Switched At Birth: Japanese Court Awarded Over $400,000 To Man Raised By Wrong Family

hospital-nursery250px-SwitchedAtBirthIntertitleA court in Tokyo has ordered a hospital to pay a 60-year-old man $411,100 (or Y38 million) for its negligence in 1953 in the switching of him with another baby. The man’s biological family was quite wealthy and the other baby was given a life of luxury with his other three brothers. The man however was sent to a poor Japanese family, never married, and is now an unemployed truck driver. What was interesting about the case is that at least one of the couple suspected something was wrong after the switch.

Continue reading

Judicial Appointments and Bad Faith

 By Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger

“Despite suggestions by the President, various Senators, and numerous commentators that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to act on judicial nominations, the text of the Constitution contains no such obligation.

-Adam J. White, “Toward The Framers’ Understanding of ‘Advice and Consent’: A Historical And Textual Inquiry,” 29 Harvard J. Law & Pub. Pol. 103, 147 (2005)

“… [T]he constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent in the judicial appointment process should be seen as a nondiscretionary duty constitutionally imposed upon the Senate and enforceable by the judiciary.” 

Lee Renzin, “Advice, Consent, and Senate Inaction-Is Judicial Resolution Possible?”, 73 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1739, 1751 (1998) 

The Constitution requires no more than a bare majority of the Senate to approve a judicial nominee.  How do we know this?  First, there are only five situations in which the Constitution mandates super-majority approval: conviction of an impeachable offense (Article I, Section 3); expulsion of a member of Congress (Article I, Section 5); overriding a presidential veto (Article I, Section 7); approval of a treaty (Article II, Section 2); and the convening of a constitutional convention (Article V).  Second, under a familiar rule of statutory construction known as “expressio unius est exclusio alterius,” the failure to include a super-majority vote requirement in the Appointments Clause means that no such requirement exists.

Nevertheless, the Senate has been able to transform its “advice and consent” function under the Appointments Clause into a sixth super-majority approval standard through its power under Article I, Section 5 to establish “the Rules of its Proceedings.”  And the consequences have been more strongly felt during the current administration than at any other time in our history, Continue reading

Kangaroo Commissions and Torture

230px-Sheikh_july2009

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

The five alleged 9/11 defendants currently being held at Guantanamo Bay where they have been detained since 2006, are currently preparing their defenses for trials that are scheduled for September 2014.  All five defendants have been subjected to what the United States government called enhanced interrogation techniques at CIA black sites even before they got to Gitmo. Continue reading

Parsonage Exemption Ruled Unconstitutional

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

USDistrictCourtSealThe “parsonage exemption” is found in 26 U.S. Code § 107 and states that a “minister of the gospel” does not have to include in his gross income, either the rental value of a home furnished to him or the rental allowance paid to him. Judge Barbara Crabb of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has held that the “parsonage exemption” is unconstitutional. Crabb wrote in the decision that the tax exemption “provides a benefit to religious persons and no one else, even though doing so is not necessary to alleviate a special burden on religious exercise.”

Continue reading

CryptoLocker, ransomware and holding the internet hostage

Submitted by Charlton Stanley, Guest Blogger

“I am regularly asked what the average Internet user can do to ensure his security. My first answer is usually ‘Nothing; you’re screwed’.”
   – Bruce Schneier

cryptolockerThe quote by Professor Bruce Schneier at the top of this article is the unvarnished truth by one of the leading internet and cryptography experts in the world. Which brings us to the subject of this story. The latest threat to everyone’s computer is a form of malware called “Ransomware.” This is not new, having first appeared years ago. Those first attempts were clumsy, the software codes easily broken, and the perpetrators caught. However, in the past few weeks the threat is back, more sophisticated and more dangerous than almost any malware threat to date. Although often referred to as a virus, it is not a true computer virus, because it does not self-propagate. It is a Trojan. Ransomware does not try to steal your files, passwords or photographs. Rather, it holds them hostage until you pay a ransom. There are several ransomware viruses going around, but CryptoLocker is the one getting the most media attention. How it works is this; you click on a file that may have arrived by email. Sometimes it will arrive by clicking on a web page link. Possibly a PDF of some business letter or report. Shortly after clicking an infected link, the image at the left appears. You will have no warning until it is too late. When the warning box appears, your files are already encrypted.  Follow me over the flip to see the message:

Continue reading