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Video: Jungle 2? France to open migrant camps near Calais after court ruling

France will open two migrant centers near the port town of Calais, after a court ruled that the government must provide humane conditions for...

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Suspect Turkish Court Rulings

Suspect Turkish Court Rulings by Stephen Lendman On Monday, a landmark case ended. It was politically charged. It was suspect from inception. Everyone tried claimed innocence....

Suspect Turkish Court Rulings

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Unanimous Supreme Court Ruling: Human Genes Cannot be Patented

On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that patents on human genes are now void, while the successful creation of synthetic genes may continue to...

Unanimous Supreme Court Ruling: Human Genes Cannot be Patented

On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that patents on human genes are now void, while the successful creation of synthetic genes may continue to...

Dutch Court Ruling Against Shell A Partial Victory

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - January 30 - Today a Dutch court ruled that Shell Nigeria is responsible for polluting farmlands in a landmark case brought by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The court said Shell's subsidiary is accountable for damage caused by oil spills at Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Though this is an important victory, Friends of the Earth International is disappointed that the court did not return a similar verdict in the cases brought by the plaintiffs from Goi and Oruma communities. The plaintiffs and Friends of the Earth Netherlands plan to appeal this ruling, as well as the principle point of the liability of the Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) parent company.

“This win for the farmers of Ikot Ada Udo has set a precedent as it will be an important step that multinationals can more easily be made answerable for the damage they do in developing countries. We anticipate other communities will now demand that Shell pay for the assault on their environment”, says Friends of the Earth Nigeria’s Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, who has played a pivotal role in bringing to light the havoc wreaked by Shell in the Niger delta.

Likewise, Friends of Earth Netherlands campaigner Geert Ritsema comments: ‘This verdict is great news for the people in lkot Ada Udo who started this case together with Friends of the Earth Netherlands. But the verdict also offers hope to other victims of environmental pollution caused by multinationals. At the same time, the verdict is a bitter disappointment for the people in the villages of Oruma and Goi – where the court did not hold Shell liable for the damage. Fortunately, this can still change in an appeal’, he added.

The four Nigerian plaintiffs have been demanding that Shell cleans up the oil pollution in their communities, compensates those affected and prevent further leaks from occurring. The communities of the Niger Delta depend primarily on the environment for their livelihoods, including farming and fishing. Oil industry operations in the Niger Delta have damaged or destroyed local food and water supplies, biodiversity and fishing ponds and crops that locals had used to earn money. Today's ruling follows a hearing in October 2012, which was a landmark in itself.

The court decided not to hold the parent company liable for damage done in Nigeria. Friends of the Earth Netherlands was denied access to evidence proving Shell’s international parent company based in the Netherlands (RDS) determines the daily affairs of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary (SPDC). RDS owns 100% of SPDC shares. SPDC’s profits (estimated at €1.8 billion annually) are deposited in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, under existing laws, RDS cannot be held liable for the damage done on the basis of these facts alone. Friends of the Earth Netherlands must prove that governance actually comes from the headquarters in the Netherlands. Because Shell has not been ordered by the court to allow access to internal company documents which would demonstrate their governance of SPDC, it has been very difficult to prove this. ‘Apparently our justice system allows a company to pocket the profits from a foreign subsidiary without being held liable for the damage it causes while producing those profits.’ said Geert Ritsema of Friends of the Earth Netherlands.

The court also ruled that Shell has convincingly proven that sabotage was involved in two of the three villages. The plaintiffs find it incomprehensible that the court has allowed itself to be convinced by a number of blurry photos and poor quality video images submitted by Shell.

Dutch Court Ruling Against Shell A Partial Victory

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - January 30 - Today a Dutch court ruled that Shell Nigeria is responsible for polluting farmlands in a landmark case brought by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The court said Shell's subsidiary is accountable for damage caused by oil spills at Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Though this is an important victory, Friends of the Earth International is disappointed that the court did not return a similar verdict in the cases brought by the plaintiffs from Goi and Oruma communities. The plaintiffs and Friends of the Earth Netherlands plan to appeal this ruling, as well as the principle point of the liability of the Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) parent company.

“This win for the farmers of Ikot Ada Udo has set a precedent as it will be an important step that multinationals can more easily be made answerable for the damage they do in developing countries. We anticipate other communities will now demand that Shell pay for the assault on their environment”, says Friends of the Earth Nigeria’s Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, who has played a pivotal role in bringing to light the havoc wreaked by Shell in the Niger delta.

Likewise, Friends of Earth Netherlands campaigner Geert Ritsema comments: ‘This verdict is great news for the people in lkot Ada Udo who started this case together with Friends of the Earth Netherlands. But the verdict also offers hope to other victims of environmental pollution caused by multinationals. At the same time, the verdict is a bitter disappointment for the people in the villages of Oruma and Goi – where the court did not hold Shell liable for the damage. Fortunately, this can still change in an appeal’, he added.

The four Nigerian plaintiffs have been demanding that Shell cleans up the oil pollution in their communities, compensates those affected and prevent further leaks from occurring. The communities of the Niger Delta depend primarily on the environment for their livelihoods, including farming and fishing. Oil industry operations in the Niger Delta have damaged or destroyed local food and water supplies, biodiversity and fishing ponds and crops that locals had used to earn money. Today's ruling follows a hearing in October 2012, which was a landmark in itself.

The court decided not to hold the parent company liable for damage done in Nigeria. Friends of the Earth Netherlands was denied access to evidence proving Shell’s international parent company based in the Netherlands (RDS) determines the daily affairs of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary (SPDC). RDS owns 100% of SPDC shares. SPDC’s profits (estimated at €1.8 billion annually) are deposited in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, under existing laws, RDS cannot be held liable for the damage done on the basis of these facts alone. Friends of the Earth Netherlands must prove that governance actually comes from the headquarters in the Netherlands. Because Shell has not been ordered by the court to allow access to internal company documents which would demonstrate their governance of SPDC, it has been very difficult to prove this. ‘Apparently our justice system allows a company to pocket the profits from a foreign subsidiary without being held liable for the damage it causes while producing those profits.’ said Geert Ritsema of Friends of the Earth Netherlands.

The court also ruled that Shell has convincingly proven that sabotage was involved in two of the three villages. The plaintiffs find it incomprehensible that the court has allowed itself to be convinced by a number of blurry photos and poor quality video images submitted by Shell.

Court Ruling on Labor Board a Bid to Return to Era of Open Season...

(Photo: National Nurses United)The appeals court ruling Friday overturning President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board is a huge gift to Wall Street, big corporations and the politicians they control who have worked for years to overturn protections for working people in the U.S.

In healthcare the implications are especially insidious. It is a clear assault on the ability of nurses to act collectively to improve safety standards and public protections for patients. If nurses are unable to speak out for patients and act together to safeguard conditions, all patients are threatened in an era in which most hospital employers place their bottom line above patient safety.

When the board is not dominated by corporate-oriented appointees, as it has been most of the past four decades, the game plan of the anti-union crowd is to bar it from operating, either by refusing to confirm appointees, defunding or other destabilization tactics. That was what prompted these recess appointments, made by President Obama only after the Senate minority blocked confirmation of his nominees needed to restore a quorum on the board to enable it to function.

Without a quorum, the effect of the court ruling and the goal of those who brought it, workers experience delays that can drag on for years if they object to unfair discipline, intimidation or harassment by employers, or attempt to form a union to represent them.

In 2007, for example, the California Nurses Association filed labor board charges in response to retaliation by a rural Northern California hospital against RNs for legally protected union activity and other violations of federal law. 

After initial board delays, an NLRB administrative law judge ruled in 2009 that the hospital had acted illegally.  But when the hospital employer appealed to Washington, the NLRB was unable to act for years because of the lack of a quorum on the NLRB.

Only after the recess appointments were made was the NLRB able to act on this case along with a large backlog of other delayed decisions. 

A final decision on the 2007 charge was issued just days ago affirming the 2009 law judge ruling. Now that decision, too, is in jeopardy, further delaying justice for the nurses. Once again justice delayed is justice denied.

That, of course, is the real intent of this court challenge, the obstruction of the Senate in confirming Presidential appointees, and blatant attempts by the U.S. Chamber of Chamber and the politicians they heavily influence. They want to gut any semblance of federal protection for workers who need a collective voice to counter multi-million dollar employers who profit off denying workplace rights, consumer rights, and reducing worker living standards.

Labor law was enacted in the 1930s precisely to provide some balance in the workplace and fairer treatment for workers. It helped sustain the growth of unions which led to dramatic improvements in living standards for all Americans in the 1950s and 1960s.

Since then, the neo-liberal agenda has been to overturn any labor law rights for workers which has contributed to the growing decline of union membership and the concurrent stagnation in wages and economic security for all U.S. workers, while more wealth is transferred to corporate board rooms and private jet owners.

 This decision is a further reminder that the labor movement, and all those who believe in workplace and democratic rights, need to step up our efforts to challenge Wall Street, the Chamber and those on its strings. We need to get back in the streets, forcefully challenge those who would deny our rights, and unite a broad movement to press for participatory democracy and social change.

Rose Ann DeMoro

Rose Ann DeMoro is executive director of the 185,000-member National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association of nurses, and a national vice president of the AFL-CIO. Follow Rose Ann DeMoro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NationalNurses

Israeli forces evict West Bank Palestinian outpost despite court ruling

(Image from twitter user@man_on_crack)

(Image from twitter [email protected]_on_crack)

Hundreds of Israeli security forces have raided and evicted an outpost set up by Palestinian activists in the occupied West Bank, despite an earlier injunction by Israel’s High Court preventing the government from such action.

Several activists have been reportedly detained.

On Friday dozens of Palestinians pitched tents in the disputed E1 area, where Israel plans to build settlements. Around 20 large, steel-framed tents were set up in the “Bab Al Shams” camp, in a bid to preserve the area for an independent Palestinian state.

Israeli forces entered the encampment early Sunday morning after surrounding the site late on Saturday and preventing activists from entering.

The eviction was ordered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and came despite a temporary injunction ordered by Israel’s High Court preventing the state from taking such action, Haaretz reports. The government told the court that the evacuation was a matter of “urgent security.”

The eviction comes despite the tents being pitched on private Palestinian land, according to Haaretz .

The building of Israeli settlements is frowned upon by many international powers which say the move will be detrimental to securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine broke down in 2010.

