On Monday, September 17, on the 225th anniversary of the signing of the final draft of the Constitution, with a one-page order a lone appeals court judge effectively repealed many of that document’s fundamental protections of individual liberties.

Issued late Monday night, the order written by Judge Raymond Lohier of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily set aside a lower court’s injunction blocking indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The practical effect of Judge Lohier’s stay is the immediate reinstatement of the president’s authority to send the military to apprehend and indefinitely imprison a person suspected of colluding with a terrorist organization to threaten U.S. national security.

 

 

 

The American-led military coalition in Afghanistan has temporarily suspended joint operations with Afghan forces, due to a recent surge in the number of U.S. and NATO soldiers killed and wounded by members of the Afghan units they have been training and supporting in combat. Military officials are also concerned that those incidents might increase further due to the recent riots and demonstrations of anti-American sentiment in the region over a film made in the United States that mocks the Muslim prophet Mohammed. 

Following the adoption of a new state law on jury nullification in June, a New Hampshire jury nullified its first major felony marijuana case on September 14 when jurors decided to free Doug Darrell, a 59-year-old father of four grown children who was growing illegal plants in his backyard. Activists hailed the decision as a significant victory for the jury nullification movement, which aims to revive awareness about the power inherent in juries to protect citizens from overzealous prosecutors and bad laws by nullifying cases.  

Republicans in the House of Representatives have added another bill to this week’s legislative agenda, which is already cumbersome. The addition is entitled the Market Transparency and Taxpayer Protection Act and would force government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to close their non-critical assets. The bill is intended to reduce the size of the two mortgage companies.

While record numbers of Americans are migrating to the disability rolls, new data show that more than a quarter of the cases observed between 2006 and 2010 were improperly awarded. In an 18-month investigation launched by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, auditors found that about 25 percent of the 300 sampled disability cases were granted benefits “without properly addressing insufficient, contradictory and incomplete evidence.”

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