Wednesday, February 25

Immigration brief ~ Virginia colleges may exclude illegal immigrants  
Lang Johnston at 2/25/2004 11:34:01 PM

In immigration law news Thursday, a District Court in Virginia has ruled that illegal immigrants may be denied admission to Virginia colleges and universities. The judge did not dismiss the case, however, allowing a trial to determine whether Virginia schools are using federal standards to identify illegal immigrants. The issue of secondary education rights of illegal immigrants had only previously been addressed in a California case that struck down limitations on services to illegal immigrants, including access to higher education.
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    Federal courts brief ~ Senate committee to recommend Benitez confirmation despite ABA evaluation  
    Matthew Shames at 2/25/2004 10:58:46 PM

    In Wednesday's federal courts roundup, the Senate Judiciary Committee will recommend Roger Benitez for confirmation as a federal judge for the US District Court of the Southern District of California, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Benitez has received praise from colleagues, but the American Bar Association characterized him as unqualified because of an unprofessional demeanor in court. The ABA has criticized Benitez as being mean and arrogant in his current role as a magistrate.... AP reports that a federal jury decided that the City of Philadelphia is not liable for the death of a University of Pennsylvania graduate student who was murdered by a serial rapist in 1998. Shannon Schieber's parents claimed the city was partly responsible for their daughter's death because of a police department practice of downgrading sexual assault complaints.... As reported earlier on JURIST's Paper Chase, the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Michigan's sex offender registry, saying the law does not violate any individual privacy or property rights.... In a late decision from Tuesday, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals let stand a ruling that removed Oregon coho off of a threatened species list. The court did not pass on the merits of the case, but rather cited lack of jurisdiction in letting the lower court ruling stand. Environmentalists and property rights advocates disagreed about the immediate impact of the ruling. AP has more on this interesting story. Read the opinion here [PDF].

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    HRW seeks end to rights abuses of Burmese refugees  
    Anjali Soi at 2/25/2004 10:16:24 PM

    In Wednesday’s human rights news, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a report documenting major human rights violations against Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand. HRW stated that the government should not force anyone whose life and freedom are at risk out of the country under international law. HRW has more.... Rights groups report that Indonesia’s human rights situation has worsened ever since the government announced wars on separatism and terrorism last year. Human Rights Watch and other groups have protested Presidents Megawati Soekarnoputri’s decision to extend martial law, which allows the military to restrict civilian rights, for another six months. The Jakarta Post has more.... Also in Indonesia, a children’s rights organization has urged the government to employ due process of law for children accused of crimes after finding many cases in which children were refused legal representation during their investigation and trials. Again, the Jakarta Post has more.... The United Nations General Assembly has formally approved the appointment of former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. See the UN News Service for more.
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    State courts brief ~ Hawai'i strikes down 'direct filing' constitutional amendment  
    Brandon Smith at 2/25/2004 10:05:08 PM

    In Wednesday's state courts news, the Hawai'i Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed prosecutors to send felony cases to trial based on written reports to a state judge. The ACLU filed the claim on behalf of 46 citizens, arguing that the amendment would erode the due process right of those charged with serious offenses by foregoing either a preliminary hearing or grand jury indictment. Proponents of the amendment note that it would expedite the process and save resources by not requiring victims and police to appear at preliminary hearings or grand jury sessions. The Honolulu Advertiser has more. Read the opinion here.
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    Legal profession brief ~ Brief writing outsourced to India to cut costs  
    Sumit Jain at 2/25/2004 10:03:09 PM

    In Wednesday’s legal profession news, the Texas Lawyer reports on the growing tendency of American companies to outsource technical support and records transcription work to employees in India. Going a step further, Abhay Dhir has founded Dallas based Atlas Legal Research, a company that will provide brief writing services for independent practitioners and small firms at a third of the current cost by taking advantage of low Indian labor costs. Texas Lawyer has more.... The Financial Times reports that Sir David Clementi, the man heading the British government’s review of the UK legal industry, is proposing a new model for UK law firms which would relax ownership rules and could potentially revamp the shape of the legal profession. The relaxed rules would allow at least partial ownership of law firms by non-lawyers, opening up opportunities for outside investment and even trade of law firm shares in the stock market. The Financial Times has more.

