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June 21, 2002, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 456.
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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Patent Reexamination Bills
6/20. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved HR 1866, a bill to clarify the basis for granting requests for reexamination of patents, and HR 1886, a bill to provide for appeals by third parties in certain patent reexamination proceedings.
HR 1886 affords all participants, including third party requesters, in reexamination proceedings, judicial review before the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir). Currently, only the patent owner may appeal an adverse determination. The House passed this bill on September 5, 2001.
HR 1866 is intended to overturn the 1997 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) in In Re Portola Packaging. In that case, the Appeals Court held that the restriction on the scope of reexaminations to "substantial new questions" precludes the consideration of prior art that was before the examiner. The key language of the HR 1866 amends 35 U.S.C. §§ 303(a) and 312(a). It adds the following: "The existence of a substantial new question of patentability is not precluded by the fact that a patent or printed publication was previously cited by or to the Office." The House passed this bill on September 5, 2001.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute to S 1754, a bill to authorize appropriations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for FY 2002 through FY 2007.
House CIIP Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Patent Reexamination
6/20. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property (CIIP) held an oversight hearing titled "Patent Reexamination and Small Business Innovation". The House has already passed two bills pertaining to reexamination -- HR 1886 and HR 1866. Nevertheless, the hearing addressed these two bills. The hearing also focused on the views of the independent inventor, open source, and small business communities.
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Chairman of the Subcommittee, presided. He stated in his prepared testimony that "Several years ago, an expanded reexamination system was proposed to permit the fuller participation of third parties. Often, small businesses and independent inventors are the very entities which cannot afford expensive federal trial litigation. Yet despite the benefits of such a system and after much debate, a slimmed down third party reexamination system was enacted. This system, while attempting to balance all of the concerns of the diverse interests, lacked some basic features for its use to be acceptable. In fact, it has only been used once in the several years it has been on the books."
He also referenced HR 1886. He stated that "Last year, the Subcommittee held two hearings and passed a modest, and badly needed bill to fix that made the third party reexamination system fair and practical. Specifically, accountability requires that there is the ability to appeal the decisions of the PTO to a higher authority."
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the full Committee, expressed support for HR 1886. He said that when the Congress last amended the reexamination provisions of the Patent it, "we may have left out one thing." He stated that by allowing patent owners, but not third party participants, the right to appeal, "perhaps we have a lopsided system."
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the CIIP Subcommittee, stated that "I am an advocate for a more robust post grant patent reexamination procedure." He added that current procedures "don't allow for effective challenge." He also stated that HR 1866 and HR 1886 "constitute a good start towards refining the inter partes reexamination process", but that they "don't go far enough".
Rep. Berman and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) are the co-sponsors of two bills pertaining to patent procedure: HR 1333, the Patent Improvement Act of 2001, pertaining to opposition procedures, and HR 1332, the Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2001. Rep. Boucher is also a member of the CIIP Subcommittee. He did not participate in the June 20 hearing.
Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) stated that "the potential for invalid patents being issued is very high," and that this leads to uncertainty and litigation. He added that "patent reexamination provides a low cost alternative" to litigation. However, he added that there is "a potential for its abuse". He stated that he supports HR 1886.
The Subcommittee heard from one panel of witnesses. Mark Webbink, VP and General Counsel of Red Hat, an open source software and Linux operating system provider, offered an open source community perspective on patent law.
He stated in his prepared testimony that "The open source community largely disdains patent protection of software. The community does so, in part, because of a strong perception that, by extending patent protection to software, software developers are provided two bites at the intellectual property apple, one under copyright and a second under patent. The open source community also believes that patents on software have actually stifled innovation, rather than promoted it, because software development occurs at a much more rapid pace than one finds in the other patent arts. For example, time to market cycles for software are often measured in months and obsolescence in less than 10 years. By contrast, the time to market cycle alone for most pharmaceuticals is in excess of 10 years."
Webbink also stated that "the vast majority of open source software is developed by the collaborative efforts of individuals and small businesses. These individuals and businesses do not, for the most part, enjoy the same degree of capitalization or financial freedom to invest in patent protection as the large proprietary software behemoths. These small companies are at a distinct disadvantage under the law in protecting themselves from assertions of patent infringement."
Consequently, Webbink concluded that "it is imperative that the patent system, including the system for seeking reexamination of patents, be as unburdened as possible for third parties seeking to challenge such patents. Such steps ensure a level playing field and protect the public interest. To that end, we endorse" HR 1886.
