Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday news and notes

1. DOMA ban now invalid. Via ScotusBlog:

With the approval of President Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., notified Congress on Wednesday that the federal government will now argue in court that it is unconstitutional to withhold all federal benefits from same-sex couples who are legally married under their own state’s law. While the government will continue to enforce that part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, Holder said a new evaluation has convinced officials that it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of legal equality. The new position will be advanced first in two new cases pending in federal courts in New York and Connecticut, but also will be put forth in other DOMA cases elsewhere. (A Justice Department news release discussing the new development is here.)

2. Roberts Court says suits against Mazda for bad seatbelts can go forward. Via Jan Crawford:

One of the big raps on the Roberts Court is that it's too sympathetic to Big Business. Today, we got a decision that counters that storyline.

Ever since the Supreme Court made a conservative turn in 2006, critics have pointed to rulings that shut the courthouse door to the little guy--especially the little guy who's trying to sue a giant corporation, such as a manufacturer of medical devices or drugs. In those cases, the Court has said product liability lawsuits are barred under federal law. The rationale is that since federal regulators had approved the devices and the drugs in the first place, the companies aren't liable for defective designs.

What critics don't mention is that some of the liberal justices have been on board with some of those decisions favoring the corporations. And today, the Court showed once again that simplistic narratives aren't always accurate. In a unanimous decision, the justices paved the way for a lawsuit against Mazda Motor Corp., rejecting the company's argument that it should not be subjected to lawsuits over its failure to install shoulder belts in the back seats of its minivans.

3. Pill Mill Mania. Via the Miami Herald:

Narcotics agents across South Florida descended on more than a dozen pain clinics Wednesday, arresting at least 20 people — including five doctors — in the most dramatic effort yet to curb the region’s booming business of illegal prescription narcotics.

The raids from Miami to West Palm Beach were the culmination of a two-year investigation by a task force of federal, state and local investigators, an operation dubbed “Operation Pill Nation.” Undercover agents were dispatched to storefront pain clinics to buy potent painkillers such as oxycodone without any medical justification for the pills, investigators said.

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti called Wednesday’s raids a new front in a “new kind of drug war”: A war on the massive trafficking of prescription drugs through pain clinics operating with the outward appearance of legitimacy — though inside the clinics, doctors hand out pills without taking medical exams, and armed guards patrol the lobbies.

“Nowadays, the drug dealers are operating out of strip malls,” Lamberti said at a press conference announcing the busts.

Here's the indictment. I have a lot to say about these cases and the new war on drugs. I will post more on this later.


Anonymous said...

did they get a verdict yet in buju retrial

Anonymous said...

Someone has to do something since our wonderful new governor won't.

Anonymous said...

Old war on drugs- lost cause, waste of millions

New war on drugs will also be a lost cause, waste of millions.

Sincerely--The Family Of Fabio Ochoa Vasquez