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    DOJ brief ~ Ashcroft forms Joint Intelligence Coordinating Council  
    Justine Stefanelli at 2/25/2004 07:47:59 PM

    Here's Wednesday's legal news from the US Department of Justice. AP reports that Attorney General John Ashcroft has formed a Joint Intelligence Coordinating Council in order to direct intelligence-gathering among Justice Department agencies and to ensure the collection of useful intelligence in the war against terrorist groups. The Council is the newest effort by the Bush administration to improve intelligence collection and sharing since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The DOJ has issued a fact sheet on the Council here.... Solicitor General Theodore Olson has expressed US support for Austria in the case of a Los Angeles women who is suing the Austrian government to recover $150 million worth of paintings stolen by Nazis from her relatives more than 60 years ago. Olson remarked, "the United States has strongly condemned the Nazi atrocities, and it has sought to rectify Nazi wrongs through diplomatic and other means." As of now, the government has not given US courts permission to resolve war-related claims. The Jerusalem Post has the full AP story.
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    Terror law renewal sought by UK minister  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 06:43:57 PM

    UK Home Secretary David Blunkett said Wednesday that he would be seeking a further annual extension of the United Kingdom's anti-terrorism laws which, among other things, allow foreign terror suspects to be detained indefinitely without charge or trial. At the same time he released a discussion paper entitled Counter Terrorism Powers: Reconciling Security and Liberty in an Open Society [PDF] that responds to a critical report [PDF] on the anti-terror laws issued in December by a special Privy Council review committee. Read a Home Office press release here. The Home Office has also released statistics on arrests and detentions made under the UK anti-terror laws from September 11 2001 to January 31 2004. BBC News has more.

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    Environmental brief ~ EPA ordered to reformulate incinerator rules  
    Joseph Devine at 2/25/2004 06:42:17 PM

    In Wednesday's environmental law news, the Washington Post reports that the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has ruled that federal rules governing incinerator emissions are inadequate in preventing the release of harmful toxins under guidelines mandated by the Clean Air Act. The decision [PDF] comes in lieu of widespread protests over waste incinerators, which began springing up all over the country in the 1980s. The rules, which stem from the Clinton-era, were opposed by environmentalists for not preventing emissions of toxic chemicals and by some industry organizations who argued that the rules treated similar companies inconsistently... Following up on a story that I reported yesterday in JURIST's Paper Chase, the EPA has released a supplement [PDF] to the proposed Utility Mercury Reductions rule [PDF]. The supplement has set forth rule language concerning a model "cap and trade" approach, which would allow coal-burning power plants to buy and sell rights to emit mercury. The proposed rules have spurned a great deal of debate amongst both environmentalists and state officials who fear that a market-based approach will encourage concentrated emissions in certain areas of the country. The EPA is currently conducting public hearings in Chicago, Ill., Philadelphia, Pa., and Research Triangle Park, N.C. in order to receive feedback on the plan. US Newswire has more.
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    International law brief ~ US accused of undermining UN biosafety treaty  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 05:14:41 PM

