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Jun 18, 2012

Top court rejects DNA lab test analyst questioning

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday made it easier for prosecutors to use expert testimony about DNA laboratory reports at trial without allowing defendants to confront and question the forensic analysts involved in the tests.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court refused to add to a string of decisions since 2004 that have broadly interpreted the constitutional rights of criminal defendants to confront witnesses against them. The case involved a sexual assault in 2000 in Chicago for which the defendant was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Jun 18, 2012

US top court rules for Glaxo on overtime pay

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled
on Monday that pharmaceutical companies do not have to pay
overtime to their representatives who visit doctors’ offices to
promote their products, a dispute that had threatened the
industry with billions of dollars in potential liability.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court handed a defeat to two former
sales representatives for a unit of Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline
Plc. They had appealed a ruling by a U.S. appeals court
in California that they were “outside sales” personnel exempt
from federal overtime pay requirements.

Jun 15, 2012

U.S. House panel in gun probe may delay vote against Holder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A vote to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress will be put off once the Justice Department hands over documents it now is willing to give a committee investigating a botched gun-smuggling operation, a Republican lawmaker said on Friday.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, said he would announce the delay in the scheduled June 20 vote as soon as the department produced the documents about the operation to track guns to Mexico.

Jun 15, 2012

US court rules for Rumsfeld in Iraq torture suit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a former U.S. government contractor who claimed he was tortured while detained by the U.S. military in Iraq cannot sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for money damages.

In line with rulings by other appeals courts that decided similar cases, the three-judge panel said Congress has not authorized detainees to sue U.S. military and government officials for their treatment while in detention.

Jun 12, 2012

Leak probe likely to include White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An investigation by two federal prosecutors into recent alleged leaks of classified information is likely to include scrutiny of White House officials, three people familiar with the probe said.

The sources said that when Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Friday that the chief federal prosecutors in Washington and Maryland would pursue “all appropriate investigative leads within the executive and legislative branches of government,” he signaled that examining the actions of White House officials would be within bounds.

Jun 12, 2012

U.S. attorney general vows independent leak probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Justice Department prosecutors will conduct an independent investigation into national security leaks, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday as Republicans demanded a special counsel for a probe that could become an election-year issue for President Barack Obama.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder defended his decision late last week to name U.S. Attorneys Ronald Machen of Washington, D.C., and Rod Rosenstein of Maryland, saying they will do an independent, thorough job.

Jun 11, 2012

Top court rejects appeals by Guantanamo prisoners

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday refused to reconsider challenges by Guantanamo Bay prisoners against their years-long detention at the U.S. military base in Cuba, an issue that prompted a landmark ruling four years ago.

The high court sided with the Obama administration and rejected appeals by seven detainees who lost their bid for freedom in cases before U.S. federal judges in Washington, D.C.. The court issued no statement with its order and no justice publicly dissented.

Jun 11, 2012

U.S. top court rejects appeals by Guantanamo prisoners

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to reconsider challenges by Guantanamo Bay prisoners against their years-long detention at the U.S. military base in Cuba, an issue that prompted a landmark ruling four years ago.

The high court sided with the Obama administration and rejected appeals by seven detainees who lost their bid for freedom in cases before U.S. federal judges in Washington, D.C.. The court issued no statement with its order and no justice publicly dissented.

Jun 11, 2012

Top court rejects Padilla torture lawsuit appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by a citizen who said he had been tortured at a military jail in South Carolina and who sought to hold former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials accountable.

The justices let stand a U.S. appeals court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit by Jose Padilla on the grounds his allegations lacked merit. The appeals court said he had no right to sue for the alleged constitutional violations and the judiciary could not review such sensitive military decisions.

Jun 4, 2012

Cities have leeway in forgiving tax payments: Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a city did not violate the Constitution when it forgave some future property tax obligations for certain taxpayers, but refused to refund payments made by other taxpayers for the same assessments.

In a case that impacts tax policy, taxpayers and local governments, the high court ruled by a 6-3 vote that authorities in Indianapolis had a rational basis for making the distinction and had not violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause in their handling of a special sewer tax levied in 2004.