February 1, 2011

Internet Society Statement on Egypt's Internet Shutdown

Source: The Internet Society Newsletter Volume 10 Number 1 January 2011.

On 28 January, Lynn St.Amour President and CEO, and the Internet Society Board of Trustees issued a statement on the Egypt's Internet shutdown:

"We are following the current events in Egypt with concern as it appears that all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic has been disrupted. The Internet Society believes that the Internet is a global medium that fundamentally supports opportunity, empowerment, knowledge, growth, and freedom and that these values should never be taken away from individuals.

"The Internet Society considers this recent action by the Egyptian government to block Internet traffic to be an inappropriate response to a political crisis. It is a very serious decision for a government to block all Internet access in its country, and a serious intrusion into its citizens' basic rights to communicate. If the blockage continues, it will have a very detrimental impact on Egypt's economy and society. Ultimately, the Egyptian people and nation are the ones that will suffer, while the rest of the world will be worse off with the loss of Egyptian voices on the net"

For the complete statement, see:


For a Q&A on the shutdown, its impact, and implications see:


October 18, 2010

New York: Report of Preliminary Impact of 2009 Rockefeller Drug Law Reform

October 2009 - September 2010.

Issued October 2010

New York State fully implemented changes to its drug laws on October 7, 2009. This report provides a preliminary update of the impact during the first year. More comprehensive reports will be issued in the coming months. The preliminary review shows that because of the drug law changes:

• Approximately 1,000 fewer people went to state prison in the past 12 months:
300 individuals avoided state prison due to the elimination of certain mandatory prison sentences. These offenders were sentenced to jail or probation. 700 offenders who would have been sentenced to prison were instead enrolled into court-monitored judicial diversion programs.

• 327 Class B offenders were resentenced and released from prison.

• The number of individuals judicially diverted to drug court has increased substantially, with 46% admitted into residential treatment and 54% admitted into outpatient treatment.
This report and other related reports are available at: http://wwwdev:84/drug-law-reform/index.html.

The Interim Report can also be downloaded by click on the link below:

NY Criminal Justice Interim Drug Law Reform Update Oct. 2010 (PDF)

September 17, 2010

ABA Criminal Justice Section Iniated or Co-Sponsored Resolutions*

Approved by the ABA House of Delegates

Sept. 2010

At the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the House of Delegates approved resolutions that the Criminal Justice Section initiated or co-sponsored regarding the following issues (click on the relevant REPORT # to view the full text of the resolution and the background report):

REPORT 100A* (Investigations and reports of professional misconduct of U.S. Justice Department Attorneys)

Urges the United States Department of Justice to continue in its commitment to investigate allegations of professional misconduct on the part of the Department’s lawyers and to release as much information regarding completed investigations as possible, consistent with privacy interests and law enforcement confidentiality concerns.

REPORT 100B* (Prosecutorial “misconduct” and “error”)

Urges trial and appellate courts, in criminal cases, when reviewing the conduct of prosecutors to differentiate between “error” and “prosecutorial misconduct.”

REPORT 100C* (Funding for defense advice about immigration consequences)

Urges federal, state, territorial, tribal and local governments to provide funding to state and federal public defender offices and legal aid programs specifically for the provision of immigration advice about the immigration consequences of criminal proceedings to indigent non-U.S. citizen defendants, and about any available relief from such consequences.

REPORT 100D* (Funding for forensic science research)

Urges federal, state, local and territorial governments to provide sufficient funding and resources necessary to facilitate basic and applied scientific research to improve and/or further develop forensic science disciplines.

REPORT 100E* (Funding for standards, accreditation, examinations of forensic laboratories)

Urges the federal government to provide funding and resources sufficient to facilitate the examination of existing standards, accreditation and certification for government and private laboratories, examiners/analysts in government and private laboratories, and identified forensic science service providers who offer examination conclusions and/or interpretations of forensic laboratory results.

REPORT 100F* (Funding to integrate forensic sciences into homeland security)

Urges the federal government to provide the funds, resources and other support necessary to effectively integrate the forensic science community into the nation’s system of homeland security.

REPORT 100G* (Funding for mandatory medico-legal death accreditation, certification)

Urges federal, state, and territorial governments to provide funding and enact legislation necessary to support requiring that all offices charged with conducting medico-legal death investigations meet mandatory accreditation, certification or professional practice standards within a reasonable timeframe.

