Justice Issues

Israel's Wall, Like the US Occupation of Iraq: a Quest for 'Security' at the Expense of Justice
Justice Issues

Harron Sidiqui observes that although Israel's security wall is reducing suicide bombings, it violates fundamental justice issues. Israel's right to defend itself "is not what the World Court ruled on. Rather, the court ruled on the illegality of much of the fence encroaching into Palestinian land to wrap around many Jewish settlements. The third of the fence already built led to the appropriation of Palestinian land, the ripping out of tens of thousands of olive groves, and the encircling of thousands of Palestinians into enclaves, cutting them off from schools, agricultural lands and workplaces â?? that, said the court...impedes "the right to work, to health, education and to an adequate standard of living," in violation of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. It "contributes to demographic changes," in contravention of the Geneva Convention." Echoes of the US in Iraq.

Supreme Court Rules that Guantanamo Detainees Have Right to Contest their Treatment in Court
Justice Issues

ABC: "The Supreme Court [ruled] Monday that both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seized as potential terrorists can challenge their treatment in U.S. courts. The court refused to endorse a central claim of the White House since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 2001: That the government has authority to seize and detain suspected terrorists or their protectors and indefinitely deny access to courts or lawyers while interrogating them." Altho' the court did back Bush's authority to seize and hold a U.S. citizen, in this case Louisiana-born Yaser Esam Hamdi, as an alleged enemy combatant, Hamdi can now use American courts to argue that he is being held illegally. Ruling in the Hamdi case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the court has "made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."" Finally - a statement that sounds like a REAL Supreme Court in action

Supremes Rule that Absentee Parents Have No Right To Sue on Behalf of Children
Justice Issues

On the surface the case of Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, 02-1624 over the use of the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance" seems a simple case of church/state separation. But the ruling on this case goes much, much further than that. By ruling that a father may not sue an institution (or, presumably, anyone, including a negligent caretaker), the Court, in its efforts to preserve "God" in the Pledge through a backdoor argument, has undercut absentee fathers' and mothers' rights across the nation. In addition, the ruling will undoubtedly be stretched by schools being sued by parents over other issues, such as the teaching of Creationism and revisionist history and the use of corporate materials (including Coke machines) in schools.

Thrown Out of Court: Ashcroft's Trumped Up Charges against Greenpeace
Justice Issues

AP: "Greenpeace was charged under an 1872 law, not used in more than a century, that was intended to keep bordellos from sending prostitutes to board ships, attempting to lure sailors ashore. US District Judge Adalberto Jordan ruled there was not enough evidence for the case to go to the jury. He put an end to the case after the prosecution rested. Greenpeace argued that the charges were payback for its criticism of what the group said is the Bush administration's lax enforcement of international restrictions on mahogany trade. In 2002, six Greenpeace activists spent the weekend in jail after two of them boarded the cargo ship APL Jade six miles from its dock in the Port of Miami to protest a 70-ton load of Brazilian mahogany. The group was indicted 15 months later under a law unused since 1890."

NYT: Abu Ghraib Style Abuse Is Routine in US Prisons
Justice Issues

"Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates and human rights advocates... In Arizona, male inmates at the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix are made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation... At Virginia's Wallens Ridge maximum security prison, new inmates have reported being forced to wear black hoods... and said they were often beaten and cursed at by guards and made to crawl... [Texas] prisons were under a federal consent decree during much of the time President Bush was governor because of crowding and violence by guards against inmates. Judge William Wayne Justice of Federal District Court imposed the decree after finding that guards were allowing inmate gang leaders to buy and sell other inmates as slaves for sex..."

The Cheney Energy Task Force Case: Will Sandra Day O'Connor Choose Justice - Or the Old Boy Network?
Justice Issues

Cheryl Seal writes: "If the High Court sanctions Cheney's deceit, it will simultaneously overturn the very ideals upon which this nation is based: a government that is representative, transparent, and accountable to the American people. The USA will on that day cease to be a democracy or even a Republic and will be officially transformed into a monopolistic corporation. Citizens will be reduced to the status of mere 'corporate employees' in a bizarre system where the employees PAY the employer for the privilege of being exploited. There is only one hope for America when the case goes to the court, and that is that Sandra Day O'Connor finds her conscience and her voice. With the critical Bush/Cheney decision and others looming, O'Connor's soul will be weighed in the balance, as surely as the laws she considers. Will she rise to the occasion and claim a proud legacy before leaving the Court for retirement? Or will she give in and take the easy way out?"

