Law

Judging The Health Care Law
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Word Search: Health Care In The Supreme Court

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears challenges to the Obama administration's health care law this week, the arguments will be complex, with questions about states' rights, mandatory insurance, and Medicaid.

To introduce those concepts — and to give the rest of us something to do while the court hears six hours of arguments — we offer a word search game. The grid below features many words you'll likely hear this week, as NPR's Nina Totenberg reports from the court.

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Health Care
4:33 pm
Sun March 25, 2012

Health Care Law Puts Free Clinics At A Crossroads

The Duchesne Clinic in Kansas City, Kan., is just one free clinic that might have to adjust the way it operates under the new health care law.
Elana Gordon KCUR

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 5:06 pm

Free health clinics have long been places people turn to when they don't have health insurance or any money to pay for care. But the health law's expansion of coverage puts free clinics in uncharted territory.

While the law goes before the Supreme Court this week, health providers are already gearing up for a surge in patients with insurance.

Around the country, hundreds of free clinics have been established over the past 50 years to treat patients like Patsy Duarte.

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Law
5:02 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

High Court Expands Defendants' Plea Bargain Rights

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown on Capitol Hill in April 2011, wrote the court's ruling Wednesday that for the most part, plea bargaining determines "who goes to jail and for how long. It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system. It is the criminal justice system."
Evan Vucci AP

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in plea bargains. In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the court went further, declaring that when a lawyer acts unethically or gives clearly wrong advice, the defendant may be entitled to a second chance at accepting a plea offer.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
1:03 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Law and Order: MKE ( Mall Kiosk Edition )

Strolling through the mall is an exercise in sensory overload or self-control, depending on whom you ask. There’s no denying the power of the mall’s kiosks to tempt us into paying for things we didn’t plan on, like bejeweled cell phone cases and knock-off sunglasses…but what if those kiosks offered something more practical, like legal advice? That’s the thinking behind the law booth, one Florida attorney’s solution to the problem of getting affordable legal services into the hands of people who can’t afford big firms, but aren’t poor enough to qualify for legal aid.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Eminent Domain Explained

It’s long been a controversial government power: The ability to take private property if it’s deemed for the “greater public good”.  But often, even the mere suggestion of its use provokes public outcry.  We’ll  look at this idea of eminent domain,  how it’s been applied by all levels of government, and how it’s come up recently here in New Hampshire.

Guests 

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Law
4:07 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Confronting The VP May Be Impolite. Is It A Crime?

Vice President Dick Cheney defends the Bush administration's policy on the war in Iraq in an address to the American Legion's annual conference in Washington, D.C., in 2006.
Leslie E. Kossoff AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case involving the arrest of a Colorado man who was thrown in jail after telling Vice President Cheney in 2006 that the Bush administration's policies in Iraq were "disgusting."

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Judging The Health Care Law
4:06 am
Wed March 21, 2012

White House Preps For Court's Health Care Ruling

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., center, joins other conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill to criticize President Obama's health care law on Oct. 5, 2011. They said the boxes were packed with petitions asking Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 10:23 am

Most of the president's speeches these days focus on jobs or gas prices. But the health care law is his signature achievement, and it always gets a mention at political events.

"Change is health care reform that we passed after a century of trying," President Obama said to cheers and applause from the audience at a recent fundraiser in New York.

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Law
4:04 am
Wed March 21, 2012

FBI Still Struggling With Supreme Court's GPS Ruling

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a House Appropriations Committee panel on March 7.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 1:11 pm

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court said police had overstepped their legal authority by planting a GPS tracker on the car of a suspected drug dealer without getting a search warrant. It seemed like another instance in a long line of cases that test the balance between personal privacy and the needs of law enforcement.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:44 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Medicaid And A Tale Of Two Miami Hospitals

Jackson Memorial Hospital is preparing for more Medicaid patients by renovating rooms. Jackson is the area's safety net hospital, which means it doesn't receive reimbursement for quite a bit of the care it gives.
Courtesy of Jackson Health System

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 1:32 pm

The federal health law's expansion of Medicaid will cover some 16 million more Americans in the government program for the poor, if that part of the law survives the legal challenge it faces in the Supreme Court beginning next week.

Florida is leading 25 other states in that challenge, but that hasn't stopped two of Miami's most prominent hospitals from preparing for the Medicaid expansion.

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Law
3:11 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Without Parole, Juveniles Face Bleak Life In Prison

Charles Dutton is an award-winning actor. But as a juvenile, he wound up in prison for manslaughter and other crimes.
Andrew Kent Getty Images

We hear a lot about juvenile offenders when they commit a crime — and again, when they're sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison. But not much is known about what happens after the prison gates slam shut.

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Law
4:14 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Do Juvenile Killers Deserve Life Behind Bars?

Raphael Johnson shot and killed a classmate when he was 17. After his release from prison, he got bachelor's and master's degrees and started a community policing program in Detroit.
Courtesy of Equal Justice Initiative

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 3:18 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in two homicide cases testing whether it is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a 14-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

There are currently 79 of these juvenile killers who will die in prison. What's more, in many states, the penalty is mandatory, meaning neither judge nor jury is allowed to consider the youngster's age or background in meting out the sentence.

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Law
4:59 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Justices Weigh IVF Technology Against 1939 Law

Justices heard arguments Monday in a case that attempts to reconcile modern in vitro fertilization technology with a 1939 law.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 7:19 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case testing whether children conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of a parent are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

The case before the court began in 2001 when Robert Capato was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Before beginning treatments, he deposited sperm at a fertility clinic, and after he died, his wife, Karen, carried out the couple's plan to conceive using Robert's sperm.

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Law
4:05 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Is A Baby Conceived After Dad's Death A 'Survivor'?

A technician places a fertilized human egg in a test tube. New technology has led to new legal questions: What happens to survivors benefits when a baby is conceived after a father's death?
Rich Frishman Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 9:06 am

Two eras clash on Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court, when a law written in 1939 is applied to in vitro fertilization. At issue is whether children conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of a parent are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

At least 100 such cases are pending before the Social Security Administration.

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Law
5:56 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Report: Prosecutors Hid Evidence In Ted Stevens Case

Then-Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, in 2008.
Alex Wong Getty Images

An extraordinary special investigation by a federal judge has concluded that two Justice Department prosecutors intentionally hid evidence in the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, one of the biggest political corruption cases in recent history.

A blistering report released Thursday found that the government team concealed documents that would have helped the late Stevens, a longtime Republican senator from Alaska, defend himself against false-statements charges in 2008. Stevens lost his Senate seat as the scandal played out, and he died in a plane crash two years later.

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Law
10:01 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Trying To Make Immigrant Detention Less Like Prison

The Karnes County Civil Detention Center in Texas has outdoor spaces and other features meant to make immigrant detention less like prison. It will house mostly low-risk, nonviolent offenders.
Laura Sullivan/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 14, 2012 10:56 am

Just off the side of the road in rural southern Texas is a large beige building that looks a lot like a prison. Fences and tall walls mark the outside. Inside, the doors slam and people sit in control booths at the end of long concrete hallways.

But just a little farther into the facility, the door opens to a courtyard in the center of the complex, and there, things begin to change. There's a soccer field, a pavilion and a gymnasium. There's also a walk-up pharmacy and commissary. All of it is guarded by officers in polo shirts.

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