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Courts

The Takeaway

Gender and the Supreme Court's Wal-Mart Case

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The arguments being heard by the Supreme Court today in Dukes vs. Wal-Mart are about whether there is enough of a connection between 1.5 million workers to validate their discrimination as a class-action suit. But this is not just the largest class-action suit ever, it is also the largest gender discrimination case in history. The plaintiffs are arguing that the world’s largest corporation maintained paid women less money, denied them promotions, and perpetuated a culture rife with gender stereotyping. And it will be heard by a Supreme Court with three female Justices — the most ever in history. Will their decision come down to gender vs. business?

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The Takeaway

Supreme Court Hears Wal-Mart Case

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

For the past 11 years, 1.5 million women have been taking on the world’s largest corporation, Wal-Mart, for what they claim is a corporate practice of gender discrimination. The case would be the largest employment discrimination suit in U.S. history, damages could be in the billions, and the whole process has already dragged on over a decade. But whether that suit will ever be heard in court still has to be decided. Today the United States Supreme Court will hear argument in Wal-Mart vs. Dukes. Their task is to decide whether such a large and diverse group of people — working for shops across the country — can even be considered a “class” and therefore capable of raising a claim.

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The Takeaway

Court Vacancies Force Judges From Retirement

Friday, March 18, 2011

There are 95 vacancies in the federal courts, forcing semi-retired senior judges to pick up the slack — a lot of it. Arizona judges are under particular duress; their courts have such a back load, they can’t meet the Speedy Trial Act, a law that requires courts to try criminal defendants within 70 days after they are charged. Caseloads in most federal courts continue to increase while the number of active judges shrinks — and yet 45  judicial nominees are languishing in the Senate. Why hasn't the Senate confirmed these nominees? 

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WNYC News

New York's Chief Justice Pledges to Provide Lawyers for Homeowners in State Address

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The state's chief justice wants to make sure homeowners facing foreclosure can get a lawyer, even if they can't afford one. Chief Justice Jonathan Lippman made his comments during his annual State of the Judiciary speech in Albany on Tuesday.

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WNYC News

Judge Rejects Guantanamo Detainee's Request to Toss Guilty Verdict

Friday, January 21, 2011

A federal judge in Manhattan rejected the request to dismiss the sole conviction against first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in civilian court.

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The Takeaway

Guantanamo Detainees to Be Tried in Military Courts

Thursday, January 20, 2011

According to a New York Times article released today, the Obama administration is planning to prosecute Guantanamo detainees in military commission trials. This follows decisions by Congress to prevent these prisoners from being brought to the U.S. and tried in federal courts.

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The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: Judge Hudson Rules Against Health Care, Morning Headlines

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Virginia judge Henry E. Hudson ruled yesterday that the insurance mandate in the new health care legislation was unconstitutional. But President Obama seems unflappable in the face of the decision. Why? 

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The Takeaway

Addressing Gang Violence Through the Courts and on the Streets

Friday, November 12, 2010

For decades, cities across the country have tried a variety of approaches to reduce gang violence. Recently, Long Beach, California has implemented court-ordered civil injunctions, allowing law enforcement to arrest known gang members in particular neighborhoods for minor infractions. These infractions include wearing gang colors, carrying a cell phone in a car, or leaving the house after 8 p.m. Is it working? 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Significant Delays

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Josh Gerstein, courts and transparency reporter for Politico.com, and Benjamin Weiser, Federal courthouse reporter at The New York Times, talk about yesterday's delay in the trial of Ahmed Ghailani, and what it might mean for New York and the plans to try terror cases in civilian court.

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The Takeaway

Convicted of a Crime? Pony Up a 'User Fee.'

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

In a recession economy, all of us – including government agencies – are doing what we can to make ends meet, and that includes states' legal systems. A new report released by NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice reveals that states are imposing new court fees for individuals with criminal convictions. The fees are described as “user fees,” as they are not the traditional obligations levied for punishment, deterrence, or rehabilitation. Instead, these fees serve only to pay back the court system as it attempts to recoup operational costs.