    In international law news Wednesday, this week's meeting of parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety continues in Kuala Lumpur. A hot topic of debate at the conference has been US actions that are said to undermine the biosafety treaty, including last year's agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico on labeling and shipping biotech goods, and continuing US efforts to reach similar bilateral deals. Critics say these agreements weaken efforts under the protocol to unify global trade rules for bio-engineered products. AP has more. Meeting documents for the week-long conference are here.... As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the International Court of Justice today held the third and final day of hearings on the legality of Israel's security fence. Read the uncorrected transcript [PDF] of Wednesday's morning session; transcripts from prior sessions can be read here. Archived video of the hearings is here. The ICJ has issued this press release on the conclusion of public hearings and the beginning of the Court's deliberations. AP has more on the final day of arguments.... Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to cooperate with any investigation by the International Criminal Court of his army's involvement in war crimes. Museveni has said that he is "ready to be investigated for war crimes...and if any of our people were involved in any crimes, we will give him up to be tried by the ICC." AFP has more. As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, the ICC has announced the launch of a preliminary investigation into crimes committed during last week's massacre in Northern Uganda.... The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced Samuel Imanishimwe, a former military commander, to 27 years in prison for his role in a massacre during the Rwandan genocide after convicting him on six counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II. The UN News Service has more. The ICTR has this press release. The judgment and sentence in this case are not yet available online, but other case materials are available here.... An appeals chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has reduced the prison sentence of Mitar Vasiljevic, a Bosnian Serb. The court set aside Vasiljevic's convictions for murder, persecution and being a co-perpetrator of a joint criminal enterprise and replaced them with a conviction as an aider and abettor. The UN News Service has more. The ICTY Summary of the Judgment is here.
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    Law schools brief ~ Law graduates opting for "alternatives," says study  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 04:45:37 PM

    Leading Wednesday's law school news, the Texas Lawyer reports on the results of a recent informal survey indicating that some 30% of graduates of Texas law schools opt for an "alternative" career at some point after graduation. The reason? Graduates sometimes prefer "a kinder, gentler work atmosphere where personal lifestyle and self-fulfillment considerations hold more weight and the sacrifices to be successful are not as great." Find the full story, which incorporates the results of an earlier survey by the American Bar Association, here.

    Elsewhere, in the New York Law Journal's "Advice for the Lawlorn" section, a mid-level litigation associate looking to make a lateral move asks, "[W]hen will the scar of a lesser-ranked school ever go away in seeking future employment?" Columnist Ann Israel answers, with palpable regret, in the negative. And this bit of working world reality is most "ridiculous," she explains, for major firms in major legal markets. Read her full reply here.

    Lastly, Cambridge-based publications supply several stories of interest. First, the Harvard Crimson reports today that the Harvard Law School Veterans Association has declined to sign its support for an amicus brief backing the controversial Solomon Amendment in an ongoing federal court case. As noted in a report last week, the amendment authorizes the Department of Defense to deny federal funding to institutions that limit access for military recruiters. The brief in question, filed by veterans groups at three other law schools, contends that the limitation of access will stigmatize students with military afffiliations and lead to a critical shortage of military lawyers.

    Second, the Spring issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin features both an interview with Dean Elena Kagan of Harvard Law School, now half a year into her tenure, and a report on the newly launched $400 million capital campaign that will finance her ambitious plans for HLS. These plans include expanding the faculty in areas like international and environmental law, and upgrading the physical plant, especially its nonacademic student facilities. Half a billion dollars should surely help in achieving these ends.

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    School voucher bill defeated by Arizona lawmakers  
    Jen Nolan at 2/25/2004 04:39:29 PM

    The Arizona House Education Committee Wednesday rejected a proposal that would have given state vouchers worth 80% of what the state spends on each pupil to students opting to attend private schools. Supporters of the legislation said it would motivate public schools to improve by making private schools real competition, and that it would allow more parents to choose to send their children to private schools. Opponents of the legislation, however, said the measure would violate the state constitution's provisions regarding state money funding private schools. Read the House bill here. AP has more.

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    Pennsylvania files pension fraud suit against Time Warner-AOL  
    Jen Nolan at 2/25/2004 04:17:13 PM

    Pennsylvania has joined a multistate fight against Time Warner and its AOL subsidiary, filing a complaint in state court alleging the company cost state employees in excess of $100 million dollars in pension funds by making misleading statements about the company's financial health. The state filed the complaint yesterday on behalf of the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS), the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS), the Tobacco Settlement Investment Board, and the State Workers' Insurance Fund Board. Other states, including Minnesota, West Virginia, California and Ohio, have filed similar suits. Read the PSERS press release here. Read the PA complaint here [PDF]. AP has more.