Israel has frozen building in E1 for many years, after coming under pressure from then US President George W. Bush.

However, Netanyahu announced settlement plans after the Palestinians won de-facto state recognition at the UN General Assembly last year. Those plans involve building around 4,000 housing units in the area.

(Image from twitter user@AbirKopty)
(Image from twitter [email protected])

The photo reportedly shows owners of the land where "Bab Al Shams" stands showing the deeds of ownership. (Image from twitter user@Tweet_Palestine)
The photo reportedly shows owners of the land where "Bab Al Shams" stands showing the deeds of ownership. (Image from twitter [email protected]_Palestine)

Bronx Residents Accosted by NYPD Win Landmark Court Ruling Deeming “Stop and Frisk” Tactic...

A federal judge has ruled that New York City police are not allowed to routinely stop pedestrians outside of private residential buildings in the Bronx. The stops are part of the so-called Clean Halls program, which has prompted allegations of police harassment by some residents who say they are being accosted outside of the buildings in which they live. Previous data on the New York Police Department’s "stop-and-frisk" policy has shown African-American and Latino men make up a hugely disproportionate share of those stopped. We’re joined by Molly Kovel, staff attorney with the Bronx Defenders and part of the legal team in the case; and by Abdullah Turner, a Bronx resident whose building is enrolled in the Clean Halls program and who says he was unfairly arrested while waiting for a friend inside. 

GUESTS:

Molly Kovel, A staff attorney with the Bronx Defenders. Her clients are residents of the Bronx who were illegally stopped by New York City police as part of Operation Clean Halls –- part of the stop-and-frisk program that allows police officers to patrol in and around certain private apartment buildings.

Abdullah Turner, A Bronx resident whose building is enrolled in the “Clean Halls” program and who says he was unfairly arrested while waiting for a friend inside.

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Appeals Court Stays Stop and Frisk Ruling


Appeals Court Stays Stop and Frisk Ruling

by Stephen Lendman

Stop and frisk is longstanding NYPD policy. It reflects brazen racial profiling. It affects hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino New York city residents annually.

No evidence proves it's effective. Plenty shows it's racially motivated. It violates core constitutional rights. It's one of many abusive practices.

On August 12, US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Shira Scheindlin issued a landmark ruling. It was scathing.

She said NYPD "adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling." Doing so violates "violated their constitutional rights in two ways:

(1) they were stopped without a legal basis in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and

(2) they were targeted for stops because of their race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Limits on stops are "paramount," she said. They must "be based on 'reasonable suspicion' as defined by the Supreme Court of the United States."

They must "be conducted in a racially neutral manner."

"The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table."

"No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life."

"Those who are routinely subjected to stops are overwhelmingly people of color, and they are justifiably troubled to be singled out when many of them have done nothing to attract unwanted attention."

Equal protection under the law is fundamental, said Scheindlin. "The Constitution prohibits selective enforcement based on considerations such as race."

Judge Scheindlin acted responsibly. It doesn't matter. According to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, she "ran afoul" of the judiciary's code of conduct.

She did so, it said, by compromising the "appearance of the impartiality surrounding this litigation."

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) initiated a federal class action lawsuit against New York City. Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al. challenged "NYPD's practices of racial profiling and unconstitutional stop-and frisks."

CCR called Floyd New York's "trial of the century." It cut to the very heart of discriminatory police practices. CCR sued to end them.

On October 29, it headlined "Attorneys Urge Appellate Court to Reject City's Attempt to Delay Remedial Process." 

They urged the court to affirm the stopping of "unconstitutional stop and frisk practices." Judge Scheindlin ordered input from community stakeholders most affected.

She did so to determine just and proper remedies. None so far were ordered. NYPD's stop and frisk policy violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. It states:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

In other words, stopping and frisking someone requires reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed. Indiscriminate police actions are unconstitutional.

Former Supreme Court Justice William Douglas once warned against giving "police greater power than a magistrate." Doing so, he said, "is to take a long step down the totalitarian path."

Federal courts today have few like Douglas. The Supreme Court has none. It's stacked with Federalist Society members.

They include Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. They're ideological extremists. So are most appeals court justices.

In response to Judge Scheindlin's ruling, CCR issued the following statement:

"The court has correctly recognized that thousands of New Yorkers whose rights are violated regularly by the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices - and not the City itself - are the ones who would be harmed by this latest attempt to delay reforms."  

"After more than a decade of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory police practices, overwhelming legislative support for changes, and a massive mobilization by affected communities, it is long past time for the City to end its resistance and participate in making those changes."  

"If Mayor Bloomberg truly seeks a police force that serves New Yorkers, here is his opportunity - come to the table and help make it a reality."

On October 29, CCR urged appellate court justices to reject this attempt to reverse Floyd.

For over a decade, New York resisted reforms. Abusive stop and frisk policies continued. According to CCR Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney:

"Delaying the joint remedial process will only continue to harm the communities who have suffered massive violations of their constitutional rights for so long: it is in the community's interest that we begin the discussion without further delay."

CCR added that "(n)umerous city community groups, faith healers, unions, and policing experts submitted declarations." 

They affirmed that delaying the remedial process harms city interests. In 2012, New York city's population exceeded 8,300,000. Blacks and Latinos comprise a majority (around 55%). 

They have the most to gain or lose. Floyd gives them protection they haven't had for years. It's high time they got it. 

Not according to hard right appellate court justices. They acted irresponsibly. They stayed Judge Scheindlin's ruling. They didn't reverse it. They ordered Floyd reassigned to a new district court judge. 

Ironically its John Koeltl. In 2006, he unjustly sentenced Lynne Stewart to 28 months in prison. She was convicted despite having committed no crimes.

On appeal, her case was remanded back to Koeltl. He disgracefully increased her sentence to 10 years.

Lynne today suffers from Stage 4 cancer. She's dying. She's denied life-saving treatment. Koeltl denied her compassionate release request. 

Imagine how he'll treat New York city Blacks and Latinos. With as much disdain as shown Lynne seems likely.

At the same time, he was instructed to put off "all proceedings and otherwise await further action."

The appeals court hasn't yet ruled on whether Judge Scheindlin's decision reached the right constitutional conclusion.

"We intimate no view on the substance or merits of the pending appeals," it said. The process extends into 2014. By then, New York will have a new mayor.

Democrat Bill de Blasio looks likely to win. Polls show he's far ahead of his Republican opponent. He issued a statement saying:

"We have to end the overuse of stop and frisk, and any delay only means a continued and unnecessary rift between our police and the people they protect."

If elected, it remains to be seen if his policy matches his rhetoric. He can simply order the practice stopped.

CCR said the following the Second Circuit's ruling:

"We are dismayed that the Court of Appeals saw fit to delay the long-overdue process to remedy the NYPD’s unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices, and we are shocked that they cast aspersions on the professional conduct of one of the most respected members of the federal judiciary and reassigned the case."  

"The City carried out a whisper campaign against Judge Scheindlin but never once raised any legal claims of bias, even in its papers to the Court of Appeals." 

"That, unprompted, they should reassign the case from a judge deeply steeped in the issues for the last 14 years, who gave the City every opportunity to defend itself in the course of this litigation, is troubling and unprecedented."

According to NYPD's own internal records, around 90% of stop and frisk victims are innocent. They're unjustly targeted. Violating their constitutional rights raises serious concerns.

It's one of many abuses minority Americans endure. It reflects a slippery slope toward totalitarian injustice.

On October 31, New York's ACLU vowed to appeal. It issued a statement saying:

"The New York Civil Liberties Union this afternoon promised to fight a federal appeals court's decision postponing the remedy proceedings in New York City’s stop-and-frisk abuse case." 

"The decision, issued by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, did not overturn the landmark ruling that the NYPD's abuse of stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional."

NYCLU's Executive Director Donna Lieberman added: 

"There is overwhelming evidence that the stop-and-frisk regime is unconstitutional and out of control - just ask any black or brown New Yorker." 

"We expect the next mayoral administration to make reforming stop-and-frisk a top priority, and we are confident New York City will soon see a day when all New Yorkers' basic rights are protected and respected."

New York Times editors weighed in. They took a principled stand. Most often they're irresponsible on imperial lawlessness and other major issues. They headlined "A Bad Ruling on Stop-and-Frisk," saying:

The Second Circuit Court acted "unwise(ly)." It stayed Judge Scheindlin's ruling. (I)t overreached in taking the extraordinary step of removing (her) from the long-running litigation."

It mischaracterized her responsible ruling. It added insult to injury by alleging "she created the 'appearance of impropriety' by granting press interviews while the case was pending before her."

She had every right to do so. At the same time, she avoided discussing Floyd. She defended herself against a malicious city smear campaign. "I know I'm not their favorite judge," she said.

"I do think that I treat the government as only one more litigant. I don't think they're entitled to deference."

"I think some of the judges are a little more timid to maybe disagree with the US attorney's office."

"They have to prove their case like anybody else. I don't give them special respect. Maybe some judges do because they came from the office. They know the people there, whatever. I try not to do that."

She called targeting her judicial independence a "below the belt attack." Reports that Mayor Bloomberg ordered it made it worse, she added.

"It's very painful," she stressed. "Judges can't easily defend themselves" publicly. "To attack a judge personally is completely inappropriate and intimidates (them) or it is intended to intimidate (them) or it has an effect on other judges and that worries me."

At times, "(y)ou could be in danger physically," she added. Maybe New York cops will target her. Maybe they'll be ordered to do so.

According to Times editors:

"Judge Scheindlin did not strike down the program, which, when properly used, is an important crime-fighting tool." 

"But she sensibly ordered the city to use it in a manner that does not discriminate against minorities and that complied with constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure."

"Under the Fourth Amendment, police officers can legally detain people on the street when there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is committing, has committed or is about to commit a crime." 

"In addition to violating people's rights, the program, as practiced for years in New York, undermined trust in the Police Department in black and Hispanic communities throughout the city."

"Given all the damage done by this program, the next mayor should end this saga by withdrawing the city's appeal and instituting the cogent reforms laid out by Judge Scheindlin."

Most often Times editors act irresponsibly. Give credit where it's deserved. This time they stood tall. 

Judge Scheindlin deserves high praise for ruling justly. Implementing her important reforms should proceed straightaway. 

