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Separation Of Powers

April 8, 1988 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, Times Staff Writer
It was a neat solution to a persistent political problem. Perhaps too neat. Conservatives had long complained that some judges were too soft on criminals. Liberals had charged that other judges meted out harsh sentences to street criminals and gentle treatment for white-collar thieves. To remedy those problems, a 1984 compromise between Sens. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.
April 10, 2011 | By David K. Shipler
The system of military commissions that will try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 plotters contains a dirty little secret. Hardly anybody talks about it, but it's a key reason for concern as the apparatus becomes established. It is this: The commissions can operate inside the United States, and they have jurisdiction over a broad range of crimes. Nothing in the Military Commissions Act limits the military trials to Guantanamo detainees, or to people captured and held abroad, or even to terrorism suspects.
May 1, 1988
U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob in Atlanta rejected federal sentencing guidelines, saying they violate the constitutional separation of powers. In the case of two convicted bank robbers, he said he would sentence them as though their crimes had occurred before a mandatory sentencing schedule went into effect last November. Shoob said the rules "are not simply guideposts to aid the exercise of judicial discretion. . . .
September 16, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter and Andrew Zajac, Los Angeles Times
As lawmakers prepare for hearings into the largest egg recall in U.S. history, food safety advocates say the congressional probe could give momentum to a long-delayed measure that would enhance the power of the Food and Drug Administration. If passed, say policymakers, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act could be the first major step toward streamlining the often unwieldy food safety system. For example, in the U.S. cheese pizza is regulated by one federal agency, but a pepperoni pizza is overseen by another.
December 31, 1993 | Associated Press
The Clinton Administration sought a rehearing Thursday of a court order to commission gay midshipman Joseph Steffan, but as expected sidestepped the larger battle over whether banning gays from the military is constitutional. The Justice Department, filing the petition on behalf of the Defense Department, focused instead on the narrower issue of whether the U.S.
December 11, 1987 | Associated Press
Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall thinks the Justice Department under the Reagan Administration is more interested in politics than sound legal arguments, it was disclosed Thursday. "I think there are certain movements that the Department of Justice is making which could be interpreted as trying to undermine the Supreme Court itself, which is, of course, impossible," Marshall said. "They can't separate the political from the legal.
January 22, 1988 | PHILIP HAGER, Times Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court, in a victory for Gov. George Deukmejian, agreed Thursday to hear the governor's challenge to a lower court ruling that he acted illegally in dismantling the Cal/OSHA worker safety program. With votes from all five Deukmejian appointees on the court, the justices said they would review a decision by a state Court of Appeal last October that Deukmejian must restore the program.
March 19, 1988 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, Times Staff Writer
One of the chief challenges facing independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh in prosecuting his Iran-Contra case centers not on the evidence he has assembled but on his legal standing to conduct his investigation at all. Next month, the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments that the appointment of independent counsels under the Ethics in Government Act unconstitutionally shifts the role of prosecution from the executive branch to Congress and the judiciary.
September 14, 1989 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, Times Staff Writer
The Justice Department on Wednesday declined for the fourth time this year to endorse in court the constitutionality of a law designed to encourage citizens to become whistle-blowers and expose fraud against the government despite the fact that the department encouraged Congress to enact the measure in 1986. "The solicitor general is still considering the issue," said Amy Brown, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department's civil division.
May 14, 1988 | KIM MURPHY, Times Staff Writer
In the first appellate court review of a sweeping overhaul in federal sentencing regulations, judges of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday questioned whether a commission appointed by the President should have the power to dictate sentences for federal crimes.
June 13, 2008 | David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected for the third time President Bush's policy of holding foreign prisoners under exclusive control of the military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ruling that the men have a right to seek their freedom before a federal judge. The justices said the Constitution from the beginning enshrined the "privilege of habeas corpus" -- or the right to go before a judge -- as one of the safeguards of liberty. And that right extends even to foreigners captured in the war on terrorism, the high court said, particularly when they have been held for as long as six years without charges.
November 29, 2007 | Bruce Ackerman, Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale, is the author of "Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism."
Despite the show at Annapolis, this week's main diplomatic initiative has concerned Iraq, not Israel. Without any fanfare, the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced that the United States and Iraq will begin negotiating a long-term agreement that will set the terms of Washington's Iraq policy for "coming generations." President Bush is again in legacy mode. His White House "czar" on Iraq, Army Lt. Gen.
April 1, 2007 | Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
The first war-crimes trial here drew outrage Saturday from legal experts who described it as a perversion of the rule of law that may fatally discredit the Pentagon's already disparaged handling of terrorism suspects. Australian detainee David Hicks, whom prosecutors cast as a highly trained and dangerous Al Qaeda operative, will be out of prison before the year ends because of a secret deal cut by the Bush administration appointee overseeing the military commissions.
March 2, 2007 | Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writer
A House subcommittee voted Thursday to subpoena four recently replaced U.S. attorneys as part of a widening probe into whether the Bush administration was politicizing the appointment of top prosecutors around the country. The action marked the first major use of subpoena power by the new Democratic-controlled Congress, and begins to fulfill a pledge of the Democratic leadership to scrutinize administration policies.
September 29, 2006 | David G. Savage and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
The Senate on Thursday approved President Bush's plan to question and try foreign terrorism suspects before military judges -- without oversight by the federal courts. Bush is expected to receive a bill he can sign into law in the next few days, but legal challenges almost assuredly will be pursued against the prosecution process, which the administration considers a key element in its war on terrorism.
July 26, 2006 | From the Associated Press
The White House is expected to unveil as early as next week a proposal for prosecuting terrorism suspects now detained by the military, after weeks of negotiations with Congress and meetings with military lawyers. The recommendations are expected to be described by senior Bush administration officials during a Senate hearing.
Charting a rare collision course with the judicial branch of government, the Senate on Friday narrowly approved far-reaching legislation to restrict the authority of California courts to impose taxes and order expenditures of public funds. If the proposed amendment to the state Constitution receives the Assembly's approval, which is uncertain, it would appear on the November ballot for voter ratification. It is not subject to action by Gov. Pete Wilson.
February 28, 1987 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, Times Staff Writer
It is not a phrase from the Constitution that many a schoolchild, or even most lawyers, can recite: "The Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law or in the heads of the departments." But on that heretofore obscure sentence may depend the constitutionality of the office of "independent counsel," according to many legal scholars. After President Richard M.
July 2, 2006 | David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
John G. Roberts Jr. may be the new chief justice, but the Supreme Court is not truly the Roberts court, at least not yet. In the most divisive cases before the court in the term that just ended, it was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who determined the outcome every time. In unpredictable fashion, he sided some of the time with the court's conservative bloc and some of the time with its liberals.
May 13, 2006 | From the Associated Press
A federal judge Friday postponed a pretrial military hearing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a Saudi Arabian accused of being part of an Al Qaeda bomb-making cell. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said the Bush administration would not suffer any harm by delaying a few weeks the case against Ghassan Abdullah Al Sharbi until the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the military commissions created to try suspected terrorists.
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