Ashcroft 'Justice' Dept. Thumbs Nose at International Court and Mexico in Torres Case
Justice Issues

Amnesty International: "The US should respect the rule of law and unconditionally comply with this week's ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Amnesty International said today in a new report highlighting the case of Osvaldo Torres, a Mexican national denied his consular rights and due to be executed in Oklahoma on 18 May. The ICJ found that Osvaldo Torres's case was one of three in which the USA had violated every paragraph of article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR). Under the Convention authorities must inform detained foreign nationals of their right to contact their consulate. The ICJ found that the USA had violated this obligation in 51 of the 52 cases of Mexican nationals on whose behalf Mexico brought its lawsuit. "The USA has not only violated Osvaldo Torres's consular rights. There are serious questions over his conviction,' said Amnesty International."

Unlike Scalia & Rehnquist, Supreme Court Justice Byron White, a Democrat, Showed True Respect for American Justice System
Justice Issues

Boston Globe: "In the spring of 1989, Supreme Court Justice Byron White, once a star running back for the Detroit Lions, was the guest of The Detroit News at the annual press dinner of the Gridiron Club. When the paper's publisher bought him a drink, White casually asked how the planned merger of the city's two newspapers was going. 'It's before your court,' the publisher informed White. A few weeks later, the justices voted to take up the case -- without White. He had withdrawn from the deliberations, apparently concerned that his having been the unwitting guest of a party to a case before the court might create an appearance of partiality.' During the same period, Rehnquist and Scalia played poker once a month, sometimes joined by Reagan's solicitor general, Charles Fried. That same spring, Fried strongly urged the justices to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion. Fried's poker partners participated fully in the case." Vive la difference!

FBI Failing to Seek Files for Defendants
Justice Issues

AP: "In an oversight that could affect cases nationwide, the FBI hasn't routinely searched a special computer space where agents store investigative documents to see whether the materials should be sent to defense lawyers, Congress or special investigative bodies. The existence of the unsearched 'I-drive' computer files, brought to the attention of The Associated Press by concerned FBI agents, could give lawyers an avenue to reopen numerous cases to determine whether documents that could have aided the defense of criminal defendants were withheld."

Kafka's Amerika: Supreme Court Allows Secret Detentions
Justice Issues

"The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal by civil liberties groups seeking access to basic data about hundreds of individuals detained by the federal government after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a decision that allows officials to continue withholding the names of most detainees, as well as other information related to their arrests, indefinitely. In a brief order released without published dissent, the court turned down a petition by the Center for National Security Studies, the American Civil Liberties Union and several media organizations that... [this] violated the Freedom of Information Act and the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press... Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said... that a Justice Department inspector general's report had documented cases of mistreatment of the detainees by federal officials... 'There is no accountability for the abuses, and secrecy allowed the abuses,' Martin said."

Chalk One Up for the Constitution: Dictator Bush Overruled on 'Enemy Combatant' Designation
Justice Issues

"Bush does not have power to detain American citizen Jose Padilla, the former gang member seized on U.S. soil, as an enemy combatant, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The decision could force the government to try Padilla, held in a so-called 'dirty bomb' plot, in civilian courts. In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Padilla's detention was not authorized by Congress and that Bush could not designate him as an enemy combatant without the authorization... The court directed... Rumsfeld to release Padilla from military custody within 30 days, but said the government was free to transfer him to civilian authorities who can bring criminal charges... Chris Dunn, a staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, called the ruling 'historic'. 'It's a repudiation of the Bush administration's attempt to close the federal courts to those accused of terrorism,' he said. The group had submitted a legal brief supporting Padilla."

Will Wonders Never Cease? A US Citizen Can Actually See an Attorney!
Justice Issues

Reuters: "Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen being held incommunicado as an enemy combatant, can meet with a lawyer once the government decides it would not hamper his interrogation, Justice Department officials said on Tuesday. Senior department officials said 'dirty bomb' suspect Padilla, a U.S. citizen held without access to a lawyer for more than 18 months, may eventually meet with an attorney. Lawyers for Padilla have been arguing for access to him and the case is pending before a U.S. appeals court in New York... Earlier this month the Pentagon said it would allow Yaser Esam Hamdi, another American citizen being held as an enemy combatant, access to a lawyer. Hamdi was with Taliban fighters when he was captured by U.S. forces in late 2001. He has also not yet been charged." Serious questions have been raised about the case against Padilla -- in that it is based to some degree on hearsay or "loose talk" -- in the words of his accusers.