New York's most disadvantaged deserve that much and more. It remains to be seen whether any justice will be forthcoming. So much already is lost nationwide.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/appeals-court-stays-stop-frisk-ruling/

US court stops NYC stop-and-frisk ruling

Demonstrators hold signs protesting the New York Police Department's ''stop and frisk'' crime-fighting tactic outside of Manhattan Federal Court in New York, March 18,...

Appeals court blocks ruling against NYC stop-and-frisk policy

A US federal appeals court has blocked a previous ruling against New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy. In addition, the judge who made the ruling...

Sen. Mike Lee: Supreme Court ObamaCare Ruling a “Lawless Act”

Minutes after midnight on Wednesday, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) rose to give his colleague Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) a breather from what was already...

Ruling Reveals NSA Lies to Courts, Congress About Scope of Surveillance

The National Security Agency was forced to de-classify a document, the contents of which make it easy to see why the snoops wanted it...

Spain court quizzes ruling party member

Maria Dolores de Cospedal, secretary-general of Spain's ruling Popular Party (file photo)A senior member of Spainâ„¢s ruling party has appeared in court to testify...

The Limited Reach of the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Rulings

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_limited_reach_of_the_supreme_courts_gay_marriage_rulings_20130627/ Posted on Jun 27, 2013 ...

More pro-corporate rulings by US Supreme Court

  By ...

Despite What the President Said, There’s Nothing “Transparent” About a Secret Court Issuing Secret...

The FISA court, by its nature, is the opposite of transparent. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how the FISA court could be more secretive.

Uruguay protests Supreme Court’s ruling

Activists showing pictures of people who disappeared during the military rule in Uruguay on Auguest 11, 2011.

Protests have been held against Uruguay’s Supreme Court and its ruling against a law permitting investigations into crimes carried out by the previous dictatorship.

On Monday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that the law allowing investigations into human rights abuses from the 1973-1985 dictatorship would be in violation of the constitution.

On Friday, the Supreme Court said a law passed in 2011 by Uruguay’s Congress that made such investigations or prosecutions possible despite a 1986 amnesty law, was unconstitutional. The court also re-established the amnesty.

In October 2011, in a controversial move, the Uruguayan Congress adopted a law that eliminated the effects of the amnesty law which protected police and military personnel from being prosecuted over human rights violations.

The new law also repealed a statute of limitations that aimed at preventing victims of human rights abuses from being able to file criminal complaints.

Under the military rule, Uruguay had the largest number of political prisoners in the world, and some 200 people were kidnapped and killed.

SZH/PKH

video

Video: Court Orders Trump’s EPA to Enforce Obama Admin. Methane Rules

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The Court Should Hold President Trump’s Pardon of Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio Unconstitutional, Legal Advocacy...

PHOENIX, Ariz. - President Trump’s pardon of ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s criminal contempt for disobeying a court order to stop violating people’s constitutional rights should...

Supreme Court blocks 9th Circuit restrictions on Trump's refugee ban

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Grandkids, cousins among relatives exempt from Trump travel ban – US appeals court

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Hungary and Slovakia Must Admit Refugees as Part of EU Relocation Program, Court Rules

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Can’t hack it: US court orders hackers to leave Microsoft computers & trademarks alone

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Federal court rejects revised Texas voter ID law, state plans to appeal

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May accused of Brexit U-turn on EU court role

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Planned Parenthood has no right to Medicaid funds in Arkansas, US appeals court rules

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Appeals court overturns Blackwater guard murder conviction, orders new trail

The murder conviction of a former Blackwater security guard was thrown out by a Washington DC...

The UK High Court Is Wrong

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Court Throws Out Blackwater Guards' Sentences for 2007 Baghdad Massacre

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Ferguson protest lawsuit revived by appeals court

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US citizen in immigrant detention for over 3yrs has no right to sue, court...

A US court has ruled that a US citizen who spent more than three years in...

Federal court orders EPA to reinstate methane rules after environmentalists petition

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Attempt to prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq War blocked by High Court

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‘Incredible shrinking airline seat’: Court orders FAA review of seats on US flights

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Video: ‘Victory of 200 million Pakistanis’: Court rules to disqualify PM over money laundering...

Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif resigned after court ruling that disqualified him over money laundering allegations. 'This is a victory of 200 million Pakistanis', ... Via...

DOJ to appeals court: LGBT employees not protected by federal discrimination law

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Appeals court strikes down Washington, DC gun restriction

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Massachusetts can’t legally hold immigrants on ICE detainer requests – state court

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Protests in Poland as Right-Wing Ruling Party Dismantles Democracy

Tens of thousands poured into the streets in Poland Thursday night, condemning proposed laws that would dramatically weaken the nation's judicial system, just two...

US court upholds ‘gag’ rules on surveillance of social media users

Privacy advocates suffered a stinging defeat by a federal appeals court which ruled in favor of...

Yemen: Court Battle Exposes UK-Saudi Arms Deals And Humanitarian Tragedy

On Monday 10th July, a ruling was handed down by London’s High Court, which should, in a sane world, exclude the UK government ever...
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Video: ‘No violation’: EU Court of Human Rights upholds Belgium ban on wearing full...

Belgium's ban on the full-face niqab in public doesn't violate any rules, that's according to a decision by the European Court of Human rights....

UK court: Saudi arms sales lawful

Americans have the right to film police in public, court rules

Published time: 8 Jul, 2017 00:57 US citizens have the right to film police performing their...

Court Rejects Florida's Updated "Stand Your Ground" Law

Florida's controversial self-defense law, known as "Stand Your Ground," has gained nationwide attention in recent years. This focus largely began after George Zimmerman fatally...

Federal appeals court blocks Trump’s attempt to rollback Obama-era methane rules

Published time: 4 Jul, 2017 04:23 The Environmental Protection Agency’s 90-day suspension of new emission standards...

Court Blocks Scott Pruitt’s Attempt to Delay Key Safeguards Limiting Methane Pollution from the...

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted Sierra Club and its allies’ motion to vacate EPA’s stay...

The Supreme Court's "Muslim Ban" Decision Is Terrifying

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Texas Supreme Court denies benefits to married same-sex couples

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Terminally-ill baby must be taken off life support, European court rules

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Ohio to resume executions after court rules risk of inmates’ pain ‘acceptable’

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Video: Court: Bush Administration Officials Can’t Be Held Liable for Post-9/11 Mass Roundup of...

https://democracynow.org - On June 19, the Supreme Court reversed a federal appeals court ruling that former high-level Bush administration officials may be ... Via Youtube

USS Reagan crew can sue Japanese company over Fukushima nuclear disaster – court

Published time: 23 Jun, 2017 04:26 A federal appeals court has ruled that members of the...

Dissidents Ramp Up Direct Action Against Climate Destroyers. Who Will the Courts Defend?

(Photo: Gil Megidish; Edited: LW / TO) In times of great injustice, independent media is crucial to fighting back against misinformation. Support grassroots journalism: Make...

PA Supreme Court rules police dashcam videos are public record, as lawmakers vote to...

Pennsylvania’s highest court has said the public should have access to police dashcam video unless the...

ACLU Responds to Appeals Court Win for Government Transparency in Sarasota “Stingray” Cell Phone...

MIAMI, Florida - A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that prevented the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida from...
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Video: Supreme Court Strikes Down Racial Gerrymandering in North Carolina

Kamau Franklin of the Atlanta Black Star says a Supreme Court ruling that North Carolina unlawfully used race in redrawing Congressional maps is a...

Washington Redskins score touchdown thanks to The Slants’ trademark win in Supreme Court

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Video: Mass evacuation in Caracas as anti-govt protesters attack court with petrol bombs

The surge in violence in Venezuela followed a ruling by the court rejecting a challenge made by Luisa Ortega Diaz to President Nicolas Maduro's...

Trump Uses London Attack to Call for Supreme Court to Back Travel Ban Blocked...

Following the attacks in London on Saturday night, President Trump launched a tweet storm calling for the United States to impose his proposed Muslim...

Supreme Court rules more N. Carolina districts illegally gerrymandered on race

The Supreme Court has yet again waded into the fray of North Carolina politics, ruling once...

Supreme Court rules against police use-of-force 'provocation' rule

Police officers cannot be held liable for use-of-force consequences even when they provoke a violent confrontation,...

The Trump Administration is Asking the Supreme Court to Reinstate its Travel Ban

Two executive orders banning people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. have been blocked by lower courts. The Trump administration...

Dakota Access Pipeline set to flow oil, as public commission considers violation rulings

Published time: 1 Jun, 2017 04:30 The Dakota Access Pipeline long protested by groups of Native...

End of the Silk Road: Court upholds life sentence for dark web drug kingpin...

A court has upheld the life-without-parole sentence for Ross Ulbricht, the creator and administrator of Silk...

Britain must accept refugees who land at Cyprus military bases, court rules

Britain may be forced to take in refugees landing at its two military bases in...

Federal Appeals Court Rules Trump Muslim Ban Unconstitutional

ACLUIn a 10-3 ruling, a federal appeals court today ruled President Trump’s revised Muslim ban executive order is unconstitutional. The full Fourth Circuit Court...

‘Nothing speculative about it’: Wikimedia-led lawsuit against NSA restored by court

A federal appeals court has revived part of a lawsuit against the National Security Agency filed...

AG Sessions redefines ‘sanctuary cities’ to comply with courts

Published time: 23 May, 2017 04:00 Edited time: 23 May, 2017 04:00 US Attorney General Jeff...

NC Republicans illegally used race during redistricting, US Supreme Court rules

North Carolina’s GOP-led legislature illegally used race to redraw congressional districts, the Supreme Court has ruled....

Personal drones no longer need to be registered with FAA, US federal court rules

A federal appeals court has shot down a rule that would require non-commercial drones be registered,...

As Trump Defends Muslim Ban, Courts Become Crucial Buffer Against Executive Power

Protesters outside a hotel in Manhattan where Donald Trump was speaking during the presidential campaign, December 11, 2015. The judges weighing in against Trump's...

Court orders State Dept to release Clinton emails on Benghazi attack

A Washington DC federal court judge has ordered the State Department to turn over Hillary Clinton’s...

Supreme Court refuses challenge to California ban on 'gay conversion' therapy

The US Supreme Court will not hear a minister's challenge to a California law that bans...

