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News Scan

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Inmate's "Failure to Warn" Lawsuit to Proceed:  The AP reports a federal judge in Los Angeles has refused to dismiss most of a former inmate's lawsuit claiming that the federal government was negligent in exposing him to potentially deadly disease.  Convicted drug dealer Arjang Panah was transferred to a federal prison in California's Central Valley in 2005, where he contracted coccidioidomycosis ("valley fever"), a disease caused by a fungus found in soil in southwestern United States.  District Judge Gary Feess said the government's immunity in such cases "does not apply to plaintiff's negligence claims to the extent they are based on defendants' failure to warn of the cocci outbreak." 

More Feedback on Police Lineups:  As noted in this earlier post, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered that state to change rules governing police lineups.  A piece in Sunday's New York Times by Erica Goode and John Schwartz reports on research raising questions about the reliability of the identification of suspects via lineups, and on efforts by some larger police departments to reduce the pressure on witness and eliminate influence by detectives seeking a suspect. 

Rethinking Clarance Thomas:  "There are few articles of faith as firmly fixed in the liberal canon as the belief that Clarance Thomas is, to put it as bluntly as many liberals do, a dunce and a worm," notes Walter Russell Mead early in this piece from the American Interest.  While liberal pundits and pop academics have stumbled over each other to malign Thomas since the day his appointment was announced, many who actually read Supreme Court opinions have recognized that Justice Thomas' intellectual depth and understanding of the Constitution put him on par historically with some of the Court's best legal minds.  Mead points to a profile of Thomas by Jeffery Toobin in the New Yorker which finally acknowledges that "In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court."  Areas where Justice Thomas is credited with influencing the Court include the First Amendment, Second Amendment and Eighth Amendment.  While characterizing the 2008 Second Amendment decision (District of Columbia v. Heller
as a constitutional land mine for the left, Mead describes Thomas' effort to seriously restore the Tenth Amendment as "a nuclear bomb." 

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I especially like Mead's Frodo Baggins analogy.

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