Tuesday, May 22nd

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Supreme Court: States can publicly ID petition signers

Court: States can publicly ID petition signersPeople who sign petitions calling for public votes on controversial subjects don't have an automatic right to hide their names, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday as it sided against Washington state voters worried about harassment because of their desire to repeal that state's gay rights law.

The high court ruled against Protect Marriage Washington, which organized a petition drive for a public vote to repeal the state's "everything-but-marriage" gay rights law.


Judge who overturned drilling moratorium reported owning stock in drilling companies

The federal judge who overturned Barack Obama's offshore drilling moratorium reported owning stock in numerous companies involved in the offshore oil industry — including Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to BP prior to its April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico — according to 2008 financial disclosure reports.


Supreme Court upholds terrorism support law

Supreme Court upholds terrorism support lawThe Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law that bars Americans from providing support to foreign terrorist groups, rejecting arguments that it violated constitutional rights of free speech and association. The decision came in the first test to reach the Supreme Court after the September 11, 2001, attacks of a case pitting the right of U.S. citizens to speak and associate freely against the government's efforts to fight terrorism.

In a victory for the Obama administration, the justices voted, 6-3, to reverse a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that declared parts of the law unconstitutionally vague.


Judges Rule for Police on Surveillance

Judges Rule for Police on SurveillanceA panel of federal judges ruled on Wednesday that New York City can keep secret about 1,800 pages of records detailing the Police Department’s surveillance and tactical strategy in advance of protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

In reversing a lower court decision, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with the department’s position that releasing the documents could compromise future surveillance efforts, including those centered on terrorism suspects.


GAO says millions of dollars are wasted on federal courthouses that are too big

GAO says millions of dollars are wasted on federal courthouses that are too bigSome federal judges and court workers occupy courthouses that are bigger than necessary, according to a preliminary report by government auditors.

The Government Accountability Office revealed last week that 27 of the 33 federal courthouses built by the General Services Administration since 2000 contain about 3.6 million square feet of extra space -- or 28 percent of the total federal court space built in the last decade. The excess space has soaked up $835 million in construction costs and $51 million in annual rent and operations costs, the GAO said.


SWAT Raids Gone Wrong -- Paramilitary Policing Is Out of Control

Botched (wrong address or wrong person) raids or raids where it appears excessive force has been used are certainly not a new phenomenon, as journalist Radley Balko documented in his 2006 study, "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Policing in America." But most raids gone bad do not get such wide public or media attention.


Obama extends benefits for gay federal employees

Obama extends benefits for gay federal employeesObama said he had directed government agencies to offer a number of new benefits to the families of gay and lesbian federal employees, including family assistance services, hardship transfers and relocation expenses.

His directive builds on a move he made last year to offer healthcare benefits, sick leave and medical evacuation for same-sex partners of federal employees.


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