President Obama says the federal government will not target recreational users of marijuana in states that have now legalized pot, USA Today reports. ”We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama told Barbara Walters of ABC News, in his first public comments on the topic since Colorado and Washington voter to legalize marijuana on Nov. 6 referendums. ”It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” Obama said. The government takes a similar approach in the 18 states where medicinal marijuana is legal. Obama also told Walters he does not “at this point” support widespread legalization of marijuana.Marijuana, or cannabis, remains classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic whose cultivation, distribution, possession and use are criminal acts. It’s in the same category as heroin, LSD and “Ecstasy,” all deemed to have high potential for abuse.
The US Supreme Court has been asked to step in and make sure the military cannot detain US citizens indefinitely without charge or trial as guaranteed in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case of Hedges, et al. v. Obama filed an emergency motion with the Supreme Court on Wednesday asking the top justices in the United States to stop a White House-ordered stay that ensures US citizens can be locked up without due process. Under a provision of the 2012 NDAA, the US government can indefinitely imprison any person suspected of terrorist activity without ever requiring them to be brought to trial. In September, US District Judge Katherine Forrest granted a permanent injunction against that part of the annual defense bill, Section 1021, essentially barring the White House from using the law. In response, US President Barack Obama asked the Second Circuit Court to intervene, and they did so by placing a stay on Judge Forrest’s injunction. On Wednesday, the plaintiffs urged the Supreme Court take action and eliminate the appellate decision.
A California appellate court has upheld a Santa Barbara judge’s order saying the Boy Scouts of America must surrender decades of confidential files detailing alleged child sex abuse. A Scouts spokesman told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the organization will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. A lawsuit alleges that a local Scouts official tried to keep a boy’s mother from reporting his 2007 abuse by a volunteer leader to police. The youth group denies the allegations. In January, a Santa Barbara judge ordered all files since 1991 be turned over to the boy’s lawyers, but not the public. The order involves different files than those made public in October by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. Those files ranged from 1959 to 1985.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October ordered Congress to pay six federal judges years of back pay, CBS News reports. Now a group of federal judges is pushing a class-action lawsuit to ensure all of the rest of the federal judges who also missed out on their cost-of-living increases get what they feel is their due. It’s a touchy subject: One set of federal judges asking another set to essentially approve salary increases for everyone. Though, of course, Congress also ultimately controls its own salaries. Congress in 1989 limited federal judges’ ability to earn money outside of their work on the bench and in exchange provided what was supposed to be automatic cost-of-living increases to judicial salaries to ensure inflation wouldn’t erode the value of those salaries over time.
Prosecutors in New York asked a federal judge to sentence Bernard Madoff’s younger brother to 10 years in prison for the role he played in the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, according to court papers filed Thursday, Reuters reports. Peter Madoff pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court in June to criminal charges including conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As part of Peter Madoff’s June plea deal, he agreed not to seek a sentence other than 10 years, according to the filing. Peter Madoff “committed very serious crimes that served to conceal and perpetuate a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme” and “engaged in a vast fraud scheme by which tens of millions of dollars were transferred within the Madoff family” to avoid paying taxes and enrich himself and his family, the filing said. Peter Madoff is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 20, 2012.