By Richard Marosi and Joseph Menn for LA Times wrote:
Fugitive Online Porn Mogul Is Handed Over to U.S. Agents
7:18 PM PDT, October 27, 2005
SAN DIEGO — Four years after dodging a $65 million court judgment by fleeing the country, former online-porn mogul Stephen Michael Cohen was arrested by Mexican authorities in Tijuana on an immigration violation and handed over Thursday to U.S. agents.
Cohen, a multiple felon and longtime con man, had been on the run since before 2001, when a judge ordered him to pay a San Francisco entrepreneur for hijacking the Internet address Sex.com. In 1995, Cohen forged a letter to Internet authorities to gain control of the address, which he transformed into a highly profitable site for pornography ads.
Cohen, who had been living in a Tijuana mansion, was being held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego. His apprehension was the latest twist in one of the most bizarre and longest-running feuds of the dot-com explosion.
The contest pitted Cohen against Gary Kremen, a San Francisco engineer and investor who had the foresight to register the Web address in 1994, when names were doled out for free to the first person who asked.
While Kremen was busy with other things, including the company that grew into the online dating site Match.com, he did nothing with Sex.com. But Cohen, fresh off a federal prison term for fraud and forgery, saw the domain's potential.
In 1995, Cohen presented a forged letter to Network Solutions, ostensibly from Kremen's company, that said Kremen had been fired and that Cohen should get control of Sex.com. Network Solutions handed over the site.
When Kremen discovered what had happened, he was told by Network Solutions that they couldn't help him. They suggested he sue Cohen.. But Cohen was raking in what grew to be tens of millions of dollars by selling ads on Sex.com, and he and his lawyers put up a fight — so ferociously that the federal judge on the case ordered Cohen arrested for contempt of court.
But Cohen was unavailable. During the years of litigation, he moved his millions overseas and left the country, occasionally calling Kremen to taunt him. Kremen got Sex.com back in late 2000 and the next year was awarded $65 million — an amount that has since grown to $82 million, with interest. Kremen has collected some property from Cohen, but has yet to break even on his legal fees.
"I'm excited, and I'm happy to prepare for the next stage of justice," Kremen said Thursday.
An attorney for Cohen did not respond to a message seeking comment. Cohan was turned over to agents of the U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service, according to Deputy Marshal Tania Tyler.
Tim Golden and Eric Schmitt for The New York Times wrote:
A central player in the fight over the directive is David S. Addington, who was the vice president's counsel until he was named on Monday to succeed I. Lewis Libby Jr. as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. According to several officials, Mr. Addington verbally assailed a Pentagon aide who was called to brief him and Mr. Libby on the draft, objecting to its use of language drawn from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
"He left bruised and bloody," one Defense Department official said of the Pentagon aide, Matthew C. Waxman, Mr. Rumsfeld's chief adviser on detainee issues. "He tried to champion Article 3, and Addington just ate him for lunch."
A spokesman for the vice president, Stephen E. Schmidt, said Mr. Addington would have no comment on his reported role in the policy debates. A Defense Department spokesman, Bryan Whitman, also would not discuss Mr. Waxman's role except to say it was "certainly an exaggeration" to characterize him as having been bloodied by Mr. Addington.
In his time of need, he has counted on the help of at least one unswervingly faithful aide. With Libby sidelined, the vice president has elevated David Addington, a loyal acolyte, to be his new chief of staff. Addington has been at the vice president's side since the 1980s, when Cheney was a congressman and Addington a lawyer for the House intelligence committee. When Cheney became secretary of Defense during the first Bush presidency, Addington went with him. A skilled bureaucratic infighter who uses his temper strategically to stun foes into submission, Addington, now 48, has matured into a classic Washington type: the most powerful man you've never heard of. As Cheney's counsel, Addington—a private workaholic who, unlike Libby, shuns reporters—was one of the most forceful voices for tough treatment of terror suspects. It was Addington who drafted the January 2002 Alberto Gonzales memo which argued that captured Taliban and Qaeda fighters shouldn't be covered by the Geneva Conventions. He was behind the presidential order establishing military tribunals. And he passionately argued that in wartime the president has almost unlimited power—a point of view that was spelled out in the "torture memo" that the administration was eventually forced to rescind under public pressure.