Employers can pay women less based on previous salaries, US court rules

A ruling from a traditionally left-leaning federal appeals court allows employers to pay women less than...

US appeals court to reconsider Ohio lethal injection case

Published time: 26 Apr, 2017 04:08 After blocking Ohio from using lethal injection drugs, a federal appeals...

Once Again, Trump Attack on Immigrants Rebuked by Federal Court

In the latest rebuke of President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies, a federal court judge on Tuesday ruled the administration's threat to withhold funds from...

Supreme Court declines to hear case of illegal immigrants denied asylum

The Supreme Court won’t wade into the debate over illegal immigration, declining to hear an appeal...

US court rules LGBT workers protected from discrimination under Civil Rights Act

For the first time, a federal court has extended civil rights protections to LGBT employees under...

Supreme Court rules for court flexibility in mandatory minimum sentences

The US Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that courts have the discretion to decide whether a...

US court nixes publication of Guantanamo force-feeding video

Published time: 31 Mar, 2017 20:58 Releasing the videos of Guantanamo Bay guards force-feeding an inmate during...

Colorado must protect health & environment before allowing fracking, court rules

The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision on fracking, siding with a group...

Zephyr Teachout: Supreme Court Pick Neil Gorsuch "Sides With Big Business, Big Donors and...

Confirmation hearings begin today for Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. If confirmed by...

US appeals court rejects last-minute bid to block DAPL launch

Published time: 19 Mar, 2017 10:17 Oil will start flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline as early...

Trump administration to appeal travel ban halt to 4th Circuit Court

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Trump administration sides against its own consumer watchdog agency in court

Published time: 18 Mar, 2017 03:24 The Department of Justice has filed a court motion to weaken...

‘That Violence Against Our Community Is Often Not Told by Media’ – CounterSpin interview...

Janine Jackson interviewed Kris Hayashi about the Supreme Court’s non-ruling on trans students for the March 10, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a...

Headscarves can be banned at work, European court rules

Employers will be able to ban Muslim staff from wearing headscarves at work, the European Court of Justice has ruled. The court said that companies...

How SCOTUS Campaign Finance Rulings 'Distorted' US Democracy

With the pending confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch shaping up to be a referendum on the role of money in politics, a...

Nancy Altman on Trumpcare, Kris Hayashi on Transgender Non-Ruling

PlayStop pop out ...

Democrats move to challenge Trump's new travel ban in court

A ruling by the federal judge in Seattle blocking President Donald Trump’s original travel ban should...

The Supreme Court Won't Hear Gavin Grimm's Case; What Does That Mean for Transgender...

Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy whose suit against the Gloucester County School Board was remanded to a lower court by the Supreme Court on...

Uber drivers must pass English tests, High Court rules

Tens of thousands of Uber drivers risk losing their jobs over their English language skills...

Sex offender goes to Supreme Court over social media ban

Published time: 25 Feb, 2017 01:25Edited time: 25 Feb, 2017 01:34 A North Carolina sex offender who...

Maryland’s military weapons ban upheld by federal appeals court

Published time: 22 Feb, 2017 03:44 Maryland’s ban on semiautomatic and military-style weapons has been upheld by...

Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled

Since Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court, media have coalesced around a few themes: One is about whether...

Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled

For the New York Times, blocking Gorsuch is appeasement, while letting him on is honorable. Since Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for...

Halt on Trump travel ban upheld by 9th Circuit Court

The restraining order on enforcement of the travel ban on seven countries has been upheld unanimously...

Court Refuses to Reinstate Trump's Muslim Ban, Says "No Evidence" of Attacks From Seven...

In a major victory for civil rights advocates, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously refused to reinstate Donald Trump's executive order...

Appeals Court Rules Against Trump, Keeping Ban on Hold For Now

In the latest legal blow to President Donald Trump's attempt to institute a controversial immigration and travel ban targeting seven predominantly Muslim nations, the...

Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Reinstate Trump Travel Ban

A federal appeals court refused Thursday to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, dealing another legal...
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Video: Neil Gorsuch, Trump SCOTUS Pick, Has History of Ruling Against Workers, Women &...

http://democracynow.org - President Donald Trump has announced his pick for the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia: Judge Neil Gorsuch ... Via...

Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland shouldn’t get say on Brexit, Supreme Court rules

Devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should not have a say on the terms of Brexit, the Supreme Court has ruled. The...

‘Establishment delaying Brexit’: #Article50 ruling divides internet

Britain’s Supreme Court ruling on how Theresa May’s government can trigger formal divorce talks from...

Theresa May cannot trigger Brexit without parliamentary permission, UK Supreme Court rules

Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled Parliament has the right to vote on Article 50 before...

UK Supreme Court to rule if PM can trigger Brexit without parliamentary permission

Britain’s Supreme Court will rule on Tuesday whether Parliament has a say in the triggering...

Taliban bomb maker’s case against British military thrown out by Supreme Court

A Taliban bomb maker seeking to sue the British military over his detention in Afghanistan has had his case thrown out by the Supreme...

Florida Supreme Court orders 150 death row inmates be resentenced

At least 150 death row inmates in Florida will need to be resentenced after the state’s supreme court ruled that they had been convicted...

Europe’s highest court declares UK ‘snooper charter’ illegal

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Supreme Court rejects Ohio inmate’s appeal to block 2nd execution attempt

The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by an Ohio inmate to stop a second...

'Clearly not over': Dakota Access Pipeline saga goes to court in 2017

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video

Video: Debate to decide UK fate? Brexit parliamentary vote case in British Supreme Court

A crucial hearing on Brexit is underway in the UK's Supreme Court. The British government is seeking to overturn an earlier High Court ruling,...

Mistrial ruling in case of Cincinnati cop who shot black man triggers fresh protests

Protests erupted outside the courthouse after 12 jurors failed to produce a unanimous verdict in the...

Hated Tory ‘bedroom tax’ discriminated against disabled claimants, court rules

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Islamic school’s sex segregation policy is not discriminatory – High Court

An Islamic school’s policy of segregating its male and female pupils does not constitute discrimination, the High Court found, refuting claims published in a...

Supreme Court to hear British govt Brexit appeal Dec 5-8

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Video: No Brexit without Parliamentary approval, UK High Court rules

Britons who voted for their country to leave the EU have been dealt a blow by a ruling from the UK's High Court, which...

#StopFundingHate: Twitter users demand Daily Mail boycott over Brexit ruling coverage

Thousands have taken to social media with the hashtag #StopFundingHate to urge companies advertising with...

British High Court Rules Parliament Must Vote To Leave EU To Complete Brexit Process

Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU, the High Court has ruled. This means...

In North Carolina, battle for votes turns to emails & courts

Democrats are accusing Republicans of voter suppression in the key battleground state of North Carolina, citing...

Theresa May must consult Parliament before triggering Article 50 to leave EU – High...

In a major blow for Prime Minister Theresa May, the British government has lost its case for making the sole call on triggering Article...

Sharia courts inquiry: Muslim women used as ‘political football’

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International Criminal Court ‘about to probe US war crimes in Afghanistan’ – report

Over the next few weeks, the International Criminal Court (ICC) could open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Afghan...

US Supreme Court to rule on transgender school bathroom case

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Court Rules UK Mass Spying Was Unlawfully Conducted for Nearly Two Decades

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‘Unconstitutional’: Florida’s top court strikes down death penalty legislation

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Abortion restrictions struck down by Oklahoma Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court is on the Ballot for 2016

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Court Rules Black Men May Be Justified in Running From Police

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Sacked BBC journalist who refused to prioritize Prince George’s birth wins £51k in court

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Court denies Sioux tribe request to halt Dakota Access pipeline construction

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UK courts need Islamic divorces to protect Muslim women – sharia scholar

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Gun sale bans for medical marijuana users constitutional, US appeals court rules

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Stanford sex assault case judge no longer ruling on criminal cases

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Court bans DOJ from prosecuting medical marijuana users, growers

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Court decides 130,000 new Labour members to be barred from voting

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130,000 new Labour members can vote in leadership ballot, High Court rules… but NEC...

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German Jewish Leaders Slam Court for Acquitting Holocaust Denier

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Courts Strike Down Voter Restriction Laws That Target Black People With "Surgical Precision"

Voting rights advocates have won a number of major victories that could reshape the November election. Over the past 10 days, a...

Ohio court strikes down law banning cops from having sex with minors

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US Court Overturns NC Voting Law Requiring ID for Being "Discriminatory" to NonWhites

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina’s 2013 elections law that included a provision requiring voters to show...

North Carolina voter ID law is discriminatory – federal appeals court

A federal appeals court struck down a North Carolina law requiring voters to present a photo...

Welsh teen held captive, beaten & starved in Saudi Arabia, court told

A Welsh teenager was kept prisoner in a cage, beaten and starved by her father, who disagreed with her “un-Islamic lifestyle,” a court has...

Ohio judge jails attorney for wearing Black Lives Matter badge in court

An attorney in Ohio has been sentenced to five days in jail after refusing to remove...

Elgin Marbles won’t be returned to Greece as Euro court throws out first-ever legal...

The first legal bid to have the priceless Elgin Marbles returned from the UK to...

Texas voter ID law is discriminatory, requires changes – court

A federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ strict voter ID law discriminates against minorities and the...
video

Video: South China Sea dispute intensifies: Philippines wins Hague ruling, China slams decision

China is refusing to recognise The Hague's historic court ruling over territory in the South China Sea, in favour of the Philippines. Beijing says...

Fate of Keystone XL Pipeline Could Be Decided in a Texas Courtroom Before NAFTA...

Michael Bishop on his land in Douglas, Texas. (Photo: Julie Dermansky) Texas landowner Michael Bishop continues to challenge TransCanada's right to build the...

Detained immigrant children ordered released – California court

Immigrant children, who crossed the US border without documentation and were held in family detention centers by Homeland Security officials, must be released ruled...
video

Video: Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas’s Repressive Anti-Abortion Bill

The American Prospect's Rachel Cohen says the historic ruling will have a ripple effect in other states that followed Texas's anti-abortion measures. Via Youtube

Court annuls Austria's presidential vote, orders do-over election

Austria will schedule another presidential election following Friday's annulment of the May vote, which was settled by less than 1 percentage point....
video

Video: Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas’s Repressive Anti-Abortion Bill

The American Prospect's Rachel Cohen says the historic ruling will have a ripple effect in other states that followed Texas's anti-abortion measures. Via Youtube

In Wake of Supreme Court Disappointment, Immigrant Rights Advocates Vow to Turn Out the...

