Prime Minister George Papandreou’s speech on Saturday evening in Thessaloniki was designed to reassure not only his Greek citizens that all would be well but also that those holding Greek sovereign debt would be getting their money back. The government’s top priority, he said, is “to save the country from bankruptcy.”
When the Portuguese Parliament failed to pass an austerity bill on March 23, the country’s Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, resigned. That move leaves Portugal leaderless for at least two months while facing a significant financial crisis: it must refinance nearly $13 billion of short-term debt by June. Investors have already pushed interest rates on Portugal’s sovereign 10-year debt to almost 8 percent, while credit-rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s both downgraded that debt’s quality on March 24.
After two hours of hearing from plaintiffs challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility to run for the office of President in 2012, Judge Michael Malihi for the Office of State Administrative Hearings for the State of Georgia asked them to file briefs with him on their positions no later than Sunday, February 5.
Calling it the “most significant religious liberty decision in two decades,” the New York Times announced the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “ministerial exception” whereby churches and other religious organizations are exempt from governmental interference in their hiring and firing practices. In a unanimous 9-0 decision on January 11, the Court said that churches have an overriding “interest ... in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission.”
When R.S. Radford, a principal attorney for the public interest law firm Pacific Legal Foundation, learned about the ruling against a property owner suffering under New York City’s rent control laws, he appealed the case to the Supreme Court. At issue in the case, Harmon v. Markus, is whether James and Jeanne Harmon, the owners of a handsome brownstone near Central Park, are entitled to relief from the city’s onerous rent control laws that force them to accept lower-than-market rents from three of their renters.
Economist and conservative commentator Don Boudreaux attended the opening of the Institute for Justice (IJ) on September 10, 1991, and thought to himself at that time that “it sounded like a good idea.” Looking back at what IJ has accomplished since then, Boudreaux says, “IJ’s success over the past two decades is nothing short of phenomenal.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments on a Fourth Amendment case decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court (Kentucky v. King), alarm bells went off. Under the Fourth Amendment, as readers are no doubt aware, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Now that Elena Kagan has been confirmed as Justice of the Supreme Court following several weeks of highly publicized hearings, the public remains poorly informed about the Court’s role. And even what is supposedly known is contradictory. Pew Research Center’s latest New IQ Quiz, which was conducted in early July, revealed that “an overwhelming proportion of Americans are familiar with Twitter ... yet the public continues to struggle in identifying political figures, foreign leaders and even knowing facts about key government policies.”
“Side-stepping Senate confirmation,” declared the New York Times. “This is going to make problems worse,” exclaimed Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “What this is going to do is cause the election of a lot more Republicans ... in November who are determined to come in and provide some checks and balances in Washington to stop the overreaching of the government,” hollered Lamar Alexander, (R-Tenn.).
The Obama Justice Department is appealing a lower court decision that requires it to provide “probable cause” before it can track cellphone users. The DOJ wants instead to operate under a lower standard for tracking cellphone users, based on a reasonable belief that such information is “relevant to a . . . criminal investigation.”