Here, after an unintended hiatus, is another installment of stories that caught our attention recently.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether supporters of a referendum to overturn Washington State’s domestic partner law could keep the names of 138,000 people who signed a petition secret, the Los Angeles Times reported. Justice Antonin Scalia remarked: “You know, you can’t run a democracy this way, with everybody being afraid of having his political positions known.” The petition’s signers fear repurcussions if their identities become public. The court’s ruling could effect campaign disclosure laws throughout the country, including West Virginia, which has faced successful lawsuits claiming that its revised campaign disclosure laws are unconstitutional.
A Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that there was no probable cause to arrest an off-duty Chicago police officer for driving under the influence after he was involved in a crash that killed two young men on Thanksgiving Day 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported. None of the four officers at the scene noticed any sign of John Ardelean being drunk, and neither did the EMT who responded, Circuit Judge Thomas Gainer noted. That conclusion was reached by a police lieutenant hours after the crash, when no probable cause existed to arrest Ardelean, according to the judge. In a subsequent article, columnist John Kass questioned Gainer’s ruling, noting that a civil attorney for one of the deceased men’s families had Ardelean’s phone records, which indicated that the off-duty officer called another police officer and the bar where he had been drinking, but never called 911 following the crash.
The decision by the San Diego Unified School System to buy a certain type of computerized whiteboards has drawn scrutiny from the FBI, VoiceofSanDiego.org reported Wednesday. Similar purchases in Florida and Iowa are also under federal investigation, according to the article. A spokeswoman for Promethean, the company that makes the whiteboards, said that she believes the company is a witness, and not the target, of the Florida and Iowa investigations.