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Legal Affairs Archive

How Congress Can Protect Americans' Email Privacy | Commentary

Did you lock your front door when you left for work this morning? Rest easy, then, knowing your papers are secure. But what about your emails? Not so much. Because right now, an outdated law threatens the Fourth Amendment protections of every American who uses the Internet. Whether you are a committee chairman or an unpaid intern, your digital privacy is currently at risk.

Boehner Plans to Authorize House Suit Against Obama Over Immigration

House Republican leaders are finalizing a plan that would authorize the chamber to take legal actions against President Barack Obama over his executive actions on immigration.

White House Body-Camera Grant Modeled on Lapsed DOJ Program

The White House proposal for new grants to help police buy body-worn cameras is modeled on an existing bulletproof-vest grant program, a senior administration official said when the community-policing plan was unveiled in December.

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Democrats Plan Police Body-Camera Legislation

Two similar Democratic proposals to equip more police officers with body-worn cameras should come into better focus within days, as details emerge on a White House initiative as well as a prominent African-American lawmaker’s legislation in the House.

Guantanamo Will Be Closed Before Obama's Term Ends, Ex-Official Predicts

The former State Department official charged with closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility predicted over the weekend that President Barack Obama will keep his promise to shutter the prison before ending his term.

Would You Like a Patent Lawsuit With Your Meal? | Commentary

As members of Congress prepare to re-open the debate on patent reform, they would do well to consider they have probably recently eaten food. They might have looked up recipes or pictures of that food online. They may even have counted the calories in that food, or used a website to help figure out how healthy their meal was.

Fear-Mongering About Foreign Patent Trolls | Commentary

As was highlighted at the recent nomination hearing for Michelle Lee as the next director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office it is important to take a look at the patent landscape and the talk of more legislative action on our patent system under discussion in Congress.

Feinstein Plans to Push for New Laws Stemming from CIA Torture Report

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to push for fresh legislation stemming from her panel's report into the CIA's post-9/11 detainee interrogation practices, but she'll likely face an uphill climb because even Republicans sympathetic to criticisms of the CIA’s methods say there are no need for new laws.

Senate Report Tests U.S. State-Secrets Defense

The Senate’s report on CIA interrogation practices is poised to become a new weapon in legal proceedings for former and current detainees, both in the United States and foreign courts.

CIA Report Leaves Open Questions About White House Knowledge

The blockbuster report on CIA interrogation practices after 9/11 from the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed reports and answered scores of lingering questions about the Bush-era policies. But the report doesn’t provide a definitive accounting of exactly what detail White House staff knew about the program, and when they knew it.

Former House Members Unite to Curb Federal Prison Growth | Commentary

In recent years, public awareness of our nation’s overcrowded and inefficient state prisons has grown considerably. But what is often overlooked is this country’s bloated federal prison system, which continues to operate beyond capacity, endangering staff and inmates alike and costing taxpayers nearly $7 billion in fiscal 2014. That’s one-quarter of the Justice Department’s entire budget. Although the federal prison population recently decreased for the first time in more than three decades, we are far from declaring victory.

Why the Senate's Pro-Business Agenda Should Club Patent Trolls | Commentary

It has been one year since the House of Representatives passed legislation to protect businesses from the scourge of the digital age: patent trolls. Yet in that year, as the Senate allowed patent reform legislation to languish in committee, trolls have continued to extort legitimate businesses, collectively draining $80 billion from the U.S. economy.

Congress Must Demilitarize Our Police Forces If the President Will Not | Commentary

Two police officers in two weeks have escaped indictment for the death of two unarmed black men. News broke on Dec. 3 that Officer Daniel Pantaleo of New York, like Officer Darren Wilson of Ferguson, Mo., will not face trial for a death caused by his actions. Perhaps coincidentally, this news comes closely on the heels of the Obama administration’s reveal of its plan to address police militarization. The verdict is now in for the president’s plan — it is nowhere near good enough.

Et tu, DOJ? Will Loretta Lynch Ignore IRS Fraud as AG as She Did in Her Own Backyard? | Commentary

On November 7, 2011, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sent a letter to Brooklyn-based U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch echoing his concerns about a former ACORN group, “New York Communities for Change” and its alleged “fraud through its participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests.” Issa asked Lynch to investigate potential fraud by the progressive nonprofit group. Lynch, to date, has failed to take action.

Obama's Immigration Actions Test Presidential Power

President Barack Obama’s sweeping immigration executive actions will once again test the limits of his legal authority to take action without Congress.

GOP Lawsuit on Immigration Order Viewed With Skepticism

Republican lawmakers would have to vault high legal hurdles to succeed in getting federal courts to stop President Barack Obama’s sweeping immigration action, constitutional law experts say.

Supreme Court Pits People v. Politics Again | Commentary

Political games are de rigueur in Washington and the Supreme Court is no exception. With its grant of review in King v. Burwell, the nation’s highest court has set the stage for yet another Affordable Care Act showdown.

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Rangel Still Fighting to Clear His Name

Four years after the House censured Rep. Charles B. Rangel on ethics charges, the 23-term Democrat from New York is still fighting to wipe that from the record—literally.

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Senate Filibusters

The Supreme Court won’t hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the Senate’s filibuster, a decision that one group says could make it impossible to question the Senate’s rules in the federal courts.

Recalling the Injustice Done to Sen. Ted Stevens | Commentary

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was among the more powerful men in Washington exactly six years ago, as he wound down his seventh term and began a run for likely re-election. He was the longest-serving Senate Republican in history and his reputation among those who knew him well was impeccable.

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