Blog of Rights

On the Agenda: March 26-30, 2012

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 10:20am

All eyes will be on the Supreme Court this week, as the justices hear a case that challenges President Obama's health care law. As we explain below, the Court will devote three days to the case.

As we've pointed out repeatedly, more oversight is needed of the TSA, so we'll be watching a hearing on the agency's effectiveness on Monday as well. The rest of the week rounds out with immigration, reproductive rights and lots of cybersecurity hearings.

Monday, March 26

Affordable Care Act: Lawyers will begin their presentations before the Supreme Court today for Department of Health and Human Services, et al. v. Florida, et al., the case which will decide the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Three days have been devoted to this case. Monday, the justices will decide whether or not the legal challenges can be heard now, or if the Anti-Injunction Act blocks them from taking up the issue. Tuesday they will consider the constitutionality of the individual mandate the Act requires. And Wednesday, if they find the individual mandate unconstitutional, they will decide whether it can be removed from the Affordable Care Act so the rest of law can remain intact and they will also determine if the Medicaid provisions push states too far.

Privacy: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a joint hearing titled "TSA [Transportation Security Administration] Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?"

Tuesday, March 27

Immigration: Members of Congress who signed onto to an amicus brief in the case of Arizona v. United States, the Department of Justice’s challenge to S.B. 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant racial profiling law, will hold a press conference. Oral arguments in that case will take place in the Supreme Court on April 25.

Reproductive Rights:The House Judiciary Committee will hold a markup on the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 2299).

Human Rights: The Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform will hold a hearing titled “Labor Abuses, Human Trafficking, and Government Contracts: Is the Government Doing Enough to Protect Vulnerable Workers?”

Cybersecurity: The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on “U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2013 and the Future Years Defense Program.” Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the NSA and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, is expected to testify, as well as Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

Cybersecurity: The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities will hold a hearing on the FY2013 Defense Authorization request for the National Strategy for Counterterrorism and the National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.

Wednesday, March 28

Cybersecurity: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a full committee markup of H.R. 3674, the Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act of 2011 (PRECISE Act).

Immigration: The Immigration Policy and Enforcement Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Holiday on ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's New Immigration Detention Standards.” The ACLU will be submitting a statement for the record.

Prior to the hearing, the ACLU will participate in a telephonic press conference on immigration detention standards. ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling will be a featured speaker.

Education: The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2013 budget request for the activities and operations of the Department of Education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will testify. ACLU will monitor the hearing.

Employment: The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on proposed fiscal 2013 appropriations for programs and activities of the Departments of Labor. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will testify. ACLU will monitor the hearing.

Criminal Law Reform: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Special Counsel’s Report on the prosecution of former Sen. Ted Stevens.

Drug Policy: The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on H.R. 4223, the Safe Doses Act; H.R. 3668, the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011, and, H.R. 4216, the Foreign Counterfeit Prevention Act.

Cybersecurity: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “Threats to Communications Networks and Public-Sector Responses.” The hearing is part of a series of hearing the subcommittee has held on cybersecurity, the most recent of which was held on March 7.

Thursday, March 29

Campaign Finance: The Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing on S. 2219, the DISCLOSE Act. The ACLU will submit a statement.

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