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Legal news from Tuesday, September 18, 2007
by Leslie Schulman

The US Senate voted Tuesday 57-42 against proceeding with debate on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act [S. 1257 bill summary], killing the bill before it reached Senate consideration by falling three votes short of the 60 necessary to move forward. The bill, which easily passed in the House in April, …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

A US Marine Corps commanding officer ordered Tuesday that charges be dismissed against Marine Capt. Lucas McConnell for failing to report the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha. McConnell was granted immunity from prosecution by Lt. Gen. James Mattis, commanding officer at Camp Pendleton, California, in exchange …

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by Caitlin Price

France's National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, Tuesday debated a new immigration bill proposing tightened requirements for foreigners seeking to join immigrant relatives in France. The bill comes after a campaign promise by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to toughen the country's immigration …

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by Leslie Schulman

Lawyers for Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor connected to disgraced former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, have subpoenaed 13 members of Congress to testify at Wilkes' October 2 trial. All of the lawmakers, including former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, have said they will not comply with the orders, because according to House Rules, …

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by Caitlin Price

The US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday announced an investigation into whether State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard interfered with a fraud investigation related to construction of a new US embassy in Baghdad to protect the Bush administration from "political embarrassment." In a letter to Krongard requesting his cooperation in the …

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by Caitlin Price

US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell pushed for new and permanent changes to a recently passed temporary surveillance law in a statement to the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. The Protect America Act 2007, passed by Congress in August, gives the Executive Branch expanded surveillance authority for a …

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by Leslie Schulman

The Communist Party of Nepal - Maoists (CPN-M) announced Tuesday that it is vacating the interim government and boycotting future elections until its demands for parliament to immediately declare the country a federal democratic republic were met. Senior members of the Maoist party, who say that they have secured over one million signatures on a petition calling …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Two advocacy groups in the Philippines said Tuesday that children are often the victims of extrajudicial killings, citing statistics compiled by Karapatan (The Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights). The Salinlahi Alliance for Children's Concerns and the Gabriela Women's Party criticized Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, saying that …

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by Alexis Unkovic

Iranian-American journalist Parnaz Azima, a reporter for Radio Farda, left Iran Tuesday after months of being held in the country on security-related charges. A spokesperson for Radio Farda's parent service Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) told AP that Azima will soon arrive in the United States. Azima was granted permission …

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by Alexis Unkovic

The Maryland Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled 4-3 that the state's 1973 law banning same-sex marriage is constitutional. In reversing the judgment of the lower Circuit Court, Maryland's highest court held that a law defining marriage as between one man and one woman neither denies individuals fundamental rights nor discriminates …

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by Michael Sung

The Zimbabwean parliament began debate Tuesday on a draft constitutional amendment bill that could essentially give Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe the authority to appoint his successor. The changes would allow the parliament to appoint a new president should the incumbent step down before the end of his term; there is speculation that Mugabe will step down before …

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by Michael Sung

French judicial officials indicated Monday that the judiciary is launching a new investigation into the 1999 assassination of Iranian deputy chief of the joint staff Brigadier-General Ali Sayyad Shirazi in Tehran. The probe, renewed at the request of Shirazi's family, will focus on the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which has claimed responsibility in the assassination. The MEK, …

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by Michael Sung

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will only resign as chief of Pakistan's army following his reelection, government lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada said Tuesday during proceedings in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The high court is hearing petitions from opposition parties challenging Musharraf's dual role as president and army chief, as well as Musharraf's bid to …

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by Jaime Jansen

A federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit Monday alleging that vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases have contributed to global warming constituting a "public nuisance" that has cost the state of California millions of dollars. Judge Martin J. Jenkins of the US District Court for the Northern District of California wrote that the …

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by Jaime Jansen

Mexican drug lord Francisco Javier Arellano Felix pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Southern District of California Monday to running a continuing criminal enterprise and conspiracy to launder money. Prosecutors alleged that Arellano Felix helped run the Arellano Felix cartel, based out of Tijuana, Mexico, which became notorious …

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by Jaime Jansen

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have generally reacted favorably to President Bush's Monday nomination of former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey as the US Attorney General, showing support for Bush's bi-partisan efforts at nominating an independent mind for the nation's top law enforcement officer and paving the way for a relatively smooth confirmation. Many …

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