August 1 | Headlines
In an opinion piece Cornell law professor Michael Dorf argues that failure of the President to pay sums due might violate Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment as it would call into question “the validity of the public debt of the United States,” but Article I, Section 8, Clause 2 provides that it is the Congress which has the power “to borrow Money on the credit of the United States.”
Let’s hope the members of Congress who have seemed more interested in partisan rancor than in solving problems, don’t put the President in that dilemma and, for the first time in our nation’s history, force the courts to address this constitutional law issue. http://bit.ly/pjdvLk
According to the New York Times, the suit in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta alleges that DaVita, one of the nation’s largest providers of kidney dialysis, deliberately used larger vials than necessary knowing that Medicare would pay for the unused medicine. Medicare changed its reimbursement policy in January to bundle the cost of medicine with the cost of providing the treatment. The New York Times reports that following the change in the law, many practices of DiVita changed to provide more frequent treatment with lower dosages. If true, such practices would call into question whether treatment decisions for Medicare patients are sometimes motivated more by profit than by patient care. http://nyti.ms/p7wNuk
The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI has opened a probe into whether employees of News Corp. hacked or attempted to hack into the private callls and phone records of Sept. 11 victims and their families. Robert Murdock’s News Corp acquired ownership of the Wall Street Journal in 2007 http://on.wsj.com/qUPOWC
Pretty amazing, but let’s hope the U.S. Government puts export controls on this technology. We have a big enough problem already with counterfeit products being sold. And what about military weapons being “printed?” http://bit.ly/oaldFk
On July 8, 2011, a 23-year old Yemeni man, Mounir Ali, pleaded guilty in U.S District Court, Norfolk, Virginia, to a pirate attack on a private U.S.-flag yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa. The yacht was hijacked in February by 19 pirates intending to hold the four Americans on board for ransom. U.S forces responded to the “mayday” and were attempting to negotiate release of the captives when shots rang out on the yacht. Navy forces then boarded the yacht and discovered that all four Americans had been shot by their captors. All subsequently died.
Two pirates were killed in the skirmish and 15 were captured. Two others were discovered dead when U.S forces boarded the vessel.
Eleven of the pirates have now pleaded guilty. Sentencing for Mounir Ali is set for October 21.
U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia released a statement saying: “This latest guilty plea again shows that modern piracy is far different than the romantic portrayal in summer-time movies. Pirates who attack U.S. citizens on the high seas will face justice in a U.S. courtroom.”
Here’s a short but comprehensive summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, its implementation timetable, legislative response by some states, and legal challenges to it. http://bit.ly/mIxVaS
In response to Apple’s filing suit in Seoul against Samsung for infringement of Apple’s newly granted patent on the touch screen user interface, Samsung has filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission seeking to prevent Apple from importing iPads and iPhones. Samsung claims Apple has infringed five of its patents related to smartphones and tables. Samsung also filed suit in London against Apple for patent infringement. Apple and Samsung are not just competitors. Apple is the largest buyer of computer and phone chips. Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of those chips. It appears each would have plenty of business reasons for reaching a settlement.
In a decision issued June 29, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It found that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause. This is the first appellate ruling on the law. The decision was by a three-judge panel with one member dissenting. Look for a motion for rehearing en banc within 14 days. Oral arguments have been heard in similar cases in the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits, but those cases have not yet been decided. http://1.usa.gov/mOSdyo
On Monday, a Cambodian court began proceedings against four former leaders of the communist Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. The four defendants, now elderly, are the first to face trial. They are charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, religious persecution, homicide and torture. They have pleaded not guilty. The UN-backed court was established in 2001 to investigate and try those responsible for the Cambodian genocide that resulted in the death of approximately 1.7 million people, one-third of the Cambodian population, between 1975 and 1979.
Apple has finally been awarded a key patent related to the iOS user interface as implemented on the original iPhone. The patent is written broadly enough it may also apply to such other devices as tablets and touch screen media players. Apple has already filed suit against competitors including HTC and Samsung. As Sanford would say: “This is the big one Elizabeth.” http://bit.ly/kGAfmA