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Legal News Roundup: October 28

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

45 Missing Children Recovered in Ohio’s ‘Operation Autumn Hope’

USA Today – Law enforcement agencies across Ohio collaborated during a monthlong investigation, termed “Operation Autumn Hope,” leading to 179 arrests and the recovery of 45 missing children.

In total, 109 human trafficking victims were rescued and referred to social services. More than 50 agencies participated in the operation, which also included the arrest of a man and the recovery of two children in West Virginia.

The operation included four priorities, according to the attorney general’s office: “Rescuing victims of human trafficking and referring them to social services, recovering missing and exploited children, apprehending those seeking to have sex with a minor and arresting male johns seeking to buy sex.”

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Barrett Sworn in as Supreme Court Justice

Associated Press – Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the 115th justice of the Supreme Court on Monday evening after being confirmed on a near-party line Senate vote of 52-48.

Barrett is 48, and her lifetime appointment as the 115th justice will solidify a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.

During public testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barrett presented herself as a neutral arbiter and suggested, “It’s not the law of Amy.”

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Justice Department Loses Bid to Defend President Trump in Lawsuit

NBC News – A federal judge ruled that the Justice Department cannot step in to shield President Donald Trump from a libel lawsuit filed by a woman who claims he raped her in a New York City department store in the 1990s.

The Justice Department had sought to block the lawsuit, filed by former gossip columnist E. Jean Carroll, by arguing that the president was acting in his official capacity when he told White House reporters that she made up the rape story. Carroll sued, claiming that his statements branding her a liar damaged her reputation.

Because federal law does not permit suing public officials for libel, the government said, the lawsuit should be dismissed. U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan disagreed.

First, he said, the law applies only to federal employees, a description that does not include the president, who is in a different legal status.

Second, the judge said, the president’s statements about something that happened more than two decades before are not within the scope of his official conduct.

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Net Neutrality Repeal Upheld

Reuters – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to maintain its 2017 repeal of net neutrality rules.

The 2015 net neutrality rules prohibited internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes.” Under President Donald Trump, the 2017 FCC order gave ISPs sweeping powers to recast how Americans use the internet, as long as they disclose changes.

ISPs and other advocates of the net neutrality repeal say the new rules have boosted investment. Consumer groups and other critics dispute the claim that loosening net neutrality rules led to new investment.

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