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Mar 21, 2012

U.S. top court backs landowners, limits power of EPA

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court
ruled on Wednesday that landowners can sue to challenge a
federal government compliance order under the clean water law, a
decision that sides with corporate groups and puts new limits on
a key Environmental Protection Agency power.

The justices unanimously rejected the U.S. government’s
position that individuals or companies must first fail to comply
with an EPA order and face potentially costly enforcement action
before a court can review the case.

Mar 21, 2012

Supreme Court extends effective lawyer right to plea deals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the constitutional right to effective legal assistance in cases of plea bargain deals that are rejected or lapsed due to bad lawyer advice.

Splitting by a 5-4 vote, with moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the court’s four liberals in two cases, the majority held that the right to effective counsel applied to informal plea bargain negotiations that take place between criminal defendants and prosecutors.

Mar 21, 2012

Supreme Court backs landowners in EPA clean water case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that landowners may bring a civil lawsuit challenging a federal government order under the clean water law, a decision that sides with corporate groups and sharply curtails a key Environmental Protection Agency power.

The justices unanimously rejected the U.S. government’s position that individuals or companies must first fail to comply with an EPA order and face potentially costly enforcement action before a court can review the case.

Mar 21, 2012

US top court backs landowners in EPA clean water case

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court
ruled on Wednesday that landowners may bring a civil lawsuit
challenging a federal government order under the clean water
law, a decision that sides with corporate groups and sharply
curtails a key Environmental Protection Agency power.

The justices unanimously rejected the U.S. government’s
position that individuals or companies must first fail to comply
with an EPA order and face potentially costly enforcement action
before a court can review the case.

Mar 21, 2012

Top court rejects two medical test patents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court rejected two patents on a method for monitoring a patient’s blood to determine the best dosage for a drug, a decision that may affect the profitability of personalized medicine.

The justices unanimously overturned on Tuesday a ruling by an appeals court that allowed the patents for Nestle SA unit Prometheus, with the high court saying that companies could not patent observations about a natural phenomenon.

Mar 20, 2012

U.S. top court rejects two medical test patents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected two patents on a method for monitoring a patient’s blood to determine the best dosage for a drug, a decision that may affect the profitability of personalized medicine.

The justices unanimously overturned on Tuesday a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that allowed the patents for Nestle SA unit Prometheus, with the high court saying that companies could not patent observations about a natural phenomenon.

Mar 20, 2012

Court weighs if teen murderers must get chance of parole

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court considered on Tuesday whether juveniles can be sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder, struggling to reach a consensus on where to draw the line in setting an age for such sentences.

Several justices appeared sympathetic to arguments that juveniles who are 14 years old or younger when they commit murder should at least get the opportunity for a parole hearing, but they seemed reluctant to apply it across-the-board to all cases involving juveniles.

Mar 20, 2012

Top court rejects state damages in medical leave case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that states cannot be sued for money damages for violating a key provision of a federal law that gives workers time off for a serious medical condition, a decision that could affect millions of state employees.

The high court by a 5-4 vote ruled that lawsuits against states under the law were barred by state sovereign immunity, rejecting state worker claims for money damages for violations of a provision of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act.

Mar 20, 2012

Supreme court rules against Nestle unit on patent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Prometheus Laboratories could not patent a diagnostic method to observe changes in a patient’s body to determine the best drug dosage for certain diseases, a decision that may affect the future of personalized medicine.

The justices unanimously overturned a ruling by a U.S. appeals court allowing the patent for Nestle SA unit Prometheus for using synthetic thiopurine compounds to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and other auto-immune illnesses.

Mar 19, 2012

Supreme court to hear death row mental competency cases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court said on Monday it would decide whether a federal law on the appointment of attorneys requires that death row inmates have their legal proceedings put on hold if they are mentally incompetent to assist their lawyers.

The justices agreed to hear a pair of cases from Arizona and Ohio and decide the reach of a law that provides that a poor death row inmate pursuing a federal appeal after conviction be entitled to the appointment of attorneys.