Reaction to Alaska Voting Rights Ruling

first_imgPlaintiffs in a voting rights lawsuit are reacting to news that a Federal Court Judge has ruled in their favor. Wednesday a judge ruled that the State of Alaska violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide translations into Native languages.Download AudioJudge Sharon Gleason found the State of Alaska violated the Voting Rights Act by failing to provide translations of voting materials to voters whose primary language is Gwich’in or Yup’ik.Benjaman Nukusuk is the Tribal Chief for the Native Village of Hooper Bay, a plaintiff in the case.“I was very pleased because the elders of the Y-K Delta want to know what they’re voting on and who they’re voting for and why and our elders by nature are very articulate and precise in what that want, especially when it comes to things that matter for our people and the things of our Y-K Delta.”Judge Gleason issued the partial decision after presiding over a two-week trial in June and July. Native American Rights Fund Attorneys argued the state’s voting materials in Yup’ik and Gwich’in were inaccurately translated and poorly distributed. NARF Attorney Natalie Landreth says the law the state was supposed to be following passed in 1975.“We’re obviously extremely pleased and relieved but the reality is that the case, the decision and the changes that it’s supposed to bring are 40 years overdue.JudgeGleason gave the state until Friday to indicate what changes they can make before the November 4th general election. Landreth says she hopes the state will deliver comprehensive translations.“There’s a hundred-page voter information pamphlet that goes out every election in English and the reality is that Yup’ik speaking voters are entitled to all of that information before they go vote and so what we want to see is some plan to make sure that Yup’ik speaking voters will learn about the candidates, the ballot measures, the bond measures, the judges, everything on there.”The Department of Law has said it will work with the Division of Elections to draft a proposal. Judge Gleason has not yet ruled on whether the state intentionally violated voter’s rights on the basis race or color.last_img read more

Denied By The DOJ

first_imgFor purposes of this post, I invite you to stipulate two things.First, FCPA Professor is a free, public website and a leading source of FCPA information that is widely read by a world-wide audience. Some might have difficulty stipulating to this, but the following is what others have said about FCPA Professor. FCPA Professor is the “the Wall Street Journal concerning all things FCPA-related,” and “the most authoritative source for those seeking to understand and apply the FCPA,”  FCPA Professor is a Top Law Blog for in-house counsel by Corporate Counsel, a Top 25 Business Law Blog by LexisNexis, and a top 100 Legal Blog by the American Bar Association.Second, DOJ FCPA officials routinely speak to on-line information sources on topics relevant to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and certain of these outlets often put the official’s comments behind a paywall.Against this backdrop, this post highlights the DOJ’s long refusal to engage with FCPA Professor and frequent denial of FCPA Professor interview requests. Should DOJ officials engage with FCPA Professor? In posing this question, this post, among other things, shares the comments of a former high-ranking DOJ official on the question posed.I am occasionally asked by readers about my relationship, if any, with DOJ FCPA enforcement attorneys. My standard response is that several former DOJ officials are among the most valued readers of FCPA Professor, contributors to this site, and self-described “biggest fans” and “biggest boosters” of FCPA Professor. Yet, the relationship with current DOJ FCPA officials is non-existent.My efforts to engage with the DOJ on FCPA topics dates back several years.For instance, as highlighted in this prior post, in the aftermath of the November 2012 FCPA Guidance, I submitted two basic questions about the Guidance to my DOJ press office contact. No response. Three additional efforts were made. No response. As stated in the prior post, so much for that transparency thing the DOJ talked about in the FCPA Guidance press conference (i.e. the DOJ strives to be “transparent” in its FCPA enforcement.).Fast forward to a more recent snubbing by the DOJ.On April 5th, I dialed in to the DOJ’s press conference announcing its FCPA “Pilot Program.” When doing so, the moderator asks one to state your name and affiliation and I complied. At the first available opportunity when listeners were prompted, I requested to ask a question. However, I never got the opportunity to ask my questions – rather all of the questions chosen were from non-lawyer journalists some of which – it was perfectly clear – knew very little about the FCPA.No big deal, a press conference can only last so long and perhaps it was just bad luck.On May 4th, I e-mailed my DOJ press office contact as follows.“As you know, Mr. Weissmann has participated in several interviews with online media sources in recent months, including as to the recently announced FCPA pilot program.I respectfully invite Mr. Weissmann to do either a written Q&A for publication on FCPA Professor or be a guest on the FCPA Flash podcast to discuss various aspects of the pilot program.Unlike other media sources to which Mr. Weissmann has granted interviews, both FCPA Professor and the FCPA Flash podcast are free public resources.[…]Thank you for the consideration.”My contact at the DOJ (who I should note has always been very cordial and professional) responded “I’ll check and get back to you on this.”A week passed without a further response.So, I tried again.A week passed without a further response.So, I tried again.Another week passed without a further response.So, I tried again.Another week passed and finally I received the following response from the DOJ press office. “Thanks for reaching out and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We’ll decline the opportunity for an interview at this time. I’ll let you know if that changes.”Denied once again by the DOJ.And to think, the DOJ did not even know what my questions were going to be.Fast forward to June 1st.Like many, I had just read that Daniel Kahn was appointed the permanent DOJ FCPA Unit Chief. Perhaps, I thought, Mr. Kahn would like to engage with a leading FCPA information source that would publish for free – for all the world to see – his FCPA goals and insights.So, once again, I e-mailed my DOJ press office contact and stated:“I appreciate the consideration as to Mr. Weissmann.I understand that Daniel Kahn was recently named the FCPA Unit Chief. I would like to request to interview Mr. Kahn (either a written Q&A or interview Mr. Kahn on the FCPA Flash podcast).”Unlike the prior request, this second request was promptly denied as the press office contact stated: “We’ll decline the opportunity for an interview with Mr. Kahn at this time. Again, will let you know if that changes.”Denied once again by the DOJ.And again, the DOJ did not even know what my questions were going to be.I fully understand and accept that DOJ FCPA officials (like other public officials) do not have a legal duty to speak to all people.However, given the DOJ’s frequent reference to engagement and transparency in the FCPA space, I remain hopeful that some day DOJ FCPA officials will conclude it is worth their time to engage with a leading FCPA information source that is a free and publicly available.If you are reading, the invitation is always open.I recognize that my feelings towards this issue are not exactly distintered.Thus, I reached out to certain long-time, valued FCPA Professor readers and posed the general question of whether the DOJ should be willing to engage with FCPA Professor.A former high-ranking DOJ official responded to my question as follows:“Clearly, they are not happy with your periodic observations that the emperor has no clothes, or that the revolving door has hit someone else in the ass, but your criticisms are usually fairly mild.  […] What the government folks don’t seem very anxious to do these days is to articulate why they are taking some of their more leading edge interpretations of the [FCPA].   […]  Keep up the good work.”An FCPA practitioner responded as follows:“[The DOJ] should grant interviews to all reputable sources which includes FCPA Professor at the top of this list. Their avoidance of a leading source of FCPA analysis, which can be critical and test assertions of DOJ, speaks volumes.”last_img read more

