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Off the news

For Wednesday, January 26, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff


Congress musical chairs get Akaka smaller seat

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka appears to have lost his chairmanship of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and will become chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, the Navy Times reports.

The newspaper says that according to unnamed Senate and outside sources, Senate Democrats are expected to vote on the decision this week. It quotes a consultant for many veterans groups as saying, "Akaka's staff was told about this some time ago," and reports that an unnamed Akaka aide called it "certainly a depressing situation."

The article says age appears to be a factor in the decision: Akaka is 86 and his expected replacement, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is 60.

The Veterans' Affairs Committee is a second-tier "B" committee with higher standing than Indian Affairs — but, hey, the latter is a select committee with jurisdiction over Akaka's Hawaiian sovereignty bill.

Alito has a good excuse

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito chose not to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address yesterday.

You'll recall that Alito made headlines after last year's State of the Union because he shook his head and mouthed "not true" when President Barack Obama criticized the court's decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case.

No, Alito got a better offer: This week, he is jurist-in-residence at the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law. He'll be giving his own address to the Hawaii Bar at the state Supreme Court at 4:30 p.m. today. It's open to the public, and it's free. The subject: "Top Things You May Not Know About the U.S. Supreme Court."

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