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Legal Affairs Archive

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.

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.

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