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The torture memoranda

Links to the government memoranda on torture and the Geneva Convention can be found here (sign-up required) or else through the "featured link" on www.c-span.org. While Alberto Gonzales will probably be confirmed as Attorney General, the memoranda were the subject of some stinging testimony by such heavy-hitters as Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, at the end of today's confirmation hearing.
posted by klazmataz on Jan 6, 2005 - 20 comments

Painted ladies

Can your employer require you to wear makeup and follow the dictates of an image consultant? Yes, according to a panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In Have They Ever Shared a Bathroom with a Woman? Workplace Fairness discusses the recent ruling and the historical background of bartender Darlene Jesperson's challenge to Harrah's "personal best" policy on the basis that it is discriminatory to female employees.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 5, 2005 - 48 comments

Comments open; continually revised

The Ethics of Deep Self-Modification. What will happen when machines gain the ability to modify their own psychology? Do we have a responsibility to step in? What happens when we have the ability to modify ourselves? Philosopher Peter Suber has dedicated himself to issues of self-modification... not just in psychology, but also in constitutional law. Small wonder that this is the guy who invented Nomic. His site is littered with great stuff; he now is primarily involved with the open access movement. Check out his open access primer and blog.
posted by painquale on Jan 3, 2005 - 14 comments

Told you so

I hate people who say I told you so... But.... Edgar Morales shot a little girl, does that make him a terrorist? Other gang members were prosecuted before this for terrorism, other groups who maybe should have haven't - so what's the new law for? Is this the first of many prosecutions under new laws which some said would do one thing but are actually doing something else?
posted by Smedleyman on Dec 28, 2004 - 60 comments

15 -- oops -- 10 Commandments

Alabama judge wears robe with Ten Commandments embroidered on it in a nice cursive mustard yellow, bringing the state even closer to the nipples of religion. Lawyer objects. Hear the judge's defense at npr.
posted by swift on Dec 27, 2004 - 53 comments

Yes Virginia, There are Christian ACLU Lawyers

A call for Christian lawyers who have worked for the ACLU. The ACLU tries to be balanced , but considering the amount of effort they have put forth to inhibit Christian influence from/to the government, should a Christian lawyer work for them?
posted by urlnotfound on Dec 27, 2004 - 65 comments

Thanks for the new living room, neighbor!

Thanks for the new living room, neighbor! In case you needed any further news about the earth moving, residents in Berkeley, CA have found themselves embroiled in a property-line quagmire as the result of the shifting earth. Small quakes and unstable ground have caused real property to slide as much as 20 feet in the last century, though property lines remain firmly fixed, in some cases causing bitter disputes between neighbors who find themselves with new and sometimes unwanted "improvements" relocated across into their survey area. Even in California where the earth moves all the time, the law still hasn't quite caught up to these trickle events.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Dec 27, 2004 - 17 comments

If you're hit by lightning, don't take it lying down!

Opportunists and Self-Described Victims vs. Any Available Deep Pockets For the stupid and the dead, there's the Darwin Awards. For the opportunistic and the alive, there's the Stella Awards. The Stella Awards were inspired by Stella Liebeck. In 1992, Stella, then 79, spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee onto her lap, burning herself. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.9 million in damages. And of course it wasn't that simple, but the brief descriptions of the various cases make for entertaining reading. Serious legal geeks can have full case reports mailed to them, or check out and post to the site forum.
posted by orange swan on Dec 22, 2004 - 47 comments

Sharia? Shuria thing

Sharia recommended to Ontario government. A review of Mumtaz Ali's recommendation to permit legal arbitration by Islamic law has concluded in his cause's favour, recommending that sharia be allowed for family disputes and inheritance cases. Sharia may be joining Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish laws as religious law arbitration options, which is good. But women's groups are worried about the inherent discriminatory nature of sharia, which is bad.
posted by DrJohnEvans on Dec 20, 2004 - 36 comments

Revenge of the 1Ls

The Curse of the Family Palsgraf. "In the eight decades since the New York Court of Appeals in Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad outlined the two competing theories of proximate cause, a branch of the Palsgraf family has been beset by bad luck, serious injuries and losing lawsuits, just like their matriarch, Helen Palsgraf."
posted by adrober on Dec 10, 2004 - 16 comments

Photo-Blocker

Photo-Blocker - For those who are tired of obeying basic traffic laws. (via)
posted by buriednexttoyou on Dec 6, 2004 - 29 comments