REPORT 100H* (Funding re fingerprint identification and ballistic information networks)

Urges Congress to enact legislation and authorize and appropriate funds necessary to achieve nationwide interoperability of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and improve the effectiveness of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

REPORT 100I (Funding for testing and re-testing evidence and for expert assistance)

Urges federal, state, local and territorial governments, legislative bodies and courts to provide the funds and other resources necessary to assure that in criminal cases an accused: 1) is able to obtain testing or retesting of evidence, and 2) is provided expert testimonial or other assistance when necessary to assure a fair trial or sentencing proceeding.

REPORT 115** (Micro-stamping of semi-automatic pistols)

Urges federal, state and territorial governments to enact laws requiring that all newly-manufactured semi-automatic pistols be fitted with microstamping technology which would enable law enforcement to identify the serial number of the pistol and hence the first known purchaser of a weapon used in a crime.

REPORT 116** (Money laundering and terrorist financing)

Supports the U. S. Government’s efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and observes that voluntary, risk-based and updated guidance would assist legal professionals to avoid money laundering and terrorist financing risks when providing services to clients and adopts the Voluntary Good Practices Guidance for Lawyers to Detect and Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
* A service of the ABA Criminal Justice Section.

August 20, 2010

New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000-2009: Decade of Change

A new study of judicial independence from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School

Authored by James Sample, Adam Skaggs, Jonathan Blitzer, Linda Casey
Edited by Charles Hall

Foreword by Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

August 16, 2010.

This Report has been out less than one week and is already receiving wide attention.

From the Executive Summary

State judicial elections have been transformed during the past decade. The story of America’s 2000–2009 high court contests—tens of millions of dollars raised by candidates from parties who may appear before them, millions more poured in by interest groups, nasty and misleading ads, and pressure on judges to signal courtroom rulings on the campaign trail—has become the new normal.

For more than a decade, partisans and special interests of all stripes have been growing more organized in their efforts to use elections to tilt the scales of justice their way. Many Americans have come to fear that justice is for sale. Unlike previous editions, which covered only the most recent election cycle, this fifth edition of the “New Politics of Judicial Elections” looks at the 2000–2009 decade as a whole. By tallying the numbers and “connecting the dots” among key players over the last five election cycles, this report offers a broad portrait of a grave and growing challenge to the impartiality of our nation’s courts. These trends include:

➜➜The explosion in judicial campaign spending, much of it poured in by “super spender” organizations seeking to sway the courts;

➜➜ The parallel surge of nasty and costly TV ads as a prerequisite to gaining a state Supreme Court seat;

➜➜ The emergence of secretive state and national campaigns to tilt state Supreme Court elections;

➜➜ Litigation about judicial campaigns, some of which could boost special-interest pressure on judges;

➜➜ Growing public concern about the threat to fair and impartial justice—and support for meaningful reforms.

Foreword by Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
"This report, the latest in a series begun in 2000, provides a comprehensive review of the threat posed by money and special interest pressure on fair and impartial courts. . . . We all have a stake in ensuring that courts remain fair, impartial, and independent. . . . For 10 years, the New Politics reports have played a leading role in documenting the growing threat to the credibility of our courts. I applaud the authors . . . for working to protect the courts that safeguard our rights."
— Sandra Day O'Connor

May 25, 2010

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Formally Announces His Campaign for New York Governor

On Saturday May 22, 2010, Democrat Andrew Cuomo the New York State Attorney General made an official announcement that he will seek the New York governor's job once held by his father, Mario Cuomo. Below we include two links to documents released along with the announcement. The first link is to the transcript of the announcement The second is to a policy statement which he calls his "New York Agenda: A Plan for Action". This is an extensive document which focuses on many areas including new education, environment, and energy.

The beginning of the "New York Agenda: A Plan for Action" includes a summary in the form of the following bullet points which collectively provide an overall picture of the agenda being presented.:

1. Clean Up Albany. We must restore honor and integrity to government, with tough new
ethics standards, expanded disclosure requirements, independent investigators to root
out and punish corruption, and an overhaul of campaign finance laws. We must remove
legislative redistricting from partisan elected politicians and place it in the hands of an
independent commission that works only for the people. And we must hold a constitutional
convention – A People’s Convention – to rewrite the Constitution and make these changes
immediately because we cannot wait any longer for the state legislature to act.

