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Tag: Law

Fear, Loathing and the Crisis of Confidence

A recent study found that one-third of Americans “believe in a broad smorgasbord of conspiracy theories,” which really isn’t that surprising considering we have a government that has gone out of its way to undermine the rule of law and public accountability.

Posted on Dec 20, 2007 READ MORE


Surviving a CIA ‘Black Site’

The kidnap and torture program of the Bush administration, with its secret CIA “black site” prisons and “torture taxi” flights on private jets, saw a little light of day this week.

Posted on Dec 18, 2007 READ MORE


Supreme Court
supremecourtus.gov

Supreme Court Rules Against Mandatory Minimums

The Supreme Court decided on Monday that federal sentencing guidelines, a kind of back seat judging considered by many to be racist, should be treated as “advisory” and not at all mandatory. Justices Alito and Thomas, to no one’s great surprise, were the only dissenters.

Posted on Dec 10, 2007 READ MORE


students protest Ashcroft
theithacajournal.com

Students Confront Ashcroft

Some 150 students donned hoods and turned their backs in silent protest of former Attorney General John Ashcroft at Cornell University on Thursday. Cornell law student and protest co-planner Michael Siegel told Truthdig the demonstrators were meant to represent “the detainees who were arrested and imprisoned without due process under Ashcroft’s leadership.”

Posted on Nov 30, 2007 READ MORE


America’s Gulag Goes Before the Court

The Supreme Court will soon revisit the constitutionality of Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of men languish without any real legal recourse.

Posted on Nov 28, 2007 READ MORE


Saudi women
news.bbc.co.uk

Saudi Court Punishes Rape Victim

A Saudi woman has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail by an appeals court because she was riding in a car with a man when she was attacked and gang-raped by seven men. It is forbidden in Saudi Arabia for unmarried men and women to be together. She was 19 at the time of the attack.

Posted on Nov 15, 2007 READ MORE


Mukasey
nytimes.com

Your New Attorney General

Michael Mukasey has been sworn in as U.S. attorney general, a day after 53 senators decided that a man who doesn’t know what torture is should have the job. But the real blame—for anyone who objects to the confirmation, that is—should be reserved for Democrats Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, who made Bush’s day when they gave Mukasey the green light.

Posted on Nov 9, 2007 READ MORE


Schumer and Feinstein Hand Torture a Victory

Do we really need another attorney general who doesn’t know what torture is? The Senate Judiciary Committee just barely approved the nomination of Michael Mukasey on Tuesday. He is expected to breeze through the rest of the process. Remember some weeks from now, when the head of the Justice Department is a man who, despite fact and testimony and common sense, can’t call torture by its name, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer are responsible.

Posted on Nov 6, 2007 READ MORE


A Vote for Mukasey Is a Vote for Torture

U.S. attorney general nominee Judge Michael Mukasey admits waterboarding is repugnant, but refuses to say whether it amounts to torture. Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein voted for his confirmation anyway.

Posted on Nov 6, 2007 READ MORE


The ‘T’ Word

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Posted on Nov 6, 2007 READ MORE


execution chamber

Supreme Court Puts Executions on Hold

The Supreme Court has placed a temporary moratorium on the death penalty while it considers the legality of lethal injection, which should take months. Justices Scalia and Alito dissented from the opinion, which spared prisoner Earl Wesley Berry only minutes before he was to be killed.

Posted on Oct 31, 2007 READ MORE


uncle sam

America Is Watching You

The “Last Days of Democracy” author warns that Congress is about to aid the Bush administration with its Orwellian plans by granting retroactive immunity to the telecommunications giants for helping the government spy on Americans.

Posted on Oct 30, 2007 READ MORE


redacted constitution
Original from archives.gov

The American Police State

A Dallas jury, a week ago, caused a mistrial in the government case against this country’s largest Islamic charity. The action raises a defiant fist on the sinking ship of American democracy.

Posted on Oct 29, 2007 READ MORE


Don’t Give Mukasey a Pass

The nominee for attorney general doesn’t know “what is involved” in waterboarding, and he appears to back Bush’s usurpation of power.  Isn’t it time for the Democrats to grow some spine?

Posted on Oct 24, 2007 READ MORE


A Word in the Hand

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Posted on Oct 24, 2007 READ MORE


Bush and Cheney
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

On the Eve of Destruction

The former intelligence officer and weapons inspector argues that the president’s recent World War III comment offers some rare insight into the highly secretive world of George W. Bush’s White House, where the leader of the free world gets advice from reckless neoconservatives, “war criminal” Dick Cheney and “God.”

