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Blog Scan

"DOJ Bids Farewell to Mukasey":  At Blog of the Legal Times Joe Palazzolo has a post describing the DOJ's celebratory send-off in the Department's Great Hall today.  Devlin Barrett of the Associated Press also had this story.  According to Palazzolo's post the Attorney General spoke about the number of reforms he had made during his fourteen month tenure - he "limited contact between the Justice Department and the White House, restored the role of career lawyers in making hiring decisions, and reinforced a merit-based system for hiring and recruitment 'without regard for any improper consideration, be it politics, age, race or sexual orientation[.]'" Palazzolo also reports that Mukasey briefly referenced the Department's role in condoning some of the Bush administration's controversial post-9/11 policies.  With regard to that work Mukasey apparently stated: "it is one thing to review and, when appropriate, to correct a lawyer's work; it is another thing altogether to subject that work to second guessing without appreciation for the circumstances or good faith in which it was done."

Fourth Circuit Federal Powers Case May Go To Supreme Court:  At Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh has a post on today's decision in United States v. Comstock.  A unanimous panel of the Fourth Circuit apparently held unconstitutional 18 U.S.C. ยง 4248, part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which allows the federal government to place in indefinite civil commitment "sexually dangerous" persons in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons even after the person has served his entire sentence.  According to Volokh, the court held that Congress' power did not reach this far because Congress lacks a general police power aimed at protecting the public at large from crime.  Volokh's post provides an excerpt from today's decision, and gives his thoughts on the merits, as well as the future of the case.  On the merits, Volokh sympathizes with the panel's concerns, but also believes that if Congress can detain those "not-guilty-for-reason-of-insanity" then a similar power should allow it to detain those that are predisposed to committing sexual crimes.  Volokh predicts that although there is currently no circuit-split on this issue, the Supreme Court is likely to take up the issue because it strikes down a federal statute, and addresses conflicting constitutional views on the statute of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.   

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