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Blog Scan

Will the DOJ Address the Crack Disparity Tomorrow?:  At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman speculates that tomorrow, President Obama's 100th day in office, could be the day that the DOJ decides to tackle the "100-to-1crack/powder" federal sentencing disparity.  Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs is scheduled to hold a hearing on "Restoring Fairness to Federal Sentencing: Addressing the Crack-Powder Disparity."  Berman cautions that change is unlikely, but, he does note that in the past both Vice President Biden and President Obama have advocated legislation to end harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine.

Upholding the Government's Ban on "Fleeting Expletives":  Tony Mauro reports for Blog of Legal Times on the Supreme Court's decision in FCC v. Fox Television Stations, et al.(07-582).  The case involved a challenge to the FCC's decision to ban the "fleeting expletives" uttered by celebrities on two of Fox's television shows.  Following comments by Cher and Nicole Richie on live Fox award's shows, the FCC decided to switch its policy from accepting "dirty words" to a near-ban on "fleeting expletives."  Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which found found that the FCC had acted reasonably in tightening up its policy on indecent language over the airwaves to cover fleeting expletives.  The Court did not rule on Fox's First Amendment claim.  Lyle Denniston has this post on SCOTUSblog.   Eugene Volokh also comments on Justice Thomas' concurring opinion over on Volokh Conspiracy. 

A "Frothy" Plaintiff:  [Off-topic but interesting] At Wall Street Journal Blog, Ashby Jones posts on a legal battle between Larry Bell, the founder of Bell's Brewery Inc., and one of his distributors in Michigan state court.  Bell has sued his distributor to try to block it from selling the rights to market his products to an Anheuser-Busch InBev distributor.  Jones reports that Bell's lawsuit is one of many recent legal spats between small craft brewers and distributors, as craft brewers challenge the state laws that typically favor the distributor.  Jones calls these laws "part of a complex regulatory architecture erected after the repeal of Prohibition." 

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