Nancy Linck, General Counsel of Guilford Pharmaceuticals and a former Solicitor of the USPTO, also expressed support for HR 1886 in her prepared testimony.
She stated that "litigation could destroy a small company like Guilford financially, even though it might ultimately prevail." (Guilford's 2001 10-K states that the company, while not yet profitable, spent $54.3 Million on research and development.)
Linck said that "a strong patent system requires a meaningful way to challenge invalid patents without prohibitively costly, time consuming litigation. While the PTO is doing an outstanding job of examining patent applications, given the large number of applications and the resources they have, some patents issue that should not. These invalid patents stifle innovation and thus hurt the public, including patent owners.
She continued that "Making certain changes in our inter partes reexamination system would provide a fast, fair and effective way to address patents of questionable validity. I commend the House for taking a first step in that direction by passing H.R. 1886."
She testified that one of the problems with the current reexamination process is that "only the patent owner can appeal to the Federal Circuit." Another problem is that "the third party requester is estopped from later raising in federal court any issue it raised or could have raised, even though it has no right to appeal to the Federal Circuit." She also stated that "if a third party chooses reexamination to attack the validity of a patent and loses, the third party would have great difficulty defending itself in a later infringement action against a patent that has been strengthened through reexamination."
She continued that "there is a perception by third parties that, because the patentee is considered to be the PTO's customer, the PTO favors the patentee. In fact, given the time, money and manpower pressures on the PTO, it has a strong incentive to decide in the patentee's favor, thereby avoiding an appeal to the Federal Circuit. In addition, if the PTO rules in the patentee’s favor, there is no threat of reversal by the court. Because of these limitations and concerns, third parties do not and will not use the 1999 inter partes reexamination system. Permitting third parties to appeal to the Federal Circuit would address these limitations and concerns ..."
She also said that "In re Portola Packaging ... should be legislatively overruled to permit the PTO to rely on art previously in the record". (This is accomplished by HR 1866.)
Finally, Linck said that "PTO should be required to complete reexamination in an expeditious manner, for example, within 18 months of the filing of the request."
The Subcommittee also heard from Paul Heckel, an independent inventor. He stated that "the courts, especially the Federal Circuit, are strongly biased against independent inventors". He said that in a study, 13 out of 14 relevant cases in the Federal Circuit went against independent inventors. He said, "I call this the insider outsider bias."
The Subcommittee also heard colorful testimony from another independent inventor, Peter Theis. He asserted that "independent inventors ... are being vilified and demonized, ignored and expunged from the fabric of American society. We are being taxed for our inventions, denied a period of exclusivity, and denied justice by the courts."
He also attacked HR 1886. He stated that "This reexamination act, properly dubbed The Infringer Protection Act, brings down the cost of defense for infringers. Reexamination, unlike litigation, eliminates all risk of loss from an adverse decision. Because an industry can legally gang up against a patentee, they will succeed in defeating a patentee, at a low cost, by sequentially raising one reexamination challenge after another." He continued that "the worst part of the proposed Infringers Benevolent Act is that the Federal Circuit can review rational reexamination rulings of PTO." He also accused the Federal Circuit of "Orwellian doublespeak".
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, but not its CIIP Subcommittee, sat in on the hearing.
Rep. Smith Addresses Piracy in Cyberspace
6/17. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's Crime Subcommittee, published an essay titled "Piracy in Cyberspace" in his Congressional web site.
He compared pirates of intellectual property today to the buccaneers of the 17th and 18th Centuries who "wrecked havoc on the high seas". He also stated that "Pirates affect not only our economic security, they affect our national security. Their profits fund other illegal activities, including terrorism."
He also said that "I will introduce legislation to update and strengthen the federal criminal code, which currently makes it a crime to traffic in counterfeit labels or copies of certain forms of intellectual property, but not authentication features. My legislation will also criminalize trafficking in counterfeit music, movies and other audiovisual works and it will give victims of intellectual property theft an opportunity to recover damages in federal court."
USPTO Proposes Fee Increase Legislation
6/20. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released proposed legislation [12 pages in PDF] to amend 35 U.S.C. § 41, regarding increases in patent and trademark fees. See also, USPTO summary.
