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News Scan

Judge Declines to Hold CIA in Contempt Over Detainee Videos:  Larry Neumeister of the AP reports a federal judge today declined to hold the CIA in contempt for destroying videotapes of September 11 detainee interrogations.  After the ACLU requested the videotapes under the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA acknowledged that it had destroyed 92 videotapes in 2005.  U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled the CIA had since remedied the problem by implementing new procedures and that a contempt order would serve no beneficial purpose.

They "Ain't What They Used to Be":  In a rare appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told the members that over-federalization of routine drug cases has led to a surplus of federal judges and diminished the prestige that once characterized the federal judiciary.  "Federal judges ain't what they used to be," Scalia said.  Joined by fellow Justice Stephen Breyer, Scalia also reiterated his opposition to televising oral arguments in the Supreme Court.  The AP has this story.

Military Commissions to Be More Transparent:  New chief military prosecutor Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins says the next round of military commissions for war crimes will be more transparent and fair to defendants, reports Ben Fox of the AP.  The Obama administration has already adopted changes limiting the use of evidence obtained through coercion or torture, and Martins says other procedural changes are on their way.  Gitmo is set to be the site of two upcoming significant cases; one against Abd al-Nashiri, who is accused of planning the deadly 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the other against Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of September 11.

Florida Lawmaker Seeks to Repeal Ban on Dwarf Tossing in Bars:  Florida state Representative Ritch Workman this week introduced a bill that would repeal a state law prohibiting activities "involving exploitation endangering the health, safety, and welfare of any person with dwarfism."  The previous law was passed in 1989, but at least one plaintiff has sought to repeal the law for employment reasons.  Mary Bell Wilson of NBC Miami reports.

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