Posted on Oct 22, 2007 READ MORE


smoking pot
sciam.com

Portugal’s New Fix for Drug Users

Portugal is the latest European country to pick up on a growing trend of favoring therapy over jail for possession and use of small amounts of illegal drugs.  Critics of the new law worry that Portugal will become a hot spot for foreign drug users, but supporters believe the law will shift the focus of the government’s anti-drug efforts from users to traffickers and will give addicts a better chance to get clean.

Posted on Oct 8, 2007 READ MORE


swift boat ad
youtube.com

Politicians Free to Lie In Washington State

Get ready for the inevitable barrage of jokes on late-night television:  The Washington state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a law holding politicians legally accountable for lying about their opponents is unconstitutional.

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 READ MORE


Congress Tries to Close Blackwater Loophole

The House voted 389 to 30 to pass a bill that would make private contractors working for the U.S. government in Iraq subject to United States law. It’s the second time Congress has attempted to apply some sense to the legal vacuum created by the Bush administration and its Coalition Provisional Authority, which pushed through what amounts to blanket immunity for mercenaries.

Posted on Oct 5, 2007 READ MORE


Supreme Court
wonkette.com

Justice for Sale?

The Supreme Court, arguably the most powerful institution in our democracy, manages to fly a bit under the radar. Take, for example, the $1.5-million advance Rupert Murdoch paid Clarence Thomas to write a book. Conflict of interest, perhaps? The Nation’s Jon Wiener thinks so.

Posted on Oct 2, 2007 READ MORE


Gen. Pace on Gays and ‘God’s Law’

While attempting to clarify his previous remarks on the immorality of homosexuality, outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace on Wednesday managed to put his foot even deeper into his mouth, saying that, while he’s willing to keep an open mind, our nation should not “condone activity [read: gay sex] that, in my upbringing, is counter to God’s law.”

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 READ MORE


Privatizing Murder

There is no set piece more emblematic of the tragic farce that is the American involvement in Iraq than the grotesque episode of Blackwater USA and the killing of civilians in Baghdad—at least nine and as many as 28—on Sunday.

Posted on Sep 20, 2007 READ MORE


Tipping the Scales of Justice in Jena

The Jena Six, teenage victims of good old-fashioned, Deep South racism, have won a crucial battle in their struggle against prejudice.

Posted on Sep 18, 2007 READ MORE


driving woman
csmonitor.com

Saudi Women Lobby to Drive

Challenging their culture’s conservative gender laws, a group of Saudi Arabian women from the Committee of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars is preparing to petition King Abdullah to allow women to, well, drive cars.

Posted on Sep 18, 2007 READ MORE


UC Irvine Fires Liberal Law School Dean

In a move that shocked legal scholars and outraged faculty, University of California Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake has fired noted liberal law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who had signed a contract only a few days ago to become the first dean of UC Irvine’s new law school.

Posted on Sep 13, 2007 READ MORE


Intelligence Chief Gets His Facts Mixed Up

After German authorities foiled a terror plot earlier this month, U.S. National Intelligence Director J. Michael McConnell was all to eager to give credit to recently revised FISA rules, arguing, in effect, that potential civil liberty violations helped save American lives. Woops. It turns out that much of the information used by the Germans was obtained under the old FISA law, which McConnell continues to claim wasn’t effective enough.

Posted on Sep 13, 2007 READ MORE


Gay Marriage Approved in California, Again

Arnold Schwarzenegger has until mid-October to put his pen where his mouth is on gay issues. For the second time, the California Legislature has passed a law that would make marriage in the state gender-neutral. The governor vetoed the first effort back during his more conservative phase.

Posted on Sep 7, 2007 READ MORE


The Bigger Bathroom Picture

Whether or not Larry Craig manages to save his Senate career, the circumstances of his arrest bear exploring. Isn’t there a better way to secure an airport bathroom than the institutionalized entrapment and humiliation of gay men?

Posted on Sep 5, 2007 READ MORE


Abu Ghraib: One of Al’s Claims to Fame

It was among the worst nightmares of U.S. history, and it sprang from the brutal thinking that Attorney General Gonzales trafficked in.

Posted on Aug 28, 2007 READ MORE


Satire: Cheney Hides in Plain Sight

In a bold new strategy to avoid a congressional subpoena, Vice President Dick Cheney today declared himself a national monument.

Posted on Jul 7, 2007 READ MORE


With Friends Like These, Who Needs Judges?