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    Federal appeals court upholds Michigan sex offender registry  
    Jen Nolan at 2/25/2004 03:45:56 PM

    The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled today that a law requiring the registration of sex offenders does not imply those registered are a danger to society. The court said the Michigan Sexual Offender Registry System, which only provides the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders, does not violate any individual property interests or privacy rights. This decision reverses the finding of a federal District Court judge, who ruled the registry was unconstitutional because it had the effect of labeling a non-violent sexual offender as violent. Read today's opinion here. AP has more.

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    California Supreme Court asked to ban gay marriage  
    Jen Nolan at 2/25/2004 03:16:23 PM

    The Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit [PDF] with the California Supreme Court Wednesday asking the court to do what two state judges have so far not been willing to do: prevent the city of San Francisco from issuing same-sex marriage licenses and nullify all previously issued same-sex licenses. The group, which is opposed to same-sex marriage, says that by issuing same-sex marriage licenses, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome is violating the California state constitution which defines marriage as a union between a woman and a man. Counsel for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund says Alliance's lawsuit is nothing more than a political stunt. Read the Alliance Defense Fund press release here. AP has more.

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    US human rights reports cite gains in Iraq, Afghanistan, "backsliding" in China  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 03:03:25 PM

    The US State Department Wednesday released its 2003 annual reports on human rights in countries around the world. The Introduction to the reports highlighted gains in civil liberties in Iraq and Afghanistan, but noted "backsliding" in China as well as electoral "manipulation" in Russia. The State Department has posted the full text of the Introduction here, and also offers a background interview with US Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner, who oversaw the reports' preparation. AP has more.

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    Corporate brief ~ SEC proposes rule to curtail market timing abuses  
    Amit Patel at 2/25/2004 02:55:53 PM

    In Wednesday's corporations and securities law news, the SEC is proposing a rule requiring mutual funds to impose a 2 percent fee on sales of fund shares held for five or fewer business days in a move to curtail market timing abuses. Reuters has more.... A Congressional bill which would give greater powers to the SEC has dropped the provision which would have curtailed the powers of state securities regulators also known as the "anti-Spitzer" clause. Read the version of the bill currently in front of the House Financial Services Committee here[PDF]. Reuters has more.... Walt Disney Co. is asking a judge to throw out a 13-year-old Winnie the Pooh lawsuit on grounds that Steven Slesinger Inc., the company which owns the merchandising rights to the Pooh story characters, stole and concealed legal documents. AP has more.... Adelphia Communications Corp., the bankrupt cable television company whose founder is currently on trial for fraud, announced its plan to emerge from bankruptcy later this year by setting $8.8 billion in exit financing, which would be the largest ever for a bankrupt company. Read more about the Adelphia reorganization plan here. Reuters has more.... Another arrest in the ongoing Parmalat fraud probe was made today when Italian police apprehended a former chairman of a travel company that was part of the business empire of the family of jailed Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi. AP has more.... As reported earlier on JURIST's Paper Chase, the defense for Martha Stewart rested after presenting just one witness. Reuters has more.
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    Criminal brief ~ Stay of execution issued for North Carolina man  
    Timothy Lyon at 2/25/2004 02:42:51 PM

    In Wednesday's criminal law and punishment news, AP reports that a judge has issued a stay of execution for George Paige, a NC man scheduled to be executed on Friday for killing a police officer. The judge granted the stay because a psychiatrist who testified at Paige's trial has indicated that her diagnosis could change. A hearing on the matter scheduled is for Thursday.... On Tuesday the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a capital case that could determine the fate of dozens of PA death-row inmates, according to The Court is being asked to decide whether jury instructions and verdict forms used in PA death penalty cases during the 1980s violated a 1988 US Supreme Court decision which struck down a law requiring jurors to unanimously find mitigating factors. Briefs relating to yesterday's arguments are available here.
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    Family law brief ~ Florida gays challenge same-sex marriage ban  
    Melanie Galardi at 2/25/2004 02:41:32 PM

    In Wednesday's family law news, gay men and women in Florida filed suit today challenging Florida's law prohibiting same-sex marriage. The only named defendant in the suit is the Broward County Clerk, Howard Forman, who is in charge of issuing marriage licenses in the county. Broward County, like some others in the state, currently recognizes civil unions to some extent, allowing same-sex partners of men and women who work for the County to receive health care benefits. This is the first challenge to the Florida law banning same-sex marriage. AP has more.... In related news, the Utah House has passed a joint resolution that would amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The legislation now goes to the Senate for a vote. If passed by the Senate and then a majority of voters this November, the amendment would become effective in January of next year. AP has more.

