Results matching “FISA”

Revoking telecom immunity - PointOfLaw Forum

"Well, we changed our mind" doesn't strike Carter at ShopFloor as a very good reason for Congress to yank back a former liability protection. Earlier here, here, here, etc.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now filed its challenge against the constitutionality of Public Law 110-261, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, specifically the law's granting of retroactive civil immunity to telecommunications companies that assisted in the federal government's formal request to monitor foreign communications.

The EFF submitted a brief Thursday in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in Re: National Security Telecommunications AGency Litigation, MDL No. 1791. The brief comes in response to the U.S. Justice Department's motion to dismiss civil lawsuits against the telecoms; the legislation (H.R. 6304) provided for the dismissals if Justice demonstrated that it had provided a written request for the surveillance authorized by the president. The ACLU and several affiliaties joined in the filing (ACLU news release).

From the EFF's news release, "EFF Challenges Constitutionality of Telecom Immunity in Federal Court":

"The immunity law puts the fox in charge of the hen house, letting the Attorney General decide whether or not telecoms like AT&T can be sued for participating in the government's illegal warrantless surveillance," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "In our constitutional system, it is the judiciary's role as a co-equal branch of government to determine the scope of the surveillance and rule on whether it is legal, not the executive's. The Attorney General should not be allowed to unconstitutionally play judge and jury in these cases, which affect the privacy of millions of Americans."

It's been a while since we've written on this, so for background see these posts at Point of Law.com and the NAM's blog, Shopfloor.org. To recap the arguments: Companies deserve legal protections for following in good faith what were adequately represented to them as legal orders to assist in monitoring of foreign communications. Corporations should not be punished for being good corporate citizens who help prevent America's enemies from crashing planes into buildings or blowing up people just going about their business.

Opponents of the law included not just privacy absolutists -- EFF and ACLU -- but also critics of the Administration's foreign policy and intelligence activities, Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com most prominently, as well as frenzied partisans and bloggers. Trial lawyers are also keenly interested in keeping litigation alive so as to dig into the deep pockets of the telecoms.

No matter how wrong the EFF is on the legal merits and the dangerous disregard, we think, the foundation shows for the intelligence measures necessary to defend America, it really does a great job of documenting the issue. So, for more on the FISA issue and the EFF's class-action lawsuit, Hepting v. AT&T, go here.

Congress passed H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, in July and President Bush signed it quickly into law, praising the legislation as a necessary if much-delayed updating of the federal authority to monitor foreign electronic communications. The bill also provided retroactive legal immunity from lawsuits against telecommunication companies that acceded to federal orders to assist in the surveillance. Some 40 lawsuits had been filed against the companies, litigation that represented both political attacks against the Administration and trial lawyer desire for yet another payday at the expense of business and America's investors.

Wired is now reporting that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today sent the most prominent of the lawsuits against the telecoms, a class-action case, Hepting v. AT&T, back down to the district court. The ruling simply says: "In light of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-261, we remand this case to the district court. We retain jurisdiction over any further appeals."

Wired concludes: "Now the Attorney General need only send a letter to [District] Judge [Vaughn] Walker, certifying that each telecom did or did not participate. If they did, the government must show Walker a copy of the legal assurances the government gave the companies. Then Walker must dismiss the cases."

That's right. The new law requires the telecoms to only demonstrate evidence their assistance to the government was based on an order. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been providing legal counsel on the suits, including Hepting, has threatened further litigation but offered little in the way of specifics.

Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute examined the constitutional issues surrounding telecom immunity in a post today at the OpenMarket.org blog, noting that even law professors like Howard Wasserman who dislike immunity as a matter of policy regard the legal question as clear: Retroactive immunity is constitutional.

Earlier posts here.

UPDATE And here's EFF's legal brief objecting to the government's motion to hold the appeal in abeyance.

UPDATE The Electronic Frontier Foundation blogs on the ruling. Seems like they're hailing a victory.

