US Legal Issues

Unanimous US Supreme Court expands reactionary “qualified immunity” doctrine

By Tom Carter, 19 April 2012

With the support of the Obama administration, the US Supreme Court Tuesday expanded the reach of a reactionary legal doctrine that immunizes government agents who violate the Constitution from litigation.

The Obama administration and the Supreme Court decision on strip searches

By John Burton, 5 April 2012

The Obama administration played a key role in Monday’s Supreme Court decision to allow blanket strip searches of people arrested for minor offenses.

US Supreme Court hears challenge to Obama health care law

By Kate Randall, 27 March 2012

The US Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments Monday into the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s health care legislation.

The 2012 elections and the assault on voting rights in the US

By Ed Hightower, 27 March 2012

The 2010 mid-term elections put Republicans in control of many state legislatures, largely due to the disaffection, arising from the administration’s right-wing policies, of many who had voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Since then, at least 17 states have attempted to restrict voting rights in advance of the November ballot.

US Supreme Court issues reactionary rulings on warrants and interrogations

By John Burton, 20 March 2012

The Supreme Court continues to weaken key provisions of the Bill of Rights, last month issuing reactionary decisions protecting police who serve illegal warrants and conduct interrogations without giving people their rights.

Anti-democratic actions by the US Supreme Court

By Tom Carter, 24 January 2012

Recent Supreme Court opinions involving religion, voting rights and warrantless surveillance cast a shadow over existing democratic legal protections.

Lawsuit demands that Obama administration release Guantanamo torture tapes

By Tom Carter, 12 January 2012

The videotapes sought by the Center for Constitutional Rights constitute important evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Supreme Court intervention in Arizona anti-immigrant law poses threat to democratic rights

By Tom Carter, 14 December 2011

The announcement Monday by the US Supreme Court that it will review a decision striking down provisions of Arizona’s unprecedented anti-immigrant law casts a shadow over what had been considered historically settled questions affecting democratic rights.

US Supreme Court to review Arizona immigration law

By Kevin Kearney, 13 December 2011

The Supreme Court announced Monday it will review a lower court decision striking down provisions of an Arizona anti-immigrant law.

US Supreme Court to hear challenge to Obama health care law

By Patrick Martin, 16 November 2011

The high court is expected to make a decision on the constitutionality of the health care law in the midst of next year’s presidential election campaign.

Police reign of terror intensifies at Los Angeles County Jail

By Alan Gilman, 14 October 2011

The Los Angeles County Jail, the nation’s largest, with over 17,000 inmates, continues to be plagued by brutal assaults upon its inmates by deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The legal implications of the al-Awlaki assassination

By Tom Carter, 10 October 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki was selected for assassination as a test case that, if successful, would set a precedent according to which the executive branch of the US government has the unreviewable power to secretly liquidate its political opponents, including US citizens.

White House urges Supreme Court to approve health care “reform” and deepen attacks on democratic rights

By John Burton, 4 October 2011

Obama administration lawyers have filed briefs in many of the cases set for review by the Supreme Court this term, urging approval of the cost-cutting health care overhaul and rollbacks on constitutional rights.

US government targets open access activist

By Patrick Zimmerman, 5 August 2011

Aaron Swartz, a researcher at Harvard is being pursued by government authorities for alleged wire fraud.

Five New Orleans police officers stand trial for post-Katrina killings

By Naomi Spencer, 12 July 2011

A federal trial has begun against five current and former New Orleans police officers charged in the killing and maiming of six unarmed residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The acquittal of Casey Anthony

By David Walsh, 8 July 2011

The acquittal of 25-year-old Casey Anthony in Orlando, Florida Tuesday on charges of murdering her child in June 2008 points to a fact of some social significance.

The Supreme Court and corporate America

By Tom Carter, 27 June 2011

The US Supreme Court is steadily shielding corporate criminality while cutting back fundamental democratic rights.

US Supreme Court undermines class action lawsuits in Wal-Mart ruling

By Tom Carter, 21 June 2011

The US Supreme Court ruling yesterday means that the larger the corporation, the less susceptible it will be to class action lawsuits by its employees.