Now those policies have become a burden for the White House. When Bush began his second term in 2004, a group of top administration officials, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, began a quiet campaign to back off some controversial detention and interrogation methods that were damaging U.S. credibility around the world. At White House meetings, Rice openly worried that in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib "these policies threatened to be the president's legacy," says an administration official who was present but asked for anonymity about the private sessions. Among the proposals seriously considered inside the bureaucracy: shutting down the prison at Guan-tanamo Bay, allowing U.N. inspectors to tour Gitmo and pledging to follow Article III of the Geneva Conventions, which bars "cruel, degrading and inhumane" treatment of prisoners. Among Rice's supporters were two staunch defenders of the war on terror: national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, and Gordon England, Donald Rumsfeld's new deputy—an important shift that suggested Rumsfeld had qualms of his own.
Staffers were dispatched to write up the new policies. But in the end, nothing came of them. Cheney and Addington, who usually stayed silent at meetings, used their influence afterward to kill the ideas, according to three administration officials who asked for anonymity to avoid crossing the vice president. "Each time, [we] hit a brick wall—the vice president's office and Addington," says one of the officials. The vice president's office declined to comment for this story beyond saying that Cheney "is motivated first and foremost in support of policies that will save American lives from a brutal enemy that has declared war on us."
Cheney relied on Addington to help him wrestle with the bureaucracy. "He knows it inside and out," says Juleanna Glover Weiss, Cheney's former press secretary. "He's a master of the Rube Goldberg-esque workings of the executive branch." Friends marvel at his ability to wade through hundreds of pages of turgid government reports to seize upon the one fact he needs to win an argument. "If you threw the entire U.S. budget into the air, David Addington could read it and mark it up before it ever hit the ground," says David Gribbin, a former Pentagon colleague. He could also be unforgiving. When a young Justice Department lawyer named Pat Philbin crossed Addington in a policy dispute, Addington made it his mission to block Philbin's promotion to a top Justice job. Addington let it be known that Philbin was a "marked man," says a colleague who spoke anonymously to avoid clashing with Addington. (Addington and Philbin declined to comment.)
Cheney and Addington's single-minded devotion to the idea of a powerful wartime presidency has, at times, led them to ignore important political realities. In 2002, administration lawyers tried to persuade Cheney and Addington to back off from the policy of denying U.S. "enemy combatants" access to legal counsel. But Cheney and Addington refused. But by 2004, the case had reached the Supreme Court and the administration wound up abandoning the position anyway, before the Justices could knock it down as unconstitutional. "David could be principled to a fault," says Bradford Berenson, a former White House colleague. It's a quality the vice president and his loyal aide admire most about one another—and one that will help define the battles to come.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
Q. Is Mr. Rove's status the same? I mean, the reports say that he remains under investigation. He was not indicted today. Is there anything —
MR. McCLELLAN: Anything — go ahead.
Q. Any change in his status? Has he talked to the President about the continuing investigation?
MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about change in his legal status? Is that what you're — I mean, it's —
Q. Does he still — he still works here, correct?
MR. McCLELLAN: That would be a Q.uestion to direct to his personal attorney.
Q. No, but he still works here, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: I saw his personal attorney put out a statement earlier today. But, yes, he has been here doing his work.
Richard Schragger wrote:
[The law] required a married woman to notify her spouse if she was planning to have an abortion unless she swore that her spouse was not the father of the child, her husband could not be located after diligent effort, the pregnancy was a result of a sexual assault that had been reported to the authorities, or she had reason to believe that notification would likely result in infliction of bodily injury.
