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The alarmingly high number of vacancies in the federal judiciary threatens to undermine the administration of justice. Considerable attention has been devoted to the causes and consequences of the Senate's failure to confirm judicial nominees. But remarkably little has been said about the impact of this crisis on the color of the federal bench.
Now the Food and Drug Administration is considering a ban on menthol cigarettes, fueling a debate about how such a move would impact African Americans. The FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee has been reviewing the health effects of menthol cigarettes for the past year and is due to submit its final report and recommendations to the agency any day. The FDA usually, but not always, goes along with its advisory panels. However, Lorillard, maker of Newports, and R.J. Reynolds, maker of Kools, filed a lawsuit Feb. 25 to block the committee's recommendations.
Judge Tyree Irving of Madison and Judge T. Kenneth Griffis of Ridgeland have been appointed as presiding judges of the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
Irving said, "I look forward to continuing the service I have provided as a judge to the citizens of the state since January 1999. I feel honored to have an opportunity to be a part of the best justice system in the world, designed to insure fair and impartial justice for all people, no matter their economic, racial or religious status."
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn today signed into law a historic ban on the death penalty in Illinois and commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life without parole.
Quinn signed the legislation in his Capitol office surrounded by longtime opponents of capital punishment in a state where flaws in the process led to the exoneration of numerous people sentenced to death.
Last July, Governor Paterson signed into law a bill that did away with the NYPD's stop-and-frisk database.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and State Senator Eric Adams, made it illegal for police officers to add the names and addresses of every person they stop, question and frisk to an electronic database used in criminal investigations.
Nearly 90 percent of the people in that database are innocent of any crime, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.