Becker-Posner Blog

Take a Nobel economist who has devoted his career to studying the effect of social and political change on microeconomic theory. Combine with the most prolific legal scholar of the past half-century and federal judge with immeasurable influence on American jurisprudence. Add Moveable Type and a bit of technical help from our fearless leader, and you've got the Becker-Posner Blog, which debuts today.
posted by PrinceValium on Dec 5, 2004 - 14 comments

Free Annual Credit Reports

Free Annual Credit Reports
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 goes in to effect today. One of the major provisions of the bill, is that consumers now have the right to one free report from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months. [more inside]
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood on Dec 1, 2004 - 37 comments

Canadian Lawyers Charge Bush with Torture

LAWs instructions for starting criminal procedures against Bush Today in Vancouver, Lawyers Against the War filed torture charges against George W. Bush under the Canadian Criminal Code. The charges were laid by Gail Davidson, co-chair of Lawyers against the War--LAW, under provisions enacted pursuant to the U.N. Torture Convention, ratified by both Canada and the United States. The charges concern the well known abuses of prisoners held by US Armed Forces in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The charges were accepted by the Justice of the Peace and referred for a hearing to decide whether Bush should be required to appear for trial. The Attorney General of Canada's consent is required within eight days for proceedings to continue, and the question of Bush's diplomatic immunity will have to be resolved by the court.
posted by sunexplodes on Dec 1, 2004 - 66 comments

An online history of jurisprudence, and lack thereof

Sacco and Vanzetti et al. The amazing Famous Trials website, compiled as a labor of love by University of Missouri law professor Douglas Linder, is a motherlode of information on historically significant trails, ranging from Galileo to the Amistad to Lenny Bruce. It features not only official transcripts, but also equally intriguing details such as a map of the railroad cars in the Scottsboro Boys trial, Klan documents from the Mississippi Burning case, and opinion polls related to the My Lai courts martial.
posted by foxy_hedgehog on Nov 30, 2004 - 8 comments

MR GRINCH

You're a naughty one, Mr. Grinch.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Nov 26, 2004 - 53 comments

Why worry? It's GOOD for you!

GOP looking to repeal food labeling law. Would this have anything to do with our recent impasse with Mexico (and with the EU) over GM foods? Or of recent reports of a possible mad cow case in the US?
posted by FormlessOne on Nov 19, 2004 - 27 comments

THE ARRIVAL OF SECRET LAW

The arrival of secret law. Americans can now be obligated to comply with legally-binding regulations that are unknown to them, and that indeed they are forbidden to know. This is not some dismal Eastern European allegory. It is part of a continuing transformation of American government that is leaving it less open, less accountable and less susceptible to rational deliberation as a vehicle for change.
posted by acrobat on Nov 18, 2004 - 38 comments

A DeLayed Rule Change

House Republicans Change Rules to Protect DeLay
"On a voice vote, the House Republican Conference changed a rule that required party leaders to step down if indicted for any crime that carries a prison sentence of two or more years."
posted by fenriq on Nov 17, 2004 - 79 comments

Bring on the lawyers, SOM allegedly steals student's design

Thomas Shine, a former Yale student, is suing David Childs for copyright infringement Mr. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for copyright infringement over the design of the Freedom Tower located at Ground Zero. Shine alleges in his lawsuit that the proposed Freedom Tower was "strikingly similar" to his "Olympic Tower" design for the proposed 2012 Olympic Games in New York.
posted by plemeljr on Nov 10, 2004 - 21 comments

Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth Amendment

Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth Amendment
It might seem at first that the rules for the treatment of Iraqi prisoners were founded on standards of political legitimacy suited to war or emergencies; based on what Carl Schmitt called the urgency of the ''exception,'' they were meant to remain secret as necessary ''war measures'' and to be exempt from traditional legal ideals and the courts associated with them. But the ominous discretionary powers used to justify this conduct are entirely familiar to those who follow the everyday treatment of prisoners in the United States—not only their treatment by prison guards but their treatment by the courts in sentencing, corrections, and prisoners' rights. The torture memoranda, as unprecedented as they appear in presenting ''legal doctrines . . . that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, not unlawful,'' refer to U.S. prison cases in the last 30 years that have turned on the legal meaning of the Eighth Amendment’s language prohibiting ''cruel and unusual punishment.'' What is the history of this phrase? How has it been interpreted? And how has its content been so eviscerated?
posted by y2karl on Nov 8, 2004 - 25 comments

Breaking updates!

