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Category Archives: Congress

The Weakness of the Case for Cameras in the United States Supreme Court

Bruno, Jonathan, The Weakness of the Case for Cameras in the United States Supreme Court (January 5, 2015). Creighton Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2015. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2610831

“Many people regard it as obvious that Supreme Court proceedings should be open to video cameras, and should be broadcast live on television and online. After all, the activities of Congress and the President are routinely publicized in this way, as are the proceedings of many state and lower federal courts. The benefits of such broadcasting seem manifest, and by stubbornly resisting this trend the Supreme Court apparently runs afoul of the basic demands of democratic transparency. In this Article, I show that these familiar positions are very difficult to sustain. On close inspection, all of the common arguments for cameras in the Supreme Court fail to persuade, either because they rest on speculative empirical premises, or else because they extrapolate unconvincingly from generic propositions about government openness. Not only is video not required by our commitment to transparency, I argue, but there are no reasonable grounds for confidence that it would promote any of the goods claimed in its name, including public understanding, accountability, and legitimacy. In fact, there are affirmative reasons to doubt that video, at least as ordinarily experienced in our present social context, would improve the public’s understanding of the Court and its process. In short, the case for cameras in the Supreme Court turns out to be surprisingly weak. My analysis suggests that, at least for now, Congress should defer to the Court’s prudential judgment on this issue, and that the Justices are right to regard video skeptically. Nevertheless, I conclude by explaining why the Court may eventually find itself with compelling reasons to reverse that judgment, and to embrace cameras.”

Clean Water Rule Protects Streams and Wetlands Critical to Public Health, Communities, and Economy

“In an historic step for the protection of clean water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule today to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean WaterContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – International Space Station, Sequestration

International Space Station: Measurable Performance Targets and Documentation Needed to Better Assess Management of National Laboratory, GAO-15-397: Published: Apr 27, 2015. Publicly Released: May 27, 2015: “The U.S. has spent almost $43 billion to develop, assemble, and operate the ISS over the past two decades. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 required NASA to enterContinue Reading

Federal Judge Blocks Release of CIA Torture Report to ACLU

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AMERICAN  CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, et al. , Defendants. Civil Action No. 13 – 1870 (JEB) – May 20, 2015 MEMORANDUM OPINION [snipped]: “A lightning rod for controversy, the Central Intelligence Agency’s former detention and interrogation program has spawned aContinue Reading

An Introduction to Health Insurance: What Should a Consumer Know?

CRS – An Introduction to Health Insurance: What Should a Consumer Know? Carol Rapaport, Analyst in Health Care Financing. April 30, 2015. “Congress has seen a renewed interest in the market for private health insurance since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended). This report provides anContinue Reading

Report – $36M Command Control Facility in Afghanistan: Unwanted, Unneeded, and Unused

SIGAR – Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction May 2015 SIGAR-15-57-SP $36 Million Command and Control Facility at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan: Unwanted, Unneeded, and Unused “SIGAR found that DoD requested funds for this facility on the basis that it was necessary to address an immediate operational need associated with the military surge in Afghanistan inContinue Reading

SIGAR Quarterly Report to Congress on Afghanistan Reconstruction

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Quarterly Report to Congress, April 30, 2015 “As a result of a SIGAR investigation that uncovered corruption in the award of a nearly $1 billion, multi-year Afghan Ministry of Defense (MOD) fuel contract, SIGAR has developed a relationship with the new Afghan national-unity government that promises to create uniqueContinue Reading

The Library of Congress: Web Archive Collections

Web Archive Collections – Researcher Access to Publicly Available Web Archive Collections is here The following is a list of all web archive collections developed by or in partnership with the Library of Congress. These are in various stages of production. U.S. Election Web Archives U.S. Congressional/Legislative Web Archives Law Library Web Archives Single SitesContinue Reading

US DOJ IG Report – Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders

FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders: Assessment of Progress in Implementing Recommendations and Examination of Use in 2007 through 2009, Oversight and Review Division Report 15-05. May 2015. Redacted. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of a public version of its most recent report examining theContinue Reading

Human Rights Perspective on U.S. Courts and the Constitutional Regulation of Internet

Land, Molly K., A Human Rights Perspective on U.S. Courts and the Constitutional Regulation of the Internet (May 20, 2015). Forthcoming in INTERNET LAW, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, AND CONSTITUTIONAL ADJUDICATION (Graziella Romeo & Oreste Pollicino eds., Routledge 2015). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2608625 “This chapter examines the approaches used by the U.S. Supreme Court andContinue Reading

Landmark Open Data Legislation to be Introduced

Data Transparency Coalition – “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors will introduce the Financial Transparency Act of 2015 at a press conference tomorrow at 2 pm in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Supporters of open data and the public are welcome to attend. Issa’s office issued a media advisory late Monday evening confirming heContinue Reading

CRS – Tracking Federal Funds: USAspending.gov and Other Data Sources

Tracking Federal Funds: USAspending.gov and Other Data Sources. Merete F. Gerli, Information Research Specialist. May 13, 2015. “Finding data on federal grants and contracts awarded to states and congressional districts, local governments, nonprofit organizations, contractors, and other eligible entities may present challenges. The official website, USAspending.gov, at http://www.usaspending.gov, collects data on grants, loans, insurance, assistance,Continue Reading