Weekly News Update


*The White House argued that the “unique circumstances” presented by the opportunity to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl gave President Obama the authority to lawfully bypass a federal statute requiring the Pentagon to notify Congress a month before he transferred the five Taliban detainees necessary to complete the deal. [NY Times]

*New York’s cities and towns shouldn’t be able to block hydraulic fracturing within their borders because such prohibitions are trumped by state law, opponents of the bans told the state’s highest court. [Bloomberg]

*A reporter who has been ordered to divulge the identity of the source of classified information lost his bid Monday to get the Supreme Court to clarify whether journalists have a right to protect their confidential sources. [Huffington Post]

*A New York City Department of Investigation inquiry has implicated Charles J. Hynes, the former Brooklyn district attorney, in the improper use of money seized from drug dealers and other criminal defendants to pay a political consultant more than $200,000 for his work on Mr. Hynes’s unsuccessful re-election campaign last year. [NY Times]

*New York City disallowed ferrets in 1959, and Giuliani’s administration fought off legal challenges to that ban, but that evidently wasn’t enough. These weasels pose a special danger to children, the city reasoned, saying their attacks on infants and other people were “notorious for their severity and capriciousness.” [Slate]

*Sixty-four organizations across New York state have received grants totaling $390,000, The New York Bar Foundation announced today. “The Foundation’s grant program assists non-profit organizations with the front-page issues of our communities. The need for funding for law-related projects continues to grow,” said Bar Foundation President Cristine Cioffi. [readMedia]

*President Obama is unveiling a controversial environmental and energy initiative: an executive order to force coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030—the boldest move yet in the administration’s efforts to fight climate change. [The Fiscal Times]

*New York’s highest court weighed whether law firms that hire partners from dissolving firms should be obligated to help repay the dead firm’s creditors by turning over profits earned on work the new partners bring with them. [Wall Street Journal]

*There was big news last week when a major New York law firm (started in the 18th century) decided to accept bitcoin. They’re McLaughlin & Stern, and their big reason for adopting the digital currency was to be on the “cutting edge of law and technology.” [News BTC]