Tag Archives: US

Senators’ committee will advise on new U.S. attorney

Minnesota Lawyer Blog brings to our attention that a new advisory committee has been formed to recommend a new U.S. Attorney.

The current U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones has been nominated to serve as the permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and his confirmation hearing is expected to be held soon, the release states.

Judge Timothy O’Malley of the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and the former head of Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will chair the committee, which will also include Annamarie Daley, a Minneapolis attorney in private practice; former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger; Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall; Donald Lewis, Dean of Hamline Law School; retired St. Louis County Judge Carol Person; and Chief Thomas Smith of the St. Paul Police Department.

The committee will review letters of interest, conduct interviews, and offer guidance to Klobuchar and Franken.  In the press release, Klobuchar stated that the candidate should be a seasoned, respected attorney who is fair-minded, able to work productively with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and who is committed to seeing that justice is done under the law and for the people of Minnesota.

Those wishing to be considered for the position of U.S. Attorney should submit letters of interest by June 3, 2013 to: Judge Timothy O’Malley, U.S. Attorney Advisory Committee, c/o Caroline Holland, Office of Senator Amy Klobuchar, 1200 Washington Avenue South, Suite 250, Minneapolis, MN 55415.  Letters may also be e-mailed to caroline_holland@judiciary-dem.senate.gov.

via Senators’ committee will advise on new U.S. attorney – MinnLawyer Blog.

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Economic state – a close up examination

So what is the employment state of the US right now?  You would be surprised at what the numbers really mean.

On Friday March 8th the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the most anticipated report of the employment situation.  The report found:

  • Unemployment decreased to 7.7% in February.  The number of unemployed persons also edged lower in February to 12 million.
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February.

So does this mean that the economy state keeps booming every month?  Not really.

It is important to look at a very important report, which is usually clouded: The Job Openings and Labor Turnover.

Why is this report so important?  For one, it shows the population’s confidence on whether they would find other employment if they quit their current job.  Second, it really shows a clear picture of how many people lost their job.  So hypothetically, if the US lost 1 million jobs, but only gained 500,000 – this doesn’t bode very well for the economy.

On Tuesday March 12th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Job  Openings and Labor Turnover.  This report found:

Jon Openings

  • The number of job openings (3.7 million) did not change much from December.
  • The number of openings rose in professional and business services.
  • However, it decreased in health care and social assistance.
  • All remaining industries did not change much from January.

Hires Rate

  • The hires rate (3.1%) changed little from January.  The hires rate was not seasonally adjusted.
  • The hires rate decreased in mining and logging and in the arts, entertainment, and recreation.
  • The hires rate was unchanged for total nonfarm, private, and government.

Separation Rate

  • The separation rate includes: (1) quits; (2) layoffs; and (3) discharges.  The overall separations rate (3%) changed little from January.
  • The overall quits rate was unchanged at 1.6%.  The quits rate was not seasonally adjusted.
  • The quits rate edged up for total private in January.
  • The quits rate for government was unchanged.
  • The layoffs and discharges rate was seasonally adjusted.  The layoffs and discharges rate changed little from January at 1.1%.

So what does these statistics show?  For one, that the overall rate of job openings has not really changed.  Similarly, the overall rate of separation rate has not really changed.

Most interesting is the fact that upon close examination – the where of these job openings has changed.

In the health care and social assistance industries, the rate of job openings have decreased.  The question posed is – will this affect the services accessibility to the public?

The education and health services rate was 3.1% (January 2012), 3.2% (December 2012), and 2.8% (January 2013).  Since December 2012 to January 2013, we are seeing a 0.4% decrease.

The health care and assistance rate was 3.4% (January 2012), 3.4% (December 2012), and 3.0% (January 2013).  From December 2012 to January 2013, we also saw a 0.4% decrease.

On the more positive side, the job openings rate increased in the professional and business services, as well as in construction.

The construction industry rate has been slowly increasing. The rate is 1.4% (January 2012), 1.6% (December 2012), and 1.7% (January 2013).

The professional and business services also show a very promising increase.  In other words, we are almost back to January 2012 rates.  The rate is 3.7% (January 2012), 3.1% (December 2012), and 3.6% (January 2013).  This means that we have seen a jump of 0.5%, which puts at near the rate of January 2012.

 

via Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary.

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Voting Flaws Widespread

If you read my Minnesota Lawyer – JD Rising article, accessed here, you will know that there are a lot of voting problems that affect voters.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a major new study which shoes that the flaws in the American election system are deep and widespread.  You can see the results via an interactive tool here.  The full brief can be accessed here.

The Pew Charitable Trusts ranked 50 states on 17 indicators, including but not limited to wait times, lost votes, problems with absentee and provisional ballots.  The study is based on data from the 2008 and 2010 elections.

The problematic findings are as follows.

  • Some states lost very few votes thanks to shortcomings in voting technology and voter confusion.  The best reporting failure rates was of 0.5% or less in 2008.  West Virginia’s rate was 3.2%.
  • Voter registration rejections varied.  North Dakota does not require voter registration, and Alabama and Kansas reported rejecting less than 0.05% of the applications in 2008.  Pennsylvania and Indiana each rejected more than half of the registration applications.
  • Arizona and California had the highest rates of problems with voter registration and absentee ballots.  In 2010, California rejected 0.7% absentee ballots, a higher rate than any other state.
  • In Colorado, where 70% of the voters cast ballots by mail in 2012, rejected 0.4% of ballots in 2010.
  • Nationwide, a bit over 1% of voters are given a provisional ballot.  In Arizona, the rate in 2008 was of 6.5%.  In Ohio, it was 3.6%.