2. Get Our Fiscal House in Order. We must get our State’s fiscal house in order by immediately
imposing a cap on state spending and freezing salaries of state public employees as
part of a one-year emergency financial plan, committing to no increase in personal or
corporate income taxes or sales taxes and imposing a local property tax cap. We must
also eliminate mandates that make it impossible for school districts and localities to
contain costs.

3. Rightsizing Government. Government in New York is too big, ineffective and expensive.
We must enlist the best private sector minds to help overhaul our more than 1,000
state agencies, authorities and commissions and reduce their number by 20 percent.
We must make it easier to consolidate or share services among our more than 10,000
local governments.

4. NY Works. We must make New York the jobs capital of the nation and get unemployed
New Yorkers back to work. We will give businesses a tax credit of up to $3,000 for
each unemployed New Yorker hired for a new job. We must also replace New York’s
ineffective economic development efforts with a new strategy organized around regional
industry clusters; reduce the high costs of doing business in the state; and support small
businesses by increasing access to capital and streamlining regulatory barriers.

5. NY Leads. New York has been a national leader in protecting and advancing individual
rights and safeguarding the future of its citizens. To remain so, we must protect a
woman’s right to choose, achieve marriage equality, enact tough anti-discrimination laws,
truly regulate Wall Street, attract the best and the brightest to government, leave our
children a cleaner and greener world, and continue to oppose the death penalty

April 28, 2010

New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct Releases 2010 Annual Report

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has released its 2010 Annual Report which " recommends [a] greater role for state high court, and public disciplinary proceedings, in conduct cases" The 2010 Report documents the Commission’s work in 2009.

The Commission is the state agency responsible for investigating complaints of misconduct against judges of the state unified court system and, where appropriate, disciplining such judges for violations of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.

The News Release announcing the release of the 2010 Annual Report is available here.

April 27, 2010

New York: State of the Judiciary 2010

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York


This is my first State of the Judiciary message as the Chief Judge of the State of
New York
. Months ago, I was expecting to give a live address at Court of Appeals
Hall in Albany, similar to those given by some of my predecessor Chief Judges—and
next year, maybe I will. But 2010 is very different from earlier years, and this will not
be a typical State of the Judiciary message.

In our country and in our State, we have entered a particularly difficult financial
period. The sad truth is that the same economic forces that are placing fiscal constraints
upon government are also spurring tremendous growth in our already monumental
caseloads. As the economy has soured, families are unable to pay their mortgages, consumers
default on credit card debt, business deals go bad, and incidents of violence
occur in families torn apart by lost jobs and homes in jeopardy. Inevitably, the courts
are called upon to sort things out.

Given these hard realities, this State of the Judiciary report will not address broad
reform programs and strategic planning efforts that have characterized previous reports
(although certainly we are actively pursuing important systemic reforms on our own
and in concert with the Legislative and Executive Branches). Nor does it attempt to
offer a comprehensive description of everything we are doing in the Judicial Branch.
Instead, the 2010 State of the Judiciary report will focus on how current caseload pressures
are increasing the burdens and challenges our judges face on a daily basis; the steps
we are taking to continue to meet our constitutional responsibility to deliver justice in
each and every case; the efforts we are making to respond to the State’s financial crisis;
and the critical need for a judicial pay adjustment if the Judiciary is to remain a strong
and vibrant co-equal and independent branch of government.

Finally, this is not a typical State of the Judiciary report in its timing. The Chief
Judge ordinarily reports on the State of the Judiciary by early February, but I decided
to delay it this year because of the ongoing judicial salary crisis and resulting litigation.
The last time New York State judges were granted any kind of salary increase was in
1998, effective January 1, 1999. This decade-long pay freeze led to the filing of three
lawsuits, and on taking office as Chief Judge, I became the plaintiff in one of the cases,
The Chief Judge of the State of New York vs. The Governor of the State of New York. As
a litigant, of course, I took no part in hearing or deciding these cases. The Court of
Appeals heard oral argument in January 2010, and I, along with the entire Judiciary,
awaited the Court’s decision, which was rendered on February 23, after which I decided
to issue this report. In deference to my Court of Appeals colleagues, I will not address
the legal issues in the case, although I very much feel it appropriate and necessary to
include commentary on judicial compensation.

