Posts Tagged ‘legal

13
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama greets the crowd after campaigning in support of Rep. Edward Markey at a rally in Boston, June 12

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Today:

11:40: The President meets with Congressman John Dingell (at 3:30 there will be a ceremony on Capitol Hill to honor the longest-serving member of Congress)

12:0: Newtown Action Alliance holds press conference at Capitol to mark 6 month anniversary of Sandy Hook shootings. Live on C-Span

12:15: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

5:05: The President delivers remarks at LGBT Pride Month celebration

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In case you missed this incredible photo – See Smartypants

In a protest, Renata Teodoro, right, and her mother, Gorete Borges Teodoro, who was deported in 2007, met at a Mexican border fence.

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Steve Benen: Jobless claims show unexpected improvement

Lately, just about all of the news on initial unemployment claims has been good, and the new figures out this morning were unexpectedly encouraging.

…. In terms of metrics, when jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape, and when the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are being created rather quickly. We’ve been below the 370,000 threshold 23 of the last 26 weeks, and below 350,000 in 7 of the last 10 weeks.

More here

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NY Post: In a stunning move, the Obama Administration has thrust itself into the middle of the explosive federal stop-and-frisk trial and is taking sides against the NYPD, raising the odds of a outside monitor being appointed to oversee the controversial crime-fighting program.

…. The source said that Attorney General Eric Holder’s office notified the city that it intends to file briefs in support of claims by the Center for Constitutional Rights that cops are stopping suspects on the basis of race.

More here

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Legal Times: When President Barack Obama nominated two women to a key appeals court last week, he was adding to his lead when it comes to adding women to the federal bench, according to a new study.

Obama has successfully appointed a greater percentage of women to federal judgeships than any other president in American history …. The study doesn’t include the two recent nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard. (Neither pick has been confirmed.)

Forty-two percent of Obama’s successful nominations have been women, according to the study. That’s well above the rates of President George W. Bush (22 percent) and President Bill Clinton (29 percent), the study found. President Obama is the first president to appoint two women to the Supreme Court.

“This administration deserves credit for working to create a federal judiciary that more closely reflects the richness and diversity of the American people,” said AFJ President Nan Aron.

More here

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NYT: Six months after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and with no major gun legislation on the horizon in Congress, the White House is quietly moving forward on an executive package of gun safety measures.

The package, which includes 23 executive actions announced by President Obama earlier this year, is intended to bolster the nation’s database used for background checks and make it harder for criminals and people with mental illnesses to get guns.

Among other things, the executive orders relax health care privacy regulations that some state executives say prevent them from putting the names of those Americans with mental health records into the database. The orders also give states more money to help them add data to the system and compel federal agencies to share more mental health data on workers. The goal is to add thousands of new people into the database — those with a history of mental illness, for example — who would not legally be allowed to buy a gun under current law.

More here

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Kevin Drum: …. there’s a little piece of me that admires such naked chutzpah. Issa is basically saying that it’s OK to release little pieces of the interviews that are ripped out of context to create a false impression of White House involvement, but it would be reckless to release full transcripts that pretty clearly shows the White House had nothing to do with any of this.

Who thinks up this stuff?

More here

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Bill Scher (The Week): Why conservatives can’t whitewater Obama – The Republican Noise Machine is falling on deaf ears

Twenty years ago, conservative media mavens seemed able to turn any minor flap into scandal gold …. yet today, no matter how loud conservatives scream “Benghazi,” “Solyndra,” “Fast and Furious” and even “Intim-O-Gate” (Glenn Beck’s failed attempt to brand the IRS and leak investigation controversies), President Obama glides past. His poll numbers remain relatively stable.

There is not really a “what did the president know” drumbeat, and no suggestion he warrants independent investigation. Calls for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation died down following his meeting with Washington media bureau chiefs. Benghazi lightning rod Susan Rice just got a promotion, and her Republican antagonists are pledging cooperation.

What happened to the Republican Noise Machine? Here are three reasons it’s sputtering….