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    Cyberspace brief ~ Microsoft initiates 'caller ID' for spam  
    Matt Jacobs at 2/25/2004 02:35:56 PM

    In Wednesday's cyberspace law news, Microsoft is testing a "caller ID for spam" system, which attempts to provide greater e-mail security, and reduce spam, by authenticating senders. Microsoft Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said Tuesday,
    "Having e-mail come in, and not really being able to identify where it comes from, this is a huge security hole. And like so many of the standards and protocols that grew up on the Internet in the early days, we need to strengthen these in this environment where there is malicious activity."
    Industry leading organizations such as, Brightmail and Sendmail, in addition to Microsoft's own Hotmail service are testing the new software, which will begin publishing IP addresses of senders this week....In other news, the chief spokesman for state public utility commissioners has urged a Senate committee to classify VoIP telephony as a telecommunications service if it originates and terminates on the public switched telephone network. States are concerned that the FCC will rule that VoIP is similar to e-mail, and outside the taxing power of the states. The arguments come two weeks ago after the FCC decided VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver's Free World Dialup (FWD) business does not meet the definition of a telecommunications service and is thus free from FCC regulations. In a related story, AT&T has launched a nationwide internet phone plan, hoping to become the nation's top provider of VoIP communications...CDNow has settled a patent infringement suit with SightSound Technologies for $3.3 million. The smaller SightSound company claimed it owned the proccess of selling digital music downloads.

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    Minnesota to defy FDA warnings with prescription drug website  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 01:50:44 PM

    The Pioneer Press reports today that Minnesota will continue to operate its prescription drug website despite written warnings by the Food and Drug Administration that it illegally encourages Minnesotans to buy Canadian medicines. The website,, was launched in January and is the first of its kind. Today, however, Wisconsin promises to follow suit with a similar website. The governors of these two border states held a meeting on Capitol Hill yesterday to discuss prescription drug costs. A press release from the Office of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty includes several quotes from meeting participants. For more on the FDA's position on prescription drugs from foreign sources, click here.

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    Supreme Court hears arguments on restitution of stolen art  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 01:26:25 PM

    The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the case of Austria v. Altmann, in which the elderly niece of a Jewish sugar magnate from Vienna seeks the restitution of paintings possibly pillaged by Nazis in World War II and now held by the Austrian Gallery. A victory on the issue of jurisdiction could help Altmann recover a half dozen paintings by famed art nouveau exponent Gustav Klimt. More broadly, it could open the door for lawsuits against galleries worldwide, many of which hold expropriated art. According to AP's report on the matter, the Bush administration supports Austria in the dispute. The Chicago Tribune offers the backstory and a timeline in the restitution effort here.

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    Guantanamo detainee handed back to Denmark, then freed  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 01:06:34 PM

    Making good on an agreement with the Danish government finalized last week, the US Wednesday announced the transfer to Danish custody of a Danish national formerly imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Read the Defense Department press release here. Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane was captured in Afghanistan in 2001; he was released to Danish authorities in Cuba and flown to Denmark "as a free man", according to a Danish spokeswoman. Reuters has more.

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    Martha Stewart defense rests  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 12:57:25 PM

    An end is imminent in the high-profile stock fraud trial of Martha Stewart, as defense attorneys for both Stewart and her former broker Peter Bacanovic rested their cases this morning, according to AP. US District Judge Miriam Goldman must now finalize the schedule for closing arguments, but has indicated that the jury could begin deliberating as soon as Monday. Slate offers a comprehensive account of the trial, including a timeline, itemization of charges, and series of dispatches here.