U.S. Suits Multiply, but Fewer Ever Get to Trial, Study Says
Justice Issues

NY Times reports: "In television and in the popular imagination, lawsuits and prosecutions end in trials, in open court before a jury. In reality, according to a new study, trials have become quite uncommon. In 1962, the study says, 11.5 percent of all civil cases in federal court went to trial. By last year, that number had dropped to 1.8 percent. And even though there are five times as many lawsuits today, the raw number of civil trials has dropped, too. They peaked in 1985 at 12,529. Last year, 4,569 civil cases were tried in federal court. 'What's documented here,' William G. Young, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in Boston, said in a telephone interview, 'is nothing less than the passing of the common law adversarial system that is uniquely American'... 'This is a cultural shift of enormous significance,' said Arthur Miller, a law professor at Harvard."

Philosophical Reflections on Greed
Justice Issues

Julian Edney writes, "As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer we drop our pretenses to humanitarian democracy, instead salute material excess, accept Darwinian business ethics, and pin up as our national polestar the most powerful corporations. Money and effort maintains a particular way of seeing and evaluating our society: we focus on the topmost members, cover current inequalities with a rotating blur of nearly a trillion dollars of advertising a year, and by not paying attention to the lowest, we deny them. But they are there: inevitably, as our economic tree reaches up, its roots grow further down. It is not enough to say hopefully we accumulate layers of experience from error and progress. Technology will not deliver us equity. Logic has not delivered us equity. We want our morality back. "

Man Held as 'Combatant' Petitions for Release
Justice Issues

NY Times reports: "Lawyers for a Qatari student who was jailed by the military last month asked a federal court today to free him and challenged President Bush's authority to treat terrorism suspects as "enemy combatants." Lawyers for the student, Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, argued in an appeal filed in federal court in Illinois that Mr. Bush's June 23 order declaring Mr. Marri to be an operative for Al Qaeda and an enemy combatant represented an act of "unbridled authority" that was illegal and unconstitutional. Specialists in military law said that the legal challenge, coming just days after the Bush administration announced it was considering the use of military tribunals against six terrorism suspects, could present an important test of the executive branch's power to imprison suspects outside the reach of the civilian court system."

Consumer Advocates Fire Back at Medical and Insurance Industries for Malpractice Crisis
Justice Issues

"Consumer advocates fired back at the medical and insurance industry lobbies today, challenging them to stop inaccurately blaming rising malpractice rates on consumer remedies in the courtroom and calling on doctors to work with consumer and patient groups to weed out bad doctors, implement patient safety reforms and reform the insurance industry.... The Center for Medical Consumers, Consumer Federation of America and Public Citizen said that the medical establishment is itself at fault in the malpractice insurance crisis. It has refused to take steps to reduce medical errors and is lying to the public (malpractice claims have dropped) to divert attention from medical errors and insurance industry failures. Insurance companies are hiking rates because the economic downturn has caused them to lose money on investments, not because of jury awards, the groups said."

Bush Shuts Down Islamic Charity Without Any Evidence, and Right-Wing Judges Uphold Unconstitutional Injustice
Justice Issues

LA Times writes, "The American people are losing rights and freedoms each time a federal judge sides with the Bush administration's blanket orders to close courtroom doors, silence detainees or withhold evidence from defense lawyers. Last week, a three-judge panel added another notch to Bush's victory column by ruling that government agents could shut down a U.S.-based Islamic charity and then refuse to give any evidence to defense lawyers - or the public - of the group's alleged links to international terrorists. The Global Relief Foundation, based in Illinois, is one of the world's largest Islamic charities... Maybe Global Relief does aid terrorists. Maybe it doesn't, as the organization's lawyers insist. But by letting the government keep secret its evidence, the judges have rendered worthless the group's constitutional due process rights, including the right to contest these allegations. 'If there is ... evidence,' the charity's lawyer said, 'it's evidence I've never seen.'"

Bush Seeks Destruction of Tort System to Protect Corporate Evildoers
Justice Issues

Helen Thomas writes that Bush "has it in for trial lawyers and is planning a big push for 'tort reform.' The public should be wary of this new attempt to curtail consumer protection. And I hope Congress will slam the brakes on this White House maneuver to trample on the rights of citizens who seek recourse from doctors for malpractice and from big corporations for defective products. The administration has co-opted the word 'reform' to roll back progress and promote its goals of weakening government restraints in a variety of areas. It's noteworthy that the administration has never pursued the corporate chieftains whose greed stunned the nation last year with the same energy that it goes after lawyers who are fighting for the consumer. 'Reform' implies intent to make things better and to correct defects and abuses. But buyers, beware. This so-called reform is double speak -- a euphemism to try to block private suits by trial lawyers in behalf of consumers."