In 15 years on the federal bench, Judge Samuel Alito often has sided with positions backed by business leaders — and shown himself a strict interpreter of contracts — in cases ranging from employment discrimination and commercial speech to shareholder suits. ... One of the best-known is a 1997 dissent in which Judge Alito argued against a racial-discrimination claim made by a black housekeeping manager who was denied promotion to a job at a Marriott International Inc. hotel. The position, at a hotel in Park Ridge, N.J., went to a white woman. While the court ruled the woman could take the case to a jury, Judge Alito argued that, although she might be able to claim she had been treated unfairly, that wasn't enough to let her sue. "What we end up doing then is...allowing disgruntled employees to impose the cost of trial on employers who, although they have not acted with the intent to discriminate, may have treated their employees unfairly," he wrote. "This represents an unwarranted extension of the anti-discrimination laws." ... Last year, Judge Alito wrote an opinion striking down a Pennsylvania law that barred alcoholic-beverage advertising in college newspapers. The law violated advertisers' First Amendment rights, he found, while doing little to prevent underage drinkers from seeing liquor ads, since they were prevalent in many other media to which students had access. ... And in 1997, Judge Alito affirmed the dismissal of a shareholder class action filed against Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp., of Burlington, N.J., after its earnings fell far short of its projections and its stock fell 30% in one day. He ruled that shareholder plaintiffs had failed to specify how the company's performance amounted to fraud, in a close reading of applicable statutes. Judge Alito has insisted on enforcement of contract terms challenged as unfair or otherwise as void, such as provisions that require consumers to use arbitration rather than lawsuits to pursue complaints, said Larry E. Ribstein, a law professor at the University of Illinois
Richard Schragger wrote:
Alito's unequivocal abortion decisions. Nov. 1, 2005, at 4:08 PM ET
Supporters of Judge Samuel Alito are out in full force today, arguing that he is conservative but not extreme; principled but not overzealous. The example being widely touted: He may have voted against a broad right to abortion in one case, but he struck down an abortion regulation in another. In one article after another it is suggested that Alito has taken a middle-of-the-road position in abortion cases. Now, let's be very clear: Judge Alito might be ambivalent about many things, but he is not ambivalent about abortion. Seeking to cloud this issue by pointing out that Alito authored opinions on both sides of the issue is nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In 1991, Alito was very clear. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey—the very case the Supreme Court later used to affirm Roe v. Wade—Alito joined the majority in holding that it is not an undue burden on a woman's right to choose to require women to wait 24 hours for an abortion, to require minors to obtain parental consent, or to require that abortion providers give women information about alternatives to abortion and comply with certain disclosure and public-reporting requirements. But Alito went even further than the majority in that case. Though he joined the other two judges in upholding most of Pennsylvania's law, he disagreed with them that the spousal notification portion of the statute was unconstitutional. Alito would have upheld the entire statute, including the spousal notification provision, on the grounds that it did not constitute an undue burden. It was this part of the statute the Supreme Court struck down in Casey.
Nine years later, in 2000, in Planned Parenthood v. Farmer, Alito faced a Pennsylvania statute banning the so-called partial-birth abortion procedure. But this time he did not get a chance to rule. The Supreme Court had granted review on an almost identical Nebraska statute, and the 3rd Circuit postponed handing down its own decision until it could hear from the Supreme Court. Alas, the Supreme Court struck down the Nebraska statute in Stenberg v. Carhart. Therefore the Pennsylvania statute had to fall as well. Alito had no choice: To do otherwise would have been to ignore a direct command of the Supreme Court.
