Posts tagged ‘judge’

New Government Report: Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
by Daniel Bertoni
Paperback, 17 pages, 2010, ISBN: 9781437933284, $15.00

Statement of Daniel Bertoni, Dir., Education, Workforce, and Income Security, GAO.

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits, reports the Associated Press. It will be a long wait for most, even if they eventually win their cases. The Social Security system is so overwhelmed by applications for disability benefits that many people are waiting more than two years for their first payment. In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other states, the wait can be even longer.

For years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been challenged to manage its large disability claims workload. Difficulties in making timely and accurate decisions have contributed to backlogs accumulating at different levels of the claims process.

These backlogs have occurred most often at the hearings level, the level at which initial claims that were denied are appealed and await a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Claimants often experienced long waits for a decision on their claim because of this backlog. In May 2007, SSA released a plan designed to eliminate its hearings-level backlog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was subsequently asked by Congress to evaluate this plan and issued a report in September 2009.

This testimony discusses SSA’s backlog reduction plan and the challenges the agency faces in managing its overall claims workload. It draws primarily from GAO reports, and recent reports issued by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Figures.

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August 4, 2010 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Commonwealth Brands, Inc. vs. U.S.: Legal Judgment on Marketing Restrictions in the New Federal Tobacco Law

Commonwealth Brands, Inc. vs. U.S.: Legal Judgment on Marketing Restrictions in the New Federal Tobacco Law
by Joseph H. McKinley Jr.
Paperback, 47 pages, 2010, $30.00, ISBN: 9781437936704

The opinion and order of U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, Bowling Green Division, which overturns two of the marketing restrictions in the new federal tobacco law.

Several tobacco makers sued in August 2009 to block the restrictions. Judge McKinley agreed that the ban on color and graphics in labels and advertising that children might see intruded too broadly on commercial free speech.

He noted that, instead, Congress could have exempted certain types of color and graphic images. Judge McKinley did uphold the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict tobacco marketing, as well as a specific provision which requires new, graphic warning labels to cover the top half of cigarette packages.

In fact, he upheld most of the new marketing restrictions, including a ban on tobacco companies sponsoring athletic, social and cultural events or offering free samples or branded merchandise.

Lawyers on both sides affirmed that this case will probably be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and eventually to the Supreme Court.

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August 3, 2010 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

New Government Report: United States of America v. Paul A. Slough et al, Defendants: Ruling on the Case against Former Blackwater Security Guards

United States of America v. Paul A. Slough et al, Defendants: Ruling on the Case against Former Blackwater Security Guards
by Ricardo M. Urbina
Paperback, 90 pages, 2009, ISBN: 1437927750, $30.00

The sudden blow to the case against the former Blackwater security guards over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20 may have come as a surprise to the public in Iraq and the United States, but the legal problem that the judge cited Thursday when he threw out the indictments was obvious to American government lawyers within days of the shooting, reports the New York Times.

This government report contains the ruling by Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District court in Washington, DC, on the case against former Blackwater security guards in Iraq over a shooting that killed 17 Iraqis and wounded at least 20.

Judge Ricardo threw out the indictments against the guards. In his opinion: “The defendants have been charged with voluntary manslaughter and firearms violations arising out of a shooting that occurred in Baghdad, Iraq on Sept. 16, 2007.

“They contend that in the course of this prosecution, the government violated their constitutional rights by utilizing statements they made to Deptartment of State investigators, which were compelled under a threat of job loss.

“The government has acknowledged that many of these statements qualify as compelled statements under Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), which held that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination bars the government from using statements compelled under a threat of job loss in a subsequent criminal prosecution.

“The Fifth Amendment automatically confers use and derivative use immunity on statements compelled under Garrity; this means that in seeking an indictment from a grand jury or a conviction at trial, the government is prohibited from using such compelled statements or any evidence obtained as a result of those statements.

“The government has also acknowledged that its investigators, prosecutors and key witnesses were exposed to (and, indeed, aggressively sought out) many of the statements given by the defendants to State Deptartment investigators.