The Truth about the Decision against Judicial Watch and Sierra Club: David Sentelle and Harry Edwards Subvert Justice for Rightwing Interests - AGAIN
Justice Issues

"The decision to delay indefinitely the Sierra Club/Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuits against Cheney was NOT decided, as the media reported, by Judge Emmet Sullivan. It was merely HANDED DOWN by Sullivan. But the decision was 'per curiam.' Per curiam, re: the Findlaw dictionary means 'decided by the court as a whole rather than by a single justice and usually without extended discussion.' The court in this case was the Federal Appeals Court in D.C. And, in this case, it was NOT even the court as a whole but three justices: Harry Edwards, who succeeded in overturning an anti-trust case against Microsoft, David Sentelle, who appointed pal Ken Starr to the Whitewater Investigation, and David Tatel, yet another 'mute liberal.'" So writes Cheryl Seal.

FBI Told to Give Papers to Whistleblower
Justice Issues

"A federal judge has ordered the FBI to expedite the release of information sought by a whistleblower who was fired after she raised allegations of security lapses in the FBI's translator program. U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ordered the FBI to appear in court Friday and disclose when it will provide the sensitive documents sought by Sibel Edmonds, a former contract linguist with the agency." Now let's just hope the case makes it past any Bush toady judges who may be involved in challenging the case.

Judge Emmet Sullivan Proves that U.S. Justice System Has Become a Tradable Commodity for the Rich and Powerful
Justice Issues

"The Bush administration succeeded Friday in temporarily stopping a lawsuit seeking documents about the inner workings of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force and its meetings with industry executives and lobbyists," reports AP. "A federal appeals court indefinitely delayed Monday's deadline for the White House to produce task force documents or provide a detailed list of the documents it is withholding." Of course the White House wants a delay now!! We predict that two names high on the "secret list" are Ken Lay and Henry Kissinger.

Ashcroft's Acolytes Charge Nonviolent Star Wars Protesters with Felonies
Justice Issues

It is now clear that the criminals who stole the Presidency are using their illegitimate police and prosecutorial powers to crush all dissent. At Bush's "Installation", downtown Washington was blockaded - without a peep from the press. At anti-Bush protests around the country, the Secret Service orders local cops to herd protesters into "First Amendment Zones" and to arrest grandmothers who dare to wave anti-Bush signs. And now John Ashcroft's prosecutor in LA has charged 15 Greenpeace activists with FELONIES for merely trespassing onto Vandenberg Air Force Base. They face 11 years in prison and $505,000 in fines. Where is the outrage at Ashcroft's police state?

American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Takes on the Federalist Society
Justice Issues

On Monday, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (formerly the Madison Society) had its kickoff event, featuring former attorney general Janet Reno, NAACP LDEF President Elaine Jones, former judge Abner J. Mikva, Harvard Law professor Laurence H. Tribe and former solicitor general Walter Dellinger. ACSLP is "a new national organization of law students, law professors, practicing lawyers and others... We want to counter the dominant vision of American law today, a staunch conservative vision that lacks appropriate regard for the ways in which the law affects people's lives. We seek to restore the fundamental principles of respect for human dignity, protection of individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice to their rightful -- and traditionally central -- place in American law." You can watch the kickoff dinner on C-SPAN: Saturday, August 4th "America & The Courts."

'Activist' Judges Trashing Due Course, Making up New Pro-Corporate 'Rules' in Environmental Cases
Justice Issues

An analysis of federal rulings from the last 10 years found that a group of highly ideological judges -- most appointed by former Presidents Reagan and Bush -- have disregarded norms of judicial conduct to shape a new judicial philosophy that threatens core environmental protections. The analysis, conducted by the Alliance for Justice, Community Rights Counsel and the Natural Resources Defense Council, was released today at a press conference on Capitol Hill. The full report is linked in the overview in our link.

