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Legal news from Friday, February 19, 2010
by Steve Czajkowski

Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA on Friday asked [cert. petition, PDF] the US Supreme Court to overturn a 2006 district court ruling that held the tobacco industry liable under civil racketeering laws for deceiving American consumers as to the health effects of their products. Philip Morris argued …

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by Steve Dotterer

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley moved for summary judgment Thursday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The case will be decided in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. If the motion for summary judgment is granted, …

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by Zach Zagger

Lawyers for former Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega filed a petition with the US Supreme Court Friday seeking to block his extradition to France. Noriega is relying on the dissenting opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in the court's January decision to deny certiorari in Noriega's appeal of a lower court's …

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by Jonathan Cohen

The US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Justice (DOJ) on Thursday announced a $1.25 billion settlement for African American farmers claiming they suffered racial discrimination in USDA loan programs. The settlement arises from the Pigford Case, a class-action suit that was re-opened with the passage of a 2008 Farm Bill …

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by Sarah Paulsworth

Niger's military leaders on Thursday suspended the country's constitution and dissolved all state institutions after the coup that took place the same day. A spokesperson for the military junta, which is calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD), made the announcement on state TV. The African Union (AU) [official …

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by Patrice Collins

Judges from the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber II requested Friday that chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo provide additional information regarding his request to open a formal investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. The judges stated that clarification and …

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by Daniel Makosky

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday appointed 18 judges ahead of the country's judicial elections, calling the move "the beginning of the decolonization of the judiciary." The appointees will fill five vacancies on the country's Supreme Court, five on the Constitutional Court, and three on the Judiciary Council, while …

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by David Manes

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled Thursday that the state of Louisiana must issue a revised birth certificate for the adopted child of a same-sex couple showing both fathers' names. In 2006, Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith adopted their child in New York, where unmarried couples can legally adopt. The …

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by Matt Glenn

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York announced at a hearing Thursday he is not ready to rule on a proposed class action settlement in a copyright suit over Google's book-scanning initiative. Judge Denny Chin heard arguments from …

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