Hoping to boost book sales, perhaps? - PointOfLaw Forum

Naomi Klein, eh? Just happened to see her name the other day. She's one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU's suit challenging the just-signed FISA Amendments Act (Public Law No: 110-261).

From the lawsuit, page 29: "Nation contributor Naomi Klein has written extensively about the extension of radical free-market capitalism and the resurgence of imperial militarism following the September 11 attacks." Therefore, she will be monitored.

Just to wrap things up on FISA...more litigation - PointOfLaw Forum

President Bush signed H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, into law Thursday. His statement from the signing ceremony is here. The ACLU and aggrieved allies immediately filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking a court order that declares the law unconstitutional and ordering its immediate halt. From the ACLU's news release:

"Spying on Americans without warrants or judicial approval is an abuse of government power - and that's exactly what this law allows. The ACLU will not sit by and let this evisceration of the Fourth Amendment go unchallenged," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Electronic surveillance must be conducted in a constitutional manner that affords the greatest possible protection for individual privacy and free speech rights. The new wiretapping law fails to provide fundamental safeguards that the Constitution unambiguously requires."

The complaint in Amnesty v. McDonnell is available here.

As this New York Sun story notes, the ACLU suit does not take on the civil immunity for telecom companies included in H.R. 6304. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is not a party to the ACLU suit; perhaps the group takes the lead in the private-sector litigation. (The private sector issues are the ones that interested us.) For now, EFF is excoriating the new law as a means to raise money.

More background following passage of H.R. 6304:

UPDATE (2:05 p.m.): Orrin Kerr comments at The Volokh Conspiracy, "The New FISA Law -- and the Misleading Media Coverage Of It."

FISA: So that's the end of the litigation, right? - PointOfLaw Forum

A news release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, a class action lawsuit, and is coordinating co-counsel in the 47 lawsuits outstanding against the telecoms: "Senate Joins House in Caving to White House Immunity Demands -- Telecoms Let Off the Hook for Illegal Spying - For Now"

"We thank those senators who courageously opposed telecom immunity and vow to them, and to the American people, that the fight for accountability over the president's illegal surveillance is not over," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Even though Congress has failed to protect the privacy of Americans and uphold the rule of law, we will not abandon our defense of liberty. We will fight this unconstitutional grant of immunity in the courtroom and in the Congress, requesting repeal of the immunity in the next session, while seeking justice from the Judiciary. Nor can the lawless officials who approved this massive violation of Americans' rights rest easy, for we will file a new suit against the government and challenge warrantless wiretapping, past, present and future."

Interesting. The comments echo remarks made by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on the Senate floor yesterday (Page S6409):

Today's effort is a naked intrusion into ongoing litigation. Where will that stop? Will Congress be able to rove at will through litigation anywhere in the judicial branch, picking winners and losers as we like? We don't just trespass on the separation of powers; we trespass onto dangerous ground.

If I were a litigant, I would challenge the constitutionality of the immunity provisions of this statute, and I would expect a good chance of winning.

So the telecoms were creating this public nuisance...

The Senate has just passed H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, to update the authority for intercepting foreign, electronic communications for intelligence purposes. Earlier today, the Senate handily defeated three amendments that would have undercut (and in the case of the Feinstein-Dodd amendment, eliminated) the legal immunity the legislation provided to telecom companies that assisted in the Administration's post-9/11 program of surveillance. The vote was 69-28.

The legislation now goes to the President, and once it becomes law, the telecom companies can submit documentation to the U.S. District Court to demonstrate that they were, indeed, asked to cooperate by the Administration in the surveillance. (The usual phrase is "given a legal order" or words to that effect.) If the documentation satisfies the court, as most everyone expects it to, the court will dismiss the 40-plus civil lawsuits filed against the companies.

This bill and immunity for the telecoms have been a cause celebre among civil libertarian groups like the ACLU and EFF, opponents of the Administration's foreign-policy, and the left-wing blogosphere. With litigation pending, and being in an unenviable PR position, the telecommunication companies mostly stayed quiet.