New Obama Climate Rules Draw Darts and Delight

Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Many scientists say they are not the most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions, they cover only one industrial sector, and they’re way overdue. Still, climate researchers are mostly applauding proposed rules that the Obama administration released this morning to slash carbon emissions from existing power plants. The overall goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. power sector by up to 30% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels.“It’s very encouraging to see activity aimed at reducing our impact on climate,” says Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. “Up to now, most of the action we’ve actually seen is on the other side—the changing climate, often at speeds and rates faster than our models have predicted.” Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The proposal marks the biggest step the United States has taken to date to cut greenhouse gas emissions, notes climate scientist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Palo Alto, California. But in formulating its plan, the White House made plenty of compromises. These include rejecting calls to simply impose a price—or tax—on each ton of carbon emitted by power plants that burn coal and other fossil fuels. Instead, the Obama administration is proposing that states have a menu of options, from setting up markets for trading carbon pollution permits to investing in energy efficiency, for reducing emissions.That more complex approach makes the new rules somewhat similar to another major Obama policy initiative—reforming health insurance—that was marked by give-and-take, Caldeira says. “If a simple price on CO2 emissions is the single-payer plan of climate policy, what we are getting is closer to Obamacare,” he says. “Better than nothing, and maybe the best we can achieve, but far less than what we need.”The plan calls for using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) authority under the Clean Air Act to target greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s roughly 1000 fossil fuel power plants, which emitted more than 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2011, about 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.Each state would be obligated to achieve a set target for annual emissions from power plants within their borders. To reach the goal, states and utilities would have a variety of options. Power utilities could invest in new technologies to reduce emissions, for example, or distribute generation among plants they own to minimize releases. Some could choose to invest in new renewable energy facilities that have little or no emissions. Or they could sponsor energy efficiency programs to curb electricity demand.Acting to cut greenhouse gas pollution from the power sector is the biggest single step the Obama administration has taken to confront climate change, but it has taken 6 years to get here. Upon taking office in 2008, President Barack Obama attempted to pass legislation that would include a comprehensive cap on carbon emissions across the power, industrial, agriculture, and other sectors. Many economists have argued that is the most efficient method of lowering total national emissions. But that effort died in the U.S. Senate in 2010.Advocates of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have often seen executive action as the plan B. As a backup, environmental groups had petitioned EPA in 1999 to force the agency to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which it had been considering under administrator Christine Todd Whitman early in the administration of George W. Bush. After the Bush administration reversed its plans, that lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court. The high court ruled in 2007 that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were pollutants under the act, forcing EPA to regulate them. Since then, EPA has one by one targeted industrial sectors that emit greenhouse gas emissions. Cars and light trucks came under such rules in 2010; 2 years later the agency passed rules covering power plants yet to be built.But existing power plants, including the nation’s roughly 600 coal-fired plants, have always proven the most politically difficult to regulate. Today’s rules come after a year of consultations with the public and industry. But politicians in coal states have already signaled their opposition, including several Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. And leaders of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives have vowed to try to block their implementation.“The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon,” said Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), chair of the House science committee, in a statement today. “The EPA’s plan is ‘all pain, no gain.’  It will close power plants and drive up electricity prices. These regulations will mean more jobs lost to places like China and India. … And studies show that dramatically cutting carbon emissions in the U.S. will have little impact on global temperature in the future.”Eileen Claussen, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a Washington, D.C.–area think tank that has advocated for emissions controls, was more positive. “Given the complexities and the stakes, it looks as if EPA has done a credible job on a tough issue,” she said in a statement today. “It’s clear the agency has taken to heart what it’s heard from states and utilities, and is trying to offer considerable flexibility so they can figure out their own best way to meet the standard.”The rules are now under public comment and set to be finalized next year. They will surely face stiff legal opposition. The issue could end up before the Supreme Court, where swing justice Anthony Kennedy, the deciding vote in the 2007 decision, may again be pivotal.For the time being, however, scientists are pleased to finally see action on the nation’s biggest emitters. “This is the most important thing the president has done on climate change,” says geologist Daniel Schrag of Harvard University, one of the president’s top advisers on climate. He predicts the rules will “drive huge new investments in all sorts of new generating capacity, [and] on energy efficiency.”*Correction, 2 June, 1:10 p.m.: The nation’s fossil fuel power plants emitted more than 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2011, not more than 2 million tons, as was previously reported. This has been corrected. read more