More here

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Mediaite: …. Stephen Colbert sent up the NSA’s expansive surveillance programs, saying, “Millions of Americans whose privacy has been invaded were shocked to learn that anything on the internet was ever private.”

“Now, I have to admit, at first I found this program to be a shocking breach of the public trust,” Colbert said of PRISM. “The intimate details I share from my Gmail account are no business of big government. They are for one purpose only: so I can get targeted ads for boner pills.”

“But then I learned that PRISM targets only foreigners!” Colbert put up a photo of the Statue of Liberty. “Evidently that torch of freedom is only for Americans. For the rest of the world, she’s holding a boom mic.”

More here – including the video

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Washington Post: The CIA’s deputy director plans to retire and will be replaced by White House lawyer and agency outsider Avril D. Haines, Director John O. Brennan said Wednesday.

Haines, who will succeed career officer Michael Morell on Aug. 9, has served for three years as President Obama’s deputy counsel in charge of national security issues and as legal adviser to the National Security Council. Although she has never worked inside the intelligence agency, “she knows more about covert action than anyone in the U.S. government outside of the CIA,” Brennan said in his first interview since becoming CIA director in March.

More here

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Steve Benen: ….. Wisconsin Republicans are poised to approve a rather remarkable piece of legislation. The state Senate, led by an enraged Senate President Mike Ellis, pushed through an anti-abortion measure that would, among other things, require women in Wisconsin to have an ultrasound before terminating an unwanted pregnancy….

…. It is a profound example of big government run amok: the bill Scott Walker intends to sign puts politics between people and their doctors, on purpose, requiring invasive medical procedures to satisfy the agenda of a right-wing culture war.

…. This is, of course, exactly the kind of right-wing agenda voters rejected in 2012, when Republicans were slammed for having launched a “war on women,” giving Democrats a crucial gender-gap advantage.

More here

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itsnotjustakin.com

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Greg Sargent: House GOP stomps all over Republican rebranding

Consider what the House GOP is up to right now. House Republicans recently passed an immigration amendment, pushed by anti-reform diehard Steve King, that would effectively mandate the deportation of the “DREAMers” who were taken to the U.S. as children. House Republicans are planning a vote next week on a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, after defeating amendments that would exempt cases of rape or incest. And yesterday, House Republicans approved a version of the 2012 National Defense Reauthorization Act that contains what The Advocate calls “three controversial, antigay amendments, one of which is aimed at delaying repeal implementation of don’t ask, don’t tell.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Connecticut is on the cusp of enacting a major new law to protect people who are homeless from discrimination.

Last week, Connecticut lawmakers passed the “Homeless Person’s Bill Of Rights” at the literal 11th hour — 11:30pm on June 5th, one half hour before the legislative session ended. The bill, SB 896, a landmark piece of legislation to protect homeless individuals’ rights, adds homeless people as a protected class who can’t be discriminated against in employment, housing, or public accommodations. It also includes protections for homeless people to move freely in public spaces, such as parks and sidewalks, without being singled out for harassment by law enforcement officers.

More here

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Headline of the Week?

‘Congressman Demands Obama Apologize To Oklahoma For Investing In Climate Change Research’

ThinkProgress

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TPM: A survey released Wednesday by a Republican-aligned pollster found Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) earning the support of nearly half of voters and claiming a decisive 12-point edge in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election.

The automated survey from Harper Polling showed Markey with the support of 49 percent of Massachusetts voters, while Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez trailed with 37 percent support. Harper launched in December with the intention to rival Democratic-leaning outlets such as Public Policy Polling that have long owned the automated poll market.

More here

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A year ago….

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama present a birthday cake to Assistant Usher Reggie Dickson following a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony and dinner, June 13, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

13
Sep
11

‘a remarkable diversity achievement’

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to a reception for the new Supreme Court Justice at the White House, on Aug. 12, 2009.

AP: President Barack Obama is moving at an historic pace to try to diversify the nation’s federal judiciary: Nearly three of every four people he has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities. He is the first president who hasn’t selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships.

 More than 70 percent of Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were “non-traditional,” or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of the authoritative book “Picking Federal Judges”.

