News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Justice Ginsburg will lie in state; 2 lawyers are sentenced in extortion plot

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking at Stanford University in 2017. Photo by Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service.

Justice Ginsburg will be first woman to lie in state at Capitol

The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the top of the Supreme Court’s steps Wednesday and Thursday, then will lie in state Friday at the U.S. Capitol Building. Ginsburg will be the first woman and the second justice to be honored by lying in state at the Capitol. Private services will be at the Supreme Court’s Great Hall on Wednesday morning, and a formal ceremony with limited attendees will be Friday morning. An internment ceremony will take place at the Arlington National Ceremony. The only other Supreme Court justice to lie in state was William Howard Taft, who was chief justice after his term as U.S. president. (The New York Times, CNBC, USA Today)

Mass tort lawyers sentenced in extortion plot

Two Virginia lawyers in a mass tort plaintiffs firm have been sentenced to prison in a scheme to extort $200 million from a global chemical company. Timothy Litzenburg, 38, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced to two years in prison. His law partner, Daniel Kincheloe, 41, of Glen Allen, Virginia, was sentenced to a year in prison. Prosecutors didn’t identify the targeted company but said it makes a chemical used in weed killer. Monsanto, the maker of the Roundup weed killer, isn’t the company targeted, a spokesperson previously told Law360. (Law360, Department of Justice press release)

Unpaid taxes, bad courtroom behavior merit judge’s removal, panel says

Oklahoma Judge Kendra Coleman should be removed from office for misconduct that includes failing to pay taxes and bad courtroom behavior, according to the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary. Coleman allegedly owes the federal government more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. She also was accused of eye-rolling, cutting people off and “not being there” in the courtroom. Coleman, of Oklahoma County, is expected to appeal the Friday decision. (The Oklahoman, the Associated Press)

Judge blocks ban of WeChat app

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of San Francisco blocked the Trump administration on Saturday from banning downloads of the Chinese app WeChat. Beeler said WeChat users who challenged the ban had “shown serious questions going to the merits of their First Amendment claim” that the ban effectively eliminates their key platform for communication. The Trump administration had also sought to ban TikTok downloads. But that decision has been delayed amid negotiations to give oversight of U.S. user data to computer technology company Oracle, which plans to take a 12.5% stake in a new TikTok entity that would be headquartered in the United States. (CNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, Beeler’s decision)

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