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October 2005 Archives

U.S. Supreme Court Nomination of Harriet Miers Withdrawn

Harriet Miers, who had been nominated by President Bush to serve as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, withdrew her name from consideration today. Her reasons are explained in her letter to the President (PDF).  You can also read the official White House statement on the nomination withdrawl, and view a historical chart of all prior U.S. Supreme Court nominations.

Privacy and technology groups are challenging a federal rule allowing law enforcement agencies to tap Internet phone calls more easily.  On October 25, a coalition of public interest and business groups, including the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Sun Microsystems, filed a Petition for Review  with a federal court, asking the court to overturn a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling requiring that broadband Internet and interconnected voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services be designed to make government wiretapping easier. 

Although law enforcement agencies can already subpoena contents of VoIP calls from Internet service providers, the new rule would require providers to rewire their networks to allow more direct access to Internet conversations.  John Morris, staff counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) said that the requirements under the rule would pose a great cost to providers and stifle innovation.

Learn more about the lawsuit: CDT press release; press coverage.

Halloween Safety Tips

A few safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission can protect children who plan to go trick-or-treating this Halloween.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also offers safety tips for Halloween: on treats, makeup, and novelty contact lenses.

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dies at 92

Rosa Parks, the woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955 helped spark the civil rights movement, died on Monday, October 24.  She was 92. You can read a biography of Ms. Parks and news of her passing.

Ms. Parks received numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Time magazine selected Ms. Parks as one of the 20 most influential heroes and icons of the 20th century.

In an interview with the Associated Press today, Texas trial lawyer Mark Lanier announced that he's assembled a nationwide  'Dream Team' of attorneys to sue Merck & Co., manufacturer of the painkiller Vioxx .  In September 2004 Merck voluntarily removed the drug  from the market after reporting that the drug increased the risk for heart attacks and strokes when taken over a certain period of time.   In August Lanier won a $253.4 million verdict for the widow of a Texas Vioxx user.  Lanier and New York attorney Perry Weitz claim to have some 20,000 potentional Vioxx lawsuits waiting to be filed.  Merck's General Counsel Kenneth Frazier vowed that the company's strategy of fighting every single Vioxx lawsuit would not change.

Learn more about Vioxx drug safety risks on FindLaw's Public Channel

FBI Releases "Crime in the U.S. 2004" Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program has released a report titled "Crime in the U.S. 2004" -- detailing the number and type of criminal offenses reported, cases "cleared" or closed, and persons arrested nationwide in 2004.

FindLaw Launches New Homepage

FindLaw has launched a new homepage.  This new homepage has two distinct sections -- one for the public & small business and one for legal professionals.

This new homepage is designed to make it easier for each major group of FindLaw's users to find the resources they need.  The new homepage for the public & small business has sections to make it easy to find a lawyer, obtain in-depth information on common legal topics, and quickly access legal forms, state laws, and much more.  You can send feedback on the new homepage to us here.

On January 7, 2005, President Bush announced the establishment of a bipartisan panel to advise on options to reform the federal tax code.  This Advisory Panel has been meeting this year and will submit to the Secretary of the Treasury a report by November 1, 2005.

At its meeting on Tuesday, October 18, the Advisory Panel agreed to recommend two distinct tax reform plans.  Each of these alternative plans would contain major revisions to the tax code, including ending the alternative minimum tax, eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, and changing the home mortgage interest deduction.

Learn more about these plans from the Advistory Panel's official site, The New York Times, CNN/Money, and other media outlets.

Toyota Recalling 71,000 2005-2006 Scion tC Cars

The AP reported that on Tuesday, October 18, Toyota announced it will be recalling 71,000 2005-2006 Scion tC sport coupes in the U.S. due to reports that a glass wind deflector (located near the moonroof) may shatter when struck by road debris. 

This recall will begin in late October.  Owners should contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.  You can obtain additional information on this recall by doing a recall search using NHTSA Campaign ID number 05V483000.  FindLaw for the Public also has some auto recall resources.

New Bankruptcy Law Effective Oct. 17

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, a major reform of the bankruptcy system, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in April 2005. Changes instituted by this new law took effect on October 17, 2005. Learn how key changes in the law may impact your financial situation if you are filing bankruptcy after October 17, 2005:

Census Bureau Releases Study on Marriage and Fertility

The U.S. Census Bureau has released a comprehensive study examining trends in marriage and fertility -- including state-by-state figures on the average age of first marriage for men and women, and analysis of factors related to birth rates nationwide. The links below include more information on the study, as well as tips and resources on marriage from FindLaw for the Public's Family Law Center.    

October is National Crime Prevention Month

October is National Crime Prevention Month, a time to educate the public on the importance of crime prevention, and an opportunity to pay special attention to crime prevention efforts and resources on both the national and state levels. The following links from the National Crime Prevention Council and from FindLaw for the Public’s Criminal Law Center provide more information on National Crime Prevention Month and crime prevention.

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