Specter’s Switch: Just a few minutes ago, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) wrapped up a visit to the White House. He attended a news conference with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who is getting much of the credit and/or blame for Specter’s party switch. Specter reiterated that he will “not be an automatic 60th vote,” though he has not yet said what his standard will be for voting for cloture. Obama said he will give Specter his full support in the Democratic primary. The BLT reported last night on the effect on nominees for the judiciary and the Justice Department. The Washington Post has a look at how Obama found out.
State Secrets: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reinstated a lawsuit Tuesday by five former detainees who accuse Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. of flying them to countries where they’d be tortured. The court’s ruling is a setback for the argument, made by the Bush and Obama administrations, that such a lawsuit would necessarily compromise state secrets. The Recorder has the story via Law.com.
Shocking Scenes: The Wall Street Journal goes a step further in its coverage of Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling on expletives. The newspaper reports on the caseload of indecency complaints at the Federal Communications Commission — 820,000 since 2006, though the number of unique complaints is likely far lower — and gives some examples. The last FCC indecency fine was for a combined $1.2 million in January 2008 for ABC stations’ airing of an “NYPD Blue” episode that “showed scenes of a woman’s bare bottom,” the Journal says.
Settlement Scrutiny: The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division has begun an inquiry into the implications of Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book Search service, The New York Times reports, citing two people briefed on the matter. The inquiry does not necessarily mean that Justice will oppose the settlement, the newspaper says, but it suggests that some of the concerns raised by critics, who say the settlement would unfairly give Google an exclusive license to profit from millions of books, have resonated with the Justice Department.