Archive for April, 2011

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced that he was considering an Executive Order that would mandate that all contractors who receive Federal money must disclose their political contributions.  Since I am not a big fan of Executive Orders and since President Obama was not a big fan of Executive Orders when he was a candidate, I was not especially enthralled about the possibility of another Executive Order.  However, once I read what the proposed Executive Order was going to do, I have to admit that I embraced it with open arms. (more…)

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the case of AT & T Mobility v. Concepcion.  The justices split along ideological lines once again. The 5 to 4 decision came down on the side of corporations—and most likely eliminated the right of citizens to band together to bring class action lawsuits against large corporations.

The Concepcion case involved cellphones and a common type of contract that requires customers to press their claims through arbitration instead of through lawsuits. As reported by Robert Barnes in The Washington Post, these types of contracts “which mandate individual rather than group claims, are becoming standard for companies offering loans, cable service, credit cards and even employment.”

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Well, the Alabama Senate finally got around to it. A vote Wednesday eliminated Jim Crow laws and other segregationist measures in the State’s 340,000 word constitution that was adopted in 1901. The struck language eliminates requirements for separation of the races in educational institutions and the infamous polls taxes. The vote was 22-9 with all Republican senators voting in favor of the legislation.

Some Democratic legislators opposed the bill as too little, too late. Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, said there were still racist problems in Alabama’s constitution, including schools that she said are not equitably funded. “This bill to me is a farce. It’s a smokescreen,” Coleman said. ” Jim Crow is still here…. We know there are disparities,” she added.  (more…)

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

In the 1969 case Chimel v. California, the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, held that an “arresting officer may search the arrestee’s person to discover and remove weapons and to seize evidence to prevent its concealment or destruction.” The search also included “the area “within the immediate control” of the person arrested, meaning the area from which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.” This case created the Chimel rule allowing warrantless searches incident to a lawful arrest.

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After arresting hundreds of Christians for attempting to worship in unapproved services, the Chinese have turned to Buddhists for a crackdown that has reportedly taken the lives of two Tibetans. Chinese forces raided the Kirti Monastery (shown left) after accusing monks of disrupting social order and . . . wait for it . . . defaming their religion. That’s right, the government that occupied Tibet, killed Tibetan monks, sent the Dalai Lama in hiding, and destroyed countless temples has accused these monks of defaming their own religion.

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The Arizona Court of Appeals heard an interesting argument this week that is newsworthy for two reasons. First, there is a legal dispute over whether spa can use live fish to nibble dead skin off the feet of customers. Second, a spa wants to use live fish to nibble dead skin off the feet of customers. The state insists that there is no way to sterilize the Garra Rufa fish, a tiny carp.
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Tanya McDowell is a homeless mother who is criminally charged for the crime of lying about her address to get her son into a suburban kindergarten in Connecticut. She is now charged with felony larceny and conspiracy after Housing Authority lawyer, Donna Lattarulo, reported McDowell to the police after suspecting that she was using her babysitter’s address to get her son into the kindergarten.
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Not that we need signs of our economic crisis, but Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke made a chilling observation this week at an event talking about the company’s operations. Duke said his customers are simply “running out of money.”
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This morning I kissed by co-human carer and fed my companion animal before sitting down to blog on the recent publication by the Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, a theologian and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Linzey has denounced the use of the word “pet” and “owner” as derogatory. Don’t even get him started on references to animals as “beasts” or “critters.”
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Broward Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes probably does not like bringing work back home with her, but sometimes works shows up anyway. Holmes, her sister and her sister’s family were ordered at gun point by several Broward Sheriffs Deputies on Easter Sunday in a botched police raid. The police went to the wrong address. Police were responding to a report of a break-in next door.
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While the Obama Administration has commenced a third war in Libya and is spending billions every week in military operations from Kabul to Tripoli, it is shutting down various domestic programs for lack of funds. The latest is the Allen Telescope Array — a large number of small satellite dishes that search for extraterrestrial life in Northern California. The prohibitive cost? $1.5 million dollars a year (an additional $1 million is used on data collection and analysis). In the meantime, the Administration is refusing to yield to the latest Afghan official insisting that the country does not want or need U.S. troops and yet another case of an Afghan soldier killing U.S. personnel — this time eight U.S. soldiers and one contractor killed by one of our allies.
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Atlanta Police are investigating an incident captured in the video below where an officer is shown first slapping and then punching a woman in an altercation. The woman and her friends insist that they were arrested without cause. The ACLU is calling the case a matter of excessive force.
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Having just given my final torts exam last night, this story caught my eye. In Madrid, a 25-year-old Spanish man from Andalusia sued his parents after they stopped giving him allowance money and demanded the resumption of $588 a month.
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The Pentagon is being criticized for posting the online plans for its new office building in Alexandria, including details on what is needed to blow up the new building. The 424-page Army Corps of Engineers document explains to any web-surfing terrorist how the Mark Center was designed . . . and identifies its vulnerabilities to explosives.
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We have previously followed the trend against free speech in the West ranging from anti-blasphemy laws (including a resolution supported by President Obama) to hate speech prosecutions for criticizing everything from religion to homosexuality to overweight people. England has been a focus of many of these stories. Now, on the Isle of Wight, musician Simon Ledger, 34, has been arrested after singing “Kung Fu Fighting” and a passing person of Chinese descent cried foul.

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