Carrie Johnson, NPR http://kut.org en Top Justice Dept. Official Quietly Stepped Down In December http://kut.org/post/top-justice-dept-official-quietly-stepped-down-december The leader of an influential Justice Department office that offers legal advice on surveillance, drones and other issues at the center of security and executive power quietly left government before Christmas.<br /> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 20:25:03 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 9837 at http://kut.org Top Justice Dept. Official Quietly Stepped Down In December Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples http://kut.org/post/holder-orders-equal-treatment-married-same-sex-couples Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.<p>The directive specifies that such couples can decline to give testimony in U.S. cases that might incriminate a spouse, known in the law as marital privilege. Sun, 09 Feb 2014 00:54:54 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR & Carrie Johnson, NPR 9743 at http://kut.org Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Unconstitutional http://kut.org/post/federal-judge-rules-nsa-bulk-phone-record-collection-unconstitutional A federal judge in Washington says the National Security Agency's program for bulk phone record collection violates Americans' reasonable expectation of privacy.<p><a href="http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/obamansa.pdf">The ruling</a> (pdf), however, has been stayed pending a likely appeal.<p>Judge Richard Leon says the sweeping NSA collection of U.S. phone metadata constitutes an unreasonable search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.<p>The judge says the <a href="http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=442&invol=735">Smith v. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 20:33:30 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 9380 at http://kut.org Holder On The Hot Seat Over Leak Investigations http://kut.org/post/holder-hot-seat-over-leak-investigations Attorney General Eric Holder has been a lightning rod for the president's fiercest critics during his four years in office. Lately, he's been back on the hot seat with a crisis of his own making: the Justice Department's aggressive stance toward reporters in national security leak cases.<p>Holder heads to the Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers are sure to demand an explanation.<p>Being in the center of the storm is nothing new for Holder. Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:57:32 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 8016 at http://kut.org Holder On The Hot Seat Over Leak Investigations Intent To Harm At Center Of Bradley Manning's Trial http://kut.org/post/intent-harm-center-bradley-mannings-trial In the three years since his arrest, Bradley Manning, the slight Army private first class with close-cropped blond hair and thick military glasses, has become less of a character than a cause.<p>"Bradley Manning is a very polarizing figure. People either think that he is a hero or they think he's a traitor," says Elizabeth Goitein, who co-directs the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "I actually think that he's somewhere in between."<p>Manning is accused of one of the biggest leaks of classified information in history. Mon, 03 Jun 2013 16:04:10 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 7966 at http://kut.org Intent To Harm At Center Of Bradley Manning's Trial Holder Acknowledges U.S. Citizens Killed in Drone Strikes http://kut.org/post/holder-acknowledges-us-citizens-killed-drone-strikes For the first time, the U.S. government has acknowledged killing four American citizens in lethal drone strikes far outside traditional battlefields, confirming information that had been widely known but has only recently been unclassified under orders of the president.<p>Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday explaining that only one of the four dead U.S. citizens was explicitly targeted. Wed, 22 May 2013 22:07:50 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 7845 at http://kut.org Holder Acknowledges U.S. Citizens Killed in Drone Strikes Justice Department Joins Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong http://kut.org/post/justice-department-joins-lawsuit-against-lance-armstrong The Justice Department <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/February/13-civ-224.html">has joined a civil lawsuit against cyclist Lance Armstrong</a>, his Tailwind Sports team and its longtime manager, alleging their pervasive doping campaign defrauded the U.S. Fri, 22 Feb 2013 23:05:22 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 6724 at http://kut.org Justice Department Joins Lawsuit Against Lance Armstrong Sponsors Of Assault Weapons Ban Hope Newtown Shooting Changes Minds http://kut.org/post/sponsors-assault-weapons-ban-hope-ct-shooting-changes-minds Congressional Democrats appeared on Capitol Hill Thursday to push for a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.<p>The bill's author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, started her remarks with a roster of tragedy: "Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Tucson. Oak Creek. The common thread in these shootings is each gunman used a semiautomatic assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine."<p>Her new proposal tries to do something about both. Fri, 25 Jan 2013 12:37:22 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 6342 at http://kut.org Sponsors Of Assault Weapons Ban Hope Newtown Shooting Changes Minds Lack Of Up-To-Date Research Complicates Gun Debate http://kut.org/post/lack-date-research-complicates-gun-debate Vice President Joe Biden is getting ready to make recommendations on how to reduce gun violence in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.<p>But he says his task force is facing an unexpected obstacle: slim or outdated research on weapons.<p>Public health research dried up more than a decade ago after Congress restricted the use of some federal money to pay for those studies.<p><strong>A Researcher Under Fire</strong><p>Art Kellermann was raised in eastern Tennessee, where his father taught him how to shoot a long gun when he was 10 years old. Mon, 14 Jan 2013 11:29:15 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 6163 at http://kut.org Lack Of Up-To-Date Research Complicates Gun Debate Transocean To Pay $1.4 Billion In Gulf Oil Spill Settlement http://kut.org/post/transocean-pay-14-billion-gulf-oil-spill-settlement Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig where 11 men died in April 2010, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in criminal and civil penalties to resolve Justice Department allegations over its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.