Debating Preclearance: Opponents of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act invoked the election of President Barack Obama in briefing their case before the Supreme Court, but Obama was not mentioned by name during Wednesday’s oral argument, Tony Mauro reports on LegalTimes.com and NLJ.com. Still, conservative justices found other ways to express their unease with the provision. Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote will be crucial, voiced deep concern about the differential treatment of states under the law.
Kelo Fallout: The Wall Street Journal reports on the efforts of local and state governments to limit “eminent domain,” four years after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo v. City of New London. The ruling upheld the constitutionality of takings for the purpose of economic development. In the latest reaction to the ruling, property-rights advocates are pushing legislatures to revise the definition of “blight.”
New Focus for ICE: The New York Times reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices are set to receive guidelines today instructing agents to take aim at employers and supervisors for prosecution “through the use of carefully planned criminal investigations.” The guidelines could lead to a change from the Bush administration, under which ICE agents rarely developed the evidence necessary to show whether businesses were knowingly using illegal labor, the Times reports.
Grand Tour: Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. continued his diplomatic trip through Europe with a speech Wednesday publicly asking for Europe’s assistance to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. “The story of the last half-century is one of each side of the Atlantic turning to the other for help in times of need, and today is no different,” Holder told about 100 policy experts, academics, and journalists, The Associated Press reports.
Pot Tax: As Benjamin Franklin would say, this was probably certain to happen. The city of Oakland, Calif., is considering a tax on medical marijuana, which federal law still bans. Prospects for the tax “were made brighter,” The Wall Street Journal reports, when Holder said in February that the government would no longer raid state-approved dispensaries. Lawyer James Anthony says the tax would prove “that government-regulated dispensaries are good neighbors.”