Law

All Things Considered
5:27 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

State, Citgo Look To Settle Over MTBE

For nearly a decade, New Hampshire has been seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from oil companies over the chemical additive MTBE, which the state says caused contamination in the state’s groundwater. The legal proceedings originally involved 26 oil companies; as trial began this week, there were just two left, ExxonMobil and Citgo, and now there may be just one.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:18 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Health Law Survives With Roberts' Vote

Supporters of the health care law march in front of the Supreme Court building.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 2:55 pm

In one of the most widely anticipated decisions in recent history, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the sweeping federal law overhauling the nation's health care system is constitutional.

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Around the Nation
7:57 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Ariz. Immigration Law Limbo Sees Mixed Results

Tucson, Ariz., police officers work in the city's predominantly Hispanic South Side in May 2010. Since April 2010, when Arizona's controversial immigration bill passed into law, crime in the state has hit a 30-year low. Some attribute this to the law, but others are not so sure there's a connection.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The Supreme Court is about to take up one of this term's biggest cases. Next Wednesday, the court will hear arguments challenging Arizona's controversial state immigration law, known as SB 1070.

Among other things, the law makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires police to question the immigration status of people they stop. Lower courts blocked parts of the law when it was passed nearly two years ago.

But in that time, things in Arizona have been changing.

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Research News
8:17 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Death Penalty Research Flawed, Expert Panel Says

Proponents of the death penalty often argue that the threat of being executed acts as a deterrent that prevents people from committing murder. But those who oppose capital punishment challenge that claim. And some researchers argue that state-sanctioned execution might actually increase homicide rates.

Now, a panel of independent experts convened by the prestigious National Research Council has taken a look at this question and decided that the available research offers no useful information for policymakers.

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U.S.
5:08 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Few Answers In Abuse Probes At Homes For Disabled

A memorial to Van Ingraham at his brother Larry Ingraham's home in San Diego. Van Ingraham died after an injury at Fairview Developmental Center in 2007.
Nadia Borowski Scott

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.

Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.

Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.

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StateImpact
4:08 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

NH House Mulls Deregulating Phone Service

Fairpoint’s struggles since taking over Verizon’s northern New England land line network in 2007 have been well-documented in the media with

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StateImpact
12:45 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

What A Small Firm's Challenge To PSNH Could Mean For The Future Of The Electricity Market

More than a decade ago, the New Hampshire legislature partially deregulated its electricity market.  The move was supposed to allow residential customers the chance to buy power from companies other than Public Service of New Hampshire, which dominates the state’s electricity market.  But for a long time, nothing really happened.

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Law
3:38 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Federal Court To Weigh Graphic Cigarette Labels

This image provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows one of nine new warning labels it wants cigarette makers to use. Tobacco companies have sued, claiming the mandate is unconstitutional.
AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 8:09 am

The question of how far the government can go in forcing a business — in this case cigarette makers — to warn consumers about its product is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration wants large, graphic warning labels to scare smokers, but tobacco companies say that violates their right to free speech.

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Around the Nation
3:33 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Ohio Tears Through Blighted Housing Problem

The remains of a Cleveland house after demolition in February. Ohio has set aside $75 million to raze abandoned homes across the state.
Joshua Gunter The Plain Dealer

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 10:33 am

Cleveland resident Cedric Cowan was asleep on an overcast spring morning when the roaring sounds of splintering wood and falling rubble jolted him awake.

Cowan lives in a neighborhood hit hard by foreclosures. He initially thought someone was moving into the house on the other side of Fairport Avenue.

Instead, he woke that morning to find a crew tearing down the two-family house.

Over the course of three hours, an excavator smashed, crushed and ripped apart the abandoned house while a worker sprayed the rubble with a hose to keep the dust down.

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Law
3:19 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Gay Marriage Lawsuit Presses For Survivor Benefits

Herbert Burtis' spouse, John Ferris (left), died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.
Courtesy of Herbert Burtis

Herbert Burtis met the person he wanted to marry in college, in 1948. But since the object of his affection was another man, they had to wait until 2004 for the ceremony, when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.

"It's a long engagement," Burtis says, laughing. "We thought it was time that we made each other honest people."

His spouse, John Ferris, died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.

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North Country
5:07 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Northern Pass May Face Right of Way Legal Battle

Kris Pastoriza of Easton
Photo: Chris Jensen

Much of the battle over the Northern Pass hydro-electric project has focused on cutting a new route through the forests of the North Country.

Northern Pass intends to use 140 miles of existing right of way for much of the remainder of the project.

That may not be as easy as it sounds.

NHPR's Chris Jensen reports.

 

It takes maybe five minutes – including crossing a large brook on a narrow board – for Kris Pastoriza to reach the right-of-way that cuts through her wooded land in Easton.

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Post Mortem: Death Investigation In America
5:00 am
Thu March 29, 2012

New Evidence In High-Profile Shaken Baby Case

Shirley Ree Smith sits in the living room of her daughter's upstairs duplex in Alexandria, Minn. Smith is waiting to hear if California Gov. Jerry Brown will grant her clemency. "They say things happen for a reason. I'm not sure if I'll ever figure out a reason for all of this," she says.
Courtney Perry for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:31 pm

A senior pathologist in the Los Angeles County coroner's office has sharply questioned the forensic evidence used to convict a 51-year-old woman of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death, identifying a host of flaws in the case.

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Business
3:54 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Former MF Global Exec Takes 5th At Hearing

Former MF Global Holdings Ltd. Chairman and CEO Jon Corzine testified on Capitol Hill in December. On Wednesday, a former executive at the company refused to answer lawmakers' questions about events in the run-up to the firm's collapse.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 11:28 am

A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

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Judging The Health Care Law
12:13 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Justices Ask: Can Health Law Stand If Mandate Fails?

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The historic legal arguments on the Obama health care overhaul came to a close at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with key justices suggesting the court may be prepared to strike down not just the individual mandate but the whole law.

The major arguments of the day were premised on a supposition. Suppose, asked the court, we do strike down the individual mandate — what other parts of the law, if any, should be allowed to stand?

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It's All Politics
5:10 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Limits Damage Payments To Whistle-Blowers

Under Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, whistle-blowers like Linda Tripp (seen here in 1998) have few options in suing the government for damages.
Mark Wilson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

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