Protesters demonstrate over the Supreme Court's ruling on President Obama's immigration policy, at Foley Square in New York, June 24, 2016. The...

FBI can collect home IP addresses without warrant when probing websites – court

The FBI doesn’t need a warrant to collect private IP addresses and other computer-related data during...
video

Video: Undocumented Mother & U.S. Citizen Daughter Call on Obama to Stop Deportations Despite...

http://democracynow.org - As a split Supreme Court blocks President Obama's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, or DAPA, which would have ... Via Youtube
video

Video: SCOTUS Ruling on Race-Conscious College Admissions a Great Victory for Equal Educational Opportunity

http://democracynow.org - On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fisher v. University of Texas and held that...

Internet celebrates affirmative action court decision via #BeckyWithTheBadGrades

Since 2008, Abigail Fisher has been in a legal battle against the University of Texas over...

Supreme Court blocks Obama anti-deportation order with 4-4 tie

The US Supreme Court split struck a blow against the White House’s immigration agenda with a...

Covering Net Neutrality Ruling, Truthout Cites FAIR to Sound Cautionary Note

Pro-net neutrality activists (photo: Free Press) Covering the pro–net neutrality ruling by the DC Court of Appeals, Mark Karlin of Truthout (6/15/16) cited FAIR’s criticism...

Britain can deny EU migrants child benefits, rules European Court of Justice

Europe’s top judges have backed Britain’s right to deny family welfare benefits to unemployed EU migrants who have been in the country for less...

North Carolina’s cyberbullying law violates First Amendment – Supreme Court

North Carolina’s cyberbullying law designed to protect children from online pestering has been ruled unconstitutional. The...

Cops swiping credit cards is not unreasonable search – court

Police can scan or swipe a seized credit card without violating the Fourth Amendment, a federal...

NYPD’s plausible deniability justified in Muslim spying records request case – court ruled

An appellate court has ruled that the New York Police Department can use the powers of...

‘Prove you were spied on,’ secret UK court tells 650 claimants

Hundreds of claimants who say they were subjected to illegal surveillance have been told by Britain’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) they must prove they...

'Five-decade-long battle': Court orders Mississippi school district to desegregate

A northwest Mississippi school district has been ordered by a federal district court to "consolidate its...

File hosting service Mega forced to give user data to US court

Cloud storage site Mega, founded by Kim Dotcom, has been forced to hand over user details to a US court due to an alleged...

NYPD must disclose cancer risks of X-ray spy vans, court rules

The New York Police Department has been ordered to release information on health risks associated with...

Afghan interpreters lose court appeal for UK assistance

Two Afghan interpreters who risked their lives working for British forces have lost their High...

Colorado Supreme Court Strips the Constitutional Right To Enact Local Fracking Bans

DENVER, Co. - Today, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the rights of Coloradans to protect their health, safety and wellbeing from fracking through...

Oklahoma to amend law after court ruled oral sex not a crime if victim...

Oklahoma legislators are moving to close a loophole in state sodomy laws after a recent highly...

Supreme Court refuses to block controversial Texas voter ID law

The US Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal to block Texas’ disputed law which requires voters...

CIA doesn’t have to disclose info on drone killings, appeals court rules

A federal appeals court has rejected a freedom of information lawsuit brought about by the American Civil Liberties Union, ruling that the government doesn’t...

Victims of brutal CIA interrogation win landmark ruling to sue black site psychologists

A court ruling will allow CIA torture victims to sue two psychologists who designed and operated...

‘Terrorism investigation’ Court lets NSA collect telephone records data

In its first ruling regarding phone records since the passage of the USA Freedom Act, the...

Parents know best: NY highest court rules in favor of parental eavesdropping

Parents just don’t understand, but they can listen all they want, thanks to a ruling by...

Supreme Court Has Ruled: Nobody Has an Earned Right to Social Security Benefits

Most Americans have probably never heard of the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Flemming v. Nestor.  It is one of several important facts about...

Ted Cruz wins citizenship battle, eligible to be president – Penn. Supreme Court

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Palestinian minority fears decision will revive legislation to drive tens of thousands of Bedouin off their lands in Negev

Middle East Eye – 15 May 2015

Israel’s Palestinian minority is preparing to hold a “day of rage” to protest against a court ruling last week that cleared the way to destroy an entire Bedouin village so that it can be replaced by a Jewish town.

The Israeli Supreme Court’s decision marks the end of a 13-year legal battle by the 800 villagers of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev (Naqab) to prevent the establishment of the town on the site of their current homes.

The new town – also to be called Hiran – is expected to include 2,500 homes designated for ultra-nationalist religious groups closely identified with the settler movement.

Bedouin leaders and human rights groups criticised the judges for upholding what they termed “racist” government policies that gave weight solely to the housing needs of Israel’s Jewish population.

Fadi Masamra, director of the Regional Council of the Unrecognised Villages (RCUV), a body representing dozens of embattled Negev communities like Umm al-Hiran, said the village’s destruction would be viewed as a major assault on Bedouin rights.

“This is as clear a case of ethnic cleansing as one could imagine – and the courts have given their assent,” he told Middle East Eye. “The government is determined to clear us from as much of our land as possible and force us into ghettoes.”

Eviction for tens of thousands

There are widespread fears that the ruling will reopen the door to controversial legislation requiring the destruction of 36 Bedouin villages in the Negev the state has refused to recognise.

The Prawer Bill was put on hold by Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government 17 months ago following mass protests by the Palestinian minority, which comprises a fifth of Israel’s population.

Tens of thousands of Bedouin face being uprooted and forcibly moved into a handful of government-planned towns in the Negev that are classed as the most deprived communities in the country.

The far-right Jewish Home party insisted on the legislation’s revival as a condition of its entry into the government coalition this month. One of its leaders, Uri Ariel, a settler in the occupied territories, was made minister in charge of Bedouin affairs.

In a sign of the increasing pressure being exerted on Bedouin communities in southern Israel, government officials demanded in a separate court case last week that dozens of families from another village, al-Araqib, be billed $500,000.

The sum is to cover the cost of repeatedly demolishing their homes. The villagers have resisted government efforts to evict them by rebuilding their homes more than 80 times over the past five years.

Dangerous precedent

Umm al-Hiran is one of 46 villages – home to some 100,000 Bedouin – that Israel has refused to recognise since the 1960s, leaving the inhabitants effectively criminalised.

While the Bedouin residents have Israeli citizenship, the state refuses to connect the villages to the water and power grids or provide access roads, health clinics and schools. All homes are under demolition order, forcing many villagers to live in tents or tin shacks.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the residents of Umm al-Hiran had no right to their lands, even while Israeli authorities conceded that they had relocated the tribe to the dusty hills of the eastern Negev six decades ago. The villagers had been left landless in 1948 after the Israeli army destroyed their original homes.

Salim Abu Al-Kian, a 41-year-old resident of Umm al-Hiran who led the village’s struggle through the courts, told MEE: “We are being treated like criminals, even though we were placed here by the state. It seems our mistake is in not being Jewish.”

Maysanna Morany, a lawyer for Adalah, which represented Umm al-Hiran in court, said the judges had established a dangerous precedent by overlooking the social and political context of the case.

“The state did not try to argue, as it usually does, that there were important security or environmental reasons for destroying the village,” she said.

“The land will still be used for housing. But both the government and the court agreed that the residents of Umm al-Hiran should be evicted so that Jews can live in their place. That is clearly a racist policy, designed to promote the state’s Jewish character.”

‘Mark of Cain’

Bedouin leaders and the Follow-Up Committee, the main representative body of Israel’s 1.5 million Palestinian citizens, are due to meet in Umm al-Hiran on Sunday to formulate a response to the court decision.

The meeting will be held in the shadow of the 15 May commemorations of the anniversary of the Nakba – the Arabic world for “catastrophe” and a reference to the national disaster that befell the Palestinians in 1948 with the loss of their homeland.

Masamra of the RCUV said the court ruling was proof that the Nakba was not over.

The Palestinian leadership in Israel has grown increasingly concerned about severe land and housing shortages faced by the 1.5 million-strong Palestinian minority.

A one-day general strike was held last month following a new wave of house demolitions in Arab communities.

Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List, a broad coalition of Arab political parties that is the third largest faction in the Israeli parliament, has made the housing crisis and Israel’s treatment of the Bedouin his top priorities.

In late March he led a four-day protest march from the Negev to Jerusalem, presenting the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin with a proposal to make all the unrecognised villages legal.

Odeh called the failure to provide Bedouin children with water and electricity “a mark of Cain” on Israel.

Disastrous conditions

Israeli officials have been intensifying their campaign against the Bedouin since 2002, when planning authorities approved the founding of 14 Jewish communities in the Negev as part of efforts to strengthen what was termed “national resilience”.

The authorities have insisted that most of the Bedouin villagers relocate to half a dozen government-planned townships established decades ago.

Liad Aviel, a government spokesman for Bedouin affairs, told the Associated Press that the villagers of Umm al-Hiran had been offered housing a short distance away in Hura, east of Beersheva.

However, Ismael Abu Saad, an education professor at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, told MEE that all the townships lacked basic infrastructure and land for farming, and were at the bottom of the country’s social and economic tables.

“The quality of life in these towns is disastrous,” he said. “Poverty and unemployment are sky high, and services are almost non-existent.”

Despite the harsh living conditions in the unrecognised villages, and government pressure to move to the townships, only about half of the Negev’s 200,000 Bedouin have agreed to do so.

Emigration from townships

In recent years, Israeli authorities have grown increasingly concerned by the steady emigration of Bedouin from the townships back into the unrecognised villages, said Abu Saad.

“Any families who can return to their original villages are doing so,” he said.

“I have pointed out to the planning authorities repeatedly that if you want the Bedouin to stay in the towns, then you have to make it worthwhile to live there. Otherwise people will vote with their feet.”

Bedouin in the unrecognised villages argue that they should be allowed to continue their pastoral way of life as farmers and herders.

The villages are located either on land inhabited by the Bedouin for generations or on sites, as at Umm al-Hiran, to which they were moved after their expulsion from their original land following the 1948 war.

