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Fox Agrees to Pay $787.5 Million to Dominion

The defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems brought against Fox News settled today with a whopping $787.5 million to be paid by Fox.

The settlement came right after the jury panel had been selected. What's curious is that this case didn't settle earlier. Few big defamation cases go to trial. [More...]

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R.I.P. Lynne Stewart

Outspoken criminal defense lawyer and civil rights champion Lynne Stewart has passed away at age 77 following her years long struggle with cancer. A NY federal judge granted a motion by the Government for compassionate release on Dec. 31, 2013, due to her terminal condition. Just a few months earlier, he had ruled that he could not grant her release without a request from the Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. Attorney in NY filed a request from the Bureau of Prisons.

Last month, her client in the case that resulted in her conviction and imprisonment, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, (the "Blind Sheikh") died in prison where he was serving a life sentence for conspiring to blow up NYC landmarks. The cause of death was heart disease and diabetes, according to officials at Butner, North Carolina, where he was incarcerated. He was 78 and had been imprisoned since 1995: [More...]

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When Terror Victims Sue Twitter Over ISIS

A few months ago, a federal judge in California tossed a lawsuit by the family of a terror victim, finding Twitter isn't liable for ISIS rhetoric.

Yesterday, the families of some of those who died in European attacks for which ISIS has taken credit filed a 90 page lawsuit against Twitter. It's case No. 17-cv-00122-PAC in the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs are Cain and Gonzalez.

I'm still reading the Complaint, which begins with a detailed history of al Zarqawi and continues through the formation of the first iteration of ISIS and subsequent changes. It has imported photos into the document, such as the photo of Nick Berg as he was about to be killed by presumably Zarqawi and others, and the photo of the first flag of ISIS.


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Rudy Giuliani? Spare Us

Rudy Giuliani joined a new law firm, along with former AUSA Mark Mukasey (son of former AG Michael Mukasey.) They are going to head up a new cyber-security section of the firm. They are leaving a law firm in Texas to do so.

Miami-founded global law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP announced Tuesday that Giuliani and Mukasey were joining the firm as global chair of the firm’s Cybersecurity and Crisis Management Practice and senior advisor to the firm’s executive chairman, and global co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense Practice, respectively.

Their remarks in this interview are flat-out laughable, from those about El Chapo to South Florida to Rudy's travel schedule. Some quotes: [More...]

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Federal Circuit Strikes Down Prohibition on Disparaging Trademarks

Decision here.

It's wrong imo and the logic imperils the entire trademark registration system as well as the prohibition against disparaging commercial speech (see Trademark Dilution Act for example.) Federal Circuit has just created a huge mess.

My earlier post on the subject here.

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Mass Shooting In San Bernardino, California

Unlike J, I believe the Supreme Court has grossly misread the Second Amendment and strongly favor restricting gun possession to law enforcement only. There is no individual right to possess a gun.

Discuss your views here.

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Is the Intelligence Community Violating EO 13526 on Classification?

On December 29, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13526. In the preamble, this EO is described as:

Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their Government. Also, our Nation's progress depends on the free flow of information both within the Government and to the American people. Nevertheless, throughout our history, the national defense has required that certain information be maintained in confidence in order to protect our citizens, our democratic institutions, our homeland security, and our interactions with foreign nations. Protecting information critical to our Nation's security and demonstrating our commitment to open Government through accurate and accountable application of classification standards and routine, secure, and effective declassification are equally important priorities.

Is the Intelligence Community (IC) acting consistently with the principles of this Executive Order? We have many reasons to doubt it. The Hillary Clinton e-mail brouhaha is a great illustration of this. Richard Lempert, a fellow at Brookings and a former DHS official, writes:

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King v. Burwell: Interpreting the Affordable Care Act

Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act (PDF) ("Obamacare") provides, in part, as follows:

Each State shall, not later than January 1, 2014, establish an American Health Benefit Exchange (referred to in this title as an ‘‘Exchange’’) for the State [. . . .]

Read literally and in isolation, this provision requires states to establish "exchanges." There is no escape clause provided in Section 1311. However, such a provision would violate the rule established in Printz v. United States, in which Justice Scalia, writing for the court, stated that "the forced participation of the States' executive in the actual administration of a federal program" violates the Constitution's federalism provisions.

More on the flip.

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Keeping the Government Out of the Redskins Controversy

ESPN Washington Football Team Reporter John Keim writes about the Redskins trademark dispute:

Stay out, government: I agree with this take from The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins. If the Redskins are going to change their name, let it come from societal pressure and not from congressional action. She made it clear that she’s in favor of a name change, but also wrote: “You don’t really want government agencies to become the arbiter of acceptable words and images. You really don’t. The main reason you don’t is because, like it or not, what’s offensive is subjective.” Totally agree. This isn’t as much about them needing to take care of other issues as it is about that slippery slope. I'm not a fan of slippery slopes. [Emphasis supplied.]

This is in the best uninformed Tea Party tradition (though Kleim clearly is not a Tea Partier, he supports a name change) - a sort of "Keep The Government's Hands Off My Medicare." Did the government go out of its way to get involved in the controversy? Of course not. I'll explain on the flip.

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Class Action Suit Filed Against NFL Over Drug Prescribing Policy

A federal class action lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco against the NFL by former players. Shorter version: The NFL sacrificed player health for its own profit by excessively administering pain medications and not warning players of the dangers.

Rather than allowing players the opportunity to rest and heal, the NFL has illegally and unethically substituted pain medications for proper health care to keep the NFL’s tsunami of dollars flowing.

The Complaint is available here.

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Colo. Sup. Ct. Loosens Restrictions on Lawyers Helping Pot Businesses

The Colorado Supreme Court issued a new rule for lawyers today. Lawyers will be allowed to represent marijuana businesses, so long as the lawyers don't help clients break state law. Via the Denver Post:

The new rule gives lawyers the go-ahead to work with marijuana businesses — even though those businesses are breaking federal law — so long as the lawyers don't help businesses also break state law.

The new rule is here. Some background on why it was needed is here. [More...]

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Does Oklahoma Have Standing To Challenge ACA Tax Credits?

Chris Christie's decision to block health insurance exchanges in New Jersey brings forward the percolating question regarding an IRS ruling (PDF) that the ACA tax credits will be available on federally run exchanges.

Oklahoma is seeking to challenge the IRS ruling. While the challenge seems extremely weak to me on the merits, that's never stopped the Roberts 5 before.

However, the standing issue seems even more clear cut - what is Oklahoma's injury here? Howe would they have standing? Indeed, no one seems injured at all. A discussion of the standing issue on the flip.

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