Librarian of Congress Releases Webcasting Rule
6/20. The Librarian of Congress issued his final rule providing the terms for the statutory license for eligible nonsubscription services to perform sound recordings publicly by means of digital audio transmissions, also known as webcasting, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 114, and to make ephemeral recordings of sound recordings for use of sound recordings under the statutory license set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 112. The Librarian followed the recommendations of the Register of Copyrights, rather than the CARP.
The Librarian also released a summary stating that he "has accepted the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights and rejected the rates and terms recommended by a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) ... The most significant difference between the CARP's determination and the Librarian’s decision is that the Librarian has abandoned the CARP's two tiered rate structure of 0.14˘ per performance for ``Internet  only´´ transmissions and 0.07˘ for each retransmission of a performance in an AM/FM radio broadcast, and has decided that the rate of 0.07˘ will apply to both types of transmission."
The rule takes effect on September 1, 2002.
On February 2, 2002, the CARP released its report [143 pages in PDF] recommending that both webcasters and commercial broadcasters pay a performance fee of 0.07˘ per performance, and 9% of performance fees due, for simultaneous Internet retransmissions of over the air AM or FM radio broadcasts. It recommended that the performance fee be 0.14˘ per performance and 9% of performance fees due for all other Internet transmissions.
The CARP further recommended that non commercial broadcasters pay a performance fee of 0.02˘ per performance for simultaneous Internet retransmissions of over the air AM or FM radio broadcasts, and 0.05˘ for other Internet transmissions, including up to two side channels of programming consistent with the public broadcasting mission of the station.
On May 21 the Librarian of Congress, at the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, Marybeth Peters, issued an order rejecting the CARP's February 20 determination.
Cary Sherman, President of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), stated in a release that "The import of this decision is that artists and record labels will subsidize the webcasting businesses of multi billion dollar companies like Yahoo, AOL, RealNetworks and Viacom. The rate, which cannot be squared with the decision of the arbitration panel, simply does not reflect the fair market value of the music as promised by the law. This decision will certainly reinforce the steadfast opposition of copyright owners to compulsory licensing."
John Simson, Executive Director of SoundExchange, stated in a release that "Today's decision by the Librarian of Congress, which disregarded voluminous economic and business evidence supporting a significantly higher rate, means that once again artists and record companies will not receive fair value for their labors. There is a reason why we have the expression, ``I can get it for a song´´. It is because we, as a culture, devalue artistic creation. This is just another example of that cultural discrimination. Recording artists and sound recording copyright owners should not be forced to subsidize the growth of webcasting as we've been forced to subsidize the radio industry for the past 70 years. Fair and equitable royalties and nothing less should be paid when recordings are used to build these new businesses."
NTIA Director Victory Addresses Obstacles to Broadband Deployment
6/19. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Director Nancy Victory gave a speech in Washington DC titled "U.S. and European Approaches to the Future of Broadband". One of the issues which she addressed was "unnecessary government impediments to broadband competition and deployment"; that is, state and local government rights of way management.
She stated that "This is one issue where all sectors of the broadband industry -- Bell Operating Companies, CLECs, cable providers, cable companies, overbuilders, and wireless providers -- actually share the same point of view. All participants are concerned that restrictions by certain municipalities and federal government landowners on accessing public rights of way and tower sites might be inhibiting or at least delaying broadband network construction."
She continued that "NTIA is working closely with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and particularly its Rights of Way Study Committee, to help identify best practices and recommendations for state actions to streamline the current process. NTIA is also meeting with representatives of the cities and their associations, such as the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and the National League of Cities, to identify means for improving and simplifying their current processes, while ensuring sufficient flexibility for municipalities to best serve their citizens. NTIA is also launching an initiative to streamline and improve the rights of way oversight practices of federal government agencies."
She also reviewed other Bush administration policies, current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband related proceedings, spectrum management and Third Generation wireless issues, and ICANN governance. 
Ridge Testifies on Department of Homeland Security
6/20. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing to examine the President's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Tom Ridge, Director of the President's Office of Homeland Security addressed many topics in his prepared testimony [PDF] including the DHS's division for information analysis and infrastructure protection.
Ridge stated that this section "would complement the reforms on intelligence and information sharing already underway at the FBI and the CIA. The Department would analyze information and intelligence for the purpose of understanding the terrorist threat to the American homeland and foreseeing potential terrorist threats against the homeland."