April 6, 2010

CRS Report: The Copyright Registration Requirement and Federal Court Jurisdiction

A Legal Analysis of Reed Elsevier, Inc. v, Muchnick

March 18, 2010

CRS Report No. R40944; 3/18/2010; Posted 4/5/2010
Author(s): Brian T. Yeh, Legislative Attorney
Subject(s): Intellectual Property
No. of Pages: 11


Although an author need not register his or her work with the U.S. Copyright Office to obtain copyright protection, registration is a statutory prerequisite to bringing suit for infringement of the copyright, as mandated by 17 U.S.C. ?411(a). The question in Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick is whether this section of the Copyright Act restricts the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts over copyright infringement claims involving unregistered works.


Although an author need not register his or her work with the U.S. Copyright Office to obtain
copyright protection, registration is a statutory prerequisite to bringing suit for infringement of the copyright, as mandated by 17 U.S.C. ?411(a). The question in Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick is whether this section of the Copyright Act restricts the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts over copyright infringement claims involving unregistered works.
The plaintiffs in Reed Elsevier, consisting of individual authors and trade groups representing
authors, brought a class action lawsuit against several publishers when those publishers licensed the authors? articles for print publication but failed to secure an additional license to reproduce them electronically.

The Supreme Court had earlier affirmed the plaintiffs? right to control electronic reproduction of their copyrighted works in its 2001 opinion New York Times, Co. v. Tasini. After this opinion, the district court in Reed Elsevier referred the parties to mediation. After more than three years of negotiations, the parties reached an $18 million agreement that sorted the plaintiffs into three categories based, in part, on whether or not their copyrights had been registered. The settlement assigned a different damages formula to each category, with owners of registered copyrights receiving more than owners whose copyrights were unregistered.

Several freelance authors who fell within ?Category C? (composed of unregistered copyrights)
objected to the settlement agreement, arguing that the settlement was unfair and inadequate
because they were paid too little. Proponents of the settlement responded that ?Category C?
claimants were treated fairly because, as owners of unregistered copyrights, they would normally be barred from bringing infringement suits at all under 17 U.S.C. ?411(a). The district court granted final class certification and approved the settlement in September of 2005. The objectors appealed the district court?s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Before oral argument, the Second Circuit asked the parties to address whether the district court had subject-matter jurisdiction over claims concerning the infringement of unregistered copyrights, or whether ?411(a) restricted the court?s jurisdiction.

Both the authors and publishers argued that ?411(a) is not jurisdictional in nature. However, a
divided panel of the Second Circuit disagreed, holding that the requirement of copyright
registration prior to an infringement suit is jurisdictional and therefore, because many of the
plaintiff?s copyrights were unregistered, the district court lacked the power to certify the class and approve the settlement. The publishers appealed the appellate court?s decision to the U.S.
Supreme Court.

In a unanimous decision issued on March 2, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Second Circuit panel. The Court characterized the Copyright Act?s registration requirement as a claim-processing rule rather than a jurisdictional condition. Therefore, a copyright holder?s failure to satisfy the statutory registration requirement does not deprive a federal court of jurisdiction to adjudicate his copyright infringement claim. While the Supreme Court held that the Reed Elsevier district court possesses the authority to approve the settlement between the authors and the publishers, the Court offered no opinion on the fairness, resonableness, or adequacy of the settlement. On remand, the court of appeals must now consider the settlement?s merits and decide whether to uphold the district court?s approval of the settlement.

The Supreme Court also expressly declined to decide whether ?411(a) is a mandatory precondition to suit that district courts may or should enforce sua sponte by dismissing copyright infringement claims that involve unregistered works.

Congressional Research Service

April 2, 2010

Obtaining and Using Evidence From Social Network Sites

On October 6, 2009 the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for access to records concerning "use of social networking websites (including, but not limited to Facebook, MYSpace, Twitter, Flickr and other online social media) for investigative (crimiinal or otherwise) data gathering purposes created since January 2003...". The response from DOJ, date stamped March 3, 2010 states that "While processing your request we located one record totaling 33 pages. After careful review of this document we determined to release this item in part.". It goes on to explain that material being witheld from this one document, Obtaining and Using Evidence From Social Networking Sites, consists of work telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of DOJ attorneys..


March 19, 2010

Final Showdown on Health Care Legislation Set for This Weekend

House Democrats are reported to be making a final push this weekend to pass health care legislation. To that end a nearly final version of a bill, along with a report on the bill's cost by the Congressional Budget Office, was unveiled yesterday. A final showdown regarding this legislation is expected this Sunday March 21.

