When, back in July, Speaker John Boehner secured House authorization to file suit against President Obama for “changing the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law,” cynical Democrats derided the planned litigation as a “political stunt,” a talking point for the fall campaign playbook. But a report by the apolitical Congressional Research Service (CRS), completed on September 4, but never released by the member who sponsored it, nor mentioned in the press, indicates that the Democrats were not cynical enough.
Now, three months after the party-line House vote to green-light the lawsuit, no complaint has yet been filed. If this stretched out delay means that Boehner has actually redirected his sue-Obama gambit toward oblivion, the reason may be this unnoticed six week old CRS report. While bearing an opaquely generic title - “A Primer on the Reviewability of Agency Delay and Enforcement Discretion,” the report actually targets a single instance of alleged agency delay and exercise of enforcement discretion - the Obama Administration’s adjustments of effective dates for the Affordable Care Act’s so-called employer mandate to offer employees ACA-complaint health insurance or pay a tax. This delay happens to be the basis - the sole basis - for the legal action against the President that Boehner outlined in July. Although shrouded in twelve pages of fine print and protectively bureaucratic phraseology, the report’s bottom line is clear: not merely are the legal underpinnings of the Republicans’ planned lawsuit weak; the report turns up no legal basis - no “there” there - at all.
Competition? In the US? Are you crazy?
The Federal Communications Commission will face a lawsuit if it tries to invalidate state laws that restrict the ability of cities and towns to offer Internet service, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday. Such a move would infringe on states’ rights protected by the Constitution, the group claimed.
Wheeler has said he intends to “preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband,” relying on authority detailed in a court decision that overturned the FCC’s net neutrality rules. These state laws make it difficult or impossible for municipalities to create their own broadband networks that compete against private Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.
The US House of Representatives has already approved a budget amendment that would prevent the FCC from invalidating these laws.
A federal court has rejected the Obama Administration’s invocation of state secrets privilege in a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation challenging the NSA’s sweeping surveillance program.
The lawsuit, called Jewel vs. NSA, “challenges an illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency and other Defendants in concert with major telecommunications companies,” according to the initial complaint. Though the case was initially filed in 2008, The Guardian’s recent report on NSA surveillance programs, based on leaks by Edward Snowden, appear to support the EFF’s claims in the lawsuit.
The Obama Administration had asked for the suit to be dismissed because, it argued, state secrets privilege barred information about the case from being released without “jeopardiz[ing] national security,” and that information was central enough to the case that it could not continue without it. But U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White wrote in his opinion that “[g]iven the multiple public disclosures of information regarding the surveillance program, the Court does not find that the very subject matter of the suits constitutes a state secret.” Though White added in his opinion that there is additional evidence that should be “properly excluded” should the case proceed.
Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state’s same-sex marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.
Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly on Friday when it allowed same-sex marriage to resume by lifting a hold it had placed on same-sex unions while a lawsuit challenging the ban made its way to and through the Supreme Court.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks says the Supreme Court’s consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their decision holding that Proposition 8’s backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage to return to the nation’s most populous state by ruling 5-4 on Wednesday that the sponsors of California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex unions lacked authority to defend the measure in court.
The actual Filing is here
The application argues that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Proposition 8 case is not yet “final,” so the stay must remain in place. The Supreme Court ordinarily does not issue its formally binding ruling – known as the “judgment” – in a case from a federal court of appeals until 25 days after it releases its “opinion.” Because the Court issued its opinion in the Proposition 8 case on June 26, it would by default not issue the judgment until Monday, July 22. (The 25th day is July 21, a Sunday.) The principal point of that delay is to permit the losing party to prepare and submit a petition for rehearing to the Justices, though such petitions are as a practical matter never granted.
The parties could ask the Supreme Court to expedite the release of the judgment. That is in fact what occurred last week in the “Baby Girl” Native American adoption case. After a request by the petitioner, the Court ordered the mandate issued in 7 days, rather than the usual 25.
Absent such a request, most observers expected that same-sex marriage in California (in the places in the State it did become available) would not begin again for roughly a month. Even if the court of appeals was not required as a matter of law to wait, that appeared to be the more measured and prudent course. But the Ninth Circuit acted more quickly, lifting the stay before the Supreme Court’s ruling became effective.
Whether the emergency request to Justice Kennedy can succeed is unclear. But it is unlikely. As a formal matter, the Ninth Circuit did not put the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Proposition 8 case into effect prematurely. The Supreme Court held that the proponents of Proposition 8 could not file appeals in federal court. That ruling says nothing about imposing or lifting a stay on same-sex marriage. The court of appeals likely has the authority to act with respect to its own previously entered stay, which is a form of controlling its own docket. Although the court of appeals had previously stated that they stay would remain in effect until the Supreme Court’s ruling was final, it presumably can change its mind.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Obama administration on Tuesday over its “dragnet” collection of logs of domestic phone calls, contending that the once-secret program — whose existence was exposed last week by a former National Security Agency contractor — is illegal and asking a judge to stop it and order the records purged.
The lawsuit could set up an eventual Supreme Court test. It could also focus attention on this disclosure amid the larger heap of top secret surveillance matters revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who came forward Sunday to say he was their source.