He continued that the DHS "would comprehensively assess the vulnerability of America’s key assets and critical infrastructures, including food and water systems, agriculture, health systems and emergency services, information and telecommunications, banking and finance, energy (electrical, nuclear, gas and oil, dams), transportation (air, road, rail, ports, waterways), the chemical and defense industries, postal and shipping entities, and national monuments and icons."
He concluded that the DHS "would for the first time merge under one roof the capability to identify and assess threats to the homeland, map those threats against our vulnerabilities, issue timely warnings, and organize preventive or protective action to secure the homeland."
See also, opening statement by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT).
House Commerce Committee Members Write Ridge Re Critical Infrastructure Protection
6/20. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, and other Republican members of the Committee, wrote a letter to Tom Ridge, Director of the Office of Homeland Security, regarding the President's proposal to create a new Department of Homeland Security.
They expressed "support for the efforts of the Office of Homeland Security to coordinate a comprehensive and consistent approach for assessing threats and vulnerabilities posed by potential terrorist actions to America's critical infrastructures and manufacturing facilities. These include both publicly and privately owned assets that are integral to the delivery of telecommunications and information technology services, the production and distribution of energy, and the delivery of safe food and drinking water, as well as manufacturing facilities that may be targets of potential terrorist actions."
They also expressed concern about the environmental reporting requirements of the Clean Air Act. They wrote that "we must ensure that vulnerability assessments are never allowed to be used as roadmaps for terrorist action."
The letter was signed by Rep. Tauzin, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, and six other members of the House Commerce Committee.
SEC Initiates Rule Making Proceeding
6/20. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rules to reform oversight and improve accountability of auditors of public companies. See, SEC release.
The proposed rules would establish a system based on Public Accountability Boards (PAB). The proposed rules would provide, among other things, that the financial statements of SEC registered companies would not be deemed to comply with SEC requirements unless the company's outside auditors were members of a PAB. The SEC would also recognize and oversee PABs. Also, each PAB would be required to be dominated by persons not associated with the accounting profession.
Harvey Pitt, Chairman of the SEC stated that "The PAB will conduct frequent audit quality reviews -- every year for at least those firms that audit over 80% of public companies, which represents well over 90% of our market capitalization. Moreover, the PAB will discipline individual accountants or whole firms for unethical or incompetent conduct; and discipline accounting firms lacking quality control systems that meet or exceed the highest professional standards. The PAB's disciplinary and remedial arsenal will include fines, censures, removal from client engagements, limitations on activities and suspension from auditing SEC clients. Those failing to cooperate could be barred from doing public audits." See, Pitt transcript.
Pitt also said that "Some speculate we are competing with Congress to see who gets to solve our crisis of confidence. No such rivalry exists -- the only important thing is that this crisis is resolved. We've said all along, and proven, that we will work with both Houses of Congress in the development of legislative solutions to problems we've identified."
More News
6/20. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing a $1,200,000 fine against WebNet Communications for slamming. The NAL states that "we find that WebNet Communications, Inc. (WebNet) apparently willfully or repeatedly violated section 258 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), as well as Commission rules and orders, by changing the designated preferred carriers of 20 consumers without their authorization and verification, a practice commonly known as ``slamming.´´ Based upon our review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the violations, we find WebNet apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of $1,200,000." (Footnotes omitted.) See also, FCC release.
6/20. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published in its web site an amendment to its contract with NeuStar regarding management of the .us top level domain.
Gordon Moore Awarded Presidential Medal Of Freedom
6/20. President Bush announced recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The list includes Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel. See, White House release. Moore postulated Moore's Law, which predicts that the number of transistors that could be placed on a computer chip will double every couple of years.
Friday, June 21
The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business.
8:30 - 9:30 AM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a breakfast. The speaker will be Nick Calio, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. Webcast. Location: 1615 H Street, NW.
9:00 AM. FTC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson will be the keynote speaker at the National Energy Marketers Association's Annual Membership Meeting. Location: Marriott Metro Center, 775 12th Street, NW.
1:00 PM. The FCC will hold a meeting to receive input from industry and other affected parties on proposals to reform the FCC's universal service contribution methodology. See, notice [PDF]. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, SW.
