. Bird, a well-known abortion protester, told authorities he conducted...
  • Flag-burning teen indicted for arson

    08/21/2003 8:18:24 PM PDT · by Sandy · 21 replies · 1,085+ views
    Houston Chronicle ^ | Aug. 21, 2003
    A Harris County grand jury indicted a Cypress teenager Wednesday for arson in a March flag-burning incident. Randall W. Heinrichs, 18, of the 14500 block of Enchanted Valley in Cypress, is accused in the March 22 burning of a U.S. flag that was displayed vertically on the building of Lumber Tag Specialties, said Kaylynn Williford, Harris County assistant district attorney. The building, in the 13300 block of Skinner,, was damaged in the fire and the flag was consumed, Williford said. No one was hurt. Heinrichs also is charged with criminal mischief in connection with a March 16 incident in which...
  • Thou Shalt Not Pray -- Does the Constitution hate God?

    08/21/2003 7:27:47 PM PDT · by Sandy · 19 replies · 312+ views
    Slate ^ | August 21, 2003 | Dahlia Lithwick
    One hesitates to spill one more drop of ink over Chief Justice Roy Moore--the demagogue judge who heads the Alabama Supreme Court and who--as of midnight last night--is in violation of a federal court order to remove a 5,000-pound monument to the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building. Moore, who's made a career of confusing his bench with a pulpit, has evinced such contempt for the rule of law, the Constitution, and the rest of this nation that he's unworthy of another word. There is, however, a constitutional problem highlighted by Moore's conduct and...
  • Bill Pryor's statement regarding Chief Justice Moore's announced intent to disobey the federal court

    08/14/2003 4:20:41 PM PDT · by Sandy · 260 replies · 608+ views
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information, Contact: Joy Patterson  (334) 242-7491 Suzanne Webb  (334) 242-7351 STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL PRYOR REGARDING ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHIEF JUSTICE MOORE THAT HE WILL NOT OBEY THE INJUNCTION OF THE FEDERAL COURT "The U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama recently served me, as Attorney General, with a certified copy of the injunction against Chief Justice Moore in the Ten Commandments case. Like others, I have awaited the announcement of the Chief Justice regarding his compliance with the injunction. Today the Chief Justice announced that he will not obey the injunction.Although I believe...
  • Kennedy’s Libertarian Revolution. Lawrence’s reach.

    07/10/2003 6:30:08 PM PDT · by Sandy · 146 replies · 689+ views
    National Review Online ^ | July 10, 2003 | Randy E. Barnett
    The more one ponders the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the more revolutionary it seems. Not because it recognizes the rights of gays and lesbians to sexual activity free of the stigmatization of the criminal law — though this is of utmost importance. No, the case is revolutionary because Justice Kennedy (and at least four justices who signed on to his opinion without separate concurrences) have finally broken free of the post-New Deal constitutional tension between a "presumption of constitutionality" on the one hand and "fundamental rights" on the other. Contrary to what has been reported repeatedly...