- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

Judge hits White House on executive privilege
A federal judge says the Bush administration has a disturbingly broad legal view of confidential advice to the president that would keep a huge amount of government information secret.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan also accused the Bush administration of making purposefully misleading arguments in defending Vice President Richard B. Cheney's energy task force against two lawsuits.
The Sierra Club environmental organization and Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, are seeking records about how the Cheney task force was influenced by industry executives and lobbyists in formulating national energy policy.
Judge Sullivan criticized the Bush administration's position that applying the Federal Advisory Committee Act to the Cheney task force encroaches on the president's right to receive confidential advice necessary to carry out his duties.
The judge said the government's position signifies that "any action by Congress or the judiciary that intrudes on the president's ability to recommend legislation to Congress or get advice from Cabinet members in any way would necessarily violate the Constitution."
"Such a ruling would eviscerate the understanding of checks and balances between the three branches of government on which our constitutional order depends," said the judge.
The judge's opinion details his legal reasoning for an oral decision he made in May that rejected the Bush administration's motion to dismiss the cases.

Airline fires witness in Van Dam trial
SAN DIEGO A witness in the trial of accused child-killer David Westerfield was fired from her job as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines after she testified that she had used marijuana.
Denise Kemal was fired June 28, more than two weeks after her nationally televised testimony, because the company has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

Protesters decry L.A. police beating
INGLEWOOD, Calif. Hundreds of angry protesters marched on police headquarters yesterday demanding the arrest of a white officer who beat a handcuffed black youth, while in an ironic twist, the man who videotaped the incident found himself behind bars.
Los Angeles black community leaders were joined by national activists as outrage swelled over the latest accusation of police brutality in a city tarred by the 1991 Rodney King case and the bloody 1992 riots.
"No justice, no peace, no racist police," chanted the group of several hundred protesters.
Marching on Inglewood City Hall, the crowd called for the arrest of Jeremy Morse, the police officer who was filmed slamming handcuffed 16-year-old Donovan Jackson against a patrol car and punching him in the face.

Moussaoui judge mulls death-penalty act
The federal judge presiding over the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in connection with the September 11 attacks, said she would consider the constitutionality of the federal death-penalty act before deciding whether U.S. prosecutors can seek the punishment.
District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema issued an order late Thursday requiring federal prosecutors to file a brief by July 22 on the constitutionality of the Federal Death Penalty Act.
Her order came after Frank Dunham, the federal public defender assigned to Moussaoui's case but currently acting in a "stand-by" capacity, claimed that a recent Supreme Court ruling throws into question the constitutionality of the law.

U.S. wants Traficant jailed for 7-1/4 years
CLEVELAND Prosecutors are asking that Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. get at least 7-1/4 years in prison for corruption, arguing that his crimes could undermine Americans' faith in their government just when it is needed most.
Traficant, a Democrat running for re-election as an independent, is set for sentencing July 30 and could get up to 63 years. The congressman was found guilty of payoffs from businessmen and his own staff.

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