Israel rejects claims by the Bedouin to 800 sq km of the Negev – or about 5 per cent of the area – saying all of the Negev is state land.

Launching a fundraising campaign this week to help bring the Umm al-Hiran’s struggle to international attention, Adalah stated: “The court did not ask why the new town had to replace the Arab village, when there are vast and empty lands in the surrounding area.”

Morany said the court should have taken into account that state was expelling the villagers from their homes for a second time.

The judges had also ignored the decades of discriminatory government policies that had created major land shortages for all Arab communities, she added.

Land and housing shortages

Last month the Palestinian minority staged a one-day general strike to protest a renewed wave of home demolitions and a mounting housing crisis. Thousands took their protest to the streets of Tel Aviv.

At the same time, opposition from Jewish parties prevented Arab MPs from holding an emergency parliamentary session to discuss the housing problems faced by the minority.

A recent report by Adalah argued that housing shortages were “the result of deliberate, consistent, and systematic government policy”.

It noted that the 139 Arab communities recognised by the state had jurisdiction over only 2.5 per cent of Israeli territory after years of land confiscations. By contrast, 93 per cent of Israel was classified as state land, with much of it reserved only for the Jewish population.

Israel’s additional refusal to build a single new Arab community since 1948, and Jewish officials’ domination of the planning authorities, had led to an 11-fold increase in population density in Arab localities.

Further, the report observed, Arab communities had been overlooked in state-authorised construction projects. Of the 40,100 homes built last year, less than 5 per cent were in Arab towns or villages.

Worse, the report stated, a new four-year government programme to build affordable homes across the country did not include a single Arab locale.

Identifying with the settlements

In a dissenting opinion from her two colleagues in the Umm al-Hiran case, Supreme Court judge Daphne Barak-Erez proposed that the villagers be given the option to live in the new town of Hiran.

The Haaretz daily noted, however, that government efforts to reserve Hiran for the national-religious population – who identify closely with the settlement movement in the occupied territories – made that an impractical solution.

The first Jewish families due to move into Hiran are currently living in a temporary community they established in 2008 in nearby Yatir Forest in anticipation of Umm al-Hiran’s destruction. The 30 buildings were erected without permits.

Morany said that, contrary to their treatment of the unrecognised Bedouin villages, the authorities had turned a blind eye to the illegal status of the Jewish community. The homes there have been hooked up with water and electricity.

According to plaques on some of the homes, they have been donated by the Jewish National Fund USA, registered as a charity in the United States.

In a video posted by Adalah online, a spokesman for the Jewish group named Shmuel, who refused to be photographed, stated that he saw no difference between Israel and the occupied territories.

Morany said other videos showed that the families were sending their children to a school in a Jewish settlement a short distance away in the occupied territories.

Abu Al-Kian, of Umm al-Hiran, said the villagers would not give up. “We will continue fighting. We are not leaving even if they destroy every one of our homes.”

Tagged as: , ,

Appeals Court Strikes Down Bulk NSA Phone Spying

Appeals Court Strikes Down Bulk NSA Phone Spying

by Stephen Lendman

On June 11, 2013, the ACLU challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records (ACLU v. Clapper)."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215 - the so-called "business records" provision.

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It authorizes the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. 

It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

At the time of its suit, the ACLU said "(w)hatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized surveillance relating to "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers." 

It restricts spying on US citizens and residents to those engaged in espionage in America and territory under US control. 

No longer. Today anything goes. America is a total surveillance society. Obama officials claim no authority can challenge them. Governing this way is called tyranny.

The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. It held Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act doesn't permit bulk collection of Americans' phone records. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously - overturning a lower court decision.

The Obama administration argued that the ACLU lacked "standing" to challenge NSA surveillance practices, and Congress "precluded" judicial review except by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court most often only hearing government arguments.

The appeals court rejected this reasoning, saying:

"If the government is correct, it could use Section 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e‐mail and social media information) relating to all Americans." 

"Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans."

ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo called the ruling "a resounding victory for the rule of law."

"For years, the government secretly spied on millions of innocent Americans based on a shockingly broad interpretation of its authority." 

"The court rightly rejected the government’s theory that it may stockpile information on all of us in case that information proves useful in the future." 

"Mass surveillance does not make us any safer, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy necessary in a free society."

ACLU deputy legal director/lead counsel in the case Jameel Jaffer explained:

"This ruling focuses on the phone-records program, but it has far broader significance, because the same defective legal theory that underlies this program underlies many of the government’s other mass-surveillance programs." 

"The ruling warrants a reconsideration of all of those programs, and it underscores once again the need for truly systemic reform."

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) executive director Cindy Cohn called the ruling "a great and welcome decision and ought to make Congress pause to consider whether the small changes contained in the USA Freedom Act are enough."  

''The 2nd Circuit rejected on multiple grounds the government's radical reinterpretation of Section 215 that underpinned its secret shift to mass seizure and search of Americans' telephone records.''

“While the court did not reach the constitutional issues, it certainly noted the serious problems with blindly embracing the third-party doctrine - the claim that you lose all constitutional privacy protections whenever a third-party, like your phone company, has sensitive information about your actions."

EFF's legislative analyst Mark Jaycox added:

"Now that a court of appeal has rejected the government's arguments supporting its secret shift to mass surveillance, we look forward to other courts - including the Ninth Circuit in EFF's Smith v. Obama case - rejecting mass surveillance as well." 

"With the deadline to reauthorize section 215 looming, we also call on Congress to both expressly adopt the interpretation of the law given by the court and to take further steps to rein in the NSA and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

One court victory doesn't mean overall triumph. The right-wing Supreme Court may have final say - or Congress able to legislatively circumvent High Court or other judicial rulings with no administration opposition by either party.

US governance serves powerful entrenched interests at the expense of popular ones. It's fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-freedom. 

Odds strongly favor no change in business as usual. Sacrificing precious liberties for greater security assures losing both.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Appeals court rules NSA bulk data collection illegal

A federal appeals court ruled the National Security Agency’s controversial mass collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 97-page opinion Thursday that the laws used to justify the bulk data collection program “have never been interpreted to authorize anything approaching the breadth of the sweeping surveillance at issue here.”

The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York comes as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which has been used as a basis for the NSA’s data collection, is due to expire next month and members of Congress are debating whether to renew the law, modify it, or let it die.

The court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) arguing the data collection program violates privacy rights of Americans.

A lower court judge had ruled the program was constitutional and the ACLU appealed that ruling.

The appeals court, however, did not say whether the NSA’s program violates the privacy rights of Americans because it was never properly authorized by existing law.

The judges also did not order the bulk data collection to stop.

In June 2013, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, began leaking classified intelligence documents showing the extent of the NSA’s spying activities.

According to the documents, the agency has been collecting phone records of millions of Americans as well as foreign nationals and political leaders around the world.

US civil liberties advocates argue that the collected phone records could give intelligence agencies a road map to Americans' private activities.

HRJ/HRJ

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Supreme Court Rules for Big Money

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by Stephen Lendman

It didn't surprise. It's supremely pro-business. It's always been this way. It's more than ever now.

It supports Big Monied interests. It does so over democratic governance. It's on the wrong side of most issues mattering most.

On April 2, it repeated a familiar pattern. Its McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision ruled one dollar = one vote. It struck down federal campaign contribution limits. It did so disgracefully. 

It gave monied interests more power. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts referred to the landmark 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling saying:

"We conclude that the aggregate limits on contributions do not further the only governmental interest this court accepted as legitimate."

"They instead intrude without justification on a citizen's ability to express the most fundamental First Amendment activities."

Justice Stephen Breyer ruled otherwise. He read his comments from the bench saying  McCutcheon "eviscerated our nation's campaign finance laws."

"If Citizens United opened a door, today's decision we fear will open a floodgate." It creates "huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform."

"It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institution." 

"It creates, we think, a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate's campaign."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus lied calling McCutcheon "an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees and a vindication for all those who support robust, transparent political discourse."

Responsible voices called it another step on the road to tyranny. It tramples on First Amendment freedoms. 

It gives monied interests near-exclusive rights. It denies them to all others. It lets powerful voices drown them out.

More on McCutcheon below. In 2010, the High Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruled corporations are entitled to unconstrained federal campaign spending.

Writing for the majority at the time, Justice Anthony Kennedy said:

"(W)e now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

"The fact that speakers (aka donors) may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt."

His opinion drew on earlier ones, adding:

"Favoritism and influence are not…avoidable in representative politics. It is in the nature of an elected representative to favor certain policies, and, by necessary corollary, to favor the voters and contributors who support those policies." 

"It is well understood that a substantial and legitimate reason, if not the only reason, to cast a vote for, or to make a contribution to, one candidate over another is that the candidate will respond by producing those political outcomes the supporter favors. Democracy is premised on responsiveness."

In other words, limitless corporate spending drowning out other voices = democracy.

At the time, Ralph Nader denounced Citizens United, saying:

It "shreds the fabric of our already weakened democracy by allowing corporations to more completely dominate our corrupted electoral process." 

"It is outrageous that corporations already attempt to influence or bribe our political candidates through their political action committees (PACs), which solicit employees and shareholders for donations." 

"With this decision, corporations can now also draw on their corporate treasuries and pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars."

"This corporatist, anti-voter decision is so extreme that it should galvanize a grassroots effort to enact a Constitutional Amendment to once and for all end corporate personhood and curtail the corrosive impact of big money on politics." 

"It is indeed time for a Constitutional amendment to prevent corporate campaign contributions from commercializing our elections and drowning out the civic and political voices and values of citizens and voters." 

"It is way overdue to overthrow 'King Corporation' and restore the sovereignty of 'We the People' "!

Dark money infests politics. America's political system is scandalous. Duopoly power corrupts it. Voters get the best democracy money can buy. 

Corporations, NGO advocacy groups, and other powerful interest groups decide everything. Ordinary people have no say.

Democracy is a convenient illusion. On April 1, America's Supremes affirmed it writ large. Federalist Society (FS) members dominate decision-making. 

They include Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. They're ideological extremists.

FS began 30 years ago at Harvard, Yale and University of Chicago law schools. Initially it was a student organization. It challenges orthodox liberalism. It corrupts itself in the process. 

It advocates rolling back civil liberties. It wants New Deal social policies ended. It supports imperial wars, corporatism, and police state harshness.