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    BREAKING NEWS - Feds raid ITT Tech campuses in eight states  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 12:43:47 PM is reporting that federal law enforcement officials raided campuses of the ITT Technical Institute in at least eight states this morning, checking computer databases and talking to students. Their motive remains unclear at this time. Details forthcoming.

    UPDATE: AP now has more. Rene R. Champagne, chairman and chief executive of ITT Technical Institute, says that the company is cooperating with investigators but "[w]e have not been informed of any specific allegations or charges at this time."

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    Milosevic prosecutors rest war crimes case  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 12:37:47 PM

    Prosecutors in the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic today filed a motion to close their case, despite having two more days still scheduled for their presentation. AFP has more. The surprise motion was possibly precipitated by the failing health of the defendant (because of which scheduled proceedings yesterday and today were cancelled - see the ICTY press release) and of presiding judge Richard May, whose pending resignation was unexpectedly announced by the court on Sunday. The Milosevic trial has already consumed 293 trial days since February 2004 and has been interrupted no less than 14 times on account of the former president's health problems. Bard College maintains a archive or trial video and related resources here. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia provides documentation on the trial here.

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    No rush to enact constitutional amendment banning gay marriage  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 12:24:57 PM

    Reaction to President Bush's Tuesday call for a constitutional amendment that would effectively ban gay marriage has been distinctly mixed, with even congressional Republicans saying that getting an amendment through Congress would take time and that the preservation of traditional marriage might best be achieved by other means. Meanwhile interest groups on both sides of the gay marriage debate took expected positions. The conservative American Center for Law and Justice, a legal advocacy initiative supported by Rev. Pat Robertson, applauded the President's proposal in a press release, while the Christian Coalition commended the call. On the other hand, the ACLU called the Bush proposal "un-American", saying it enshrined discrimination in the Constitution - read their press release here. The gay rights group Lambda Legal added that the proposed amendment could actually take away rights and protections from hundreds of thousands of same-sex families nationwide. AP has more.

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    EU commissioner expresses optimism about Turkish membership  
    Adam Henry at 2/25/2004 12:22:57 PM

    EUobserver reports today on growing optimism about the ability of Turkey to meet membership criteria for the European Union. The optimism follows remarks made by Gunter Verheugen of the EU's commission on expansion that, depending on the report, indicate that Turkey either will meet the criteria or simply can do so. Still, the commissioner's countrymen do not appear to be on board: a poll conducted today indicates that 57% of Germans oppose Turkish membership. Turkey's Ministry of Affairs offers substantial material on its application for membership here.

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    Supreme Court holds US postal service not subject to antitrust liability  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 11:38:40 AM

    In a second decision handed down this morning, the US Supreme Court has held that the US Postal Service is not subject to antitrust liability because, in both form and function, the postal service is not a separate antitrust person from the US but instead is part of the government. The case is US Postal Service v. Flamingo Industries (case backgrounder from Duke Law School's Program in Public Law). Cornell's Legal Information Institute has posted today's Opinion per Justice Kennedy.

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    US Supreme Court says religious studies students can be denied tax-funded scholarships  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 11:28:51 AM

    In a decision handed down this morning, the Supreme Court has held that state denial of taxpayer-funded scholarships to religious studies students does not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The case is Locke v. Davey (case backgrounder from Duke Law School's Program in Public Law). Cornell's Legal Information Institute has posted today's Opinion per Chief Justice Rehnquist, along with Justice Scalia's dissent and Justice Thomas' dissent. AP has more.

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    Apple trademark dispute between Beatles and computer company returns to court  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 11:08:27 AM

    A long-running trademark dispute between Apple Computer, Inc. and Apple Corps Ltd., the music concern owned by the four Beatles or their families, will return to a London court today. Apple Corps claims that the online iTunes music store violates an agreement forbidding the use of the Apple trademark for any works "whose principal content is music and, or performances." According to the 1991 agreement, Apple Computer would retain the logo for its "core business." Lawyers for the Beatles will argue during today's hearing that the case should be heard in London. Bloomberg has more.