As part of our series of postings regarding efforts to overhaul the health care system in the United States we are making the following documents accessible:

03/18/2010 Section-by-Section Summary of the Substitute Amendment to the Reconciliation Act, H.R. 4872

03/18/2010 Text of the Substitute Amendment to the Reconciliation Act, H.R. 4872

03/18/2010 CBO Cost Estimate for the Reconciliation Act, H.R. 4872
CBO Estimate of Direct Spending and Revenue Effects for the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute Released on March 18, 2010

March 11, 2010

New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch Unveils Five Year Fiscal Reform Plan

On March 10, 2010 New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch released a fiscal reform plan which calls for a five-year plan to eliminate the State's structural imbalance and introduces a process by which annual budget balance is mandated, minitored and maintained. The plan calls for up to $2 billion in borrowing for the next three years and a financial review board consisting of five members, one each from the Assembly and the State Senate, two appointed by the Governor and one appointed by the New York State Comptroller.:

Ravitch Fiscal Reform Plan- Full Text

February 22, 2010

President Obama's Health Care Proposal


The President's health care proposal as released on February 22 purports to put "...American families and small business owners in control of their health care. To help those who are following this issue we are providing in this post, links to a 10+ page Summary prepared by the White House. This document provides a good overview and discussion regarding provisions in the proposed legislation.


Exploring the Proposal

This is a link for those who want to really explore the President Obama's Health Care Proposal through more comprehensive Section by Section analysis .

Both of the above links will lead you to very useful information. We would urge everyone to explore these documents.

February 2, 2010

2011 Budget of the U.S. Government- Fact Sheets

As almost everyone knows, the 2011 U.S. Budget was submitted on February 1. Since this is such a huge budget, in terms of both bulk and scope, we have decided to limit this posting largely to links to some " Budget Fact Sheets" prepared by the Office of Management and Budget. Each separately linked fact sheet focuses on a particular priority or group of priorities related to this budget request, thus enabling you to quickly "pick and choose" those areas that interest and concern you without devoting considerable time to other parts of the budget. If you wish to examine this budget request in greater detail, go to the GPO Access link at the end of this posting.

Here are links to the Budget Fact Sheets::

Keeping America Safe and Secure

Clean Energy

Suppoting World Class Education for Children

Create Industries and Jobs

Secure and Affordable Health Care

Supporting America's Military Families

Supporting America's Middle Class Families

Supporting Our Nation's Seniors

Opening Doors for College and Opportunity

Those who are interested in more extensive regarding Budget for the U.S. Governmenrt for fy 11 can go to the GPO Access site at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/index.html and follow the various links at that location,

January 20, 2010

New York Governor David Paterson Presents Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2010-2011

Yesterday January 19, 2010 New York State Governor David Paterson proposed a 2010-11 Executive Budget that according to a Press Release from the Governor's Office "makes significant spending reductions in order to eliminate a $7.4 billion deficit and institutes key reforms to put New York on the road to economic and fiscal recovery. The Executive Budget proposal includes spending reductions across every area of the budget; limits State spending to far below both the Governor's proposed spending cap and the rate of inflation; implements the most significant public higher education reforms in a generation; and provides fiscal relief to local governments through an aggressive mandate reform agenda."

Below are links to some of the documents related to that proposal. Some of these documents are related primarily to the proposed State of New York Executive Budget as a whole while others include various agency presnetations, A link to State of New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's commentary on the Governors observations regarding the judiciary part of the budget proposal is also included.

Link to Press Release , video presentation and various other documents related to Governors budget Address on January 19:

http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/2010budgetaddress.html .

2010-2011 Governors Budget Proposal - Agency Presentations

New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's Statemeont on Proposed 2010-11 Judiciary Budget

January 11, 2010

Letter to OMB Director Peter Orszag from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The following is from a letter sent by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to OMB Director Peter Orszag requesting full federal funding to reimburse the City for security costs associated with Terrorism Trials to be held in Manhattan.

January 5, 2010
The Honorable Peter R. Orszag
Office of Management and Budget
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Orszag,

As you are well aware, the suspected perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil
will soon be brought to New York City to face criminal prosecution. The City of New York will
provide the security necessary to ensure public safety, not only while the suspects are on trial, but throughout the entire time the suspects are detained in New York City.