<p>A Transocean subsidiary also agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal misdemeanor charge for violating the Clean Water Act. Federal authorities blamed the company for acting negligently when the rig's crew proceeded with maneuvers to the deep-sea well in the face of clear danger signals that oil and natural gas were flowing. Thu, 03 Jan 2013 19:44:43 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 6050 at http://kut.org Transocean To Pay $1.4 Billion In Gulf Oil Spill Settlement Report On CIA Interrogation Tactics Revives Torture Debate http://kut.org/post/report-cia-interrogation-tactics-revives-torture-debate In a closed-door meeting Thursday, lawmakers will consider whether to approve a secret report that chronicles CIA detention and interrogation practices — including methods that critics have compared to torture.<p>That report — along with the release of a new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden — is rekindling an old debate about whether those methods worked.<p>California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee that's meeting Thursday, told NPR in an email that her 6,000-page report is "comprehensive," "strictly factual" and "the most definitive review of the Thu, 13 Dec 2012 13:25:10 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 5896 at http://kut.org Report On CIA Interrogation Tactics Revives Torture Debate Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws? http://kut.org/post/will-us-try-snuff-out-state-marijuana-laws The Justice Department has a big decision to make.<p>Parts of new laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana will take effect early next month. The Obama administration needs to choose whether it will sue to stop the legislation or let those states go their own way — even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.<p>Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, says the message he got from voters is unambiguous.<p>"Our voters want marijuana to be regulated, like alcohol," Hickenlooper said at a recent news conference. Tue, 20 Nov 2012 20:02:54 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 5694 at http://kut.org Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws? BP Pleads Guilty, Will Pay $4 Billion In Criminal Penalties For Gulf Oil Spill http://kut.org/post/bp-pleads-guilty-pays-record-fine-gulf-oil-spill-criminal-case <strong>Update at 11:30 a.m. ET:</strong> Oil giant BP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal misconduct related to the <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=132084502" target="_blank">2010 Gulf Oil spill</a> and will pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties, <a href="http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7080497" target="_blank">the company just confirmed</a>. And it will pay $525 million in civil penalties in a resolution with the Securities and Exchanges Commission. Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:48:28 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 5643 at http://kut.org BP Pleads Guilty, Will Pay $4 Billion In Criminal Penalties For Gulf Oil Spill The Battle For Congress: Senate And House Races To Watch http://kut.org/post/battle-congress-senate-and-house-races-watch For Republicans itching to regain control of the Senate, Tuesday's election presents a rare opportunity. Only 10 GOP incumbents are on the ballot, compared with nearly two dozen Democrats and independents who caucus with them.<p>That means the magic number for Republicans is low. They need only a net gain of three or four seats to take over the Senate — and, assuming they keep the U.S. House of Representatives, consolidate their influence on Capitol Hill. Tue, 06 Nov 2012 15:52:28 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 5537 at http://kut.org The Battle For Congress: Senate And House Races To Watch Justice Department Watchdog Blasts 'Fast And Furious' Operation http://kut.org/post/justice-department-watchdog-blasts-fast-and-furious-operation-0 <p><em>NPR's Carrie Johnson tells us more about the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/09/19/161419368/justice-department-inspector-general-to-release-fast-and-furious-report" target="_blank">Justice Department report</a> on the "Fast and Furious" gun-trafficking operation:</em></p><p>Justice Department watchdogs say a flawed gun-trafficking operation in which federal agents lost track of nearly 2,000 AK-47s and other weapons resulted from a series of "misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures."</p><p>The long-awaited report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz recommended that the conduct of 14 officials in Washington and Arizona be reviewed for possible disciplinary action. Horowitz placed most of the blame with leadership at the Phoenix field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona, which hatched the operation known as "Fast and Furious." Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:52:01 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 5109 at http://kut.org Justice Department Watchdog Blasts 'Fast And Furious' Operation How The Health Care Ruling Might Affect Civil Rights http://kut.org/post/how-health-care-ruling-could-affect-civil-rights There's been lots of talk about how the Supreme Court's landmark decision to uphold the health care law could affect the federal Medicaid program and President Obama's political standing. Fri, 06 Jul 2012 20:05:39 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 4635 at http://kut.org How The Health Care Ruling Might Affect Civil Rights Justice Department Expresses Concern Over Texas Redistricting Plan http://kut.org/post/justice-department-expresses-concern-over-texas-redistricting-plan The United States Justice Department expressed concern Monday about whether new Texas redistricting plans for four U.S. Mon, 19 Sep 2011 21:51:01 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 2551 at http://kut.org Could Texas' Redistricting Leave Latinos Behind? http://kut.org/post/could-texas-redistricting-leave-latinos-behind Political experts are keeping a close eye on Texas because it will pick up four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives next year, thanks to a soaring Latino population. But civil rights groups and the U.S. Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:08:09 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 2545 at http://kut.org Could Texas' Redistricting Leave Latinos Behind?