Carrie Johnson http://wuis.org en Welcome To Voting Rights Boot Camp http://wuis.org/post/welcome-voting-rights-boot-camp Election season is getting underway in states all over the country, and voting rights advocates worry some of those places may move to disenfranchise minorities by exploiting a Supreme Court ruling.<p>That ruling last June blew up a system that had forced states with a history of discrimination to win federal approval before making election changes.<p>Now, legal groups are responding by training a new generation of activists to sue. Mon, 07 Apr 2014 07:24:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 22449 at http://wuis.org Welcome To Voting Rights Boot Camp Unanimous Jury Convicts Al-Qaida Propagandist In Manhattan http://wuis.org/post/unanimous-jury-convicts-al-qaida-propagandist-manhattan Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>Today, in New York City, just blocks from where World Trade towers stood, a jury convicted Osama bin Laden's son-in-law of conspiring to kill Americans. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was a chief propagandist for al-Qaida. He was seen in videos with bin Laden immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:56:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 21707 at http://wuis.org Karl R. Thompson Tapped To Lead Key Justice Department Unit http://wuis.org/post/karl-r-thompson-tapped-lead-key-justice-department-unit Karl R. Thompson has been named to lead the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, an under-the-radar but critically important unit that approves executive branch legal arguments on armed drones, surveillance and other national security issues.<p>Thompson has been advising Attorney General Eric Holder on civil litigation and Supreme Court issues since 2013. But he worked for nearly four years in the Office of Legal Counsel earlier in the Obama administration. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:53:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 21585 at http://wuis.org Prosecutor David O'Neil To Head Justice's Criminal Division http://wuis.org/post/prosecutor-david-oneil-head-justices-criminal-division Longtime prosecutor David O'Neil will become the acting head of the criminal division at the Justice Department, a position that puts him in charge of a vast portfolio ranging from financial fraud investigations to public corruption and kleptocracy among foreign leaders.<p>O'Neil had most recently worked as chief of staff to the Deputy U.S. Attorney General, focusing on oversight of criminal cases and white collar fraud investigations as well as the fallout from cascading leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 20:29:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 21368 at http://wuis.org Prosecutor David O'Neil To Head Justice's Criminal Division Senators Want Watchdog To Investigate Federal Prosecutorial Misconduct http://wuis.org/post/senators-want-watchdog-investigate-federal-prosecutorial-misconduct A <a href="http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2014/hundreds-of-justice-attorneys-violated-standards.html">new report</a> from the Project on Government Oversight documents 650 ethics infractions including recklessness and misconduct by Justice Department lawyers over the past decade or so.<p>Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester cited those findings to introduce legislation Thursday that would require an independent watchdog to investigate those breaches. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:25:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20824 at http://wuis.org Holder Steps Forward For Shorter Drug Sentences http://wuis.org/post/holder-steps-forward-shorter-drug-sentences Attorney General Eric Holder is before the U.S. Sentencing Commission to support changes in sentencing for drug offenses, which could shave time off prison terms and reduce federal prison populations. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:47:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20806 at http://wuis.org On Senate Floor, Rift Opens Between Lawmakers And CIA http://wuis.org/post/senate-floor-rift-opens-between-lawmakers-and-cia Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>I'm Robert Siegel.<p>In Washington today, a remarkable dispute between the CIA and the lawmakers who oversee its operations. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20641 at http://wuis.org Holder Speaks Out On Snowden, Drone Policy, Softening Sentences http://wuis.org/post/holder-speaks-out-snowden-drone-policy-softening-sentences Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.<p>From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20582 at http://wuis.org Holder Speaks Out On Snowden, Drone Policy, Softening Sentences Rights Advocates See 'Access To Justice' Gap In U.S. http://wuis.org/post/rights-advocates-see-access-justice-gap-us Too many poor people in the U.S. lack access to lawyers when they confront major life challenges, including eviction, deportation, custody battles and domestic violence, according to a new report by advocates at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic.<p>Risa Kaufman, acting co-director of the clinic, is one of dozens of lawyers traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, this week to talk with a U.N. Human Rights Committee examining how the U.S. complies with an international covenant on civil and political rights. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 04:08:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20502 at http://wuis.org Senate Democrats Defect On Obama Civil Rights Nominee http://wuis.org/post/senate-rejects-obama-nominee-key-civil-rights-post In a stinging blow to the Obama administration, seven Senate Democrats joined with Republicans Wednesday to block one of the president's key civil rights nominees.<p>The 47 to 52 vote marked the first defeat of a Democratic nominee since lawmakers changed Senate rules to make it easier to push through judges and executive branch candidates. