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Legal news from Wednesday, September 27, 2006
by Alexis Unkovic

US District Judge Mark Kravitz Wednesday dismissed three of four counts of a lawsuit filed by the state of Connecticut against the US Department of Education claiming that provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act constitute unconstitutional unfunded mandates. Kravitz rejected the counts on jurisdictional grounds, but refused to grant …

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by Alexis Unkovic

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 into law Wednesday, marking the approval of the first US bill designed to restrict greenhouse gas emissions. Among other provisions, the law aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and grants new authority to the …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The US House of Representatives approved its version of the controversial military commissions bill Wednesday by a margin of 253-168 with 160 Democrats voting against the legislation. After passage, Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) combatively commended fellow Republicans for their efforts in pushing the legislation through:House Republicans have …

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by James M Yoch Jr

Former Bosnian Serb parliamentary leader Momcilo Krajisnik was sentenced to 27 years' imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday for various war crimes related to his role in atrocities committed against Croats and Muslims during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. According to the official judgment summary …

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by Brett Murphy

Retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor warned Wednesday against growing efforts at "judicial intimidation" in the United States. In a Wall St. Journal op-ed O'Connor said that a recently-proposed South Dakota constitutional amendment to end judicial immunity, promoted in a what she called a "venomous" manner by a national group called JAIL …

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by James M Yoch Jr

A Belgrade court Wednesday began trial proceedings for ten Serbs charged with hiding former Bosnian Serb military chief and indicted war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic and helping him evade prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The proceedings will most likely remain closed to the public because …

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by James M Yoch Jr

A federal jury in Louisiana found Merck not liable Tuesday for the heart attack of plaintiff Robert Garry Smith after he took the company's painkiller Vioxx for about four months in late 2002 and early 2003. Merck argued [pre-trial statement] that it acted reasonably in voluntarily added …

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by Brett Murphy

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem issued a report Wednesday concluding that the June 28 bombing by Israeli forces of a power plant in the Gaza Strip during the early stages of the 34-day Middle East conflict precipitated by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers amounts to a war crime under international humanitarian law [press …

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by Brett Murphy

An EU panel comprised of European data security officials has decided to delay the release of a final report on a Bush administration program that keeps track of international financial transactions until further investigations into whether the program violates EU privacy law are complete. On Monday, Peter Schaar, head of the European Commission's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Wednesday released Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Naser al-Shaer, detained in August for his membership in Hamas after Hamas members in Gaza seized an Israeli soldier. Thirty-one Hamas lawmakers are still in detention, and on Monday an IDF military court ordered the continued detention of most of them, reversing a …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that would prohibit federal courts from awarding attorney's fees to plaintiffs challenging the use of "religious words or imagery" in a public building, a veteran's memorial, or on the official seals of the United States. The 244-173 vote approving the Public Expression of Religion Act [H.R. 2679 text] …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The chairman of the US Legal Services Corp. told a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing [recorded video; chairman's opening statement] Tuesday that the LSC board never discussed firing the inspector general now investigating allegations of fraud and waste in the federally-funded program, whose mission is to provide legal services to the poor. …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A spokesperson for Patrick Fitzgerald's Office of Special Counsel told AP Tuesday that the investigation of the CIA leak case has cost taxpayers $1.44 million through August 31, and the Government Accountability Office is scheduled to release an official spending report on Friday. By comparison, the investigation of President Clinton's Whitewater and …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A California senior assistant attorney general testified Tuesday that the state of California failed to use a backup IV line during the execution of Crips gang co-founder and convicted murderer Stanley Tookie Williams which unnecessarily complicated his execution. The testimony was gathered during a four-day federal court hearing on whether lethal injection in …

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by Joshua Pantesco

A Russia military court on Tuesday found a Russian army sergeant guilty of abuse of power and sentenced him to four years in jail for beating and torturing a conscript soldier this past New Year's Eve. Russian prosecutors had sought six years in prison for Alexander Sivyakov, who denied beating Private Andrei Sychev but has admitted to …

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by Joshua Pantesco

China's Taiwan Affairs Office Wednesday reiterated the Chinese government's open hostility to Taiwan's intent to change its constitution to rename the island the Republic of Taiwan. China has already threatened military action against Taiwan in the event Taiwan declares independence, and a Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman said that renaming now being considered by Taiwan's ruling …

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by Joshua Pantesco

There are too many substantive differences between the Senate and House versions of a bill aimed at approving the NSA domestic surveillance program for legislation to be approved before the November elections, anonymous GOP staffers told reporters Tuesday. The Senate version, the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006, the product of a compromise …

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by Joshua Pantesco

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to pass the Private Property Rights Implementation Act of 2005, a bill that its supporters said would provide easier access to federal courts to landowners seeking to challenge governmental actions under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The bill summary specifies that it would:Amend the …

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