I want to express my strong support of Senator Charles E. Schumer's proposal that
President Obama include a separate line in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 budget that devotes
federal funding to reimburse the NYPD and other local law enforcement for the full costs of
providing security for the upcoming trials.

The City of New York's financial resources are in short supply, and we have been forced
to reduce our Police Department's headcount. Thus, securing the trial will require us to pull
existing personnel from crime prevention efforts around the City and require significant overtime
expenses. As 9/11 was an attack on the entire nation, we need the federal government to shoulder the significant costs we will incur and ease this burden.

We estimate the cost for security operations will be approximately $216 million for the
first year and $206 million annually in subsequent years. This includes personnel costs of more
than $200 million annually and equipment costs of $12.5 million in the first year and $2.5 million
in subsequent years. We have shared our security plans and estimated costs with the Justice
Department as we work with our federal partners to prepare for the trials.

I want to assure you that our estimates, while significant, are real and not the result of any
expectation that we will receive a "blank check." For the sake of comparison, the cost of policing the Republican National Convention in 2004 was $50 million and that event was less than a week long. The security arrangements for the incarceration and trial periods will be need to be in place around the clock over a period of years....

November 24, 2009

The Continuing Quest for Health Care Reform in the U.S.

Updated to November 25, 2009

Over the past months we have posted a variety of items related to the quest for health care reform in the United States. See our last posting at "Health Care Update as of the Beginning of October 2009. The quest continues. During the last month the House of Representatives passed HR 3962(Affordable Health Care for America Act) on November 7 and the Senate has at least agreed to begin debate on their bill HR3590 (Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act) on November 21.. Given the historical record of attempts at health care reform these are remarkable achievements but we still do not know if the end is in sight.

Rather than engage in extended discussion on this posting we will concentrate identifying selected documents related to the two bills mentioned above and close by mentioning a few recent news articles of interest. First the documents:

Selected Documents Related to HR 3962 - "Affordable Health Care for America Act":

Final Roll Call for HR 3962

Revenue Effects of HR 3962

Press Release: House Makes History on Health Reform

Abortion Amendment

Selected Documents Related to HR 3590 - "Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act"

:Detailed Summary of HR 3590

Statement of Administration Policy Regarding HR 3590

CBO Score: Top-Line Facts According to the Heritage Foundation. Senate bill. 3950

Senate Roll Call vote for HR 3590 on 11/21/2009 at 7:55PM

Other Sources:

Op-Ed Contributor
False Alarm on Abortion
Published New York Times: November 25, 2009
What is being overlooked in the abortion debate is the other benefits that expanded health insurance coverage could bring to women’s reproductive health.

Budget Hawks Have a Buffet of Options With Health Bill
Published New York Times: November 25, 2009
Senators who say theyre serious about reducing health care costs have plenty of opportunities in the current bills to fulfill their goals

Published New York Times: November 19, 2009 Key Differences in the Health Care Plans
The health care proposals from the House and the Senate are broadly similar but differ on some major issues. Click here to see a more detailed comparison of the two plans.


Senate Says Health Plan Will Cover Another 31 Million
Published New York Times: November 19, 2009
Senator Harry Reid put forward his version of the health care overhaul, promising it would reduce the deficit while covering most of the uninsured.


Selected Recent Editorials from New York Times regarding health care reform.

Where two contentious issues intersect: Immigration and health House measure omits Senate panel's legal test (David Montgomery) Washington Post Nov 16.


A Milestone in the Health Care Journey, By Ronald Brownstein. An essay published on the Atlantic website,, November 21, 2009

November 12, 2009

Congressional Printing: Background and Issues for Congress

A Report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) prepared by R. Eric Petersen, Analyst in American National Government November 5, 2009.*


Periodically, concerns have been raised about the number and variety of products created to
document congressional activity. Other concerns focus on the process for authorizing and
distributing printed government documents to Members of Congress, committees, and other
officials in the House and Senate. These concerns reflect broader issues related to the manner in which government and private information is created, assembled, distributed, and preserved in
light of the emergence of electronic publishing and distribution.

From its establishment in 1861, the Government Printing Office (GPO) has compiled, formatted,
printed, bound, and distributed documents that have recorded the activities of Congress (and the
work of other governmental entities). In current practice, more than half of all government
documents originate in digital form, and are distributed electronically. As a consequence of
electronic production and dissemination, some congressional materials are now more readily
available to wider congressional, governmental, and public audiences than when they were only
produced and distributed in paper form.