Still, a very good explanation of the national security and legal reasons for the bill came from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today on the Senate floor. (Prepared remarks here.)

It's very simple - Congress should not condone oversight through litigation. The lawsuits seize on the President's brief comments about the existence of a limited program to go on a fishing expedition of NSA activities. But this is really worse than a fishing expedition; this is draining the Loch Ness to find a monster. Sometimes what you are looking for just doesn't exist. Yet we consistently hear as justification for the apparent paranoia that some wiretaps were warrantless. But lest we forget, the 4th Amendment does not proscribe warrantless searches, it proscribes unreasonable searches.

The fact is the President created an early warning system to prevent future attacks; essentially a terrorist smoke detector. But rather than appreciate the protection it offered, critics rushed to pull out the batteries so that it couldn't work. My feelings of admiration and respect for the companies who did their part to defend America are well known. As I've said in the past, any company who assisted us following the attacks of 9/11 deserves a round of applause and a helping hand, not a slap in the face and a kick to the gut.

The Senator also does a nice job of debunking the legal claims of those who sued the phone companies: "In the over 40 outstanding civil lawsuits, is there any proof that any litigant was specifically targeted by the government? Can any of the plaintiffs show that they are "aggrieved persons" under the definition of FISA? The answer to both questions is no. Rather, many of the lawsuits utilize the following logic: I have long distance service, so I am going to sue because I think you listened to my calls."

I've been following this week's FISA debate over at Shopfloor.org. Start here.

Occam's wallet - PointOfLaw Forum

From Politico: "Dems Who Flipped On FISA Immunity See More Telecom Cash": "House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last week's FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by MAPLight.org."

From the American Tort Reform Association: "As Senate Debates FISA, ATRA Notes Trial Lawyer Political Giving": "So much of the media coverage of this developing story has, for months, all but ignored the obvious up-tick in trial lawyer lobbying and campaign contributions as they tried desperately to preserve dozens of potentially lucrative lawsuits against telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government in pursuit of terrorists after 9/11," began ATRA communications director Darren McKinney. "Reporters and editorial writers didn't hesitate to document the efforts of the telecoms to preserve in the legislation a degree of retroactive immunity from such lawsuits ....but a typical media consumer could have come away with the impression that such political activity was strictly one-sided."

Darren's media analysis -- especially if extended to the blogs -- is accurate. (You can read all of ATRA's release in the extended entry.) But having closely watched the politics of FISA, it's an unprovable leap to suggest campaign contributions changed minds, either direction. The House Democrats moved away from the position of no immunity for telecoms mostly because their Blue Dog cohort feared the political consequences of blocking effective surveillance.

Meanwhile, by a 80-15 vote, the Senate last evening voted to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act. AP story here.

UPDATE (9:55 a.m.): Some more thoughts, including on Sen. Hatch's legal analysis, are at the NAM's blog, Shopfloor.org, here.



FISA votes come tomorrow in the Senate - PointOfLaw Forum

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a cloture motion on H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, which means votes should take place Wednesday. A leading opponent of the measure, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) says he will not attempt a filibuster but instead settle for highlighting what he sees as the bill's flaw. Speaker Pelosi, who voted for the bill last week, says an extended debate would be a good thing.

The anger and anguish of the privacy absolutists/anti-Bush activists continues to flow, focusing on provisions that would, in effect, grant immunity to the telecom companies that assisted in post 9/11 surveillance of foreign-based communications. A federal district court will determine if the telecoms acted on instructions from the Administration, and -- assuming so -- then dismiss the more than 40 lawsuits filed against the companies.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer, is the go-to guy for the opponents of the bill; his commentary is here. And there's a lot of this kind of sentiment, expressed at the Progressive Magazine: "Barack Obama's rightward sprint is nowhere more obvious than in his betrayal on the FISA bill."

A little bit of preemption with your FISA - PointOfLaw Forum

With federal preemption being such a hot topic in Congress and legal/lobbying circles, we'd be remiss not to note this language in H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act.