Judicial Watch Proves It Is Rightwing Attack Dog, Not 'Justice Watchdog'
Justice Issues

Judicial Watch went after Bill Clinton and everyone he had ever so much as sent a Xmas card to, hammering away in the name of 'justice' for months and months. Now, just since January, Karl Rove and Bush operatives have blatantly committed white collar crimes deserving jail time. The refusal of Cheney to reveal the task force names is a FEDERAL offense, while his and Shrub's past business dealings (Halliburton, et al.) make Whitewater look like a small town crap game. Tom Delay was caught red-handed several times in highly unethical fund-raising scams, including a scheme to fleece doctors. The White House has called for a settlement of a major tobacco suit while accepting money THE SAME week from the industry. Do we hear of Judicial Watch anywhere on the scene of these crimes? Of course not! They are now too busy trying to drum up yet another case against the Clintons. We say, why doesn't someone investigate Judicial Watch... we bet that's where the richest dirt vein can be found.

Ashcroft Lets Policeman Who Stalked, then Killed Black College Student Walk Away Uncharged
Justice Issues

The son of a doctor, Howard University Student Prince C. Jones, Jr. was a fitness instructor and the father of an infant son. On his way home one night last year, he was tailed by an unmarked car driven by officer Carlton B. Jones. The officer, who claims he mistakenly thought Jones was a drug dealer, followed the student through Maryland, D.C. and into VA. Jones was undoubtedly in fear of his life. To avoid bringing danger home to his child, he pulled into a driveway a block from home. Being unarmed, he defended himself the only way he could - he rammed his car backwards into the officer's vehicle. In response, the officer fired SIXTEEN rounds into Jones' Cherokee, hitting the student five times in the back. Yet under Mr. Confederacy's Justice Department, the officer is now off scott free.

Democratic Senate Must Scrutinize Bush's Judicial Nominees
Justice Issues

As John Podesta and Beth Nolan point out, Clinton did NOT appoint liberal activists to the federal courts, contrary to GOP propaganda. Still, Trent Lott blocked many Clinton appointees, including Bonnie Campbell, Enrique Moreno, and Roger Gregory - and kept dozens of positions vacant so the next Republican president could pack the courts with conservative ideologues. Democratic Senators MUST carefully screen Bush's nominations. And when it comes to a Supreme Court nomination, they should JUST SAY NO.

The Enduring Tragedy of Bush-Style Justice and 'Compassion' in Texas
Justice Issues

It will probably take years for the Texas legislature to bring the state's legal/penal system up to 21st century standards - in fact, it may take a while to bring it up to 20th century standards. In Bush's TX, poverty is a crime, Mexicans are held in contempt, even by the courts, facts and evidence count for little, and there are no second chances at justice, even when grossly miscarried. This climate is poignantly illustrated in this case of a poor Hispanic woman whose baby died of what experts testify was a rare genetic defect which prevented the child from metabolizing milk. The verdict: guilty of first degree murder. The sentence: Life in prison. Justice, Texas style.

Senate Agrees To Re-Organization Plan – Foils GOP Attempt To Ram Bush Judicial Nominees Past The Judiciary Committee
Justice Issues

"The new Democratic-led Senate agreed on Friday to no longer allow home-state senators of judicial nominees to secretly block the nominations. It did so in approving, on a voice vote, a Senate reorganizational agreement accompanied by a letter stating that any hold on a nominee must now be made public. The letter was signed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the panel's ranking Republican. Republicans proposed the change after losing power to Democrats on June 5. And Democrats, who favored such a move while in the minority, agreed to it. But Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle refused a Republican request that he promise that all U.S. Supreme Court nominees get a confirmation vote by the full Senate -- even if they fail to win approval of the chamber's Judiciary Committee." At least for now the Democrats have blocked the Republican putsch to ram Bush's Federalist Society judicial nominees past the Judiciary Committee.

Bush To Nominate Misogynistic Bigot to U.S. Court of Appeals
Justice Issues

Shrub's nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, CA state Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl has an appalling record of ultra-rightwing activities unbefitting a judge in any democratic, civil society. Examples include: pushing to reinstate the undeserved tax-exempt status of the blatantly racist Bob Jones University, arguing aggressively that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned and states allowed to ban all abortions, and dismissing the invasion of privacy claim by a breast cancer patient whose doctor allowed a drug co. salesman to watch her breast examination (a bizarrely misogynistic ruling thankfully overturned by an appellate court). CALL YOUR SENATOR NOW and demand Kuhl's nomination be thrown out.

Community Policing Works, Yet Bush Budget Cuts Place Programs at Risk
Justice Issues

No one doubts that putting cops back in local neighborhoods where they know and work closely with residents is a great idea. No one but Shrubmeister. With Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants poised to expire, our fearless nonleader wants to channel the money elsewhere. Meanwhile, Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) is leading a push in Congress to save and increase the program's funding. Show your support by calling your representative. (Also check out policing.com for ideas for your community.) Meanwhile, read about one Rhode Island community's positive experiences with community policing.

