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Usually rivals, Visa USA and MasterCard International are on the same side of a trial slated to open in New York today.Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers are suing the credit card makers over their debit card policies and allege that the plastic titans conspired to strangle competition from other credit card companies. The last round of pretrial rulings from U.S. District Judge John Gleeson sided with the retailers. … California is staring at a huge deficitand is still smarting over the energy crisis of 2001. Those are reasons enough for the state to seek a new hearing after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission indicated March 26 it would order companies to refund $3.5 billion to the state. California wants $9 billion for alleged misconduct by companies. Its lawyers say FERC failed to consider mountains of evidence and ignored some shaky deals. … President George W. Bush has found the man he wants to replace Michael Chertoff,the former Latham & Watkins partner who heads the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Chertoff has been nominated for a spot on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush late Friday said he intends to nominate Christopher Wray, who already works at Main Justice and is a former attorney at Atlanta’s King & Spalding. … In a pre-emptive strike for nudity,Seattle resident David Zaitzeff has sued the city’s chief of police, contending that the department should be barred from arresting naked people at a parade this June. The federal suit notes that the state’s indecent exposure law bars nudity only if it is intended to alarm or affront, and that no one should be surprised by a little wildness if they attend the Fremont Solstice Parade. If Zaitzeff wins and the police make arrests anyway, it is safe to say the department would face exposure for its actions. – Bill Kisliuk Related links: Visa and MasterCard Set for Debit Card Trial State to Challenge Ruling on Energy Crisis Refunds Seattle Man Sues Police for Right to Bare All White House press release Correction: A judge presiding over a takings case was misidentified in the April 25, 2003, column.The judge is Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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