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:35:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20246 at http://wuis.org Senate Democrats Defect On Obama Civil Rights Nominee Decades-Old Case Looms Large In Defeated Civil Rights Nomination http://wuis.org/post/decades-old-case-looms-large-defeated-civil-rights-nomination Debo Adegbile was the nominee to lead the Justice Department Civil Rights Division, and he has a compelling story — from child actor to activist lawyer. The Senate defeated his nomination Wednesday. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 20248 at http://wuis.org Before Lawmakers, Former Inmates Tell Their Stories http://wuis.org/post/lawmakers-former-inmates-tell-their-stories Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>Some members of Congress are calling for a more humane prison system. They're proposing a ban on solitary confinement for certain prisoners - among them, juveniles, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. Here's Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.<p>SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: By reforming our solitary confinement practices, the United States can protect human rights, improve public safety, and be physically responsible. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 21:19:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 19689 at http://wuis.org Top Justice Dept. Official Quietly Stepped Down In December http://wuis.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 18:56:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 19595 at http://wuis.org Top Justice Dept. Official Quietly Stepped Down In December New York Backs Off Controversial Punishment For Juveniles http://wuis.org/post/new-york-backs-controversial-punishment-juveniles Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>The state of New York is taking a step toward a more humane prison system. Prison officials reached a landmark agreement today to limit the use of solitary confinement. The deal prohibits the use of extreme isolation to discipline under-age prisoners. It also offers new protections for pregnant women and for the disabled.<p>With us to talk about the deal is NPR's Carrie Johnson. Hi.<p>CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.<p>SIEGEL: New York is now the largest prison system in the U.S. to take some of these steps. Thu, 20 Feb 2014 21:21:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 19371 at http://wuis.org In Security Cases, Feds No Longer Get Benefit Of The Doubt http://wuis.org/post/security-cases-feds-no-longer-get-benefit-doubt Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning. We have been hearing for months about how disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have shaken the intelligence community and spurred Congress to try to impose new limits on surveillance. In recent weeks, after-shocks from those leaks have been rippling through the courts as well. Thu, 13 Feb 2014 10:39:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 18880 at http://wuis.org Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights http://wuis.org/post/holder-calls-restoring-felons-voting-rights Attorney General Eric Holder called on 11 states to repeal "counterproductive" laws that bar convicted felons from "the single most basic right of American citizenship-the right to vote."<p>In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University law school, Holder used his bully pulpit to note that 5.8 million people are prohibited from voting because of current or former felony convictions, including 1-in-5 black adults in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia.<p>"By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future cr Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:31:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 18740 at http://wuis.org Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples http://wuis.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. Sat, 08 Feb 2014 17:18:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 18597 at http://wuis.org Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples Obama Tries Going It Alone — And Moves Onto Murky Legal Ground http://wuis.org/post/obama-tries-going-it-alone-and-moves-murky-legal-ground Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>President Obama's plan to bypass roadblocks in Congress and govern through executive order isn't going over well on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers are demanding to see the legal justification for some of the president's decisions on healthcare and the minimum wage. NPR's Carrie Johnson has that story.<p>CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Ultimately, this may all be about the White House but the proximate target of Republican ire is the U.S. Justice Department, as Attorney General Eric Holder and his deputy learned when they made recent appearances in Congress. Fri, 07 Feb 2014 22:05:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 18555 at http://wuis.org An Unusual Coalition Helps Mandatory Minimum Bill Clear Senate Committee http://wuis.org/post/unusual-coalition-helps-mandatory-minimum-bill-clear-senate-committee Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>In this part of the program: America's jam packed prisons and the push in the United States Senate that could help do something about it. In a moment, we'll hear a bit about why federal prisons house more inmates than they ever have. Thu, 30 Jan 2014 22:30:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 18001 at http://wuis.org Privacy Board Recommends Eliminating NSA Phone Record Program http://wuis.org/post/privacy-board-recommends-eliminating-nsa-phone-record-program Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel.<p>A new report recommends ending the NSA program that collects the phone records of Americans. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board advises the president. The bipartisan agency found that the phone surveillance program falls short on several counts. For one thing, they say, there is no legal basis for it. And for another, it doesn't work. Thu, 23 Jan 2014 22:23:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 17517 at http://wuis.org Post-9/11 Panel Criticizes NSA Phone Data Collection http://wuis.org/post/post-911-panel-criticizes-nsa-phone-data-collection An independent panel created after the 9/11 attacks says bulk collection of billions of American phone records violates the letter and the spirit of the law.