Posts tagged ‘supreme court’

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: Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Selected Freedom of Speech Scholarship (ISBN: 9781437936032)

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Selected Freedom of Speech Scholarship (ISBN: 9781437936032)
By Kathleen Ann Ruane
(Paperback, 25 pages, 2010, $20.00)

President Obama has nominated his Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, to be the next Supreme Court Justice. If confirmed, she would fill the seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens upon his retirement. Prior to her term as Solicitor General, Ms. Kagan wrote pieces analyzing free speech jurisprudence.

This report explains Ms. Kagan’s articles in detail, as well as an additional, shorter piece, discussing the First Amendment implications of codes of conduct at public universities: (1) “The Role of Government Motive in First Amendment Doctrine”: The Concept, and Doctrine, of Impermissible Motive; (2) “Regulation of Hate Speech and Pornography After R.A.V.”; (3) “When a Speech Code is a Speech Code: The Stanford Policy and the Theory of Incidental Restrictions.”

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July 19, 2010 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Questioning Supreme Court Nominees About Their Views on Legal or Constitutional Issues: A Recurring Issue (ISBN: 9781437935899)

Questioning Supreme Court Nominees About Their Views on Legal or Constitutional Issues: A Recurring Issue (ISBN: 9781437935899)
By Denis Steven Rutkus
(Paperback, 25 pages, 2010, $20.00)

In June 2010, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan faced a long and sometimes tense day of parrying with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Contents: (1) Intro.; (2) Purposes of Committee Questioning and Range of Subjects Historically Covered; (3) Nominee Reticence Becomes the Norm: The Ginsburg Hearings, 1993; The Roberts Hearings, 2005; The Alito Hearings, 2006; The Sotomayor Hearings, 2009;

(4) Elena Kagan’s Position on Questioning Supreme Court Nominees: Praised the Bork Hearings, Criticized Others That Followed; Advocated Exploration of Nominee’s ‘Substantive Views’; Made Distinction Between Expressing Views on Issues and Making Commitments; Statements Made in 2009 as Solicitor General Nominee; Observations on Whether Kagan Will, or Should, Express Views on Current Issues at Her Own Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing.

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July 12, 2010 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

New Government Report: Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Presidential Authority and the Separation of Powers (ISBN: 9781437935226)

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan: Presidential Authority and the Separation of Powers (ISBN: 9781437935226)
By Todd B. Tatelman
(Paperback, 20 pages, 2010, $15)

In light of Elena Kagan’s nomination to serve as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, this report analyzes then-Prof. Kagan’s views of executive power and the doctrine of separation of powers as laid out in her 2001 Harvard Law Review article “Presidential Administration.”

Contents: (1) Constitutional and Legal Basis for Executive Authority: Constitutional Text; Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court: Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer; Appointment and Removal Cases; (2) Theories of Executive Power: The “Traditional” View; The “Unitary Theory of the Executive”; (3) Presidential Administration: Responses to Traditionalist Arguments, and the “Unitary Theory of the Executive”; (4) Presidential Administration and Administrative Law; (5) Presidential Admin., Foreign Affairs, and National Security.

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June 29, 2010 at 6:00 am 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: Supreme Court Rulings on Enemy Combatants, Senate Filibusters, Threat of Bioterrorism, National Broadband Plan, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV)

New government reports this week:

1) Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
by Jennifer K. Elsea and Michael John Garcia (Paperback, 18 pages, $15)

As part of the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the U.S. has captured and detained numerous persons believed to have been part of or associated with enemy forces. Over the years, federal courts have considered a multitude of petitions by or on behalf of suspected belligerents challenging aspects of U.S. detention policy.

Although the Supreme Court has issued definitive rulings concerning several legal issues raised in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, many others remain unresolved, with some the subject of ongoing litigation. This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The report addresses all Supreme Court decisions concerning enemy combatants. It also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance to U.S. detention policy. The report also addresses a few notable decisions by federal district courts that are the subject of ongoing habeas litigation.

Finally, it describes a few federal court rulings in criminal cases involving persons who were either involved in the 9/11 attacks or were captured abroad by U.S. forces during operations against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated entities.not convicted.

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2) Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate
by Richard Beth, Valerie Heitshusen and Betsy Palmer (Paperback, 22 pages, $15)

Contents: (I) The Right to Debate: The Right to Recognition; The Right to Speak at Length and the Two-Speech Rule; The Motion to Table; (II) The Conduct of Filibusters: Germaneness of Debate; Yielding the Floor and Yielding for Questions; Quorums and Quorum Calls; Roll Call Voting; Scheduling Filibusters; (III) Invoking Cloture: Matters on Which Cloture May be Invoked: Timing of Cloture Motions; (IV) Effects of Invoking Cloture; (V) The Impact of Filibusters. Tables.

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3) Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress
by Frank Gottron and Dana A. Shea (Paperback, 13 pages, $10)

The federal government’s efforts to address the perceived threat of bioterrorism span many different agencies and are organized and directed through several strategy and planning documents. These agencies have implemented numerous disparate actions and programs in their statutory areas to address the threat.

Despite these efforts, many experts, including congressional commissions, non-governmental organizations, and industry representatives, have highlighted weaknesses or flaws in the federal government’s biodefense activities.

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4) Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan
by FCC Staff (Paperback, 360 pages, $45)

Broadband is the great infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century. The number of Americans who have broadband at home has grown from 8 million in 2000 to nearly 200 million last year.

But approximately 100 million Americans do not have broadband at home. Broadband-enabled health IT can improve care and lower costs by hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decades, yet the U.S. is behind many advanced countries in the adoption of such technology.

In early 2009, Congress directed the Fed. Communications Comm. (FCC) to develop a National Broadband Plan to ensure that every American has “access to broadband capability.”

To fulfill Congress’s mandate, this plan seeks to ensure that the entire broadband ecosystem — networks, devices, content and applications— is healthy. It makes recommendations to the FCC, the Executive Branch, Congress and state and local governments. Figures.

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5) All-Terrain Vehicles: How They Are Used, Crashes, and Sales of Adult-Sized Vehicles for Children’s Use
by Susan Fleming (Paperback, 68 pages, $20)

All-terrain vehicles (ATV), which are off-road motorized vehicles, have become increasingly popular. However, ATV fatalities and injuries have increased over the last decade and are a matter of concern to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission).

Many ATV crashes involving children occur when they are riding adult-sized ATVs. Manufacturers and distributors have agreed to use their best efforts to prevent their dealers from selling adult-sized ATVs for use by children under the age of 16.

This report examines (1) how ATVs are used and the advantages of their use and (2) the nature, extent, and costs of ATV crashes. The report reviewed ATV use and crash data and discussed these issues with Commission staff, industry officials, user groups, and safety stakeholders. Includes recommendations. Figures.

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April 16, 2010 at 2:00 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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