Justiceline: January 19, 2012

Welcome to Justiceline, ThinkProgress Justice’s morning round-up of the latest legal news and developments. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @TPJustice.

  • In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) responds to the controversy surrounding a number of pardons he made before leaving office, including eight men who killed their wives or girlfriends. Barbour sidestepped that curious trend, defending the inmates he released as having “paid the price for their crimes.”
  • Occupy D.C. protesters moved to certify a class late on Tuesday in their suit against the the Interior Department for the right to stay on National Park Service land in McPherson Square. The move could bring an estimated 100 demonstrators into the case.
  • The Des Moines Register reports today that when Iowa officials certified the official vote count from the January 3 caucus, they discovered Rick Santorum beat Mitt Romney by 34 votes. The results from eight Iowa precincts “are missing…and will never be recovered and certified.”
  • Last night all the GOP hopefuls except Mitt Romney gathered for a “personhood” forum in Greenville, South Carolina. The candidates signaled that they would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion — without exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The event was sponsored by Personhood USA, a group pushing radical legislation in many states that could ban birth control and in vitro fertilization.
  • West Virginia officials are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene to protect a redistricting map passed by the legislature last year. A three-judge panel in a lower court ruled against the map citing too much population variation among the state’s three districts.
  • This week Florida’s Republican-controlled state Senate passed a redistricting plan that solidifies the GOP’s overwhelming advantage in congressional races. However, the map leaves Republican Reps. David Rivera, Steve Southerland, Allen West and Tom Rooney vulnerable. Democrats have vowed to sue if Gov. Rick Scott signs off on the map.