Updating this mefi story here where a set of extremely abusive parents who abused their children into their teens were sentenced to only 9 months prison. A judge now deems that sentence "demonstrably unfit" and resentences the mother and father to 5 and 4 years in jail, respectively. Thanks to t r a c y for the update.
posted by shepd on Nov 5, 2004 - 4 comments

Taking the Long View

Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
posted by Sidhedevil on Nov 4, 2004 - 190 comments

Transform Drug Policy Foundation

"After the War on Drugs - Options for Control is a major new report examining the key themes in the drug policy reform debate, detailing how legal regulation of drug markets will operate, and providing a roadmap and time line for reform." It's concise and reasonable, but is this report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (Google News lookup) really "the first practical road map for a benign drug policy that must follow the collapse of drug prohibition"? ... "No countries have yet legalised any drug covered under the U.N. convention" - will anything change anytime soon?
posted by mrgrimm on Nov 2, 2004 - 10 comments

A Day of Wrest

No Sunday shopping in Nova Scotia (apparently some were for and against).
posted by boost ventilator on Oct 17, 2004 - 26 comments

Free, independent, non-profit global research facility

World Legal Information Institute WorldLII has over 270 free databases covering multiple countries and international law. The LIIs were created under a declaration that: (1) Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity. Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law; (2) Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge; and (3) Independent non-profit organisations have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published. For comprehensive French databases, try Droit Francophonie.
posted by livii on Oct 14, 2004 - 1 comment

Dead or alive - who decides

Little Jesse Koochin remains hooked up to a ventilator at Primary Children's Medical Center, oblivious to the controversy that has erupted around him. Doctors at the Salt Lake City hospital pronounced the 6-year-old cancer patient brain-dead this week and want to remove life support. Jesse's parents, Steve and Gayle Koochin, insist their youngest child is alive and believe they can bring him back to health with alternative medicine. Hospital officials maintain the boy is dead and has begun decomposing.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Oct 14, 2004 - 23 comments

"George Washington was in a cult, and the cult was into aliens, man"

Dazed and Sued. Three Huntsville residents who say they went to high school with Austin film director Richard Linklater accused him of using them as the basis for the girl-chasing, drug-taking characters in his film "Dazed and Confused" in a lawsuit filed last week, 11 years after the movie was released
(Universal Studios, also included in the suit, is scheduled to release a special edition DVD of the movie Nov. 2.) More inside.
posted by matteo on Oct 12, 2004 - 62 comments

U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens

U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens [...]The report also found that businesses and their attorneys were 69 percent more likely than individual tort plaintiffs and their attorneys to be sanctioned by federal judges for filing frivolous claims or defenses. The report, Frequent Filers: Corporate Hypocrisy in Accessing the Courts, is available by clicking here. “Corporations think America is too litigious only when they are on the receiving end of a lawsuit,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “But when they feel aggrieved, businesses are far more likely to take their beef to court than are consumers.”[...] more
posted by Postroad on Oct 10, 2004 - 19 comments

It's a Beautiful Morning?

In September 2001 the FDA warned Merck, makers of the painkiller Vioxx, for engaging in a promotional campaign that minimized "potentially serious cardiovascular findings." The previous year, Merck spent $161 million on Vioxx advertising (more than Pepsi or Budweiser spent on advertising that year). Earlier this year, a securities class action complaint was filed on behalf of several Merck investors alleging the company engaged in a marketing campaign that included false and misleading statements concerning the safety profile of Vioxx and that company insiders sold personally held shares of Merck for over $175 million in proceeds. Today, Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market.
posted by Otis on Sep 30, 2004 - 19 comments

Les Expos move to D.C.

The Montreal Expos are moving. Writer Jonah Keri says goodbye. Though questions remain about whether the deal will be done (Injunctions have been filed, and a RICO lawsuit still looms), it appears that the cronies will again have their way.
posted by trharlan on Sep 29, 2004 - 26 comments

RIAA+litigation=bankruptcy

Being threatened with litigation by the RIAA? There's always this solution.
posted by anathema on Sep 27, 2004 - 5 comments

Don't touch that plant!

Opium Made Easy: One gardener's encounter with the war on drugs.
posted by Gyan on Sep 22, 2004 - 35 comments

Should a doctor be able to refuse to help patients?

Conscience Clauses and Health Care --"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.
posted by amberglow on Sep 17, 2004 - 69 comments

An Armed Society is a Polite Society

US Ban on Assault Weapons Expires

Without much fanfare the ten year old ban on assault weapons has expired. How does this affect our relative level of safety now that we can all own high powered, high capacity weapons again?
posted by fenriq on Sep 13, 2004 - 61 comments

Save Betamax

Save Betamax.
posted by seanyboy on Sep 13, 2004 - 4 comments

Property, Intellectual Property and Free Riding

My cattle grazing grounds are not my idea and vice versa. But thanks to laws I can "own" the idea as if the idea was a cow ; link goes to a interesting university-level paper [PDF]. The author makes some interesting analysis and points attention to the fact that current intellectual property laws can go against well established economic theories at the expense of free market competition theory, technical innovations and society-as-a-whole best interest.

