Lasting Influence: Lobbyists are working around a White House order banning them from seeking details about the $787 billion economic-stimulus plan by instead sending company executives, lawyers or consultants to meet with federal officials in the hope of securing a share of the money, The Wall Street Journal reports. At least three groups concerned about the ban met with White House ethics special counsel Norman Eisen Friday, calling the ban a curb on their constitutional right to petition the government.
The Early Torture Debate: The New York Times finds that statements of former CIA official John Kiriakou about waterboarding haven’t held up well. Commentators such as Jonah Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh used Kiriakou’s endorsement of the technique in their own defenses of waterboarding, but Kiriakou did not have first-hand knowledge of its use and, contrary to his 2007 claims on ABC News, suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah did not become fully cooperative after only 30 to 35 seconds. Kiriakou now works for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Patent Controversy: In a move that could fire debate over “inequitable conduct” standards in patent cases, the Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company wants to protect its patent on the $3-billion-a-year blood thinner Lovenox, but lower courts ruled that a company scientist intentionally misled the U.S. Patent Office about the drug.
Swine Flu & the Law: Lawyers and staff at one Mexico City law firm are making a point of washing their hands frequently and are trying to limit contact with clients as much as possible as a result of the outbreak of a strain of swine flu. The National Law Journal spoke with Marco Najera, an associate at Gardere, Arena y Asociados who says that, when feasible, lawyers are opting for telephone contact with clients instead of meeting face-to-face.
Iowa Gay Marriages Begin: More than 380 same-sex couples applied for Iowa marriage licenses Monday under a state Supreme Court ruling that gave them marital rights equal to those of heterosexuals, The Des Moines Register reports. More than 25 applicants were from border states such as Minnesota and Nebraska. In many cases, the couples were joined at county courthouses by protesters bearing petitions boasting more than 17,000 signatures and a message that many Iowans, no matter the law, still oppose gay marriage.