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Legal Affairs Archive

Marijuana Foes, Friends Agree on Need for Research

House appropriators have a bipartisan curiosity about pot.

The Senate Must Pass the USA Freedom Act | Commentary

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in an extraordinarily well-reasoned decision, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of systematically collecting the telephone records of Americans is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is, therefore, illegal.

Asbestos Victims to Congress: Stop Fast-Tracking Legislation That Would Violate Victims' Privacy | Commentary

With each new Congress comes a new opportunity to pass legislation that will improve our country and make citizens’ lives better. My husband, the late Rep. Bruce F. Vento, recognized and embraced this opportunity during each of his 12 terms in Congress. I am disappointed to see this is not the case for some this Congress.

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Republican Lawmakers Urge Court to Block Immigration Expansion

More than 100 Republican members of Congress urged a federal appeals court Monday to block the Obama administration’s sweeping new immigration policies such as deferred deportations.

Acting Civil Rights Head Still Awaits Nomination

As the acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta played an integral role in the Justice Department’s response to the recent unrest in Baltimore.

Appeals Court Strikes Down NSA Bulk Phone Data Collection

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone data collection program exceeds what Congress authorized in Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Grimm's N.Y. District Stays in Republican Hands

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan easily won Tuesday’s special election in New York's 11th Congressional District to replace Michael G. Grimm, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to tax evasion.

In Comcast's Failed Merger, a Victory for Al Franken

Lawmakers use congressional hearings and letters to wield influence over corporate mergers - and that was  certainly the case with Sen. Al Franken and the now-failed Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal.

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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