Friday Morning Docket: All the other legal news fit to post

Although DC Dicta was focused on Supreme Court coverage this week, there was lots of other legal news being made around the nation’s capital and beyond. Here’s a quick wrap:

Real-life courtroom drama: Secretly-recorded audiotapes, accusations of trial sabotage, heated calls for a mistrial, and a parade of high-profile witnesses. No, it’s not an episode of Law and Order – it’s the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens! The longtime Alaska lawmaker, who is accused of lying on Senate documents about $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from an oil pipeline company, didn’t get the mistrial he wanted last week over withheld evidence in his favor. Now he’s bringing in some of his well-known friends to testify on his behalf. And all of this is happening as Stevens defends an election challenge. More here from The BLT and from NPR.

Judicial ping-pong over White House aid testimony continues: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has blocked a July district court ruling that former White House counsel Harriet Miers testify before Congress about the White House’s role in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. Although the court, in an unsigned opinion, said the case “is of potentially great significance for the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches,” given the fact that the investigation will not likely be resolved before the current Congress concludes, it delayed the testimony pending the appeals of Miers and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten. More here from The Washington Post.

Immigration protections sought: A new bill that would implement more stringent legal procedures to protect people detained in immigration rains has been filed in the Senate. The move comes as federal authorities step up immigration enforcement raids across the country. Sens. Edward Kennedy and Robert Menendez are sponsoring a bill, the Protect Citizens and Residents from Unlawful Raids and Detention Act, to protect the rights of U.S. citizens and legal residents who get caught up in them. More here from the AP via Yahoo! News.

Preemptive strike: Trial lawyer group the American Association for Justice is criticizing a the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for inserting a preemption provision in a new rule governing seat belt safety. The final rule, issued Thursday, contains language that would specifically preempt state tort claims related to seat belt injuries. More here from The National Law Journal.

Nursing home study a boost for plaintiffs? Plaintiff attorneys were not surprised by a new report that over 91 percent of nursing homes were deficient in quality of care and other services in each of the past three years. The report also found that a higher percentage of for-profit nursing homes were deficient than non-profit nursing homes. More here from Lawyers USA.


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