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Friday, Aug 28th

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Supreme Court upholds terrorism support law

Supreme Court upholds terrorism support lawThe Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law that bars Americans from providing support to foreign terrorist groups, rejecting arguments that it violated constitutional rights of free speech and association. The decision came in the first test to reach the Supreme Court after the September 11, 2001, attacks of a case pitting the right of U.S. citizens to speak and associate freely against the government's efforts to fight terrorism.

In a victory for the Obama administration, the justices voted, 6-3, to reverse a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that declared parts of the law unconstitutionally vague.

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Judges Rule for Police on Surveillance

Judges Rule for Police on SurveillanceA panel of federal judges ruled on Wednesday that New York City can keep secret about 1,800 pages of records detailing the Police Department’s surveillance and tactical strategy in advance of protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

In reversing a lower court decision, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sided with the department’s position that releasing the documents could compromise future surveillance efforts, including those centered on terrorism suspects.

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GAO says millions of dollars are wasted on federal courthouses that are too big

GAO says millions of dollars are wasted on federal courthouses that are too bigSome federal judges and court workers occupy courthouses that are bigger than necessary, according to a preliminary report by government auditors.

The Government Accountability Office revealed last week that 27 of the 33 federal courthouses built by the General Services Administration since 2000 contain about 3.6 million square feet of extra space -- or 28 percent of the total federal court space built in the last decade. The excess space has soaked up $835 million in construction costs and $51 million in annual rent and operations costs, the GAO said.

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SWAT Raids Gone Wrong -- Paramilitary Policing Is Out of Control

Botched (wrong address or wrong person) raids or raids where it appears excessive force has been used are certainly not a new phenomenon, as journalist Radley Balko documented in his 2006 study, "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Policing in America." But most raids gone bad do not get such wide public or media attention.

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Obama extends benefits for gay federal employees

Obama extends benefits for gay federal employeesObama said he had directed government agencies to offer a number of new benefits to the families of gay and lesbian federal employees, including family assistance services, hardship transfers and relocation expenses.

His directive builds on a move he made last year to offer healthcare benefits, sick leave and medical evacuation for same-sex partners of federal employees.

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Supreme Court backs off strict enforcement of Miranda rights

Supreme Court backs off strict enforcement of Miranda rightsThe Supreme Court retreated from strict enforcement of the famous Miranda decision on Tuesday, ruling that a crime suspect's words could be used against him if he failed to clearly invoke his rights clearly and, instead, answered a single question after nearly three hours of interrogation.

In the past, the court has said the "burden rests on the government" to show that a crime suspect has "knowingly and intelligently waived" his rights.

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Obama unveils new security strategy

Obama advisers, including secretary of state Clinton, will unveil the strategyBarack Obama, the US president, is set to unveil a new national security strategy, which calls for more global engagement and aims to downplay fears that the US is "at war" with Islam.

The document, updated every four years, sets priorities for America's military, law enforcement and foreign policy agencies. It drops some of the most controversial language from the Bush administration, like the phrase "global war on terror" and references to "Islamic extremism".

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