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Legal Affairs Archive

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.

All Americans Benefit From Senate Rules Reform | Commentary

What do Richard Boulware, a federal judge in Nevada; Nina Pillard, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; and Melvin Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, have in common?

The World Has Changed, It's Time Our Music Licensing System Did Too | Commentary

Digital media industry lobbyist Daniel Horowitz’s recent opinion piece, “Congress Should Consider Reality Over Rhetoric in Copyright Reform,” (Roll Call, July 2) dismisses the arguments made by “star-studded messengers.” So perhaps he’ll permit someone who toils behind the scenes of the music industry to weigh in? You see, most people won’t recognize my name. But they are familiar with my music, which includes scores for television shows such as Glee and American Horror Story.

Supreme Court Takes Power from Working Women and Families & Hands It to Corporations | Commentary

It appears the buffer zone in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is so large that the justices have lost touch with the real world. The five conservative justices have told us loud and clear that the hard work of Americans — especially American women — is not valued. It’s a very good time to be a corporation and a dangerous time to be a working woman.

FDA Weighs Role Overseeing the Marijuana Trade

Colorado’s and Washington’s decision to legalize marijuana for adults has left federal regulators in an awkward position, with the drug still illegal under federal law. But while the Food and Drug Administration has been largely absent from the new retail scene, the agency appears to be leaving the door open to taking action on food products that contain marijuana if public health is threatened.

Despite Setback in Senate, There's No Reason to Give Up on Patent Reform | Commentary

The last few weeks have brought both good and bad news to supporters of patent reform looking to reduce system abuse.

White House Ducks Questions on Deporting Child Migrants

The Obama administration stressed Monday that child migrants entering the country illegally must go through deportation proceedings, but continued to avoid answering questions about how many of them actually show up and end up getting deported.

Startups Need Patent Reform Now | Commentary

There’s quite a distance between having a great idea and developing it into an actual business. As the CEO and founder of two startups, I know firsthand the amount of work it takes to bridge the gap. I’ve been fortunate to work with very talented people to create new and innovative products. I’ve had my share of challenges from raising money, hiring employees, generating revenue and navigating the dynamic markets. But a problem I never anticipated were patent trolls.

Congress Must Not Abandon Meaningful Patent Reform | Commentary

The Senate’s decision to pull the plug on meaningful patent reform legislation leaves a serious, costly problem unsolved.

On Patents, the Senate Did the Right Thing | Commentary

The triumph of deliberation in the course of making law nearly always draws praise from future historians, but it can be awfully unpopular amid real-time cries for change.

Created Equal | Commentary

A classic commentary on the Biblical story of creation insists that all of humanity is descended from the very first earthling, “so that no one can say my original ancestor was greater than yours.” The interpretation emerges from Jewish tradition (Sanhedrin 4:5), but it is an observation about the human race, not about any subset of it.

Lawmakers Seek Criminal Drug Sentencing Overhaul

Even as medical marijuana supporters gear up for a vote this summer, a bipartisan group of senators is pushing separate legislation that would overhaul criminal sentencing laws with an eye toward reducing some drug-related penalties.

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Could This Be the Year for a House Reversal on Medical Marijuana?

The last time Rep. Dana Rohrabacher offered an amendment on the House floor to protect states rights when it came to legalization of medical marijuana, it was defeated 163–262.

C-J-S Bill Advances After Democratic Gun Provisions Turned Aside

House appropriators advanced a measure Thursday to fund the Justice and Commerce departments, along with science agencies, after endorsing a GOP gun proposal and sidelining a series of Democratic firearm policy amendments.

Address Patent Flaws or Face the Economic Consequences | Commentary

The U.S. became the world’s largest economy, in part, because its policies supported innovation and entrepreneurship. From Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs, U.S. entrepreneurs invented many of the innovations that drove the 20th century global economy, with patents playing an indispensable role in this innovation process — which may explain the prolonged push for congressional patent reform.

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