US Supreme Court gives green light to warrant-less searches of homes

By Tom Carter, 19 May 2011

A decision Monday by the US Supreme Court represents a further major step in abolishing the basic civil liberties protections in the Bill of Rights and enhancing the arbitrary powers of the police.

CIA terrorist Posada Carriles acquitted in immigration trial

By Bill Van Auken, 12 April 2011

The travesty of a trial of Posada Carriles on immigration-related charges let the veteran terrorist and CIA agent walk free, despite being wanted for the killing of scores of civilians.

Supreme Court rules against New Orleans’ frame-up victim, upholds religious school credits

By John Burton, 11 April 2011

In two reactionary rulings, the Supreme Court cancelled a jury award to a man falsely convicted of murder due to prosecutorial misconduct and ruled that taxpayers cannot sue for the diversion of tax revenue to religious schools.

US Supreme Court further weakens right to face one’s accuser

By Michael Stapleton, 9 March 2011

On February 28, in the case Michigan v. Bryant, the US Supreme Court issued yet another decision undermining the right of someone accused of a crime to question his or her accusers.

US Justice Department drops investigation of sub-prime mortgage mogul Angelo Mozilo

By Andre Damon, 3 March 2011

The US Department of Justice has quietly dropped its investigation of Angelo Mozilo, the former head of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial and one of the most culpable figures in the financial meltdown of 2008.

Obama administration indicts ex-CIA whistleblower

By Ed Hightower and Tom Carter, 4 February 2011

The persecution of ex-CIA agent and whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling reveals that the Obama administration is prepared use any means necessary to keep the lid on its dirty secrets.

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas violated conflict of interest law

By Tom Eley, 27 January 2011

For years Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas violated a law requiring justices reveal their spouse’s income and employers, during which time his wife, Virginia Thomas, received hundreds of thousands dollars from right-wing and pro-corporate groups.

US government pursues bogus criminal prosecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

By Don Knowland, 11 January 2011

A subpoena obtained by the US government amounts to confirmation that prosecutors have convened a grand jury in an effort to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and perhaps others on charges of conspiring to steal documents with Army private Bradley Manning.

New York settles fraud charges with ex-Auto Task Force head Steven Rattner

By Barry Grey, 4 January 2011

On December 30, two days before assuming the governorship of New York, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced a settlement of fraud charges against the Wall Street financier and former head of President Obama’s Auto Task Force, Steven Rattner.

New York suit charges Lehman auditor Ernst & Young with collusion in fraud

By Barry Grey, 24 December 2010

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a civil suit Tuesday charging the accounting firm Ernst & Young with complicity in massive fraud committed by Lehman Brothers in the months leading up to the investment bank’s September 2008 collapse.

New Orleans police convicted in post-Katrina killing

By Naomi Spencer and E.P. Bannon, 14 December 2010

Three New Orleans police officers have been convicted for an unprovoked killing and cover-up following Hurricane Katrina.

Judge dismisses case challenging targeted killing of US citizens by Obama administration

By Tom Carter, 9 December 2010

The dismissal Tuesday of a lawsuit that challenged the Obama administration’s targeted killing program underscores the decay of democratic processes in the United States.

Obama’s car czar faces new lawsuits in kickback scheme

By Jerry White, 23 November 2010

Steven Rattner—the chief architect of the attack on GM and Chrysler workers—has been implicated in a scheme aimed at channeling millions into his former private equity firm.

Guantánamo detainee, acquitted on 284 of 285 charges, faces 20 years

By Tom Eley, 19 November 2010

A federal court jury on Wednesday unexpectedly acquitted Guantánamo detainee Ahmed Khaifan Ghailani on 284 charges related to the 1998 terrorist attacks on the US Embassy in Tanzania.

Obama lawyers oppose suits enforcing separation of church and state

By John Burton, 19 November 2010

The Obama administration has argued in the Supreme Court that taxpayers have no right to challenge unconstitutional governmental expenditures on religion.