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Monday status conference: Ruth’s return

ginsburgToday the justices of the Supreme Court return to the bench after a four-week recess to hear oral arguments, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who underwent pancreatic cancer surgery weeks ago, is expected to join them. Orders and opinions are likely to be forthcoming this week, so stay tuned.

As Congress also returns from recess, one of the issues likely to be hot this week is housing as House lawmakers mull a controversial bill that would give bankruptcy judges the ability to modify the terms of a homeowner’s mortgage in chapter 13 proceedings.

And President Obama is preparing to speak to the nation tomorrow in his first State of the Union address.

Meanwhile,

Stimulus plan’s man: Obama is expected to appoint a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbyists’ corruption to oversee spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus plan. (AP via NYT)

DNA swap: The solicitor general’s office has turned down a request to disavow a Bush Administration policy denying prisoners’ access to DNA evidence in post-conviction proceedings. So the government will argue the other side before the Supreme Court. (BLT)

Drama in the court: A federal judge’s sex crimes trial is being watched around the nation. (Houston Chronicle).

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