“Under the binding precedent of the Supreme Court, the burden fell to the government to prove that it made no use whatsoever of these immunized statements or that any such use was harmless beyond any reasonable doubt.

“In short, the government has utterly failed to prove that it made no impermissible use of the defendants’ statements or that such use was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the court must dismiss the indictment against all of the defendants.”

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August 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

New Government Report: Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010 (ISBN: 9781437934274)

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010 (ISBN: 9781437934274)
By R. Sam Garrett & Denis Steven Rutkus (Paperback, 48 pages, 2010, $20)

In May, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nation’s 112th justice, to succeed the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. In the coming months, she will face the confirmation process.

This report’s contents: (1) Recent Activity: Activity During 2010, 2009, and 2005-2006: Recent Niminations: John Roberts, Harriet Miers, Samuel Alito; (2) Measuring the Pace of Supreme Court (SC) Appointments; (3) How SC Vacancies Occur: Death of a Sitting Justice (SJ): Retirement or Resignation of a SJ; Nomination of a SJ to Another Position; Controversial, Withdrawn, and Rejected Nominations; (4) Date of Actual or Prospective Vacancy; Announcement-of-Nominee Date: Use of Medians to Summarize Intervals; The Duration of the Nomination-and-Confirmation Process: Changes Since 1981; Factors Influencing the Speed of the Process: How the Vacancy Occurs; The Senate’s Schedule; Committee Involvement and Institutional Customs; Controversial Nominations.

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June 2, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Reports: Multilateral Development Banks (MDB), Economic Impacts of Prison Growth, Role of the Senate in Judicial Impeachment Proceedings, Military Personnel and Freedom of Expression, Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain

New government reports this week:

1) Multilateral Development Banks: Overview and Issues for Congress
by Rebecca M. Nelson (Paperback, 33 pages, $25)

Includes an overview of the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB): Historical Background: World Bank; Regional Development Banks; Operations: Financial Assistance to Developing Countries: Financial Assistance Over Time; Recipients of MDB Financial Assistance; Funding: Donor Commitments and Contributions: Non-Concessional Lending Windows; Concessional Lending Windows; Structure and Organization: Relation to Other International Institutions; Internal Organization; Debates about Effectiveness of the MDBs: Effectiveness of Foreign Aid; Bilateral vs. Multilateral Aid. Issues for Congress: Authorizing and Appropriating U.S. Contributions to the MDBs.

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2) Economic Impacts of Prison Growth
by Suzanne M. Kirchoff (Paperback, 35 pages, $25)

The United States corrections system has gone through an unprecedented expansion during the last few decades, with a more than 400% jump in the prison population and a corresponding boom in prison construction. At the end of 2008, 2.3 million adults were in state, local, or federal custody, with another 5.1 million on probation or parole. Of that total, 9% were in federal custody. Globally, the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its prisoners. Figures and tables.

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3) Role of the Senate in Judicial Impeachment Proceedings
by Susan Navarro Smelcer (Paperback, 28 pages, $20)

Contents: (I) Introduction; (II) An Overview of the Impeachment Process in the House and Senate; (III) Rules Governing Senate Impeachment Proceedings; (IV) Organizing the Senate for Trial; (V) The Role of the Presiding Officer; (VI) Use of an Impeachment Trial Committee: Organization and Responsibilities of the Committee; Procedure During the Preliminary Phase of Its Proceedings; Procedure During the Evidentiary Phase of Its Proceedings; Submitting a Report to the Full Senate; (VII) Deliberation by the Full Senate; (VIII) Judgment by the Full Senate; (IX) Length of Senate Impeachment Trials; (X) Concluding Observations; Appendix A. H. Res. 1031, Articles of Impeachment Against Judge G. Thomas Porteous; Appendix B. Chart of the Senate Impeachment Trial Process. Tables.

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4) Military Personnel and Freedom of Expression: Selected Legal Issues
by R. Chuck Mason and Cynthia Broughter (Paperback, 17 pages, $15)

This report provides an overview of the requirements of the First Amendment related to military personnel’s religious exercise, regarding the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause. It analyzes current constitutional and statutory requirements regarding religious exercise, and provides a framework for how Congress and the courts might consider future issues that arise related to servicemembers’ religious exercise.

