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Legal Affairs Archive

Vote Study Shows Obama Gets His Way in GOP-Controlled Senate

Republicans took the Senate in 2014 by stressing the data that CQ Roll Call’s presidential support vote study revealed: Democrats in red states were sticking close to President Barack Obama. So here’s a surprise: the new GOP majority in 2015 is voting Obama’s way as often as they ever have.

USPTO Patent-Quality Initiative Can Go Further | Commentary

The Senate recently confirmed Michelle Lee — who questioned congressional patent reform efforts — for the top gig at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. At the SXSW festival in March, Lee spoke on the PTO’s patent-quality initiative and upcoming adjustments to the patent system, including better search methods for prior art, crowdsourcing tools to help researchers and enhance overall patent quality, and improved training for PTO examiners.

Congress Should Launch Bipartisan Investigation of 'Short-Sale' Market | Commentary

During his Oscar-nominated cameo in “A History of Violence,” William Hurt declares ominously to the brother he is about to have murdered, “You cost me ... you cost me a helluva lot!” In a much broader sense, and in the real world, the rise of the Regulatory State has cost us a lot; a helluva lot, if you will — in excess of $2 trillion annually, as estimated by Forbes.

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114th Congress Has Hands-Off Approach to Post-Ferguson Police Issues

After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last August and the protests against police brutality that ensued, it seemed a bipartisan consensus had emerged in Washington that something was deeply wrong with law enforcement in majority-black communities. Protesters demanded Congress correct disparities in policing that make it far more likely for a black person to die in custody than a white one.

Cleaver Sees Potential in Administration's Action on Police Brutality

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., has been frustrated in his attempts to get Congress to move on an overhaul of police practices.

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Lynch Nomination Fight Intensifies Amid Hints of a Deal

The partisan spat over the stalled Loretta Lynch attorney general nomination heated up Thursday, as did behind-the-scenes Senate negotiations that could allow for her confirmation vote.

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Path Forward on Lynch Nomination Tied to Abortion Language

Senators negotiated Wednesday over how to end a legislative standoff that has stalled votes on an otherwise noncontroversial anti-human trafficking bill as well as the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general.

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Vote on Lynch Nomination Possible--With a Big 'If'

Loretta Lynch’s bid to be the next attorney general remains mired in Senate politics, but Republicans offered a proposal Tuesday that could lift a major hurdle to a floor vote on her nomination.

'Innovation Act' Will Squelch Innovation | Commentary

Three years ago, Congress changed American patent law from a “first to discover” to a “first to file” system. Now, without waiting for these changes to be fully absorbed, some members of Congress are proposing additional changes that would impair the culture of innovation that makes America the place where someone is always trying to build a better mousetrap.

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Democrats File Court Brief Backing Obama Immigration Orders

A group of 181 Democratic members of the House weighed in on the legal fight over immigration on Monday, telling an appeals court that the executive branch has the authority to make the policy changes that President Barack Obama announced in November.

New Top Dem on Foreign Relations Offers Cautious Support for Iran Bill

The new top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday offered guarded support for high-profile legislation on Iran that is scheduled to be voted on shortly after Congress returns from its recess.

Supreme Court May Hear Texas Case Again

The Supreme Court is set to decide soon whether justices will again hear the case of Abigail Noel Fisher, a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas-Austin. The court first dealt with the case two years ago, sending it back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Affirmative Action Thrives at Most Selective Colleges

Colleges across the country are trying to diversify their freshman classes, but are doing so on an ever-changing legal terrain about whether, and to what extent, they may consider race in admissions policy.

Home Visiting Is a Bipartisan Winner for Families and Communities | Commentary

Ask many people in law enforcement about their toughest days, and you’ll hear time and again how upsetting it is to be called to a home where children are being abused or neglected. Sometimes, the signs of violence and oppression come at the hands of adults who are willfully causing harm to their kids. Other times we encounter parents and caregivers who are simply overwhelmed with and unprepared for the stresses of raising young children. In many cases, the families are living in poverty, with parents who don’t have the education or life skills to be productive citizens.

Experienced Lawyers to Argue ACA Case

The Supreme Court will hear one hour of oral arguments starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the health care lawsuit, King v. Burwell.

Health Care Exchanges Face Supreme Court Test

President Barack Obama’s health care law is for the second time at risk before the Supreme Court. The justices will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a case that could leave the law unworkable without a legislative fix, and millions of Americans without health insurance.

A Bold Step Forward in Challenging Citizens United | Commentary

Recently, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., announced bold legislation that will limit corporate felons’ ability to influence our elections. It’s an important step toward undoing the damage of the Supreme Court’s five-year-old Citizens United decision and restoring control over our democracy.

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Identity Theft: Is a Federal Standard Really the Answer?

Lawmakers are restarting a long-running effort to enact a single federal law specifying when consumers should be notified when their credit cards, Social Security numbers or other personal information has been hacked or compromised.

5 Years after the Spill: What BP Owes the Gulf Coast | Commentary

It’s been nearly five years since BP slimed the Gulf Coast, taking the lives of 11 men, wrecking livelihoods and killing tens of thousands of helpless coastal birds. Finally, federal Judge Carl Barbier is heading into the final stretch, deciding how much the third largest oil company in the world will have to pay in pollution fines for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Time for the ECPA to Get an '80s-Style Remake | Commentary

The 1980s were a decade to remember. Advancements in the ’80s became the foundation for many of the technologies that have become a part of our daily lives — wireless phones, video game consoles and, of course, the foundations of the Internet. And just like our favorite ’80s TV shows are remade into new movies (such as “Transformers” and “The A-Team”) let’s add a 28-year-old online privacy law deserving of a remake too: the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

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