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Democrats push McConnell, GOP on Supreme Court nomination
Legal Marketing News | 2016/04/16 01:16
Senate Democrats called on Republicans to vote on Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court by Memorial Day, as GOP lawmakers showed no sign of relenting despite the latest round of courtesy calls.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., maintains that the president chosen by voters in November should fill the vacancy on the high court, and there will be no confirmation hearings or a vote. But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues are hoping that election-year pressure will eventually wear them down.

"We feel the public is on our side, and this is to their detriment," Reid told reporters Thursday at a news conference in which Democrats pressed for consideration of Garland's nomination.

One Republican in a tough re-election race, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, met with Garland Thursday morning and told the judge that he agreed with McConnell on delaying the nomination until after the next president takes office.



Attorney: Court ruling lets Ohio political candidates lie
Legal Marketing News | 2016/03/28 12:06
Candidates for public office in Ohio can lie and get away with it under a recent federal court ruling that struck down a state law banning false statements in campaigns, an attorney says.

Attorney Donald Brey, who has represented Republicans in cases before the Ohio Elections Commission, told The Columbus Dispatch his clients mostly tell the truth, but can legally lie as long as they don't defame anyone.

In past elections, the commission ruled on false-advertising complaints. That changed when the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals a few weeks ago upheld the 2014 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black that found the law violated the First Amendment. The Dispatch reports no further appeal is expected.

Black wrote that "lies are bad," but with some political speech, "there is no clear way to determine whether a political statement is a lie or the truth, and we certainly do not want the government deciding what is political truth."

Phil Richter, executive director of the state Elections Commission, said he has had to turn away calls from candidates alleging false-advertising claims.



Karadzic convicted of genocide, sentenced to 40 years
Legal Marketing News | 2016/03/24 09:32
A U.N. court convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide and nine other charges Thursday and sentenced him to 40 years in prison for orchestrating Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war that left 100,000 people dead.

As he sat down after hearing his sentence, Karadzic slumped slightly in his chair, but showed little emotion.

The U.N. court found Karadzic guilty of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in Europe's worst mass murder since the Holocaust.

Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic was the only person in the Bosnian Serb leadership with the power to halt the genocide.

In a carefully planned operation, Serb forces transported Muslim men to sites around the Srebrenica enclave in eastern Bosnia and gunned them down before dumping their bodies into mass graves.

Kwon said Karadzic and his military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, intended "that every able-bodied Bosnian Muslim male from Srebrenica be killed."

Karadzic was also held criminally responsible for murder, attacking civilians and terror for overseeing the deadly 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, during the war and for taking hostage U.N. peacekeepers.

However, the court acquitted Karadzic in a second genocide charge, for a campaign to drive Bosnian Muslims and Croats out of villages claimed by Serb forces.



Judge begins to deliver verdict in Ukrainian pilot trial
Legal Marketing News | 2016/03/21 16:56
A Russian court has begun reading a verdict for Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who is charged with complicity to murder two Russian journalists in war-torn eastern Ukraine.
 
The judge began reading the verdict Monday morning. He quoted arguments by prosecutors who said Savchenko, who served in a volunteer Ukrainian battalion at the time, called in the coordinates for shelling that killed the two journalists and several civilians in July 2014. He also quoted them as saying she was driven by "political hatred" toward residents of Ukraine's Luhansk region.
   
The judge in the trial quoted the prosecution saying that Savchenko was part of a "criminal group" and aimed to kill an "unlimited number of people."

Prosecutors have asked for a 23-year prison sentence for Savchenko. Sentencing is expected on Tuesday.

This story has been corrected to show that Savchenko has not been found guilty. The judge, quoting prosecutors, said Savchenko was complicit in the killing, but stopped short of pronouncing her guilty. A verdict will come at the end of the verdict-reading process, which is expected to take two days.



Supreme Court rejects NJ employees' appeal over pension fund
Legal Marketing News | 2016/03/01 11:03
The Supreme Court is refusing to disturb a ruling from New Jersey's top court that sided with Gov. Chris Christie in a legal fight with public worker unions over pension funds.

The justices did not comment Monday in rejecting the unions' appeal. The high court order came less than three weeks after Christie ended his run for the Republican presidential nomination.

New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled last year that the state is obligated to pay individual retirees their pensions. But it overturned a lower court ruling that would have forced the state to come up with billions to pay promised pension benefits.


ACLU to appeal court ruling in Missouri drug testing case
Legal Marketing News | 2015/12/20 16:46
The American Civil Liberties Union said it plans to appeal a federal court ruling that upheld a technical college’s plan to force every incoming student to be tested for drugs.

Tony Rothert, legal director for the ACLU’s Missouri chapter, told the Jefferson City News Tribune that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has given the organization until Jan. 4 to file a petition seeking a rehearing by either the same three-judge panel that issued the ruling earlier this month, or by all of the active 8th Circuit judges.

“We intend to request both,” Rothert said. “While rehearing is difficult to obtain, we are fortunate in this case to have a majority decision that is poorly crafted and departs from 8th Circuit and Supreme Court precedent.”

The ACLU filed the federal lawsuit in 2011 challenging a mandatory drug-testing policy Linn State Technical College’s Board of Regents approved in June of that year. The school since has changed its name to State Technical College of Missouri.

The lawsuit argued the policy violated the students’ Fourth Amendment right “to be secure . against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

When it started the program, the school said the testing policy was intended “to provide a safe, healthy and productive environment for everyone who learns and works at Linn State Technical College by detecting, preventing and deterring drug use and abuse among students.”

Under the policy, students had to pay a $50 fee for the drug test and could be blocked from attending if they refused to be tested.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey issued a ruling in September 2013 that limited the drug testing to five Linn State programs. But in its 2-1 vote earlier this month, the federal appeals court panel overturned her ruling as too narrow.




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