Specifically, the report examines the limitations placed on servicemembers in uniform in the exercise of their religious beliefs. It also examines the role of military chaplains and the legal challenges associated with publicly funding religious personnel. The report analyzes efforts by Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) to address the constitutional concerns that are raised by these issues.

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5) Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain
by Belva M. Martin (Paperback, 38 pages, $25)

This letter formally transmits the briefing in response to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-84), which required a report on rare earth materials in the defense supply chain to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives. Contents: Introduction; Objectives, Scope, and Methodology; Background; Summary; Objective 1: Current and Projected Availability; Objective 2: Defense System Dependency; Objective 3: Department of Defense (DOD) Identified Risks and Actions; Agency Comments; Points of Contact. Figures.

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April 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

New Government Reports: Compulsory DNA Collection, Deforestation and Climate Change, Exon-Florio National Security Trust, Military and Civilian Pay Comparisons, Supreme Court Appointment Process

New government reports this week:

1) Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis
by Anna C. Henning (Paperback, 15 pages, $10)

Relying on different legal standards, courts have historically upheld laws authorizing law enforcement’s compulsory collection of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as reasonable under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, prior cases reviewed the extraction of DNA samples from people who had been convicted on criminal charges. New state and federal laws authorize the collection of such samples from people who have been arrested or detained but
not convicted.

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2) Deforestation and Climate Change
by Ross W. Gorte and Pervaze A. Sheikh (Paperback, 41 pages, $20)

Contents: (I) Congressional Interest; (II) Forests and Climate, Forest Cover, Linkages Between Forests and Climate, Soil Impacts, Wood Utilization/Wood Waste, Burning (III) Boreal Forests (IV) Temperate Forests (V) Tropical Forests in Latin America, including Amazonia; Tropical Africa; Southeast Asia; Climate Consequences of Tropical Deforestation; (VI) Reducing Deforestation: Tree Planting, Market Solutions; Forest Carbon Markets; Markets for Ecosystem Services and Non-Timber Forest Products; Certified Sustainable Forestry; Governance Issues; (VII) Forest and Deforestation Data Issues. Figures and tables.

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3) Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment
by James K. Jackson (Paperback, 20 pages, $15)

The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of “persons engaged in interstate commerce in the U.S.” that threaten to impair the national security.

This provision came under intense scrutiny with the
proposed acquisitions in 2006 of major operations in 6 major U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World and of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The debate that followed reignited long-standing differences among Members of Congress and between the Congress and the administration over the role foreign acquisitions play in U.S. national security.

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4) Military Personnel: Military and Civilian Pay Comparisons Present Challenges and Are One of Many Tools in Assessing Compensation
by Brenda S. Farrell (Paperback, 54 pages, $20)

The Department of Defense’s (DOD) military compensation package, which is myriad pays and benefits, is an important tool to attract and retain the number and quality of active duty servicemembers it needs to fulfill its mission. Compensation can be appropriate and adequate to attract and retain servicemembers when it is competitive with civilian
compensation. However, comparisons between military and civilian compensation present both limitations and challenges.

This study compared pay and benefits provided by law to members of the Armed Forces with that of comparably situated private-sector employees to assess how the differences in pay and benefits affect recruiting and retention of members of the Armed Forces. Tables and figures.

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5) Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate
by Denis Stevens Rutkus (Paperback, 60 pages, $25)

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently announced that he will be retiring. How will President Obama select a new Justice? Read more in this report.

Contents: (I) Background; (II) President’s Selection of a Nominee (III) Consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee: Historical Background (IV) Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote; Bringing the Nomination to the Floor; Criteria Used to Evaluate Nominees; Filibusters and Motions to End Debate; Voice Votes, Roll Calls, and Vote Margins; Reconsideration of the Confirmation Vote; Nominations That Failed to Be Confirmed; Calling Upon the Judiciary Committee to Further Examine the Nomination; After Senate Confirmation; (V) Conclusion; (VI) Additional Sources. Tables.

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April 9, 2010 at 12:15 am Leave a comment


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