December oral arguments kick off this morning at the U.S. Supreme Court, as the justices consider whether the Court is bound by Congressional limits on federal courts for awarding expert witness costs (Kansas v. Colorado); whether employment collective bargaining agreements can include mandatory arbitration clauses that exclude judicial remedies (14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett); and whether the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to do cost-benefit analyses in determining the “best available technology for minimizing adverse environmental impact.” (PSEG Fossil v. Riverkeeper). Stay tuned to DC Dicta for more on oral arguments later today.
Meanwhile, President-elect Obama is rolling out his national security team, starting with the official announcement this morning that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be nominated for Secretary of State.
Following in Andrew Johnson’s footsteps? Could Bill Clinton be appointed to the Senate seat soon to be vacated by his wife? (AOL Political Machine)
What’s the Emoluments Clause? Does Obama’s pick of Hillary Clinton to head the State Department pose a constitutional problem? (LA Times)
On-the-job hazards: The Labor Department is moving to quickly implement a new rule, opposed by Obama, that would make it tougher to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job. (NYT).
Tar and nicotine standard tossed: With the Supreme Court set to rule on the agency’s preemptive power in cigarette suits, the Federal Trade Commission has dropped a 42-year-old test of tar and nicotine levels, saying the test method is flawed and could cause consumers to believe that lighter cigarettes were safer. (AP)