SEC. 803. PREEMPTION.

`(a) In General- No State shall have authority to--

`(1) conduct an investigation into an electronic communication service provider's alleged assistance to an element of the intelligence community;

`(2) require through regulation or any other means the disclosure of information about an electronic communication service provider's alleged assistance to an element of the intelligence community;

`(3) impose any administrative sanction on an electronic communication service provider for assistance to an element of the intelligence community; or

`(4) commence or maintain a civil action or other proceeding to enforce a requirement that an electronic communication service provider disclose information concerning alleged assistance to an element of the intelligence community.


Sen. Obama supports FISA compromise - PointOfLaw Forum

Quite a surprise, taking a stand against one of the most fumed-over issues among the activist left and keyboard cadres. From Talking Points Memo.

Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses." Really? How?

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.): Much disappointment on the left. And anger, especially at Hoyer.

House passes FISA legislation, 293-129 - PointOfLaw Forum

A huge margin of victory on H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act. We'll post the roll call when it becomes available. (And here it is.)

Wonder what grounds opponents will find to litigate on...

Also, a commendable column by Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and currently director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: "A Good Deal On Surveillance Reform."

Meanwhile, C-SPAN just had a caller segment before the final vote was announced. Not a single caller supported the plan. Anger surged across the phone lines.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which will see its class-action lawsuits disappear, condemns.

Also, ACLU condemns: "The bill allows for mass, untargeted and unwarranted surveillance of all communications coming in to and out of the United States." No it doesn't.

Majority Leader Hoyer's floor statement.

UPDATE (1:38 p.m.): And finally we hear from the trial lawyers, or at least one of their financed and directed groups, the Drum Major Institute and its Tort Deform blog.

UPDATE (3:45 p.m.): More from Andy McCarthy, refuting Sen. Arlen Specter's reading of the law with some basic points about the difference between the private sector and government.

Surveillance Bill Goes to House Vote - PointOfLaw Forum

The Majority Leader's office indicates that the House will vote on H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, by 2 p.m. today.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial today, "The Intelligence Deal," does an excellent job of summarizing the issues at play, and the editors are not that thrilled with the outcome.

On the bright side, the deal gives crucial immunity to the telecom companies that in good faith assisted this surveillance after 9/11. A reality of this Internet era is that the feds need these private companies to monitor terrorists; our spies can't merely bug the phones of Russian spies like they could during the Cold War. The left understands this and has hit the companies with some 40 lawsuits in an attempt to shut down the surveillance by the backdoor, without a political debate that voters might understand.

The telecom (and other) companies have thus made it clear that they can't afford to cooperate any longer without immunity. And so the deal will let the companies escape the lawsuits, for past and future cooperation, if they present to a federal judge a certification from the Attorney General that they are helping at federal request. The eavesdropping orders that expire in August can thus be renewed, so our security services won't have to "go dark" over the global antiterror battlefield.

But, this protection comes at the cost of injecting the courts into the executive branch's war-making authority -- a compromise that future administrations will regret.

Also making reasonable observations about the legislation is the Washington Post's opinion page, "A Better Surveillance Law."

It appears that the long and politically charged debate over renewed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority is finally being settled in Congress, with the private sector protected from litigation orchestrated by a coalition of privacy absolutists, angry White House foes and trial lawyers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Republican Whip Roy Blunt, Senate Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller and Ranking Member Kit Bond issued a joint statement today announcing a compromise on FISA, the authority that has allowed intelligence agencies to monitor foreign electronics communications that may pass through a U.S. telecommunications nexus. From the statement:

The FISA Amendments Act, H.R. 6304, will increase the nation's security by strengthening the ability of the intelligence community to conduct lawful surveillance of terrorists, as well as protect constitutional rights by requiring warrants before the government can surveil any American.