Some have argued that eliminating paper versions of some congressional documents, and relying instead on electronic versions, could result in further cost and resource savings and might provide environmental benefits. At the same time, however, current law regarding document production, authentication, and preservation, as well as some user demand, require a number of paper-based documents to be produced and distributed as part of the official record of congressional proceedings.

As a result of requirements for both electronic and paper-based versions of congressional
documents, GPO oversees an information distribution process that produces and distributes most of the congressional information for which it is responsible in both electronic and printed forms. This process provides the necessary information and appropriate formats for Congress to carry out and document its activities, but it may also result in some unwanted printed copies of
congressional documents being delivered to congressional users who prefer to access those
resources electronically. More broadly, the transition to electronic distribution of materials may
raise questions about the capacity of current law and congressional practices to effectively
oversee GPO’s management and distribution responsibilities regarding congressional

This report, which will be updated as events warrant, provides an overview and analysis of issues
related to the processing and distribution of congressional information by the Government
Printing Office. Subsequent sections address several issues, including funding congressional
printing, printing authorizations, current printing practices, and options for Congress. Finally, the
report provides congressional printing appropriations, production, and distribution data in a
number of tables.

Click here to see the complete Report
* Thanks to Rick McKinney, Federal Reserve Board Library and Janet Fischer of the Golden Gate University Law Library for forwarding information about this Report..

October 6, 2009

Health Care Update as of the Beginning of October 2009

Through various means, both web based and print, we are monitoring as best we can discussions related to the ongoing health care discussions. Below is an edited and excerpted version of some information we received recently from GalleryWatch in Washington, DC. We would like to share it with you. This updates our earlier posting on the Criminal Law Library Blog

You might have noticed over the past little while that the Senate Finance Committee has been marking up a bill to reform our health care system.( see links following this discussion to the October 1 version of the bill from the Finance Committee and to a list dated October 5, 2009 of technical corrections to that bill).

This week,[last of September and beginning of October 2009] the last regular committee markup session on health care reform legislation wound down in the Senate Finance Committee. A conceptual draft proposal offered by Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was amended with over 40 changes as of Thursday evening. CongressNow reported Thursday that the committee adopted an amendment offered by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that creates optional state-level public insurance plans.

The committee started its session with more than 500 possible amendments and considered over 100 amendments. There were reports Tuesday on the adopted amendments from last week's sessions and the committee defeated proposals to add a public insurance option offered by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday afternoon. Roll Call reported Wednesday morning that Rockefeller and Schumer are optimistic about the chance of new amendments on a public insurance option on the Senate floor.

On Wednesday, the committee rejected several amendments (view first and second amendments) restricting abortion coverage offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and another amendment requiring identity verification offered by ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Also on Wednesday the committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) that allows senior citizens to deduct health expenses. CongressNow also reported Wednesday on Democratic efforts to tweak the tax treatment of high-end insurance plans.



As Gallerywatch also notes: "With all the activity by the Senate Finance Committee, don’t forget about the two other health care bills out there, HR 3200 from the House and the Senate HELP Committee’s bill S 1679, named in honor of the late Senator Kennedy"

August 27, 2009

New York City: Special Event Permit Application Information

People often ask about procedures for obtaining approval to staging secial events in the City, especially those involving some form of street activity. New York City requires that a "Special Event Permit Application be submitted to the City of New York Street Activity Permit Office prior to any special event involving street activity held in the City. Depending on the type of event planned, other City agencies may also require approval. The below information includes a list of Application Sponsor Rules and Responsibilities, Support Permit Requirements, and a link to the City of New York Special Permit Application form:






August 18, 2009

Report: Investigation of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor

As has been widely reported in the news media, the State of New York Office of the Inspector General has just released its Report and Investigation of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. This is a Report grew out of a complaint of alleged misconduct on the part of officials of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor that was referred to the Inspector General's Office on May 7, 2007 by then-Governor Spitzer. The Waterfront Commission is a bi-state entity established in 1953 by the United States Congress to investigate, deter, combat and remedy criminal activity and influence in the Port of New York and New Jersey, and to ensure fair hiring practices. Report findings include discussion and and enumeration of a number of abuses and irregularities identified by the staff of the Office of the Inspector General during their investigation of the Commission. To see the entire Report click on the link below:

Report: Investigation of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. August 2009.