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Legal Affairs Archive

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.

Alice Ruling Not Enough to Stop Patent Trolls | Commentary

Imagine this scenario: You’re an app developer, trying to create a small business in your free time. You push your app to the Apple iTunes store and the Android Marketplace and you start seeing some modest success. Then comes the patent troll threat: a dense 100-plus-page document, full of legalese and nearly impossible to understand, threatening a lawsuit for “patent infringement” in federal court if you don’t pay up, either in cash right away or by promising away a percentage of your future profits.

Turning Up the Volume on Music Issues | Commentary

When you think of the great music cities of America, what comes to mind? Los Angeles? Nashville? New York City? Brookside, Rhode Island?

Clinton Library Papers Show Kagan Dropping an F-Bomb

Papers from the Clinton White House released Friday detail much of the behind-the-scenes legal work of the White House as President Bill Clinton dealt with multiple scandals and controversies in his second term.

What the McDonnell Verdict May Mean Going Forward | Commentary

The successful prosecution of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell last month was a huge win for the Department of Justice in general, and the Public Integrity Section in particular.

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Republicans Mum After Court Declines Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Just over a year ago, Rep. Tim Huelskamp reacted strongly when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Balancing Scales of Justice for Whistleblowers | Commentary

Pressure to go along to get along starts early in life. A student who tells the teacher about playground misbehaviors may face taunts as a tattletale. Teens feel social pressure not to report mischief by their peers. Later in life, employees fear reprisals or retaliation for raising questions about workplace wrongdoing. Unfortunately, there’s a pervasive institutional mindset to muzzle whistleblowers from reporting what they know.

With Friends Like the NRA, Who Needs Enemies? | Commentary

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., recently found out how fickle his former allies in the gun lobby can be.

It's Time for an Asian-Pacific American Attorney General | Commentary

With the resignation of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the president must nominate a highly qualified successor who will inspire confidence, and lead with grace and thoughtful decisiveness. That nominee must also be one likely to be confirmed by a Senate that may shift to Republican leadership in November.

Behind the Red Carpet | Commentary

I’m in Washington this week to attend Behind the Red Carpet, an event hosted by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., co-chairwoman of the Creative Rights Caucus. The event aims to bring the story — and the people — behind our film and television productions to lawmakers on the Hill. As we tell our personal stories in Washington, D.C., we also hope to share some of the greatest concerns facing our industry today.

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Stalled Georgia Judicial Nominee Presents a Dilemma for Senate Democrats

The troubled judicial nomination of Michael P. Boggs is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee as the days grow short for congressional action this year, and the panel is moving other nominations ahead of his.

Stopgap Could Mean More Juggling for Border Agencies

Days after Congress skipped out of Washington for recess last month, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced plans to shift some $400 million in funding from other agency programs to manage the Southwest border crisis.

President Obama's "Flexible" View of the Law: The DREAM Act as Case Study | Commentary

Since 2001, immigration advocates have pushed Congress to enact the DREAM Act. The bill would give lawful permanent residence status and work authorization to anyone who arrived in this country illegally as a minor, has been in the country for at least five years, was in school or has graduated from high school or served in the military, and was not yet 35 years old. Some version of the bill has been introduced in each Congress, but has usually kicked up such a firestorm of opposition that even its high-level bipartisan support has proved insufficient to get the bill adopted.

How Unnecessary Data Reporting Requirements Turned a $44 Theft into a $10,000 Federal Headache | Commentary

In June 2008, a thief entered a custodial room at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and took a bag of Ruffles chips, some Little Debbie Nutty Bars, and a set of two-way radios — a combined value of $44.88. Six years later, the same incident is costing the university $10,000, all because of a dispute with the U.S. Department of Education over whether the space where the theft took place was a closet or an office.

An Important Step Forward in Protecting the Innocent | Commentary

With all the focus on gridlock in Washington, there are certain areas where Congress ought to be able to find common ground. One such area is the Justice for All Reauthorization Act, which I am proud to co-sponsor.

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