Justice for Judges: Democrats Threaten to Use Republican Tactics and the GOP Screams Bloody Murder
Justice Issues

The Republicans and the Wall Street Journal are screaming like stuck pigs because the Democrats are threatening to employ the same hardball tactics invented by the Republicans in their all our war against President Clinton. Well, it's about time. What do you think avoiding a complete roadblock of judicial appointments is worth to the Bush Administration? If they get their judges we ought to demand a little justice to go along with them.

Shrub-Style Justice in Action: Crack-Addict Mother Convicted of Murder When Baby is Stillborn
Justice Issues

While Shrub protects the rights of the mining and oil industries to foul our water and air, the effects of which kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, the "conservative reform" fanatics make sure that pregnant women pay for their crimes - even if their only crime is being a drug addict. In So. Carolina, a young crack addict whose stillborn baby was found to have crack in her system was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Even drunk drivers who kill whole families rarely get that kind of sentence. But now the Supreme Court has made sure that pregnant women have joined minorities in becoming the unfair targets of a brutal form of "profiling."

What's He Hiding? Republican Congressman Chris Cox Declines Nomination For A Federal Judgeship
Justice Issues

"California Rep. Christopher Cox [R-Orange County] asked President [sic] Bush on Friday not to nominate him for a federal judgeship, saying the Democratic takeover of the Senate made it unlikely he could get approved without a long battle... California's two Democratic senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, had threatened to use their home-state veto - called a blue slip - to block him." Maybe Cox is concerned that Senate confirmation hearings would probe too deeply into his disingenuous packaging of the Cox Report, which required careful scrutiny to finally uncover the nasty secret of Chinagate - that it happened during the Reagan-Bush years. Or maybe he is worried that they would look into his attendance of a Washington Times 80th birthday bash for big-time Bush benefactor Reverend Moon. Or - most likely - he is concerned that they would look into his possible ties to suspected mobster Patrick DiCarlo. (Enter "Cox" in our ".Compass" search engine for more.)

Call The Judiciary Committee And Demand The Release Of The Shaheen Report! At Last We Can Learn The Truth About the Get-Clinton Efforts!
Justice Issues

Bush nominee Ted Olson has been caught lying about his central role in Richard Mellon Scaife's "Arkansas Project," the Get-Clinton effort that eventually led to Clinton's impeachment. What is the truth about the "Arkansas Project?" Some of it is hidden in the "Shaheen Report," a Justice Department probe of alleged payments to Whitewater witness David Hale. Who was David Hale's lawyer? Ted Olson. Now is the time for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to subpoena the "Shaheen Report," to find out more about Olson's role in the treasonous conspiracy to destroy President Clinton. Call the following Senators at 202-224-3121: Patrick Leahy (VT), Edward Kennedy (MA), Joseph Biden (DE), Herb Kohl (WI), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Russell Feingold (WI), Charles Schumer (NY), Richard Durbin (IL), Maria Cantwell (WA). Read more about the Shaheen Report at the below site (Disregard the contact info from 1999, which is now outdated).

Right On! Democrats Walk Out On Olson Confirmation Vote
Justice Issues

On Thursday the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee walked out when the committee was about to vote on the appointments of Ted Olson as Solicitor General and Larry Thompson as Deputy Attorney General. "The two were up for votes at the Senate Judiciary Committee when Democrats walked out of the meeting, leaving the panel short of a quorum…The focus is on the committee's policy on 'blue slips,' named for the sheets of paper that senators sign to indicate approval or disapproval of a home-state judicial nominee." Olson is hardly a "victim," since it is an affront that Bush nominated him. Olson victimized the Clintons through his lead role in the 'Get Clinton' efforts, especially in Richard Mellon Scaife's Arkansas Project. Ever the hypocrite, Orrin Hatch expresses indignation, even though he and the Federalist Society (backed by Paul Weyrich's Judicial Selection Monitoring Project) blocked Clinton's appointments for years. Way to go Dems! Show Olson the door!

Senate Democrats Draw Line on Ted Olson and Bush's Judges
Justice Issues

"Democrats said they will not agree to confirmation votes for Theodore B. Olson as solicitor general and Larry Thompson as deputy attorney general to pressure Republicans to restore what they described as the long-standing power of individual senators to block judicial nominations from their home states. They also said they will block action on any judicial nominations -- including an anticipated first package of 14 or 15 nominees expected within days -- until the issue is resolved. The fight over judicial nominations is shaping up as one of the biggest of the year on Capitol Hill." Stand firm, Democrats!

