Archive for April, 2009

225px-davidsouterAssociate Justice David Souter, 69, has announced that he will retire from the Court after 18 years. The announcement comes as a complete surprise because, at 69, Souter is one of the younger members of the Court and was not expected to retire before John Paul Stevens or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He is twenty years younger than Stevens, who appears intent on remaining on the Court at least for the rest of this term.
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225px-condoleezza_rice_cropped225px-richard_nixonThere is an interesting exchange that has surfaced between a Stanford student and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford. The student confronted Rice about whether waterboarding is torture. She responded with a Nixonesque argument that, if the president ordered it, it cannot be a war crime. It sounds a lot like Nixon’s 1977 statement: “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” I discussed the Rice comment on this segment of Hardball.

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levy_markkilpatrick-stockton-logoThere is some more bad news for the D.C. bar this afternoon. Legal Times is reporting that Mark Levy, a well-known lawyer who headed the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice section of Kilpatrick Stockton has killed himself in his office — reportedly by a gunshot of a .38 calibre handgun to the head. The firm had told Levy that he was about to be laid off with a number of other lawyers due to the economy.

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Saudi Arabia flag150px-muslim_woman_in_yemenIts official. Saudi Arabia has its newest eight-year-old divorcee, but not due to any problem in Saudi Arabia with a man over 50 marrying an eight-year-old child. The girl’s lawyer reached an out-of-court settlement with the man who finally agreed to the divorce. A Saudi court twice rejected the mother’s effort to get a divorce for her daughter after the father effectively sold her to the older man as a bride for cash.
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225px-joe_biden_official_photo_portrait_2-cropped1Vice President Joe Biden’s office has had to issue a type of retraction after Biden advised people to avoid airplanes, subways and confined spaces due to the Swine Flu. Of course, you cannot just retract a vice presidential statement, so Biden’s office simply denied what Biden said and offered a new statement that he did not make.
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225px-antonin_scalia_scotus_photo_portraitjoel-reidenbergAssociate Justice Antonin Scalia publicly lashed out at Fordham Law Professor Professor Joel Reidenberg who having his students compile a 15-page dossier on his private life. For civil libertarians, Scalia’s objections to a lack of privacy is analogous to Rep. Jane Harman’s outrage over being intercepted as part of the NSA warrantless program that she helped approve.

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sistersTwo elderly sisters — Elizabeth Marie Grube, 70, and Elaine Volkert, 65 — have been arrested for selling heroin in a type of AARP-certified drug enterprise. Pennsylvania Police seized 400 bags of heroin from Grube home and 988 bags from Volkert’s home. Police also seized quantities of Oxycontin and marijuana in the raids.

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220px-barack_obamatorture -abu ghraibCivil libertarians were a bit disappointed again in President Barack Obama’s press conference on Wednesday. While he reaffirmed that he views waterboarding to be torture (a well-established legal fact), he repeatedly referred to what the Bush Administration did as a “technique” of interrogation and a “mistake.” I discussed the Obama press conference and the torture issues on this segment of Rachel Maddow. I will be discussing these issues again on tonight’s Hardball.

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140px-us_cdc_logosvgAndrew Speaker, the lawyer to cause an international health panic by getting on an international flight with tuberculosis, has filed suit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for invasion of privacy. In his complaint, he blames the CDC on the breakup of his marriage, claiming that the couple went through with the wedding but then broke up after the wedding and never turned in their marriage license. He insists that he never had the worse form of TB, though critics insisted that he did not know that until after he was quarantined.

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180px-bybee1Ninth Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee responded yesterday to critics about his infamous role in writing some of the torture memos. Notably absent is his earlier denial of being the author of the memos that he signed, according to close friends. He now stands by the torture memos and Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) says that Bybee should be given a medal for rationalizing torture. I discussed the Obama press conference and the torture issues on this segment of Rachel Maddow.
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180px-pig_usda01c0116The Obama Administration is finally getting ahead of this health care crisis: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have told reporters to stop calling this virus the “Swine” Flu — suggesting the ever-so-hip “H1N1′ virus. While it was the pork businesses that led to the change in nomenclature, Israel is moving to drop the reference due to religious objections to pork. It appears that even catching a swine-based flu is religiously problematic. The Obama Administration appears to have rejected “the virus formerly known as Swine Flu.”
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250px-sow_with_pigletImam Amadia Rachid has declared in Salerno, Italy that the swine flu virus is proof that the Koran is correct in its view of pigs. He noted that “We believe that what is happening shows the truth of our faith.” I still think a good solid Divinity School paper would be more user friendly on establishing the superiority of one’s faith.

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pcecompressed_horizontal Teachers at Plain City Elementary School in Utah are under fire after two mothers — Debbie Veldhuizen and Jamie Doak — discovered that their sons were abused in their severe disabilities unit but never told by the school due to privacy concerns. Then, when a teacher’s aide told them, the school fired the aide. They have filed a lawsuit against the school and officials.

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150px-cornwall_waveThe torts bar lost a hero this week. Washington personal injury lawyer Charles Schulze, 73, of Schulze & Pederson died in his rescue of two drowning boys off Pompano Beach, Florida.

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250px-torture_scene_implicates_uae_royal_sheikhSheik Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, the brother of the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Prince Mohammed, has been caught torturing a man that he accused of cheating him in a grain deal. Issa is shown shooting at the man who is bound in the sand and, with the help of a police officer, beating the man and forcing him to eat sand. The torture occurred at the royal ranch and was over a $5000 disagreement — for one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

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