Recommended to people with economic theory experience , but also to everyday public-goods-privatization opposers as the paper isn't (intentionally) way too technical.
posted by elpapacito on Sep 10, 2004 - 4 comments

Just Cause Law Collective

The Just Cause Law Collective is an excellent resource for outlining what your rights as citizens or non-citizens are within the U.S. in text and illustrations that are understandable by the layperson. It also includes advice on how to survive police encounters and a special section for activists. via BoingBoing
posted by substrate on Aug 23, 2004 - 22 comments

New Labor Laws

Many of you will lose your overtime benefits today. Welcome to Monday morning!
posted by RavinDave on Aug 23, 2004 - 65 comments

O happy day - lawyers paid to watch porn!

Artist vs. Porn Star -- Law firm wins! Jeff Koons is liable for $4 million in attorneys fees to his NY divorce lawyers, even though he ultimately lost custody of his son to his porn-star-turned-politician wife. Court says hey, that's fair, because he's not even complaining that the firm "charged an unreasonable hourly fee to have associates, for instance, watch pornographic videos, a necessary part of preparing to litigate the underlying custody dispute."
posted by onlyconnect on Aug 20, 2004 - 16 comments

California bill to ease move aways by custodial parents pulled.

California bill to ease "move aways" by custodial parents pulled. Until a recent CA Supreme Court decision, it was easy for custodial parents to move themselves and their children far from their ex-spouse. The Court reversed the old rule and held that the move could be blocked if the non-custodial parent could show that it would interfere with his/her relationship with the kids. Legislation to reimpose the old permissive standard passed through the State Senate, but has now been pulled off the legislative calendar after an outcry by father's rights groups.
posted by MattD on Aug 18, 2004 - 17 comments

Licenses Revoked

California Supreme Court voids all San Francisco same-sex marriages. Said the mayor overstepped his authority and that the city violated the state law.
posted by kokogiak on Aug 12, 2004 - 65 comments

Brandon's Arms

When he was seven years old, Brandon Maxfield was accidentally shot in the face, becoming permanently paralyzed below the neck. [More inside]
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 9, 2004 - 50 comments

The Shark in the Free Care Pool

The Freeloader Registry. When an employer pays low wages and doesn't provide health care benefits, its employees often end up getting free care through state and federal programs. How much does this cost you, and which companies benefit from the practice? A new Massachusetts state law will provide detailed information about top corporate welchers. (This follows recent discussion of the topic in the context of Wal-Mart.) Via Good Jobs First.
posted by alms on Aug 6, 2004 - 21 comments

ThoughtCourt

I Think (Therefore) I'm Guilty? A convicted sex offender is barred from public parks and the zoo in Lafayette, Indiana after he revealed to his psychologist that he entertained thoughts of sexual contact with children, while visiting a park. Here's John Doe's history of arrests and charges for alleged sexual offences.
posted by Gyan on Aug 2, 2004 - 59 comments

the law + sex = strange bedfellows

How does same sex marriage differ from heterosexual marriage? It may really be until death do us part. or Awkward things happen when legislative debate trails judicial necessity.
posted by arse_hat on Jul 21, 2004 - 9 comments

clockwork orange

POLICE BEAT, Ann Arbor , 7/20/04
posted by JohnR on Jul 20, 2004 - 37 comments

Disgust

You stink, therefore I am. Philosophers and psychologists have been studying the science of disgust, and its proper place in the law. Leon Kass, the chairman of the president's council on bioethics, cites "the wisdom of repugnance" in arguing against cloning. More recently, Martha Nussbaum has written a new book, "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law," which rejects disgust as a moral guide. She has also written on the role of disgust in the mutilations of women in Gujarat.
posted by homunculus on Jul 17, 2004 - 8 comments

S&M Barbie

S&M Barbie... and S&M Barbie
posted by nathan_teske on Jul 13, 2004 - 9 comments

Crimes of the century

Homicide in Chicago: 1870-1930
July 25, 1899 Murphy, James, 28 years old, shot dead, saloon 1210 Wabash Av., by Lorezo Sodini, proprietor. Murphy refused to pay for drinks and ran out of saloon and threw stone through window. Sodini ran out and fired at him, killing him instantly. Harrison St. Station. Held by Coroner's Jury, July 29. Acquitted Dec. 9, 1899, by jury in Judge Baker's court. Case number: 1498
posted by tcp on Jul 2, 2004 - 1 comment

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