CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court appeared to be headed toward a ruling Tuesday in favor of requiring police agencies to make public the names of officers involved in shootings. During a hearing, members of the state high court suggested that the California Public Records Act favors disclosure and questioned how police could justify secrecy when officers shoot people on the job. The court is considering a case in which the city of Long Beach and the Long Beach Police Officers Assn.
March 4, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Outside accountants and lawyers who reveal fraud and wrongdoing at publicly traded companies are protected as whistle-blowers just as employees are, the Supreme Court ruled, expanding the reach of an anti-fraud law passed in the wake of the collapse of companies such as Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. The 6-3 decision Tuesday will affect the mutual fund and financial services industries in particular because they rely heavily on outside contractors and advisors. Denying whistle-blower protection to all outside employees of such companies would leave a "huge hole" in the 2002 law, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, noting that most mutual fund companies hire independent investment advisors and contractors rather than employees.
March 2, 2014 |
President Obama's proclaimed strategy to "bypass Congress" — most conspicuously his broad rewriting of the Affordable Care Act — has given unusual prominence to a fairly arcane legal doctrine: standing. Standing is what is preventing a potential blizzard of litigation against the president's unilateral decrees, and ironically, it's a doctrine liberal jurists have long decried. To challenge the government in federal court, it isn't enough to simply believe that the government's conduct is illegal or even unconstitutional.
February 28, 2014 |
In America you're innocent until proven guilty. But the federal government can seize your assets before trial and prevent you from using them to hire the lawyer of your choice, even though the right to counsel is protected by the 6th Amendment. That's an injustice, and it was compounded this week by the Supreme Court. In 2007, Kerri Kaley, a sales representative for a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and her husband Brian were indicted on charges that they had participated in a scheme to resell medical devices allegedly stolen from hospitals; they maintained that the hospitals no longer had any use for the devices.
February 27, 2014 |
The six state attorneys general who have declined to defend their states' bans on same-sex marriage in court got some encouragement this week from U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. In a speech to the National Assn. of Attorneys General, Holder said that it was sometimes appropriate for attorneys general to abandon their usual obligation to defend the constitutionality of state laws. This page supports same-sex marriage unreservedly. But even so, we worry that Holder's comments will embolden additional state attorneys general - Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives - to pick and choose which of their states' laws they will defend in court.
February 26, 2014 |
HOUSTON - A federal judge in deeply conservative Texas overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, saying the prohibition is unconstitutional and stigmatizes gay couples, a ruling that gay rights advocates say adds significant momentum to their push for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue. Texas is the largest state and one of several conservative states, including Oklahoma and Virginia, where judges have recently struck down bans on same-sex marriage. In Texas and elsewhere, judges have stayed their rulings pending appeals, meaning that same-sex couples will not be legally exchanging vows any time soon.