1:30 - 3:30 PM. The U.S. International Telecommunication Advisory Committee Telecommunication Advisory Committee Radiocommunication Sector (ITAC-R) will hold a meeting. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Department of State on policy and technical issues with respect to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This meeting will address activities of the Study Groups of the ITAC-R, preparations for the upcoming WRC-03 and guidelines for ITAC-R participation. See, notice in Federal Register. Location: Department of State, Room 1408.
Day four of a four day conference titled "INET 2002: Internet Crossroads: Where Technology and Policy Intersect". See, conference information page. Location: Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA.
Saturday, June 22
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and others will host an event titled "The Public Voice in Internet Policy Making". At 10:10, Paul Margie, Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps will speak on "Privacy Challenges for Internet Users in Europe". Following Margie, Erika Mann, a Member of the European Parliament, will speak. See, agenda. RSVP to publicvoice02 For more information contact Sarah Andrews at andrews Location: Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA. 
Monday, June 24
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The FCC will hold an en banc hearing on broadcast and cable equal employment opportunity rules. Location: Room TW-C305, FCC, 445 12th Street, SW.
Day one of a two day conference hosted by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
titled "2002 Washington Caucus". The scheduled speakers include Glenn Hubbard (Council of Economic Advisors), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Mozelle Thompson (FTC), Bruce Mehlman (Technology Administration), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). See, CCIA notice. Location: Willard Hotel. 
Tuesday, June 25
9:30 - 11:30 AM. The FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee, Informal Working Group 7: Regulatory Issues and Future Agendas will meet. Location: Boeing Company, 1200 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information will hold a hearings on the President's proposal for reorganizing homeland defense infrastructure. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
1:00 PM. The Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, and the House Science Committee (HSC) will hold a joint hearing to examine the use of science and technology to combat terrorism. See, HSC notice. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
Day two of a two day conference hosted by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
titled "2002 Washington Caucus". The scheduled speakers include Glenn Hubbard (Council of Economic Advisors), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Mozelle Thompson (FTC), Bruce Mehlman (Technology Administration), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). See, CCIA notice. Location: Willard Hotel.
Wednesday, June 26
8:30 AM - 2:00 PM. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) will host a conference on President Bush's proposal to establish a Department of Homeland Security, including how technology and private sector entrepreneurial talents can be tapped to help break down the bureaucratic barriers to sharing information and assessing threats. The scheduled speakers include Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Rep. James Moran (D-VA), Rob Atkinson (PPI's Technology & New Economy Project), John Cohen (PPI), and Thomas Siebel (Ch/CEO of Siebel Systems). See, PPI notice. Location: The Hotel Washington, 515 15th Street, NW.
9:30 AM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to examine the relationship between a Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence community. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the President's proposal for reorganizing our homeland defense infrastructure. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing titled Area Code Exhaustion: What are the Solutions? Webcast. Location: Room 2322, Rayburn Building.
10:30 AM. The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the President's proposal to create a new Department of Homeland Security and its impact on the Department of Defense. Location: Room 2118, Rayburn Building.
6:30 - 8:30 PM. The FCBA's Young Lawyers Committee and Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) will hold a CLE seminar titled Accounting Issues for Telecommunications Lawyers. For more information, contact the GULC at 202 662-9890 or Location: Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe, 1200 19th Street, NW.
Thursday, June 27
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will hold a meeting to receive public input on "the challenges of deploying broadband services to rural America, the successes, the role of competition in providing access to rural areas". See, notice in Federal Register. Location: Room 0348, South Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW.
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The FTC's Bureau of Competition will hold a public workshop on merger investigation best practices. This is the sixth workshop of a seven part, five city, series. See, FTC release. Location: FTC, Room 332, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
12:00 NOON. The Cato Institute will host a panel discussion titled "Antitrust Flies High: Is the Orbitz Investigation Good News for Consumers?" The scheduled speakers are Gary Doernhoefer (Orbitz), James DeLong (Competitive Enterprise Institute), Andrew Steinberg (formerly with, Thomas Lenard (Progress and Freedom Foundation), and Robert Atkinson (Progressive Policy Institute). Lunch will follow. Webcast. See, notice. Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW.
1:00 PM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will continue its hearing to examine the relationship between a Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence community. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.
People and Appointments
6/20. Senate Judiciary Committee held a executive business meeting. It held over the nomination of Lavenski Smith to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (8thCir). The Committee unanimously approved the nominations of David Cercone to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court (WDPenn), Morrison England to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court (EDCal), Kenneth Marra to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court (SCFl). 
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