John Yoo Calls the Kettle Black

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. Continue reading

Will the Supreme Court’s Decision in AT & T Mobility v. Concepcion Bring an End to Class Action Lawsuits Against Large Corporations?

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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‘Bama Finally Bids Jim Crow Adieu

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.  Continue reading

Can Smartphones Be Searched Incident to Arrest?

-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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China: Who Will Rid Us of These Meddlesome Monks?

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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Carping Over Cosmetology: Spa Fights For Right To Use Flesh-Nibbling Fish in Arizona

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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Homeless Mom Charged With Felonies After Lying About Her Address To Get Her Son In Suburban Kindergarten

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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