Congress

Hemp's growing pains in Indiana

August 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Industrial hemp was legalized in Indiana when Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law this year, but you still can’t grow the crop in the Hoosier State.
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Indiana joins other states challenging EPA regulatory authority

August 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana has joined 11 other states in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, taking the unusual tactic of challenging the federal government’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases rather than challenging the rule itself.
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Sentencing panel to weigh economic crime penalties

August 15, 2014
 Associated Press
The federal panel that sets sentencing policy announced Thursday that it plans in the coming year to consider changes to sentencing guidelines for some white-collar crimes.
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Commission approves retroactive reduction in drug trafficking sentences

July 18, 2014
IL Staff
The United States Sentencing Commission unanimously voted Friday to retroactively apply a reduction in the sentencing guideline levels applicable to most federal trafficking offenders. The change could impact the sentences of more than 46,000 prisoners.
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Legal snags kill Community-Eskenazi hospital merger

June 13, 2014
IBJ Staff, J.K. Wall
Community Health Network and Eskenazi Health quietly called off their engagement months ago, when they found out federal laws effectively prohibited their marriage.
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Indiana federal court vacancies could remain for years

May 7, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The impact of the filibuster rule change on the role politics plays in the confirmation process remains to be seen.
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Senators seek candidate to fill Judge Barker’s vacancy

April 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats have begun the process for selecting a candidate to fill the vacancy coming to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Legal Service Corp. requests substantial boost in funding to meet growing need

March 5, 2014
IL Staff
In the budget released March 4, the White House recommended the Legal Services Corp. receive a federal appropriation of $430 million for the fiscal year 2015.
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Senate votes to change filibuster rule

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The U.S. Senate has voted to change how many votes are required to break a filibuster to approve executive and judicial nominees, reducing the threshold to the simple majority of 51. The change came about after several nominees were blocked by Republicans.
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US Supreme Court takes pass on cyberspying petition

November 19, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the Supreme Court of the United States decided Monday, not to consider a petition challenging the legality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, one cybersecurity expert at IU expects the issue will eventually come before the nine justices.
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Partial shutdown over, for now

October 17, 2013
IL Staff
President Barack Obama signed legislation Thursday ending the partial shutdown of the federal government and pushing back deadlines before Congress must act again to prevent a similar situation. The announcement from the White House came hours after the U.S. Courts announced federal courts would remain open through Oct. 18.
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Citing shutdown, federal court stays many civil cases

October 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
The federal government shutdown has led to a stay of nearly all civil actions in the U.S. courts in Evansville, Indianapolis, New Albany and Terre Haute in which the federal government has an interest.
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Indiana Senate President takes call for Constitutional Convention to national audiences

August 12, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, is pushing for an Article V Constitutional Convention by speaking at national meetings and trying to garner support beyond Indiana.
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Judge: Continuing current sequestration cuts would be ‘devastating’ to justice system

July 24, 2013
IL Staff
A federal judge implored a Senate panel Tuesday to provide sufficient funding for U.S. courts, warning that the general public will lose the access to justice that has been a hallmark of this country.
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Lugar: I paid the price for support of Obama picks

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar told members of the federal judiciary May 6 that his support of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court appointees, opposed by many in his party, may have carried the greatest political cost of any decisions during his 36 years in the Senate.
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Lugar: Votes for Obama Supreme Court nominees carried heavy cost

May 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar told members of the federal judiciary Monday that his support of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court appointees, opposed by many in his party, may have carried the greatest political cost of any decisions during his 36 years in the Senate.
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Indiana among 35 states urging federal immigration reform

April 10, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined a bipartisan group of 35 state and district attorneys general who Tuesday sent a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress urging federal immigration reform.
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New FMLA rule expands provisions for military families

March 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys see the 20-year-old Act growing beyond its original intent.
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Senate president calling for constitutional convention to protect states’ rights

February 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Declaring that states’ rights are being trampled and the 10th Amendment is in shambles, the leader of the Indiana Senate is calling for a “gathering of states” to amend the U.S. Constitution.
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U.S. Supreme Court decision ignited grassroots effort to amend the Constitution

January 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In the fight over corporate influence in politics, one group is hoping the voice of the people can trump the allure of money.
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Sequestration would deepen staff cuts, chief judges warn

January 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
Federal courts that have squeezed staff as budgets shrank could be forced to furlough employees if Congress fails to avoid mandatory budget cuts that now are slated to take effect in March.
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ATM fee notice change likely

December 17, 2012
IL Staff
A requirement that automated teller machines post notices on or near the machine will be repealed under a bill Congress has sent to President Barack Obama.
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Possible end of tax credit leaves future renewable energy sources up in the air

December 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
Newton County lawyer Dan Blaney has a blunt reaction to the potential end of a federal subsidy that has enabled the rise of wind energy in his part of the state. “We’re in trouble,” he said.
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IU professor helps get pesky scrivener’s error removed from Trademark Act

December 4, 2012
IL Staff
One pesky scrivener’s error that altered the protection provided by the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 has been corrected thanks to the efforts of an Indiana University professor.
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Southern District judiciary comes together at ‘historic’ event to thank Lugar, Bayh

October 24, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Judges and judicial officers from the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Indiana came together recently to honor Sen. Richard Lugar and former Sen. Evan Bayh for their service to the federal judiciary.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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