<br /> <br /> The new report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board undercuts the foundation of the National Security Agency's long-running phone metadata program, and suggests it conflicts with plain language in the Patriot Act and other laws on the books.<p>NPR obtained a copy of the report, which will be discussed and voted on Thursday at an open board meeting.<br /> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 05:43:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 17453 at http://wuis.org 5 Takeaways From The President's NSA Speech http://wuis.org/post/5-takeaways-presidents-nsa-speech What does it mean when lawmakers as different as Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall and New York Republican Rep. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 22:46:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 17195 at http://wuis.org 5 Takeaways From The President's NSA Speech Lawmakers Roll Out Voting Rights Act Fix http://wuis.org/post/lawmakers-roll-out-voting-rights-act-fix A bipartisan group of lawmakers took the first step Thursday to patch a gaping hole in the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court eviscerated a key part of the law that allowed for federal oversight of states with a history of ballot box discrimination.<p>The bill, known as the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, has been sponsored in the House by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., and in the Senate by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Chris Coons, D-Del. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 20:52:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 17102 at http://wuis.org Lawmakers Roll Out Voting Rights Act Fix Justice Department Prepares Broader Ban On Racial Profiling http://wuis.org/post/justice-department-prepares-broader-ban-racial-profiling The Justice Department is preparing to unveil new guidelines that ban racial, ethnic and religious profiling in federal investigations, a law enforcement source tells NPR.<p>The long-considered move by Attorney General Eric Holder could be announced by the end of January. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 18:33:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 17084 at http://wuis.org Justice Department Prepares Broader Ban On Racial Profiling FBI Director 'Confused' By Reports Calling Snowden A Hero http://wuis.org/post/fbis-comey-snowden-confused-hero-talk FBI Director Jim Comey says he's "confused" by reports that characterize NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a "whistleblower" or a "hero" because, he says, all three branches of America's government have approved the bulk collection of U.S. Thu, 09 Jan 2014 22:10:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 16640 at http://wuis.org FBI Director 'Confused' By Reports Calling Snowden A Hero Record Could Hinder Confirmation Of Civil Rights Nominee http://wuis.org/post/record-could-hinder-confirmation-civil-rights-nominee Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>In other Senate business, the Judiciary Committee today considers President Obama's nominee to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. That nomination could not have come at a more challenging time. Last year, the Supreme Court overturned a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.<p>Now, government lawyers are trying to find another way to protect minorities at the ballot box. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 10:28:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 16498 at http://wuis.org The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI http://wuis.org/post/secret-burglary-exposed-j-edgar-hoovers-fbi More than 40 years ago, on the evening of March 8, 1971, a group of burglars carried out an audacious plan. They pried open the door of an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole files about the bureau's surveillance of anti-war groups and civil rights organizations.<p>Hundreds of agents tried to identify the culprits, but the crime went unsolved. Until now.<p>For the first time, a new book reveals that the burglars were peace demonstrators who wanted to start a debate about the FBI's unchecked power to spy on Americans. Tue, 07 Jan 2014 07:57:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 16420 at http://wuis.org The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI Push For Release Of CIA Interrogation Report Continues http://wuis.org/post/push-release-cia-interrogation-report-continues For more than a year, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA have been engaged in a tug of war over the release of the so-called torture report.<p>Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, says the $40 million, 6,000-page report demonstrates that CIA treatment of detainees was all but useless in terms of gathering actionable intelligence.<p>For its part, the CIA says the classified committee report contains significant errors and that no one at the agency was interviewed by Senate investigators.<p>A CIA spokesman points out that in any event, President Obama outlawed waterb Wed, 18 Dec 2013 22:46:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 15312 at http://wuis.org Push For Release Of CIA Interrogation Report Continues Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Unconstitutional http://wuis.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 19:51:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 15133 at http://wuis.org FBI Agents Support Bipartisan Spending Deal http://wuis.org/post/fbi-agents-support-bipartisan-spending-deal FBI agents across the country have been among the most vocal opponents of the spending cuts triggered by sequestration, <a href="http://www.fbiaa.org/news/140814/VOICES-FROM-THE-FIELD-REPORT.htm">warning about everything from having to abandon surveillance work to a lack of gas money</a>.<p>But the <a href="http://www.fbiaa.org/">FBI Agents Association</a>, hoping to avert further cutbacks next year, is throwing its clout behind the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/10/250041981/bipartisan-negotiators-unveil-budget-to-avoid-january-shutdown">bipartisan spending plan</a> unve Wed, 11 Dec 2013 23:08:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 14828 at http://wuis.org FBI Agents Support Bipartisan Spending Deal