Some of the other findings state:

  • In 2008, the 10 states with the shortest times had waits on average of fewer than 6 minutes.  South Carolina had the longest wait times of just over an hour.  Georgia had more than 37 minutes.
  • Only 8 States provided all possible voter lookup tools (Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin).  Only 2 States had no information at all (California and Vermont).
  • Six of the 10 states with the lowest rates of nonvoting due to registration problems (Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wisconsin) have allowed Election Day registration for at least two decades.  North Dakota does not require voter registration.
  • The high performers are: Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • The low performers are: Alabama, California, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

 

via U.S. Voting Flaws Are Widespread, Study Shows – NYTimes.com.

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More on NLRB Recess Appointments

There is much talk on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that the President’s NLRB recess appointments was unconstitutional.

Shortly thereafter, the NLRB released a press release stating:

The Board respectfully disagrees with today’s decision and believes that the President’s position in the matter will ultimately be upheld.  It should be noted that this order applies to only one specific case, Noel Canning, and that similar questions have been raised in more than a dozen cases pending in other court of appeals.

Below is a compilation of pending cases, as put together by SCOTUS Blog by Lyle Denniston:

  • D.C. Circuit — fifteen other challenges pending, most if not all of which will be decided on the basis of last Friday’s ruling.  The cases are either in the briefing stage, or awaiting a briefing schedule.
  • Second Circuit — one case, in briefing.
  • Third Circuit — three cases, one set for argument March 19 NLRB v. New Vista Nursing, docket 11-3440; one case being held for that case, another in briefing.
  • Fourth Circuit — four cases, one set for argument March 22 NLRB v. Enterprise Leasing Co. SE, docket 12-1514; others in briefing.
  • Fifth Circuit — one case, in briefing.Sixth Circuit — one case, in briefing.
  • Seventh Circuit — two cases: one decided, but not on the merits of the appointments power; one in briefing.Ninth Circuit — one case, in briefing.
  • Eleventh Circuit — one case, in briefing.
  • The only federal appeals courts in which no such cases are pending are the First, Eighth, and Tenth.

via Spreading challenge to appointment power UPDATED : SCOTUSblog.

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Filed under Appellate, courts, District Court, labor, legal decision, legal research, NLRB, union

AIG decides not to join lawsuit against government

The board of American International Group won’t be joining a $25 billion lawsuit that claims shareholders were harmed by onerous terms of the insurer’s government bailout.

The board announced its decision on Wednesday, report the New York Times Taking Note blog and the Associated Press. AIG has repaid the United States for the $182 billion bailout, resulting in a government profit of $22.7 billion.

A company run by one-time AIG chief executive Maurice Greenberg filed the suit in November 2011. The company, Starr International, once owned 12 percent of AIG. The complaint alleged the government charged “punitive” interest rates on its loans and enabled a “backdoor bailout” of the insurer’s Wall Street clients by using AIG money to pay off credit default swaps. Greenberg is represented by David Boies in the suit, which argues a Fifth Amendment takings violation.

AP spoke to Columbia law professor John Coffee about AIG’s decision. “The majority of directors decided that the reputational damage was greater than the possibility on a long-shot lawsuit,” he said.

via AIG Won’t Join Suit Claiming Its Government Bailout Harmed Shareholders – News – ABA Journal.

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AIG considers lawsuit against government

AIG is considering joining a lawsuit against the US government claiming that the bailout harmed its shareholders.  Starr International, a company that once owned 12% of AIG, will ask the AIG board to join its lawsuit against the government.

The complaint filed in November 2011 alleged that the government charged a “punitive” interest rates on its loans and enabled a “backdoor bailout” of the insurer’s Wall Street clients by using AIG money to pay off credit default swaps.

If AIG decides to join the lawsuit, AIG could face additional shareholder lawsuits if it decides against joining the $25 billion suit and the action ultimately proves successful, according to the New York Times DealBook Blog.

 

via AIG Considers Joining Suit Claiming Its Government Bailout Harmed Shareholders – News – ABA Journal.

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No Probable Cause vs. 1st and 4th amendment?

This is an interesting decision, allowing the first and fourth amendment claims of Port Militarization Resistance, an anti-war group, to go ahead.

The lawsuit arose when allegedly two civilian U.S. Army employees (Towery and Rudd) spied on the anti-war members and secretly disrupted protests.  The anti-war group was protesting the use of sea ports in Washington State for shipments of military supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The lawsuit alleges defendants befriended the anti-war group and “influenced and directed” tactics to disrupt protests without cause, and that defendants broke into a confidential attorney-client list serve.

The district court dismissed most of the claims, but allowed First and Fourth Amendment allegations against Towery and Rudd to go ahead, despite their motion for qualified immunity.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Ninth Court stated,

“It is clearly established that intentionally enabling arrests without probable cause in order to suppress speech violates the First Amendment,” the unsigned and unpublished opinion from Seattle states.

“Plaintiffs have pled a plausible violation of their clearly established First Amendment rights,” the ruling states. “Plaintiffs have alleged that defendants ‘deterred or chilled the plaintiff’s political speech’ and that such deterrence motivated defendants’ conduct.”

via Courthouse News Service.

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Is a debt ceiling constitutional?

From ABA Journal Daily News:

On Friday, President Obama rejected the idea, the New York Times reports. “I have talked to my lawyers,” he said. “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”

At issue is this provision: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

The sentence was intended to ensure the payment of Union debt after the Civil War, though it was more broadly written, the Times says. The newspaper interviewed law professors about the implications. Some said the provision does, indeed, allow Obama to ignore the debt ceiling. Others said it bars Congress from an actual default on existing debts. Some said Obama has power to act in an emergency, no matter what the 14th Amendment says.

Many raised the issue of whether the courts would be willing to decide the issue, if Obama ignored the ceiling and a suit were filed. “This is largely a political question,” said Yale law professor Jack Balkin.

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