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Legal Affairs Archive

In Showdown With Lerner, House Imprisonment Not Out of the Question

Former tax official Lois Lernerís confrontation with Congress over a potential contempt citation may get emphatically more dramatic, depending on how far back into congressional history House Republicans want to reach.

Fear of GOP Senate Takeover Spurs Liberal Calls for Ginsburg Retirement

With the Supreme Courtís term winding down and Republicansí midterm election prospects on the rise, some liberal legal advocates want Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to retire this summer. That way, President Barack Obama can appoint a like-minded successor while the Senate is still under Democratic control.

The Senate and Patent Reform: The Time Is Now | Commentary

Recently, word from the Senate Judiciary Committee is that negotiators have reached a bipartisan agreement in principle on the key elements of a comprehensive patent reform bill. They are reportedly vetting and nailing down language and preparing the package for mark-up when the Senate returns. A deal appears close to being done, and itís looking more like the Houseís Innovation Act, which bodes well for final passage.

218: Obama's Drug Clemency Push Slammed by House GOP Chairman

Goodlatte (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fears of Israeli Spying Underlie Reluctance on Visa Waiver Program

Lawmakers and staffers on two House committees are concerned that admitting Israel to a program that eases entry of foreigners into the United States would increase the risk of Israeli espionage, congressional aides say.

Apple Behaving Poorly Amid Patent Reform Debate | Commentary

One of the unique characteristics of our country is the pace at which innovation can generate positive societal developments, consumer benefits and economic opportunity. The protection of intellectual property is essential to ensuring oneís hard-wrought inventions are not exploited. However, the patent system of today has gone awry and Congress is right to address it.

Exploiting Our Daughters: Fighting Sex Trafficking | Commentary

The stories sound too horrible to be true. One woman tells of the boyfriend she loved forcing her to perform sex acts on strangers to pay for the rent. Another young girl says she was kept in abandoned warehouses and was shipped with dozens of other women in the back of trucks like cattle. News reports detail the story of a teenage girl who had her pimpís initials forcibly tattooed on her eyelids to show that she was his property. Sadly, the personal accounts of sex trafficking are as common as they are horrific.

All Aboard the Music Bus | Commentary

Harmony. Unity. Parity.

Obama Has Supported Three Anti-Trolling Bills

To the casual observer, the Obama administrationís approach to the congressional debate over patent trolls may seem erratic.

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Big Businesses Vie for Favored Provisions as Senators Finalize 'Patent Troll' Bill

Four months after the House passed a far-reaching bill to prevent abusive patent infringement lawsuits, senators are close to striking a deal on their own legislation, according to aides in both parties.

Congress Should Get Moving on Criminal Justice Reform

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget request to Congress, which was immediately rejected by House Republicans. Speaker Boehner called it the ďmost irresponsible budget yet.Ē Just as predictably, pundits followed by grousing that the budget wasnít worth the paper itís printed on: They argue itís a political statement with no chance of getting passed into law, not a realistic policy document.

Marijuana Legalization: It's Time, Congress | Commentary

Last month, the Justice Department and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued simultaneous memos, clarifying the Obama administrationís position on financial institutions working with state-legal marijuana-related businesses. In short, the guidance issued indicated that, absent evidence that the businesses were violating certain Justice Department priorities and assuming the financial institutions complied with new Bank Secrecy Act reporting requirements, it would not be a department priority to prosecute financial institutions that serve these customers.

Time for the Senate to Act on Patent Reform and Protect Jobs | Commentary

In announcing recent actions by the White House to combat patent trolls and strengthen Americaís patent system, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, succinctly observed, ďItís no small deal that the president of the United States chose to make a call for patent reform legislation in his State of the Union address.Ē

Getting on the Right Side of History | Commentary

America is ready for gay and lesbian couplesí freedom to marry. Recently, the Department of Justice issued a memo making clear that the federal government will respect gay married couples for federal programs and purposes, even in states that discriminate against such marriages. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans nationwide favor the freedom to marry, a shrinking cohort of lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to stand against it. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, introduced legislation late last year that would give a green light to codifying and legalizing special discrimination against legally married gay couples.

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Cameras in the Courtroom Push Hits D.C. Cable TV

When the Supreme Court convenes for major cases, the line of paid placeholders and interested parties stretches down First Street Northeast hours in advance.

Security Secrets Create Hurdles for Lawmakers

While lawmakers this week were looking to get to the bottom of the recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus and possibly craft legislation to respond to those attacks, they were faced with a stark reality from the investigations: They and the public wonít be getting solid answers anytime soon.

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Retailers Push Back on Proposed Banking Legislation Following Massive Data Security Breaches

Retailers including Target and Neiman Marcus made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, testifying at three daysí worth of hearings with the dual mission of apologizing for recent large-scale data breaches and discouraging any new regulatory legislation.

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Wells, Civil Rights Groups Push for Potent D.C. Pot Bill

On Tuesday, the D.C. Council will have a chance to pass what civil rights groups are calling the strongest marijuana decriminalization bill in the country.

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Holder Sees Constitutional Basis for Obama's Executive Actions

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. rebutted Republican accusations that President Barack Obamaís use of executive power is unconstitutional during a lengthy Senate oversight hearing Wednesday that touched on policy areas ranging from government surveillance to the dangers of marijuana.

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Lawmakers Take On Carmakers Over Repair Parts

Two weeks ago, automaker Chrysler Group LLC sued parts manufacturer LKQ Corp., seeking damages for what it alleges was infringement on 10 patents for the design of car repair parts.

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