What is interesting, however, is that Alito did not join the majority opinion in Farmer. He wrote separately. Why? Here's a very good guess: The majority opinion in Farmer had been drafted before the Supreme Court had issued its decision in Carhart; indeed, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who wrote it, expressly noted as much. Instead of rewriting the draft opinion, Barry simply tacked on the Carhart precedent to the beginning of her existing decision, observing that her opinion was essentially in agreement with the Supreme Court's. Had Alito originally agreed with Barry, it is a good guess he would have gone along with this shortcut, since the outcome was exactly the same. But I suspect that he didn't agree with the majority and certainly did not want some reasoning lurking out there that might have been even marginally broader than the Supreme Court's. So, Alito went out of his way to distance himself from Barry's opinion, which, he observed in concurrence, "was never necessary and is now obsolete."
Alito's snub of the Barry majority opinion echoes his logic in Casey, in which he rejected the majority's application of the undue burden test to Pennsylvania's spousal notification provision. That provision required a married woman to notify her spouse if she was planning to have an abortion unless she swore that her spouse was not the father of the child, her husband could not be located after diligent effort, the pregnancy was a result of a sexual assault that had been reported to the authorities, or she had reason to believe that notification would likely result in infliction of bodily injury.
The 3rd Circuit majority in Casey accepted expert testimony that this provision—even with its exceptions—would impose an undue burden on a woman's right to choose to undergo an abortion. The majority observed that most married women would voluntarily tell their husbands of their plans, but that in circumstances where they would not, requiring notification could result in spousal coercion. The exception for bodily harm, reasoned the majority, did not take into account the myriad forms of psychological coercion a husband could apply to a wife, including withdrawal of financial support or threats to dissolve the marriage. Moreover, the exception for spousal sexual abuse required that women report their abuser to the police, an action experts testified was likely to lead to further abuse and one a battered woman was unlikely to take. The majority of the Casey judges, taking account of the "real world consequences of forced notification," concluded that "because of the nature of the marriage relationship and the emotional character of the human response to pregnancy and abortion, the number of different situations in which women may reasonably fear dire consequences from notifying their husbands is potentially limitless."
But Alito rejected this "real world" approach, arguing that the plaintiffs had not sustained their burden of proving that the spousal notification provision would result in spousal coercion. Alito's interpretation of "undue burden" is noticeably crabbed: It is not enough, he argued, to show "that a law will have a heavy impact on a few women." Rather, those challenging the law must prove a "broader inhibiting effect." Alito thus demanded that the plaintiffs provide the court with a rough number of how many women would be inhibited from obtaining an abortion by the requirement of spousal notice. The majority's common-sense reasoning was not enough; the "undue burden" test required the plaintiffs to provide actual evidence that coerced spousal notification would inhibit some actual number of women's decision-making.
Of course, that kind of evidence is almost impossible to obtain. How would one begin to figure out just how many women would have sought an abortion but did not because they were required to notify their spouse? The plaintiffs provided expert evidence that women are often coerced physically and emotionally by abusive husbands; that the abortion decision presents them with a terrifying choice in those circumstances; and that required notification adds to the burden of an already difficult decision by holding out the threat of spousal reprisal. For Alito, this was not enough, and so he dissented.
That Alito was on the wrong side of the 3rd Circuit majority and the Supreme Court should be enough for those who are full-throated supporters of a woman's right to choose. But this fact is also important for anyone who finds themselves in the middle on this issue: Note that the judges who joined the 3rd Circuit opinion in Casey—Judges Walter Stapleton and Collins Seitz—were not radical, bra-burning feminists of any sort. Stapleton—who wrote Casey—was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and Seitz was a Johnson appointee; one can only characterize their jurisprudence as emphatically moderate and mainstream. And remember that the swing justices who upheld Casey and reaffirmed Roe—Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor—were also appointed by Republicans and are also moderate and well within the mainstream of judicial attitudes.
If Alito replaces O'Connor, both of his crucial abortion opinions in the 3rd Circuit indicate that he will not take her centrist path. But this time, there will be no moderate Supreme Court above him to put on the brakes.
Richard Schragger is an associate professor at the University of Virginia Law School.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2129230/
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