It wants reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights, and environmental protections ended. It spurns justice in defense of privilege. It defiles constitutional protections doing so.

The words "Equal Justice Under Law" adorn the Supreme Court Building's west facade. The motto "Justice, the Guardian of Liberty" faces east.

In America, wealth, power and privilege alone count. "We the people" never mattered. For sure not now.

Egalitarian principles exist in name only. Checks and balances, equity and justice, as well democratic values are meaningless figures of speech.

Men rule America, not laws or high moral and ethical standards. Executive, congressional, and judicial officials systematically lie, connive, and pretty much do what they please for their own self-interest.

Most High Court justices are some of the worst. They're ideologically over-the-top. They're as unprincipled and venal as political rogues infesting federal, state and city governments.

Money does not equal speech. Ruling otherwise defiles First Amendment principles. In McCutcheon v. FEC, justices ruled 5 - 4.

They struck down limits on what individuals can donate during each federal two-year electoral cycle. Earlier it couldn't exceed a maximum $123,200.

Public advocacy groups say they can now contribute nearly $6 million during the same period.

The ruling leaves unchanged base donor amounts permitted for each candidate or committee. 

It's currently $2,600. It's $32,400 for each political party. Big donors on their own can spend unlimited amounts on supportive or attack ads, as well as other campaign efforts.

Shaun McCutcheon is a Republican National Committee member/Alabama businessman. In 2012, he donated to 15 federal candidates.

He wanted to give more, he said. Federal law constrained him. He nonsensically claimed cap limits infringe on his speech rights. 

He challenged Federal Election Campaign Act section 441. It limits biennial individual donor amounts. He wants none whatever imposed.

He wants Big Money deciding who'll rule. He wants ordinary people shut out. They can't make sizable contributions. Even among individuals able to give maximum amounts, only about 0.1% do so.

Deep-pocketed interests contribute most. During the 2012 electoral cycle, less than 600 gave federal candidates an estimated $3.1 billion.

Democracy 21 president Fred Wertheimer said:

"With its Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, the Supreme Court has turned our representative system of government into a sandbox for America's billionaires and millionaires to play in." 

"The court's decisions have empowered a new class of American political oligarchs."

America more than ever reflects plutocratic interests. High Court ideologues are on the wrong side of history.

The National Constitution Center (NCC) called McCutcheon Citizens United 2. It's "now history," it said. It's a huge step backwards.

NCC quoted NYT legal/Supreme Court writer Jesse Wegman calling McCutcheon "another blow to democracy."

According to People For The American Way:

"Our nation's wealthiest people don’t need even more political influence, but that’s what today’s decision hands them." 

"The Supreme Court has given its stamp of approval to a government unduly influenced by the rich and powerful."

"As with the 2010 Citizens United decision, the consequences for our democracy of today's deeply misguided decision will be grave, opening the door to for wealthy donors to give, in aggregate, millions of dollars in direct contributions in a single election cycle." 

"The Roberts Court has once again proven itself to be ideologically-driven, going out of its way to protect the interests of the most powerful among us at the expense of everyday Americans."

McCutcheon dealt freedom another major body blow. It's already on life support. It's eroding in real time. 

It's practically gone already. It's one more major homeland false flag attack away from disappearing altogether. Full-blown tyranny is a hair's breadth away. 

Corrupted officials hasten its arrival. It could happen any time. Perhaps when least expected. Perhaps with public approval.

Perhaps for added security at the expense of fundamental freedoms. Perhaps not knowing sacrificing them loses both. Perhaps awakening too late to matter. Perhaps it already is now.

America is too corrupted to fix. It's unfit to live in. Transformational change is needed. So is disruptive people power more than ever.

Making it the new normal is vital. The alternative is police state ruthlessness. It's monied interests over popular ones. 

It's permanent wars for global dominance. It's dystopian harshness. It's what free societies don't tolerate. It's government of, by and for powerful interests only. 

It's preventing it for everyone equitably and fairly. It's institutionalizing dark side rule. It's up to ordinary people to prevent it.

"If not now, when? If not us, who?" If not soon, maybe never. If that's not incentive enough, what is?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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By Susan Duclos


A Virginia court has just made a very dangerous ruling which puts online commentators that use usernames or Anonymous instead of their real names, at risk of having their real names exposed. This also puts website owners at risk of being forced to betray users' trust.


Yelp is a website where people can leave reviews of businesses they have used, either positive or negative so others may see the quality of service those specific businesses offer and a Virginia court has just ruled that Yelp must comply in providing a business, Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, with the names of their Anonymous users that wrote negative opinions and claimed Hadeed Carpet Cleaning conducted unfair business practices and deceptive advertising.


In an opinion that partially agrees with the majority opinion and partially dissents, the senior judge makes the point that his dissent stems from Mr. Hadeed not provided any proof that the online critics were not his customers, jut suspicions.


Via Washington Times:

Senior Judge James W. Haley Jr. stated in a separate opinion that agreed in part and dissented in part with the majority that Mr. Hadeed had not proved that the reviewers were not customers — he only suspected they were not. 
“A business subject to critical commentary should not be permitted to force the disclosure of the identity of anonymous commentators simply by alleging that those commentators may not be customers because they cannot identify them in their database,” the judge said, adding that Mr. Hadeed’s complaints were likely a “self-serving argument.”

This has ramifications for more than just those commenting, but for every website owner, forum owner, blog and any online entity that allows has a comment section or posts Anonymous emails they receive, where if other courts mimic this ruling those website owners can be forced to betray their users' trust.






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A previous article said the following:

On June 11, the ACLU filed suit. It challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215. It's known as the "business records" provision. 

It permits collecting "any tangible thing...relevant" to alleged foreign intelligence or terrorism related investigations. It way oversteps. It's unconstitutional. 

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It does so by authorizing the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

"Whatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans," said ACLU.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized surveillance relating to "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers." 

It restricts spying on US citizens and residents to those engaged in espionage in America and territory under US control. 

No longer. Today anything goes. America is a total surveillance society. Obama officials claim no authority can challenge them.
Governing this way is called tyranny.

On December 16, Federal District Court of the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon ruled against NSA spying.

He called it "almost Orwellian" and much more, saying:

"The threshold issue is whether plaintiffs have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated when the Government indiscriminately collects their telephone metadata along with the metadata of hundreds of millions of other citizens without any particularized suspicion of wrongdoing, retains all of that metadata for five years, and then queries, analyzes, and investigates that data without prior judicial approval of the investigative targets."

"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary' invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval." 

"Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment." 

It's core constitutional law. It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Mass NSA surveillance does it lawlessly.

It has nothing to do with national security. Claims otherwise ring hollow. America spies for control. It does so for economic advantage. Espionage is longstanding policy.

Corporate secrets are stolen. So are political ones. Top foreign government and business officials are spied on. Virtually everyone is fair game.

Domestic spying is longstanding. It's unconstitutional. It doesn't matter. Two federal judges disagreed. If ACLU appeals to the Supreme Court, it'll likely lose.

It's stacked with right-wing extremists. Five current justices are Federalist Society members: Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas.

Elena Kagan is ideologically sympathetic. As dean of Harvard Law School, she hired Bush's outgoing Office of Legal Counsel director, Jack Goldsmith. Francis Boyle called him a war criminal.

Kagan bragged about putting him on staff. Boyle quoted her saying she "love(s) the Federalist Society." It's ideologically over-the-top. It's extremely right-wing.

With these type justices on America's High Court, ordinary people haven't a chance. Nor judicial fairness.

In September 2012, Congress overwhelmingly passed the 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act. 

Obama signed it into law. He called doing so a national security priority. He lied. It reflects police state lawlessness. It extends the 2008 FISA Amendments Act (FAA). It's for another five years.

It authorizes warrantless spying. It does so without naming names or probable cause. It violates Fourth Amendment protections. 

Overseas phone calls, emails, and other communications of US citizens and permanent residents may be monitored without authorization. Perhaps domestic ones covertly. 

Probable cause isn't needed. Anything goes is policy. Constitutional protections don't matter. Police states operate this way.

ACLU lawyers filed suit. It passed through lower courts to the Supremes. In October 2012, High Court justices heard oral arguments. Clapper v. Amnesty International challenged the constitutionality of warrantless spying.

On February 26, the Supreme Court ruled. It dismissed ACLU's case. It violated constitutional protections doing so. 

It ruled against lawyers, journalists, human rights groups, and others challenging protections too important to lose.

It said they couldn't prove surveillance was "certainly impending." They didn't have required standing to sue, they claimed. 

Saying so was absurd on its face. It's a standard never before used. Imposing it denies the legitimate right to sue. Doing so reflects police state justice.

It wasn't the first time fundamental rights were denied. It won't be the last. Warrantless electronic spying is intrusive. It's institutionalized.

Congress approves. So does Obama. America's Supremes violated the public trust. They've done it many times before. They'll do it again. Lawless NSA spying is safe in their hands.

In ACLU v. Clapper, Judge William Pauley heard arguments. ACLU called for the program to be ended. Ahead of the hearing, its legal director, Jameel Jaffer, said:

"This vast dragnet is said to be authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, but nothing in the text or legislative history of that provision remotely suggests that Congress intended to empower the government to collect information on a daily basis, indefinitely, about every American’s phone calls."

"This kind of dragnet surveillance is precisely what the fourth amendment was meant to prohibit."

"The constitution does not permit the NSA to place hundreds of millions of innocent people under permanent surveillance because of the possibility that information about some tiny subset of them will become useful to an investigation in the future."

ACLU argued against blanket seizure of its phone records. Doing so violates its core constitutional rights. It compromises its ability to work with journalists, advocacy groups, whistleblowers and others.

It claimed standing because NSA has access to its phone records. It didn't matter. Judge Pauley rejected its challenge. He called mass NSA surveillance legal.

He called it a valuable tool against terrorism. He said it "only works because if collects everything." He either lied or doesn't understand what's going on.

He claimed meta-data collection "represents the government's counter-punch" against Al Qaeda's terror network.

"The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented," he said.

Mass phone data collection "significantly increases the NSA's capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations." 

"Armed with all the metadata, NSA can draw connections it might otherwise never be able to find."

Without them, he claimed, "the civil liberties of every citizen" would be "imperil(ed)." 