 “It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement,” said Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst…

 …. The president won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. With the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, he has put three women on the high court for the first time. The Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship: former Clinton administration official J. Paul Oetken, to an opening in New York City.

 … Of the 98 Obama nominees confirmed to date, the administration says 21 percent are African-American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian-American and almost half – 47 percent – are women…

 … “The more diverse the courts, the more confidence people have in our judicial system,” said Nan Aron of the liberal Alliance for Justice. “Having a diverse judiciary also enriches the decision-making process.”

Full article here

28
Jun
11

‘libyan legal limbo’

Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule (Slate): President Obama’s decision to ignore the Office of Legal Counsel’s advice about Libya has shocked and worried critics on the left and right. Yet the decision emerged from what was essentially a bureaucratic conflict – the State Department and the White House Counsel’s Office said the U.S. military intervention in Libya was permissible under the War Powers Resolution, OLC and the Department of Defense disagreed – and the uninitiated may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. Isn’t choosing among the views of his advisers what the president is supposed to do?

The president’s critics say that in important legal matters, it’s the job of OLC (which is part of the Justice Department) to weigh the competing views and issue an opinion that presidents are presumptively bound to respect ….  there is no reason that the president – the sole officer of government constitutionally required to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” – should be bound, even presumptively, by the legal views of those who are, after all, merely his servants.

… suppose that OLC does provide independent legal advice. There is nothing objectionable about a presidential decision to adopt the views of one set of legal advisers over those of another. The procedure the White House followed – hearing from legal advisers in four offices, with diverse expertise and perspectives – seems a sensible approach to decision-making. Interpreting the War Powers Resolution is not like reading a speed limit sign; the statute is riddled with ambiguities….

… A president need not have or consult any legal advisers at all ….  It is mysterious why it is controversial that a president should get to decide which, if any, of his own creatures he will deign to hear. OLC exists to serve the presidency, not the other way around.

Full article here

14
May
11

‘a liberal’s guide to why killing bin laden was legal’

Adam Serwer: ….I realize that killing bin Laden was popular, but as someone who believes that the fight against terrorism can and should be conducted according to the rule of law, it’s important to make clear why killing bin Laden was legally justified.

Assassination is illegal under U.S. law! The executive order banning assassinations doesn’t apply to the targeting of lawful military targets during wartime … the Congress of the United States authorized the use of military force against bin Laden in full view of the public in 2001….

Killing bin Laden was illegal under international law! Human Rights First Daphne Eviatar: “As the leader of al Qaeda – an armed group against whom the U.S. is at war – who appears to have had a significant role directing its fighting forces, [Osama bin Laden] is targetable. It’s similar to the targetability of the commander-in-chief of any regular armed forces at war.”

But he was unarmed! …It would be illegal to kill bin Laden if he had surrendered or been captured first … Combatants aren’t legally required to allow lawful targets to arm themselves before killing them, rather the onus was on bin Laden to surrender.

Didn’t we violate Pakistan’s sovereignty? Maybe, but Jeremy Scahill reported in 2009 on the existence of a secret deal between Pakistan and the United States to allow the U.S. to go after bin Laden if they found him in Pakistan, while Pakistan would condemn any such operation after the fact.

What about Nuremberg? The Nazis got trials! In my view, a trial would have been morally preferable to killing bin Laden, but the absence of one doesn’t make his killing illegal. … I would have preferred seeing bin Laden face a federal judge. Of course, there’s another issue to consider here: How the hell do you find a fair and impartial jury to hear the case against Osama bin Laden in the United States?

Full post here

21
Mar
11

‘smartly played’

President Barack Obama speaks at the La Moneda Cultural Center in Santiago, March 21

USA Today: …. A week ago, virtually no one thought it possible that the Security Council would authorize a no-fly zone over Libya, much less a resolution permitting ” all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

President Obama insisted on this for good reason. It provides a legal basis for the intervention and neuters any claim — useful to Gadhafi and other miscreants — that this is an exercise in American imperialism. It is akin to successful military actions such as the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the mid-1990s peace engineered in Bosnia, and distinctly unlike the 2003 Iraq invasion.