Remember when President Bush promised to fire anyone in the White House involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity? How far we’ve come. “Scooter” Libby’s commutation is but the latest outrage perpetrated by an administration more concerned with protecting its secrets than the rule of law.

Posted on Jul 6, 2007 READ MORE


Pardon Fight!

The White House isn’t taking kindly to former President Bill Clinton’s characterization of the Libby commutation as being “consistent with their philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do. ...”  Oh, snap!  Bush spokesman Tony Snow fired back with a reference to Clinton’s own pardon record: “I don’t know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it.”

Posted on Jul 5, 2007 READ MORE


The Supremely Disappointing Court

Let me wish the Supreme Court justices a fond farewell as they set out on their summer vacation. We can all rest assured now that they won’t do any more damage until the first week in October.

Posted on Jul 5, 2007 READ MORE


Trashing Precedent

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Posted on Jun 29, 2007 READ MORE


The Way-Paver Makes Waves

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only woman left on the Supreme Court, has been forced to watch as a pack of ideologues undoes her life’s work. Once dismissed as a moderate, Ginsburg is ready for a fight.

Posted on Jun 28, 2007 READ MORE


Cheney the Survivor

Before the subject of whether George W. Bush should be impeached is given the slightest consideration, consider three scary words that will end any such discussion: President Dick Cheney.

Posted on Jun 26, 2007 READ MORE



gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/

The CIA’s ‘Family Jewels’

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has posted documents on its website that expose ugly activities by the CIA before reforms were made in the 1970s. The secrecy watchdog says the agency violated its charter for 25 years by spying on journalists and political dissidents, in addition to engaging in other nefarious activities.

Posted on Jun 22, 2007 READ MORE


The Price of Loyalty

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Posted on Jun 6, 2007 READ MORE


Libby
news.bbc.co.uk

Libby Gets 30 Months

Convicted perjurer I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been sentenced to 30 months in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years of probation, pending appeal and the inevitable pardon.

Posted on Jun 5, 2007 READ MORE


Sentencing for Dummies

With his sentencing looming, it appears that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby—one of the highest White House officials ever convicted of a felony—has learned precisely nothing from his trial and conviction on charges of false statements, obstruction of justice, and perjury. Note: originally published on TomDispatch.

Posted on Jun 3, 2007 READ MORE


Boys’ Club

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Posted on Jun 3, 2007 READ MORE


Bush
AP Photo / Ron Edmonds

Repudiation, Not Impeachment

The former weapons inspector and author of “Waging Peace” argues that the mere impeachment of President Bush would fail to repair the damage caused by an executive branch run amok and an uninformed and uninvolved citizenry.

Posted on May 31, 2007 READ MORE


Speeding Past Compassion

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Posted on May 28, 2007 READ MORE


Justice O’Connor Warns Against Judicial Inconsistency

In an apparent rebuke to the Supreme Court’s recent abortion decision, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told Fox News that the law “shouldn’t change just because the faces on the court have changed.” O’Connor, who time and again swung the court in favor of a woman’s right to choose, also criticized lawmakers who try to put political pressure on the judicial process.

Posted on May 20, 2007 READ MORE


Pro-life protest
AP Photo / Evan Vucci

The Greatest Threat to Choice

When it comes to abortion, the Christian right presents a false choice between self-condemnation and a life of struggle. Until the impoverished and imperiled, so frequently driven into the arms of demagogues, are truly cared for, the freedom of all women will be at risk.

Posted on May 7, 2007 READ MORE


No One Should Be Above the Law

On Wednesday a group of activists, politicians, writers and thinkers came together in Washington to call for the impeachment of the president. Among them were Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Daniel Ellsberg and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, who argued that the president must be held accountable for his repeated violations of the rule of law, both at home and abroad.

Posted on Apr 25, 2007 READ MORE


Governing the Womb

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected decades of precedent and the rights of women to satisfy an ideological agenda. Is it any wonder that those most eager to legislate the womb are the lawmakers and judges without one?

Posted on Apr 19, 2007 READ MORE


Judge OK’s Student Gay Rights Club

A federal judge has ruled that Florida’s Okeechobee High School must grant the same privileges to the Gay-Straight Alliance that it grants to other student clubs.

Posted on Apr 7, 2007 READ MORE


In Orlando, Charity Can Be a Crime

A 21-year-old Floridian was arrested in Orlando for feeding a group of 30 homeless people. It is illegal in Orlando to feed more than 25 destitute people without a permit, which can be obtained only twice a year. As if to drive home the absurdity of the law, authorities took a sample of Eric Montanez’s illegal stew for evidence.

Posted on Apr 5, 2007 READ MORE


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