Commission Calls for Stiffer Sentences for White Collar Fraud - Let's See How Bush and Ashcroft Make This Go Away!
Justice Issues

The U.S. Sentencing Commission says white collar crooks like inside traders and big time tax frauds get off way too easy and tougher sentences are imperative. Right now, an inside trader convicted of ripping off $1 million gets 63 months, max - that is if they ever see the inside of a jail. Most get off without so much as a frown from a judge. Meanwhile, we common folk can now be cuffed, hauled off to the pokey and fingerprinted for so much as jaywalking. When Bush committed blatant insider trading in the early 1990s, President Daddy kept him from even seeing the inside of a courtroom. Now let's see what Bush and Ashcroft do with this new call to fairness. We bet with Bush calling for a cut in the SEC fraud unit, we never hear about it again.

Read our Lips: No New Judges
Justice Issues

After Republicans took control of the Senate in 1995, they slowed the confirmation of Clinton's judicial nominees to a crawl. Now Bush - who was installed through a judicial coup d'etat - wants to fill the 93 federal court vacancies with more members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Democrats should just say no.

Bush Plans to Pack Courts with Federalist Society Members
Justice Issues

In May, Bush will nominate his first judges, and many are from the far-right Federalist Society. The most conservative nominees are Jeffrey S. Sutton, Peter D. Keisler, Christopher Cox, Miguel Estrada, Sharon Prost, Carolyn B, Kuhl, Edith Brown Clement, John Roberts, and Terry Boyle. Senate Democrats are insisting on preserving the right to block nominees from their home state - a right that Orrin Hatch (R-UT) imposed when Democrats controlled the Senate, but now wants to abolish. We take a more straightforward position: Read Our Lips - No New Judges!

GOP Finds Value in Minority Representation -- If it can be used to squeeze Democratic incumbents
Justice Issues

The GOP has resisted all calls by the Dems to use the new census data to create legislative districts that more fairly represent minority groups. But now, when it sees a chance to gain a political edge in its own D.C. bedroom (the Arlington, VA, area), the party is suddenly dewy-eyed about the beauty of diversity. The GOP wants to create a new legislative district in Northern Virginia with strong minority representation. However, this scheme cleverly squeezes two Democratic delegates from Arlington -- James F. Almand and L. Karen Darner -- into the same district. The minority representation issue was just a good PR extra -- "a byproduct of trying to force two [Democratic] incumbents into one area," said Teresa Martinez, a Democratic Party activist in Arlington.

Senate Democrats Question Clinton Hater And Federalist Society Soldier Ted Olson
Justice Issues

"Citing his writings and causes [Senate] Democrats sought to cast doubt yesterday about the objectivity of… Theodore Olson, the president's choice for solicitor general, [who] wrote partisan articles against the Clinton administration and argued cases against established federal laws…'' Asked Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) of Olson: ''Why should I believe you will be [non-partisan] if you don't in your writings?'' Olson, is a former law partner and friend of Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton. He assisted Paula Jones's legal team in her sexual harassment suit against Clinton and represented Whitewater figure David Hale during Senate hearings. '' In other words, Olson played a central role Richard Mellon Scaife's Get-Clinton operations, including the Arkansas Project. Appearing as a vociferous anti-Clinton pundit, his wife Barbara was a paid employee of the Scaife-financed Independent Women's Forum, and she even wrote a book attacking Hillary Clinton.

Bush To Cut Clinton's COPS Program That Hired Police Officers
Justice Issues

"The Bush administration has decided to severely scale back a popular Clinton-era program that has put tens of thousands of new police officers on the streets, devoting a 'lion's share' of the remaining money to school security officers in the wake of the San Diego-area shootings…The COPS program marked the cornerstone of former President Clinton's 1994 anti-crime initiative, providing municipal police departments with more than $9 billion in federal funds to help put an estimated 85,000 new officers on the streets in the six years since, according to government figures." Bush will of course devote a 'lion's share' to hiring security officers -- since George Wackenhut (of Wackenhut Security) has been a big benefactor of the Bush family. Expect Bush to propose more for-profit prisons that Wackenhut Inc can run. Bush also wants to fund technology – i.e. more surveillance cameras, fewer police officers. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) plans on introducing a measure to extend the COPS program.

Read Our Lips: No New Judges
Justice Issues

"Progressives must apply pressure on Democratic senators to stall the Bush drive to stack the bench. Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman's suggestion that no Bush Supreme Court nominees should be approved is on the mark. Democrats should demand the same privilege that Hatch claimed of vetting all lower court nominees before their names become public." So writes The Nation.

