As the nation, including Congress, reflects on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was assassinated hours after giving his groundbreaking “I Have a Dream” “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech 40 years ago today, here is a look at legal news inside the Beltway and beyond:
Republicans and business-friendly Democrats on Thursday scuttled a plan to give people threatened with losing their homes more leverage in winning favorable loan terms from their lenders in bankruptcy courts. (AP) Meanwhile, the Senate also dropped an amendment to a housing market rescue bill that would have given bankruptcy judges the power to ease mortgage payment terms for some distressed borrowers. (Reuters).
Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Thursday turned aside a plea by California officials, and cleared the way for the release of a state prison inmate who was convicted of a 1982 murder in Los Angeles. (SCOTUSBlog)
Philip Morris USA and other cigarette makers won a decision blocking an $800 billion racketeering class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of smokers of “light” cigarettes in the U.S. (Bloomberg)
Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans launched an attack Thursday against the slow pace of approving appellate court nominations, warning that they were contemplating more drastic measures, including a possible chamber shutdown. (CQ Politics)
The Senate will take up the Patent Reform Act as early as next week. The bill will arrive on the heels of a court decision this week that struck down new rules the US Patent and Trademark Office proposed to cope with a historic flood of patent applications. (EE Times)
The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating whether a career attorney in the department was dismissed from her job because of rumors that she is a lesbian. (NPR)