Inside Politics


Top aide plans Mideast visit

President Obama’s top national security aide will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week, the White House said Sunday, as popular unrest continues to unsettle the region.

Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, will meet with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in Abu Dhabi, he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan in a visit from April 11 to 13.

“The national security adviser’s visit underscores the importance of our relationship with these two key partners,” the White House said in a statement.

Arab leaders allied with the United States have questioned its backing of pro-democracy movements, which have swept rulers from power in Egypt and Tunisia and continue to challenge other governments, including Saudi Arabia’s neighbor, Bahrain.

The United States is also part of a United Nations and Arab League-backed military campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to protect Libyan civilians after a popular uprising to end his 41-year rule.


O’Connor faulted over ethics

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor continues to hear cases in U.S. appeals courts while also playing a role in public policy issues.

Her critics say she should do one or the other, but not both.

The 81-year-old Justice O’Connor has campaigned against the election of state court judges. She says that threatens the judiciary’s independence because of increasing campaign contributions.

Most recently, Justice O’Connor hosted an after-hours reception at the Supreme Court that featured speakers who oppose a proposed Alaskan copper and gold mine. They were in Washington to lobby lawmakers and regulators against the proposed mine.

Arthur Hellman, an ethics expert at the University of Pittsburgh law school, says Justice O’Connor should consider not hearing cases if she “wants to engage in this level of political or politically related activity.”


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