"The question for this court is whether the government's bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is." 

"But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide."

Judge Pauley nonsensically said mass telecommunications surveillance could have perhaps prevented 9/11.

"The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world," he claimed.

"It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program - a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data."

It bears repeating. NSA mass surveillance has nothing to do with national security. Pauley knows nothing about spying. His ruling reads like an NSA press handout. His legal judgment leaves much to be desired. 

Most other federal judges are no better. Police state lawlessness remains in good hands. Judge Leon is an exception who proves the rule. 

He's an unheard voice in the wilderness. We need lots more to make a difference. We need them throughout the judiciary. 

We need them on the highest court in the land. We need them in all government branches. We need what we don't have.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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US court reverses conviction in Catholic Church child sex abuse case

A Roman Catholic Church official who has been jailed for 18 months for failing to protect children from a known sexual predator within the...

US Court: Military’s Prisoners in Afghanistan Have No Rights

Afghanistan's Bagram prison. (Photo: File)In a Christmas Eve ruling that passed with little fanfare, three U.S. Appeals Court Judges gave their legal stamp of...

White House Tries to Prevent Judge From Ruling on Surveillance Efforts

CHARLIE SAVAGE and DAVID E. SANGER WASHINGTON – The Obama administration moved late Friday to prevent a federal judge in California from...

Anti-Frackers Cheer Ruling as ‘Victory’ That ‘Gives New Life to People’s Environmental Rights’

Anti-fracking campaigners are cheering a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that "gives new life to people's environmental rights."(Photo: shadbushcollective/cc/flickr)On Thursday, the Court ruled...

Will Chevron’s Ecuadorian Victims Find Justice in Canadian Courts?

A hand covered in crude from one of the hundreds of open toxic pits Chevron (formerly Texaco) abandoned in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest near...

Will Victims of Chevron’s Toxic Ecuador Legacy Find Justice in Canadian Courts?

A hand covered in crude from one of the hundreds of open toxic pits Chevron (formerly Texaco) abandoned in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest near...

Lawyer who won ruling against NSA claims the government has been harassing him

The conservative American attorney who was awarded a partial victory against the United States National Security Agency in federal court on Monday claims that...

High Court Shoots Down Same-Sex Marriage in Australia

Australia's High Court has struck down a law legalizing same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), meaning that more than two dozen homosexual...

Supreme Court to Hear GOP Senators on Separation of Powers

The Supreme Court has decided to allow 45 Republican senators 15 minutes to make their case against the Obama administration's recess appointments during oral...

India’s Supreme Court Re-criminalizes Homosexual Behavior

India's Supreme Court has overturned a four-year-old lower court ruling that had decriminalized homosexual behavior. A law dating to 1861 and British rule in...

Colleges can’t ban guns, rules Florida court

Biz Pac ReviewDecember 11, 2013 The Florida appeals court ruling that the University of North Florida was violating state law when it prohibited a woman...

HHS Mandate Continues to Be Challenged in Court

Priests for Life is challenging the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) contraception mandate in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and is...

Detroit bankruptcy ruling triggers calls for pension cuts across the US

By Jerry White6 December 2013 Within days of a federal judge's ruling in support of the Detroit bankruptcy, the devastating implications for the working...

Detroit Ruling Sparks Nationwide Attack on Working Class: Illinois Legislature Passes Bill to Cut...

In a special session on Tuesday, the Illinois legislature passed a long-anticipated bipartisan pension “reform” bill that slashes pension benefits in response to the...

Detroit pension funds appeal ruling

A makeshift homeless persons structure is seen, with General Motors Corp. world headquarters headquarters in the background, from an mostly abandoned warehouse district in...

The Detroit bankruptcy ruling

5 December 2013 The Detroit bankruptcy ruling handed down Tuesday is a turning point in class relations in the United States. Approving the largest...

U.K. Christian Business Owners Lose Appeal on Gay Discrimination Ruling

The owners of a bed and breakfast in the U.K. have lost an appeal to the British Supreme Court over their conviction on discrimination...

Detroit workers denounce bankruptcy ruling and attack on pensions

By Thomas Gaist4 December 2013 As Judge Rhodes issued his ruling Tuesday morning in the Detroit bankruptcy case, workers outside the courtroom expressed anger...

High Court Won’t Hear Liberty U. Challenge Of “ObamaCare”

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear an appeal from a Christian college challenging aspects of the health insurance law called the Patient...

Australian High Court hears challenge to anti-democratic electoral laws

By Mike Head2 December 2013 Hearings were held in the High Court, Australia's supreme court, last month in a test case for anti-democratic legislation...

Supreme Court Will Consider Hobby Lobby Contraception Mandate Case

The U.S. Supreme has agreed to hear a pair of cases that challenge the federal government's authority to force business owners morally opposed to...

Court Orders Google, Microsoft & Yahoo to Make Pirate Sites Disappear

TorrentFreak.comNovember 30, 2013 While its common for search engines to receive DMCA takedown requests for specific URLs, events in France have taken things to a...

Supreme Court to hear religious challenge to Obamacare contraceptive provision

By Eric London28 November 2013 The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday granted review to two challenges, both filed by religious fundamentalists, to a...

US Supreme Court to Hear Case With ‘Far Reaching Consequences’ for Women’s Healthcare

(Photo: Ed Andrieski, AP)The U.S. Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear a case regarding for-profit companies who wish to refuse contraception coverage...

Supreme Court Will Take Up New Health Law Dispute

Lawrence HurleyReutersNovember 26, 2013 All new! The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to consider religious objections made by corporations to a provision of Obamacare requiring employers...

US Court Denies Halt to Keystone XL

The ever-wise Yogi Berra once quipped “It's like déjà vu all over again,” a truism applicable to a recent huge decision handed down by...

Corporate Profits vs. Environmental Harms: US Court Denies Halt on Pipeline Set to Replace...

The ever-wise Yogi Berra once quipped “It's like déjà vu all over again,” a truism applicable to a recent huge decision handed down by...

Philippine Supreme Court declares legislative pork barrel funds unconstitutional

By Joseph Santolan21 November 2013 On November 19, the Philippine Supreme Court by a unanimous vote of 14-0, with one abstention, declared the scandal-mired...

Supreme Court Declines to Block Texas Abortion Restrictions

In a 5-4 vote on November 19, the Supreme Court declined to block a new Texas law that imposes some moderate restrictions on abortion....

Court Order That Allowed NSA Surveillance is Revealed for First Time

A secret court order that authorised a massive trawl by the National Security Agency of Americans' email and internet data was published for the...

US Supreme Court hears oral arguments in union “neutrality agreements” case

By Tom Carter18 November 2013 The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments last Wednesday in the case of Unite Here Local 355 v. Mulhall,...

Court Orders DHS to Release “Internet Kill Switch” Plans

A federal court this week has ordered the Department of Homeland of Security to the secrecy and disclose details about the so-called "internet Kill...

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case on Oklahoma Ultrasound Law

The Supreme Court struck down an Oklahoma official's request for appeal that sought to restore Oklahoma's ultrasound law, which would have allowed women a...

Homeland Security must disclose ‘Internet Kill Switch,’ court rules

CJ Ciaramella Washington Times November 14, 2013 A literal kill switch, which is what DHS practically wants for the Internet. Credit: wlodi via Flickr The Department of Homeland...

David Miranda challenges his detention under Terrorism Act at High Court

By Robert Stevens9 November 2013 The High Court in London concluded a two-day hearing Thursday after David Miranda, the Brazilian partner of the former...

Journalist Continues to Fight Courts to Protect Her Sources

The New York State Court of Appeals in Albany will begin hearing arguments next week in a bid by a Fox News journalist to...

Supreme Court Rules You No Longer Have the Right to Remain Silent — Legal...

A law school professor and former criminal defense attorney explains why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police: Other criminal defense attorneys...

French Court Orders Google to Take Mosley S/M Photos Offline

Kurt Nimmo Privilege has its perks. For instance, the privilege enjoyed by Max Mosely, a former barrister and president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. On...

Dutch to Int’l Court: Russia ‘Violating Human Rights’ of Arctic 30

(Photo: Greenpeace)Accusing Russia of "violating human rights," Dutch representatives appeared before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Wednesday to ask...

High Court Takes up Challenge to Prayer at Government Meetings

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case November 6 challenging prayer uttered during local government meetings, and conservative Christian leaders say the...

Amid protests, Egyptian court suspends trial of ousted President Mursi

By Bill Van Auken5 November 2013 An Egyptian court was forced Monday to adjourn the trial of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi, after...

Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Pro-life Measure

Days after a federal court struck down key elements of a Texas pro-life law, a federal appeals court has reinstated part of the law,...

How the Supreme Court Totally Screwed America’s Labor Unions

Fyodor Dostoyevsky famously said that you can judge a country by how well it treats its prisoners. This observation has been amended to...

Court Blocks Reform of Unconstitutional Stop-and-Frisk

Stop-and-frisk" protest in New York, Sunday, June 17, 2012. / AP Photo/Seth WenigTo the dismay of civil rights advocates, on Thursday a federal appeals...

Federal Judge’s Ruling Halts Key Portions of Texas Pro-Life Law

Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott has announced that his office will appeal a federal judge's ruling that key portions of a pro-life law passed...

Targeting courthouses for immigration arrests creating ‘culture of fear,’ says ACLU

Published time: October 28, 2013 23:06 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), security contractors frisk Honduran immigration detainees (AFP Photo / John Moore) US...

Police required to obtain warrant before using GPS trackers, court rules

Published time: October 22, 2013 23:23 AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen A federal appeals court, addressing an issue that the US Supreme Court chose...

US Court Rules Against ‘Highly Intrusive’ GPS Tracking by Police

Police departments around the U.S. must now obtain a warrant based on probable cause before they can secretly attach a GPS device to your...

Battle Won, War Continues’: Court Affirms First Nation’s Right to Protest Fracking

Members of the Elsipogtog First Nations group protest a shale-gas project near Rexton, New Brunswick, Thursday.Courtesy 95.9 Sun FM, Miramichi, New BrunswickMembers of the...

Supreme Court will hear challenge to IQ threshold for death penalty

Published time: October 22, 2013 02:01 The U.S. Supreme Court building (AFP Photo / Chip Somodevilla) The US Supreme Court announced Monday that it...