America’s interests are further helped by Obama’s eagerness to reduce the U.S. military profile in favor of others. He demanded that the Arab League not just endorse a no-fly zone but also participate in enforcing one. Several nations agreed.

Obama’s plan to step back within days after the initial attacks and cede substantial leadership to Europeans and Arabs is particularly wise. Both have much more at stake in Libya than the U.S. does. There’s no reason other than hubris that the United States should bear their burden instead.

Against those facts, complaints that Obama moved too slowly look bombastic. Lacking adequate groundwork, he should not have moved at all, and even so, the course of events is disturbingly uncertain.

Military intervention should always be a last resort, and if ultimately necessary, it should be aimed at a clear, attainable goal and fought with total commitment.

Whether the Libyan attack meets that standard remains to be seen. It is a high-stakes gamble, but at least one that appears smartly played at the outset.

Full article here

10
Mar
11

this is what happens when the gop get the keys back….

Protestors looks through a door being blocked by police officers at the Wisconsin  State Capitol on March 9. The Wisconsin Republican Senators voted to curb collective bargaining rights for public union workers in a surprise vote with no Democrats present.

Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (Dem): “In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin.”

Mike Tate, chairman of the Wisconsin Democrats responds:  “Using tactics that trample on the traditions of our Legislature, the Republican leadership has betrayed our state. Republicans have rubber-stamped the desire of the Koch Brothers and their godshead Scott Walker to cripple Wisconsin’s middle class and lower benefits and wages for every single wage-earner in our state. The vote does nothing to create jobs, does nothing to strengthen our state, and shows finally and utterly that this never was about anything but raw political power. We now put our total focus on recalling the eligible Republican senators who voted for this heinous bill. And we also begin counting the days remaining before Scott Walker is himself eligible for recall.”

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Ezra Klein: …Wisconsin Republicans took the drastic step of breaking up the budget repair bill and passing only a measure rolling back the collective bargaining rights of public employees. A committee removed some parts of the bill, allowing Republicans to pass it by a simple majority, without missing Dems, and it’s expected to pass the Assembly….

….This kind of conduct is exactly what recalls are for … This latest move is in direct contradiction of a recent pledge by the head of Wisconsin senate Republicans not to pass the bill without Democrats present. By treating the collective bargaining piece as a non-fiscal provision, Republicans have also revealed that Walker’s repeated claims that the anti-union push was all about the budget to be a complete falsehood…..

…And then there’s the prank Koch call, where he repeatedly laughed along as someone he took to be a major donor talked about planting troublemakers among protestors and suggested bringing a bat to his next meeting with Dems. The record here is really striking in its misconduct.

…Republicans blindly following Walker have pulled a stunt that will only exacerbate grassroots anger in Wisconsin and leave national unions and liberal groups no alternative but to pour everything they have into recall drives. National Republicans can’t be happy about this overreach: It has galvanized the labor movement, allowed it to restate its case to the public, given Obama an easy way to mend fences with unions, and complicated GOP outreach to blue collar whites in key swing states and districts heading into 2012.

This is exactly the sort of conduct that justifies recalls. This will only escalate from here on out.

Full article here

26
Jan
11

jeez dennis, your teeth look fine to me

President Obama with Rep Dennis Kucinich, March 23, 2010

Salon: Dennis Kucinich is suing the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria because of a sandwich.…The Cleveland congressman filed suit against a number of companies that supply and run the congressional eatery, because in 2008 he bit into a “sandwich wrap” of some kind and hurt his teeth on an olive pit.

According to the suit: “Said sandwich wrap was unwholesome and unfit for human consumption, in that it was represented to contain pitted olives, yet unknown to plaintiff contained an unpitted olive or olives which plaintiff did not reasonably expect to be present in the food prepared for him, and could not visually detect prior to consumption.”

Kucinich claims he suffered “serious and permanent dental and oral injuries” and has sustained “other damages as well,” including “suffering and loss of enjoyment.” He is seeking  $150,000 in damages. Gawker found video of Kucinich talking on the floor of the house five days after Olivegate, and he seems fine…

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