Tag Archives: DoJ

BP to Provide $1 Billion for Gulf Resoration

Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 25, 2010.

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BP will provide $1 billion for oil spill restoration in the Gulf of Mexico per a voluntary agreement with the federal government and five states.

The agreement does not absolve BP of legal liability for the explosion and spill that began April 20, 2010. However, any restoration efforts paid for by the $1 billion will count toward the company’s liability.

The company faces fines and penalties of as much as $21 billion for the disaster. It could also face penalties under a Justice Department criminal and civil investigation.

Federal and state officials are conducting a natural resource damage assessment to measure the injury to the gulf habitat. The process could take years.

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Circuit Court Rules Against Arizona Immigration Law

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer meeting with Presi...

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Monday, a federal appeals court affirmed an injunction of Arizona’s “papers please” immigration law.

In its ruling, a 3 judge panel for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the U.S. Justice Department and against Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the controversial bill into law.

The law, known as SB 1070, required law enforcement officials to apprehend and help deport illegal immigrants. The Obama administration sued, saying that only the federal government has this power.

In July, a U.S. District judge issued an injunction blocking the most contested parts just a day before the law was scheduled to take effect. Specifically, the provision requiring police officers to check immigration papers of people suspected of being illegal immigrants was blocked.

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Suspected Terrorists to be Tried in Military Tribunals

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Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other suspected terrorists will face a military trial at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. All five are currently held at Guantanamo Bay.

The decision is a sharp reversal for President Barack Obama’s administration, which had wanted the terror suspects to have civilian trials.

A.G. Holder blasted Congress for imposing restrictions on the Justice Department‘s ability to bring the men before civilian trials, a course he promised in 2009. He said he stands by his decision that the best venue for the terrorist suspects is in civilian court.

Via CNN.

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United States Sues California for Requiring Sikh to Shave

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The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state of California, its Department of Corrections, and its governor, Jerry Brown, because prison authorities required a Sikh inmate to cut his beard.

The suit said the action violated the man’s right to practice his religion under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The 2000 law protects the religious freedom of people confined to prisons, mental health facilities, and state-run nursing homes.

In the Sikh religion, unshorn hair is an article of faith.

Via CNN.

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The Times They Are a-Changin’: Government Drops DOMA Defense

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The Obama administration announced today that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

Attorney General Eric Holder said President Obama made the decision. He added that the congressional debate during passage of DOMA “contains numerous expressions reflecting  moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships – precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the [Constitution's] Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against.”

In fact, Holder said, the law fails to meet “a heightened standard of scrutiny” and is therefore “unconstitutional.”

“Much of the legal landscape has changed in the fifteen years since Congress passed” DOMA, Holder said. The Supreme Court ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional and Congress repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Via Towleroad and  Washington Post.

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United Nations Investigates Abuse in Indian Nation

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On Friday, Rashica Manjoo, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on violence against women, stopped in Cherokee, North Carolina to discuss assault on Native American women.

According to the Department of Justice, one of three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, and three of four will be physically assaulted.

The Indian Civil Rights Act limits tribal courts’ sentencing authority over Indians accused of sexual assault and domestic violence. Additionally, non-Indians cannot legally exercise jurisdiction over members of the Indian Nations.

Advocates are pushing for greater jurisdiction and services for victims of sexual and domestic abuse.

Via Impunity Watch.

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