Monday status conference: Thomas keeps mum

Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the cases of Cuellar v. United States and Warner-Lambert Co. v. Kent, which deal respectively with the standard of proof under a federal money laundering statute and federal preemption of state law fraud claims against drug makers.

As usual, Justice Clarence Thomas did not ask a question during today’s arguments. As DC Dicta pointed out a bit earlier, it has been two whole years since Justice Clarence Thomas has asked a question during oral arguments. (AP)

Among its orders today, the Court agreed Monday to resolve a dispute over the federal government’s ability to take land into trust for American Indian tribes (Carcieri v. Kempthorne, No. 07-526). (AP)

In its other two certiorari grants, the Court agreed to examine law enforcement’s ability to conduct a warrantless search of the automobile’s passenger compartment incident to the arrest (Arizona v. Gant, No. 07-542) and when erroneous jury instructions can lead to habeas corpus relief (Chrones v. Pulido, No. 07-544). The list of all today’s orders is here.

Here is a look at some of the stories in this week’s issue of Lawyers USA (Want to subscribe? Click here): UPDATE: If you tried the links before, and found they didn’t work, that’s because our new website just went live. The links should be fixed now. Sorry about that!

After several years of anticipation, the Department of Labor has issued its final proposed changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act. More here.

A judge’s recent decision to slam attorneys with $8.5 million in sanctions for failing to monitor their client’s e-discovery failures – and report them to the state bar for possible disciplinary action -sent ripples of fear through the legal world. More here.

A growing number of companies driven by a concern over litigation are ramping up employee training in an effort to stamp out sexual orientation bias in the workplace. More here.
 
Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently told a Senate panel that the Justice Department has replaced the controversial “McNulty memorandum,” which outlines federal prosecutors’ ability to encourage corporate defendants to waive the attorney-client privilege in order to cut a better plea deal. But attorneys representing corporations say they will believe the policy change when they see it – and so far, nothing has changed. More here.

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