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    Japanese judge criticizes plan to set up intellectual property court  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 10:57:34 AM

    A Tokyo High Court judge has criticized a government plan to establish a court that would specialize in lawsuits related to patent, design, utility models and other intellectual property rights. Kazuaki Yamashita has said that "the plan appears to be politically motivated to publicize the government's avowed new national policy of seeking Japan's national survival through promotion of intellectual property." Japan's prime minister is expected to submit legislation during the current Diet session that would create the new specialized court. The Japan Times has more. Read more on the Japanese government's policy objective of strengthening dispute settlement functions in the area of intellectual property.

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    Detention of Pakistani nuclear scientists to be appealed  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 10:46:41 AM

    The detention of six Pakistani nuclear scientists will be appealed to the country's supreme court after the dismissal by the Punjab provincial High Court of petitions for their release. The six scientists were detained after the confession by Abdul Qadeer Khan of nuclear leaks to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The Pakistani Government argued to the High Court that the detentions are necessary to stop the leaking of nuclear secrets and that the men are directly or indirectly responsible for leaking secret codes, machinery, nuclear materials and equipment components as well as plans and sketches. AFP has more.

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    Iraq may miss February 28 deadline for interim constitution  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 10:23:35 AM

    The Iraqi Governing Council miss the February 28 deadline for agreement on a draft interim constitution for the country, according to US Ambassador to the UNn John Negroponte. Speaking Tuesday to the Security Council, Negroponte said "The Iraqis have made significant progress towards the completion of the law and continue to work hard toward the achievement of the Feb. 28 deadline, although it is not certain that that deadline will be met exactly." AP has more. The Baghdad paper Al Sharq Al Awsat similraly reported on Wednesday that Paul Bremer, the US civil administrator in Iraq, had failed to get members of the Governing Council to agree on an interim fundamental law at a Tuesday meeting, according to a late report from China's Xinhua new agency. Disagreements have arisen on the Council over the place of Islamic law in the new legal order and the idea of a federal structure that would recognize the autonomy of the northern Kurds.

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    Charges dropped against British Iraq war whistleblower  
    Jeannie Shawl at 2/25/2004 10:17:23 AM

    Charges were dropped Wednesday against Katharine Gun, a former translator for Britain's secretive Government Communications Headquarters security establishment, for leaking a government e-mail in violation of the Official Secrets Act. In March, Gun passed to the Observer newspaper a US National Security Agency e-mail asking Britain to tap phones of UN Security Council members who might vote against the war in Iraq. She has since said that she acted to prevent the war. BBC News has more. The UK civil rights group Liberty has this press release welcoming the dismissal of the charges.

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    Turkish prosecutors open Istanbul bombings case  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 10:02:11 AM

    Turkish prosecutors Wednesday opened their court case again 69 persons charged with involvement in four suicide bomb attacks in November 2003 which killed 62 people and wounded hundreds of others. Two synagogues, the British consulate and a bank headquarters were targeted. Turkish authorities say they have broken up the terrorist cell responsible for the bombings, which they claim is connected to the al Qaida network. Reuters has more

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    UK constitutional reform bill would create new Supreme Court  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 09:37:47 AM

    The UK Government Wednesday formally introduced in Parliament a Constitutional Reform Bill creating a new Supreme Court to replace the existing judicial panel of the House of Lords as the UK's highest judicial authority, abolishing the traditional post of Lord Chancellor, and establishing a new commission charged with appointing judges. The proposals were the subject of government Consultation Papers last year and have been under discussion with the UK bar and judiciary for months. Earlier this year a Commons commmittee criticized the government for moving too quickly on reforms on such significance, and recommended that part of it be delayed. The UK Prime Minister's website offers a press release here. The complete text of the Constitutional Reform Bill is available from the UK Parliament website here. The government's initial Consultation Papers and the collected responses to them are available here from the UK Department of Constitutional Affairs. BBC News has more here.

