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Amid all the hubbub on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Supreme Court begins its annual term, to continue through the summer of 2014. Though the justices will take new cases until January, there are already a number of significant cases on the docket that should impact the nation for years to come,” says Ken Klukowski, a law professor at Liberty University and legal analyst for He predicts “a year of big cases,” and a big one fires up Tuesday.

“The court will hear McCutcheon v. FEC. This is a follow-up to the famous 2010 Citizens United case,” Mr. Klukowski says. “Federal law limits the amount of money that a person can give to candidates and political action committees. In McCutcheon, the Supreme Court will decide whether aggregate limits — limiting the total contribution a citizen can give over two years to everyone combined — violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

A particularly smart and agile place to monitor the legal doings:


Yes, there is too much petty discussion in the nation’s capital at the moment. But there is still some reassuring straight talk to be found, this following the capture of Libyan al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Liby, apprehended by U.S military commandos in Tripoli on Saturday and whisked out of Libya. He is linked to the bombings of two American embassies in Africa in 1998, and has been wanted by the FBI since.

“The United States will spare no effort to hold terrorists accountable, no matter where they hide or how long they evade justice,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday. “We will continue to maintain relentless pressure on terrorist groups that threaten our people or our interests, and we will conduct direct action against them, if necessary, that is consistent with our laws and our values.”

And from Pentagon press secretary George Little: “Our first priority is and always has been to apprehend terrorist suspects, and to preserve the opportunity to elicit valuable intelligence that can help us protect the American people No American personnel or civilians on the ground were injured during the operation. These actions are a clear sign that the United States is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to bring to justice those who commit terrorist acts against Americans.”

Some watch the government shutdown with keen interest, meanwhile.

“I am very concerned about the message that we are sending our adversaries in the world. We’re sending them a message of weakness, that the United States cannot govern itself. And that’s the worst kind of message to send to a very dangerous world,” former Defense secretary and CIA director Leon E. Panetta told CNN.


61 percent of Americans “feel more negative” about Republican leaders in Congress following the government shutdown; 62 percent felt that way during the 1995 shutdown.

57 percent feel more negative about President Obama following the shutdown; 49 percent felt that way about President Clinton in December, 1995.

49 percent say the government shutdown is a “major problem”; 44 percent felt that way in the 1995 shutdown.

21 percent say the shutdown is a “crisis”; 12 percent felt that way in 1995.

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