The program “gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations,” the complaint says, adding that it “is likely to have a chilling effect on whistle-blowers and others who would otherwise contact” the A.C.L.U. for legal assistance.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the suit.
In the solitary confinement unit of East Mississippi Correctional Facility, it’s common for inmates to set some clothing or an old milk carton on fire to get an officer’s attention when they are in desperate need of a doctor—or if, say, their cell has been flooded by a broken pipe. Otherwise, it might be days before anyone took notice, according to a class-action lawsuit filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The school has held at least three mandatory assemblies about finding hope in Jesus Christ this month, according to the lawsuit. The assemblies showed a video laced with Christian messages about overcoming personal hardships through Jesus Christ and were allegedly led by local church officials.
“See, before Jesus came, innocent blood had to be shed for our sins,” one of the church officials allegedly told the students. “There had to be an animal that was sacrificed toatone for our sin. There had to be innocent blood. So Jesus came and he was the innocent blood because he lived a perfect life. He was that innocent blood. See the last few years of Jesus’ life he traveled from region to region and country to country and he had 12 disciples that followed him everywhere. And he talked about the hope he was bringing.”
The assemblies concluded with a prayer and teachers blocked the exits to prevent students from leaving, the lawsuit claimed. A disillusioned student videotaped one of the assemblies.
You can read the whole complaint here:
44. At no time did the School turn off the video
45. Indeed, the presentation was mandatory and faculty and parents stood near the exit door, preventing students from leaving.
46. A senior friend of M.B. indicated that there were about 20 to 30 staff and about 5 to 10 parents present.
47. The parents were the family members of the Church Representatives.
48. The School’s truancy officer, Jeff White (“Officer White”), harassed several students who attempted to leave and told them to sit back down.
Ratings are important on eBay. Lots of buyers use them to assess the quality and reliability of particular sellers, and lots of sellers will go to great lengths to keep perfect or near-perfect ratings.
But an Ohio company named Med Express has shown it’s willing to go further than other sellers: it’s willing to litigate. When Med Express got its first piece of negative feedback, it filed a lawsuit, insisting that the feedback be removed from eBay.
Amy Nicholls paid $175 for a microscope light, as well as $12 for shipping. She was annoyed when she had to pay an extra $1.44 in postage due and left feedback complaining about that inconvenience. Med Express asked her to remove the feedback and she refused. The company complained that because it offered to refund her the $1.44, she should have taken down the feedback, which had the potential to hurt its business. (In the past six months, Med Express has 142 pieces of positive feedback and only one negative review.)
Med Express sued, but the company may regret its decision. Nicholls hasn’t let the issue drop, and she is being helped by Public Citizen’s litigation group. Public Citizen’s Paul Levy wrote a letter explaining why the lawsuit is “completely frivolous” and suggesting he may seek attorneys’ fees if it isn’t dropped immediately. Levy went on to explain that the $1.44 wasn’t the issue:
The point she made in her message to you was that the problem wasn’t the money but the hassle… That opinion might be right, or it might be wrong, but harboring it and expressing it is not a tort. And it is certainly no reason to seek damages, attorney fees, and an injunction. Consumers might well take this sort of bullying into account when they are thinking about whether to do business with Med Express.
For all we know, the reason your client has so little negative feedback might be that it bullies critics by filing or threatening to file frivolous lawsuits every time negative feedback appears, thus inflating its seller rating.
Same-sex marriage got huge headlines at the Supreme Court last month, but in the world of science and medicine, the case being argued on Monday is far more important. The lawsuit deals with a truly 21st century issue — whether human genes may be patented.
Myriad Genetics, a Utah biotechnology company, discovered and isolated two genes — BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 — that are highly associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad patented its discovery, giving it a 20-year monopoly over use of the genes for research, diagnostics and treatment. A group of researchers, medical groups and patients sued, challenging the patent as invalid.
There is no way to overstate the importance of this case to the future of science and medicine. In the view of Myriad and its supporters in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, patents are the keys to making these medical discoveries possible. Their opponents, including leading medical groups and Nobel Prize-winning scientists, contend that Myriad’s patent improperly puts a lock on research and medical diagnostic testing.
The U.S. patent system, authorized in the Constitution, gives temporary economic incentives to inventors to advance science. The general rules of the patent system have been established in statutes and Supreme Court case law for over 150 years. You can’t patent a product of nature or a law of nature. It doesn’t matter that the task was difficult or costly. Nature is immune to patents. So, even though it may have taken Einstein a long time to figure out that E=mc2, he couldn’t have patented that law of nature.
Real-estate billionaire Donald Trump has withdrawn his $5 million lawsuit against Bill Maher, the liberal comedian host of HBO’s “Real Time” — for now anyway.
“The lawsuit was temporarily withdrawn to be amended and refiled at a later date,” Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Trump, told TMZ.
The suit centered on a $5 million bet between the two celebrities. In January, Maher said he’d pay that amount in cash to charities of Trump’s choice if the Donald released a birth certificate proving he’s not the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Maher was playing on Trump’s challenge of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
They way I heard it is that Trump got wind that Maher had sent a team of investigators into Africa ito investigate Trump’s orangutan’s parentage and said he “was amazed at what they’ve found”.