"This bipartisan bill balances the needs of our intelligence community with Americans' civil liberties, and provides critical new oversight and accountability requirements," said Hoyer. "It is the result of compromise, and like any compromise is not perfect, but I believe it strikes a sound balance. Furthermore, we have ensured that Congress can revisit these issues because the legislation will sunset at the end of 2012."

Text of the bill is here.

Telecommunications companies assisted the federal government in post-9/11 surveillance of foreign communications -- including possible calls and e-mails from overseas to U.S. residents -- abiding by administration orders, but not judicially issued warrants.

This cooperation brought down about 40 lawsuits against the telecom companies, including from such parties as Studs Terkel (Terkel v. AT&T Corp., 441 F. Supp. 2d 899 (N.D. Ill. 2006). His case was eventually dismissed for lack of standing.

The most prominent lawsuit was Hepting v. AT&T, a class-action lawsuit against the company representing a collection of wild accustions about unfettered wiretapping. Activists like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation drove the public debate, with the trial lawyers keeping a low profile. Bloggers and others of the Bush-hating left provided the political energy.

Jed Babbin of Human Events summarized our personal view of the issue in a column today: "These lawsuits aren't merely the latest evolution in class action ambulance chasing. They are a form of 'lawfare': the use of the courts to interfere in America's conduct in the war the terrorists are waging against us."

But the new "compromise" -- betrayal, to the left -- appears to provide legal protection to the telecom companies.

Around the Web, May 10 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Good Wall Street Journal opinion section today, with an editorial, "Tennessee's Trial Run," on the judicial selection process in the Volunteer State. The state's current appointive plan, a modified Missouri-plan "merit selection" gives inordinate influence to insides and special interests, including the Tennessee Trial Lawyers' Association. Gov. Phil Bredesen is on the side of the reformers.
  • Lots of links and commentary on Tennessee and judicial selection at American Courthouse, the new blog from Dan Pero of the American Justice Partnership.
  • Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen gets lots of mentions as a potential vice presidential candidate, a moderate Democratic governor with a record of fixing the state's budget problems, one who could possibly bring his state's electoral votes with him. Can he afford to offend a major constituency, the trial lawyers?
  • Back at the WSJ, Stephen Moore chronicles the tort-reform successes in Mississippi that helped bring the state out of the "Judicial Hellhole" status that corrupted justice and bedeviled business investment. The column, "Mississippi's Tort Reform Triumph," features Gov. Haley Barbour, the Manhattan Institute's Jim Copland, state Sen. Charlie Ross, and the Pacific Research Institute.
  • The Journal interviews Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who comments on the blocking of legal authority for surveillance of international communications that pass through U.S. exchanges, i.e., FISA reform. Forty-some lawsuits have been filed against the telecommunications companies that acceded to federal requests for surveillance after 9/11, and McConnnell believes the failure of Congress to act is in direct response to a powerful constituency: "It shows you how far they're willing to go," he says, "to enrich these obscenely wealthy characters who practice this kind of law. They'll do anything for them, even jeopardize the security of the United States of America." Cooperation from private firms is essential to conduct intelligence operations, he adds. "This is a private-sector activity. We're not in the phone business. There will be no terrorist-intercept program without the cooperation of the private sector."
  • From The New York Sun: "Lawyers for Mayor Bloomberg are asking a judge to ban any reference to the Second Amendment during the upcoming trial of a gun shop owner who was sued by the city. While trials are often tightly choreographed, with lawyers routinely instructed to not tell certain facts to a jury, a gag order on a section of the Constitution would be an oddity." The Sun link is broken as we post [seems fixed now], so try these excerpts at SayAnythingBlog. The NRA comments: "Considering the trial judge is Jack Weinstein--who has almost singlehandedly attempted to keep illegal efforts to sue the lawful manufacturers and sellers of guns afloat--we will be waiting with bated breath to see how he rules on this motion."
  • An AP weekend story: "Following year of division, Supreme Court avoids 5-4 splits," with a dose of John Paul Stevens watching.
  • From The Houston Chronicle: Failing to inform victims of a potential plea bargain violates the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 2004, the 5th Circuit ruled this week in a case that grew out of the 2005 BP explosion in Texas City. The deal still stands, for now. The ruling is available here.