Attorney General John Ashcroft Does Not Heed Rules Well
Justice Issues

"A lawyer for alleged spy Robert P. Hanssen said yesterday that Attorney General John D. Ashcroft may have violated Justice Department guidelines when he suggested that a decision by prosecutors to seek the death penalty may be based on what information Hanssen offers in a plea bargain." Hanssen's attorney Plato Cacheris told reporters that if the death penalty is pursued, "the attorney general has made himself our first witness in a motion to dismiss this case at an appropriate time." Remember how Ashcroft kept saying during his Senate confirmation hearings that he would respect the "settled law of the land?" It turns out he can’t even follow his own department’s rules.

The 'Fascist Five' Strip Away Employees' Right To Sue
Justice Issues

The five felonious "justices" who stole our votes in Bush v. Gore - and later ruled that disabled state workers cannot sue their employers - have now struck a massive blow to the rights of all non-union employees. In a 5-4 decision, the Surpreme Court ruled that "employers can require most workers to waive their right to file job-related lawsuits." This means that employers can force employees as a condition of employment to agree to arbitration proceedings in case of a later dispute. "[Employee advocates] argue that those agreements typically favor the employers, who dictate the terms. Often those terms allow the employer to choose the arbitrator, require workers to pay for the process, limit damages and restrict the fact-finding process." This ruling unfairly protects employers from lawsuits that would otherwise be held in a US legal court grounded in OUR Constitutional rights. Of course, the five felons are none other than Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and O'Connor. Like good little Federalist Society soldiers, they continue to shred OUR Constitution in favor of corporate and right-wing power. Can you say creeping fascism?

Why Republican Presidents Hate the ABA
Justice Issues

"George W. Bush plans to politicize his judicial appointments. No other conclusion can be drawn from the recent report that he is dropping the American Bar Association’s screening of judicial selections, based on the dubious claim that the ABA has a liberal bias." So writes MSNBC columnist John Dean.

Bush Deep-Sixes Clinton's Last Judicial Nominations, Including Outstanding Black Judge
Justice Issues

"Preparing to make his first judicial nominations, President Bush has dumped the last of President Clinton's judicial nominees, including [Roger Gregory], the first black appellate judge in the circuit with the most minorities in the nation... Bush on Monday officially withdrew 62 executive and judicial nominations made by Clinton in his last days, including Gregory. The 4th U.S. Circuit -- comprising Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia -- includes more minorities than any other circuit in the nation." Said Julia Payne, Clinton's spokesperson: "It's clear that Roger Gregory met every qualification to be on this court except for the right-wing litmus test."

Dems Will Scrutinize Bush's Judges
Justice Issues

In the wake of Republican efforts to block some of ex-President Bill Clinton's judicial picks over the past eight years, Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and other top Democrats are vowing tough scrutiny of Bush's nominees. "They're going to have to figure out a way to deal with us," said Schumer.

Yes, The Federalist Society is an Evil Cabal
Justice Issues

If you had to look at one center for the right wing conspiracy over the last few years, the Federalist Society would be a great place to start. Most of the lawyers and judges at the center of the ferocious attack on Clinton and the Democrats in general are affiliated one way or another with the Federalist Society. That includes Scalia, Starr, Olson and Bork, among others. They are a scary, judicially tyrannical lot -- and they will be reviewing the Bush administration's judicial appointments, you can be sure of that.

Shrub Wants No Interference In Appointing Extremists to Federal Courts
Justice Issues

Bush is not content to have an extremist majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Now he wants to pack the federal courts at all levels with right-wing extremists, regardless of their fitness to serve. To accomplish this goal, he must eliminate judicial screening by the American Bar Association. Is this outrageous? Yes - just like everything else Bush does.

Bush Races to Fill Federal Courts with Federalist Society Conspirators
Justice Issues

There are about 100 vacancies on the federal courts among the 862 authorized judgeships. President Clinton made nominations for many of them, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not act on them. Now the Bushies are rushing to pack the courts with extremists. Columnist Anthony Lewis naively says a few of them may be acceptable. We say keep it simple: No New Judges for the Commander-in-Thief.

Justice for Sale in Texas
Justice Issues

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports on an investigation in Austin, Texas, into large bonuses paid to law clerks of the state Supreme Court by wealthy private firms. The county attorney in Austin says these pay-outs might violate Texas bribery laws.