Federal courts cite need for more judges
During fiscal year 2016, there were 369,208 filings in the federal district courts of which 291,851 were civil cases and 77,357 were criminal cases, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said in an annual statistical report. Also, the regional circuit courts of appeal received 60,357 filings, an increase of 15% over the previous year. Simultaneously, the Judicial Conference of the U.S. said it would ask Congress to create 52 new federal judgeships. If approved, it would bring the total number of district and circuit judges to 912.
1.1 million student loans are in default
An analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education reveals that 1.1 million federal student loans were in default at the end of 2016, the Consumer Federation of America reported. At year’s end, 42.4 million Americans owed $1.3 trillion on loans taken to finance college tuition and related expenses. “Our broken system works well for the student loan industry, but is failing borrowers, taxpayers, and our economy,” CFA senior fellow Rohit Chopra said.
Milken Institute lists best retirement cities
The Milken Institute released its third annual Best Cities for Successful Aging report which lists the 20 best large cities and 20 best small cities for retirement living. The selections are based on evaluations of 381 U.S. metropolitan areas to determine which ones best serve the productive, security and health needs of mature adults. Best large cities were led by Provo-Orem, Utah; Madison, Wis.; and, Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. Best small city leaders were Iowa City, Iowa; Manhattan, Kan.; and, Ames, Iowa.
Paper ballots needed for Georgia election
Fearful that a cyberattack on the Kennesaw State University Election Center may have compromised its role in an upcoming special election, Common Cause urged election officials to authorize the use of paper ballots next month when voters choose a replacement for U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). The Center is responsible for programming and pre-election testing of all of the state’s voting machines. Common Cause speculated that cyber attackers could have planted vote-counting malware that could install itself while the machines are being programmed.
Asset freeze ordered for invention scammer
A federal judge in Florida ordered an asset freeze for World Patent Marketing of Miami Beach, Fla., while it faces Federal Trade Commission charges of bilking millions of dollars from consumers by promising to obtain patent protection and promote sales of their inventions. The FTC also claims that the company threatened legal action against consumers if they posted negative reviews about their experiences with the company.
Jerusalem suicide bomb planner charged by U.S.
Ahlam Al-Tamini, a Jordanian national, was indicted for helping plan a 2001 suicide bombing that killed 15 people, including two Americans, at a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, the Department of Justice said. Al-Tamini was living in the West Bank while attending school and working as a tv journalist, and also working for Hamas, the Palestinian terror group. Al-Tamini admitted her guilt in an Israeli court and was given a life sentence in 2003, but she was released from prison in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.
Regulatory “dark matter” pervades bureaucracy
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian advocacy group, published its annual inventory of “regulatory dark matter” which refers to executive branch memos, guidelines and bulletins that have the effect of regulation without compliance with regulatory procedures. So-called “dark matter” evades Congress, the Administrative Procedures Act, public notice and comment requirements, and the American people themselves, CEI said. The report claims that “no one really knows how many federal regulatory agencies there are: the Unified Agenda lists 61 agencies, the Administrative Conference of the U.S. lists 115, and the Federal Register office lists 440, CEI said.
Judgment entered against Michigan abortion facility
A federal judge in Michigan entered a judgment against Northland Family Planning Clinic for violating the civil rights of a protester, the American Freedom Law Center said. AFLC, which describes itself as a “Judeo-Christian public interest law firm,” brought the suit on behalf of Kimberley Thames who was falsely arrested and imprisoned after a clinic worker claimed in a call to police that a protester was planning to bomb the clinic.
2,466 refugees slip into U.S. ahead of Trump order
A Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data reveals that 2,466 refugees from the six countries affected by a presidential order—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—have been resettled in the U.S. since January 20 when Donald Trump became president. Since Trump’s inauguration, a total of 7,594 refugees have entered the U.S., including 3,410 who are Muslims (45%) and 3,292 who are Christian (43%).
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Tuesday, March 14