Court blocks release of dozens of convicted sex offenders

April 6, 2009

cjrobertsLate Friday, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. issued an order that prevents the release of some sex offenders who have completed their prison terms, but remain under civil confinement.

The portion of the federal law allowing such civil confinement had been invalidated by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Congress overstepped its authority by allowing convicted sex offenders who served their terms, but were deemed dangerous by the government, to be held civilly.  The law, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, was passed by Congress and sighed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.

Friday Solicitor General Elena Kagan asked the high court to grant an immediate interim stay of the federal appellate court ruling while considering a permanent stay request. Roberts, in turn, granted the permanent stay pending consideration of certiorari in the case.

Roberts’ ruling will keep about 77 convicted offenders to remain in custody in North Carolina. Without the stay, the inmates could have been released as early as next week.

More here from the AP and here from SCOTUSBlog.

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Monday status conference: Enron (and maybe Kagan) at the Supremes

March 23, 2009

supremesToday the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are back in the office for what promises to be an eventful day. The justices will hear oral arguments in the case of Yeager v. U.S., which considers whether collateral estoppel prevents a former Enron official who was acquitted on several charges to be retried on other charges that resulted in a hung jury.

Also today, look out for a possible special guest star: new Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Friday, may be formally introduced to the Court.

And the Court could issue some orders and/or opinions today as well. We’ll bring you updates on newsworthy developments from the Court, so check back.

Today Obama administration officials officially unveil a plan aimed at shoring up the nation’s banking system with public-private parnerships. Oh, and if you wanted to know, so far President Barack Obama is 14 for 16 in his NCAA tourney bracket picks.

Meanwhile,

Sen. X, ?-Minn. We almost forgot about that still-vacant Senate seat for Minnesota! Now the race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman is in the hands of a three-judge panel. A decision is expected by 2011. (Oh, we kid!) (WaPo).

Bills, bills, bills: A bad economy means debt collectors are busy. They are also busy fighting off lawsuits from consumers claiming violations of the Fair Debt collection Practices Act. (Legal Blog Watch).

New COBRA rule has bite: If you or your clients are dealing with layoffs, you should take a look at the model notices the Labor Department has issued in connection with the new, expansive COBRA rules. (Lawyers USA)


Friday morning docket: Taxes and Leno

March 20, 2009

Today the justices of the Supreme Court return to the office for a private conference. The Court could announce grants of certiorari this afternoon, so check here for any newsworthy developments.

capitolfrontMeanwhile, Congress is moving full speed ahead with a plan to tax the shocking taxpayer-funded bonuses some AIG executive received. The House voted yesterday to tax bonuses given out by companies receiving $5 billion or more at a rate of 90 percent.

And President Barack Obama is in California, in an effort to push his economic plan and have a few laughs. Click here to see his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night.

Meanwhile,

You can’t make this stuff up: Guess what else AIG is doing with taxpayer dough? Suing the U.S. government for $306 million the company says it’s owed in tax refunds. (NYT)

Kagan confirmed: The Senate confirmed Obama’s solicitor general pick, Elena Kagan, yesterday. (Boston Globe)

The tax man cometh: Afraid of being audited? The process doesn’t have to be so bad if you have the right info going in. (Lawyers USA)

Keeping judges ethical: The policymaking body for the federal judiciary adopted the first substantial revisions to the Code of Conduct covering federal judges and members of the federal courts’ bar since 1992. (Lawyers USA)

Bad inspectors: Private inspectors hired to monitor the safety of U.S. food products aren’t really doing a bang-up job, Congress said. (AP)

Please, please help me: Embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, facing $400,000 in legal fees as he fights allegations of dealmaking with disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is looking to set up a legal defense fund. (ABA Journal, Chicago Tribune)


Senate to vote on SG pick Kagan today

March 19, 2009

elenakaganToday the Senate is set for a confirmation vote on Elena Kagan, nominated by President Barack Obama in January to be solicitor general. But at least one high-ranking lawmakers isn’t sold on the candidate.

specterSen. Arlen Specter, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said yesterday that Kagan, Harvard Law School’s dean who is said to also be on Obama’s Supreme Court short list, still hasn’t clarified her views on warrantless surveillance and a host of other matters.

In February, Kagan submitted a series of supplemental responses to queries by Specter and other lawmakers. (See some of the responses here on DC Dicta). But Specter said Kagan did not provide “sufficient answers” to his questions, Politico reports.

Debate over Kagan’s nomination is set to start at 2 p.m., and could last as long as 6 hours before a final vote is called.