Zombie Litigation - PointOfLaw Forum

My latest Liability Outlook examines the problems of retroactive lawmaking and litigation, especially reviver statutes, and even Obama fans will find something to like:

The controversy over whether and how to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations at the Democratic National Convention shows the danger of changing rules midstream and upsetting settled expectations. Reviver statutes not only obviate statutes of limitations, which are a critical aid to justice, by "reviving" claims that have expired or never existed, but they can also pose the danger of undoing the benefits of future prospective legislation. In evaluating laws, the issue is not merely one of retroactivity, but of the importance of promoting legal certainty. For example, the FISA Amendments Act, S. 2248, while ostensibly acting retroactively to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration's antiterror surveillance program, works to protect settled expectations.

Among matters discussed: litigation against Catholic priests and the Michigan legislature's proposed retroactive repeal of pharmaceutical tort reform in H.R. 4045. Walter has previously discussed the subject.

"Why Torts Trumped Terrorism" - PointOfLaw Forum

Robert Novak in today's Washington Post:

Pelosi could have exercised leadership prerogatives and called up the FISA bill to pass with unanimous Republican support. Instead, she refused to bring to the floor a bill approved overwhelmingly by the Senate. House Democratic opposition included left-wing members typified by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, but they were only a small faction of those opposed. The true reason for blocking the bill was Senate-passed retroactive immunity to protect from lawsuits private telecommunications firms asked to eavesdrop by the government. The nation's torts bar, vigorously pursuing such suits, has spent months lobbying hard against immunity.

The recess by House Democrats amounts to a judgment that losing the generous support of trial lawyers, the Democratic Party's most important financial base, would be more dangerous than losing the anti-terrorist issue to Republicans. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the phone companies for giving individuals' personal information to intelligence agencies without a warrant. Mike McConnell, the nonpartisan director of national intelligence, says delay in congressional action deters cooperation in detecting terrorism.

Big money is involved. Amanda Carpenter, a Townhall.com columnist, has prepared a spreadsheet showing that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in the telecommunications suits have contributed $1.5 million to Democratic senators and causes. Of the 29 Democratic senators who voted against the FISA bill last Tuesday, 24 took money from the trial lawyers (as did two absent senators, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama). Eric A. Isaacson of San Diego, one of the telecommunications plaintiffs' lawyers, contributed to the recent unsuccessful presidential campaign of Sen. Chris Dodd, who led the Senate fight against the bill containing immunity.

Today's Examiner is similarly critical of the House's actions. In September, I asked in Liability Outlook whether trial lawyers should make terror policy.

Update, Feb. 19 Wall Street Journal editorial: "What we have here is a remarkable display of the anti-antiterror minority at work. Democrats could vote directly to restrict wiretapping by the executive branch, but they lack the votes. So instead they're trying to do it through the backdoor by unleashing the trial bar to punish the telephone companies. Then if there is another terror attack, they'll blame the phone companies for not cooperating."

Around the web, January 30 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • "Could Scruggs lose his tobacco settlement fees?" Probably not unless scope of scandal broadens [White Collar Crime Prof Blog]
  • When John Edwards denounced "special interests", it's a wonder his tongue didn't cleave to the roof of his mouth [ATRA]
  • More thoughts on the OHSU cutbacks following Oregon high court's wastebasketing of liability limits [Victoria Taft via Schuelke; earlier]
  • Not a shockeroo: recently ousted Louisiana AG Charles Foti joins plaintiff's class action firm [Kahn Gauthier Swick press release]
  • Lopez-Torres decision (NY judge-picking) marks welcome SCOTUS retreat from second-guessing of election methods [Hamilton/Findlaw via Turkewitz; earlier]
  • Tasteful and appropriate: Sen. Chris Dodd, in FISA/immunity debate, likens telecoms to Nazi underlings invoking Nuremberg defense [YouTube]

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