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    ICJ concludes Israeli barrier hearings  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 09:14:53 AM

    The International Court of Justice at the Hague concluded its three-day set of hearings into the legality of the Israeli security barrier Wednesday after listening to arguments from Sudan, Turkey, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Recorded video of today's session is already available from the ICJ here. AP has more. The court's non-binding advisory opinion in the case may not come for months.

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    Media law brief ~ $1 billion defamation suit against Ohio paper allowed to proceed  
    Chris Buell at 2/25/2004 08:08:12 AM

    In Wednesday's media and information law news, an Ohio appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling and allowed a $1 billion defamation suit against the Akron Beacon Journal to proceed, Editor & Publisher reports. The suit was brought by the owner of the Ohio Valley Coal Company, who alleged that the paper printed defamatory statements as part of a four-part series in 2001 about the coal company.... The Mississippi legislature has approved procedural changes that would open conference committee proceedings, including those dealing with appropriations, to the public, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports. Conference committees were originally opened to the public in 2001, but that change did not include appropriations committees. RCFP has more.... In the run-up to elections, Spanish media have come under fire for failing to provide the public with open debate and information about the candidates, according to BBC News. Critics point to a 1980 media law that places control of the country's public broadcaster in the hands of the majority party, leading to politicized content on the station. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last month said the Spanish state broadcaster, Television Espanola, as an example of "news manipulation." BBC News has more.
  • click for previous media and information law news

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    US law and business press review ~ Wednesday, February 25  
    Maryam Shad at 2/25/2004 06:30:42 AM

    In Wednesday's US law and business press, the Boston Business Journal reports that Raytheon has settled its breach of contract lawsuit against Exelon.... The ABA Journal reports on a MS Supreme Court controversy involving a motorcycle-riding ex-colleague and his son's recusal request.... The Legal Times reports that the US Supreme Court will consider whether states may deny Boy Scouts access to government benefits or facilities because of the organization's policy excluding gays.... The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports that a CO feed company is suing Land O'Lakes Inc. for trademark infringement.... The Legal Intelligencer reports that a PA federal magistrate judge has slashed an attorney's court-awarded fees in a civil rights suit due to the attorney's careless work on pleadings, stating that the attorney's "complete lack of care in his written product shows disrespect for the court".... FindLaw's Writ features Rutgers law professor Sherry F. Colb's column on the FDA's delayed approval for nonprescription emergency contraception.
  • click for the previous US law and business press review

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    Law in the foreign press ~ Wednesday, February 25  
    Zak Shusterman at 2/25/2004 01:14:41 AM

    Here are some of the legal stories running in Wednesday's foreign press... China's People's Daily features preparations to amend China's Constitution. The proposal calls for adding protection of private property and respect for human rights. This would be only the fourth the Constitution has been amended since its creation in adoption in 1982.... Japan Today covers a proposed amendment to the Copyright law that will restrict importation of Japanese music CDs produced in foreign markets. The action is intended to protect the local CD production industry from cheap foreign producers.... In the UK, the Financial Times features plans to create a new type of law firm. The new "legal disciplinary practice" model would allow barristers, solicitors and specialized attorneys to work together and allow partial firm ownership by non-lawyers.
  • click for the previous foreign press review

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    LIVE WEBCAST ~ ICJ hearing on Israeli security barrier (Wednesday)  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 12:02:23 AM

    The International Court of Justice at The Hague is webcasting its final day of hearings on the legality of Israel's security barrier Wednesday from 4 AM - 7 AM ET (10 AM - 1 PM at The Hague). Access the video stream here. A full schedule of oral arguments is here - on Wednesday, Sudan, Turkey, the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference are scheduled to argue. As previously reported on JURIST's Paper Chase, Israel is not appearing before the court.

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    This day at law ~ Income tax amendment ratified  
    Bernard Hibbitts at 2/25/2004 12:01:42 AM

    On February 25, 1913, the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, creating the Income Tax. Read more from FindLaw on the history and purpose of the 16th Amendment.

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