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The Takeaway

Discrimination and Language: The Word 'Boy'

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sometimes a word is just a word. But other times, it’s an indicator of something more troubling on the part of the speaker. Take, for example, the word “boy.” When being used to refer to a small child, most of us don’t think twice. But when the word “boy” refers to an adult black man, and the speaker is his white supervisor who’s just passed him up for a promotion, it takes on a much different meaning.

It’s for this reason that John Hithon, an employee of the Tyson chicken processing plant in Gadsden, Alabama, sued his employers for workplace discrimination.

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The Takeaway

Guatemalan Women Could Be Eligible For Asylum Due To Murder Rate

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More than 5,000 women have been murdered in Guatemala in the past 10 years and many were tortured and mutilated in the process. Fewer than two percent of those killings have been prosecuted. This week, a federal court decided that these horrible statistics may be enough of a reason to classify all Guatemalan women as a social group eligible for asylum in the U.S.

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The Takeaway

In Curtis Flowers Murder Case, Can Justice Be Served?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

In 1996, Curtis Flowers, a 39 year-old African American, was accused of murdering four people in Mississippi. He now prepares to go to trial for a sixth time. The previous court appearances resulted in two mistrials and three overturned convictions. The stark racial divide in the small Mississippi community of Winona is making it nearly impossible to build a jury of Flowers’ peers, says Charlie Smith, news editor at The Greenwood Commonwealth, who has been following the trial.

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The Takeaway

Latest on Investigation and Interrogation of Faisal Shahzad

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The question everybody is asking this week has been, who is 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, the man held and accused of placing a car bomb in New York's Times Square over the weekend? After two days of intense interrogation efforts, news continues to trickle in about the motives and connections behind the attempted attack.

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WQXR News

Court: Judges Deserve Pay Hike

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New York's Court of Appeals has ruled that the state legislature erred by not giving state judges a pay raise for more than a decade.

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The Takeaway

Court Case to Test Quadriplegia and Parental Fitness

Monday, January 04, 2010

A quadriplegic mother is at risk of losing her five-month-old son in a custody battle with the baby's father, who cites her quadriplegia as a reason to deny her custody. Should the courts be involved in such cases? If so, where does ADA regulation end and family law begin? Lisa Belkin introduces us to various custody cases involving parents with disabilities, and Dr. Corinne Vinopol, president of the Institute for Disabilities Research and Training and a hearing officer in disability disputes, shares her insights about parenting, disabilities, and the law. 

Follow along with New York Times' readers at Lisa Belkin's blog post on this story.

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The Takeaway

Self-Professed 9/11 Planner to Stand Civilian Trial

Monday, November 16, 2009

The man who calls himself the 'mastermind' of the 9/11 terror attacks is heading to trial in U.S. federal court. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his alleged co-conspirators will be moved from Guantánamo Bay to face trial in lower Manhattan – just blocks away from the World Trade Center site. We speak to Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick about some of the challenges involved in such a trial. We also hear from attorney Jonathan Hafetz, co-editor of "The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law." Hafetz represents Mohamedou Slahi, a Guantánamo detainee who may also be headed to the same civilan court.

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The Takeaway

9/11 'Mastermind' to be Tried in New York City

Friday, November 13, 2009

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and four other men accused in the plot will be prosecuted in federal court in New York City, a federal law enforcement official said earlier today.

Joining us to discuss the implications of this announcement on the president's promise to close Guantánamo Bay is Jonathan Mahler, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and author of the book "The Challenge: How a Maverick Navy Officer and a Young Law Professor Risked Their Careers to Defend the Constitution — and Won."

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The Takeaway

The Nation's First Court for Veterans

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last year, Judge Robert T. Russell, Jr. of Buffalo, N.Y., started the nation's first veterans' court to deal with the specific needs of former military personnel accused of minor crimes. Judge Russell joins us to explain how and why he started the court, while Tom Zabarowski, a former Army enlistee, explains how Judge Russell helped him to regain his life.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda With Todd Zwillich

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Monday, which means it is time to pull out our road map for the week. Our guide this week is our own Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich. On the agenda? A California court is expected to rule on the controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8 that barred gay marriage. The court will decide whether the initiative is legal and the fate of those couples already married in California. And President Obama is expected to announce his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Also this week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbass and the U.K.'s Prince Harry will be in the U.S. Abbass will talk about Mideast peace, while Harry is likely to play polo.

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