Dispatches > News

Radical injunction

"Radical injunction" Continued...

Issue: "Tour d'America," June 18, 2011

But the jokes stopped over the Memorial Day weekend after news reports revealed that as many as 28 players may have been involved in improperly selling memorabilia. An NCAA investigation is also looking into allegations of special deals for players at a used car dealership. Ohio State is not alone. Infractions rocked college football over the last year, hitting teams from North Carolina to Oregon and calling into question the integrity of the sport.

War fugitive Mladic caught

Serbian authorities captured Europe's most-wanted war crimes fugitive on May 26, bringing an abrupt end to Ratko Mladic's 16 years in hiding. Mladic-the former commander of the Bosnian Serb military-faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war that left some 100,000 people dead. Authorities say Mladic, 69, orchestrated ethnic cleansing campaigns to rid the region of non-Serbs.

Mladic's most notorious wartime moment came in 1995: Authorities say that the military commander oversaw the massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men in the Srebrenica region. The victims had fled to the eastern Bosnian town seeking the protection of UN troops. Mladic's forces overran the refugees, killing thousands. The slaughter represented Europe's worst massacre since World War II.

A UN tribunal indicted Mladic in 1995, but the fugitive eluded police for 16 years. After his capture in May, Serbian officials extradited Mladic to the Netherlands to face trial at The Hague.

Ashcroft immune

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled that a man detained after 9/11 on the pretext of being a material witness in a terrorism case could not sue Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft for his detention, ruling that Ashcroft deserved qualified, but not absolute, immunity. Federal authorities detained the American man, Abdullah al-Kidd, as he was about to board a plane to Saudi Arabia, and held him for 16 days before releasing him without calling him to testify. The Obama administration sided with the Bush administration in this case, backing Ashcroft's immunity.

"Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia in the court's opinion. The court was united on the immunity question, saying Ashcroft broke no laws, but divided about the extent of freedom authorities have to detain people on the pretext of being material witnesses, a foggy area of law in the post-9/11 world.

Arizona wins one

The Supreme Court upheld Arizona's law that revokes or suspends the licenses of businesses that hire illegal immigrants, ruling in a 5-3 decision that federal immigration law does not preempt the state's law. The Chamber of Commerce had challenged the law (which then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, now secretary of homeland security, signed), calling it a "business death penalty," and found support from liberal groups and the Obama administration, while 13 states wrote amicus briefs in support of Arizona.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority-the conservative justices along with swing justice Anthony Kennedy-upheld the law and argued that while only the federal government can impose civil or criminal sanctions on employers in regard to immigration, federal law includes an exception that allows states to regulate immigration through licensure. Three justices dissented (Elena Kagan recused herself), contending that revoking a license was a civil penalty itself and therefore was prohibited under federal law. The dissenters also argued that the law would push businesses to discriminate in order to avoid losing their licenses. The decision is one victory for Arizona after the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals temporarily blocked its newer, more controversial immigration law, requiring law enforcement to check the immigration status of suspicious individuals.

Procedural problem?

A county judge in Wisconsin struck down the state's controversial law that limits collective bargaining power for public employees, saying that legislators violated an open-meetings law that requires a 24-hour public notice before passing legislation. Republican legislators argued that they could pass the bill without adhering to the open-meetings requirement because it was an emergency measure, but Judge Maryann Sumi, an appointee of Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, said she didn't find evidence that justified emergency conditions.

"This case is the example of values protected by the open meetings law: transparency in government, the right of citizens to participate in their government and respect for the rule of law," she wrote in her opinion. The conservative-majority state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case June 6. Republican legislators have said that if the courts strike down the law over the procedural matter, they will simply pass it again, which they can do with their majorities even if Democratic legislators remain in the state to vote.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…