With the Oregon occupation over, Cliven Bundy made his first appearance in court Thursday on charges stemming from his 2014 standoff with the federal government in a courtroom just two floors below the room where his sons were denied bail last week.

     As your legal news columnist, I "cut through the tripe" about important issues facing our nation, and bring a new and incisive slant to them every day.
     As your legal news columnist, I "cut through the tripe" about important issues facing our nation, and bring a new and incisive slant to them every day.
     As your legal news columnist, I "cut through the tripe" about ...
     Sorry!
     Sticky keyboard here!
     Senator Rubio warned me about that. Still, he used my stuff ... Over and over and over ...
     Ha ha! A little joke at the expense of His Cuteness, whose only good news this week was finishing one place ahead of Chris Christie in New Hampshire.
     I like Governor Christie, though I believe he belongs in jail, for that stunt on the George Washington Bridge. And I'll tell you why I like him, to burnish my conservative credentials.
     (That's right! Conservatives issue credentials today - at a far more attractive price than Hillary Clinton charges for liberal credentials! (Both parties charge extra for burnishing.))
     Where was I? Oh, yes.
     I've liked Christie ever since I saw him eviscerate two schoolteachers and their union at a town hall meeting in 2010, early in his first term. And - would you believe it? - the governor clinched his argument by talking about his emails.
     Let's back up a bit.
     I taught in public high schools for nine years. I was a union member. I have always supported labor unions, and always will. But Christie won my respect for calling out a teacher, before God and all of us, on TV, about an email from the head of a union local in New Jersey, asking teachers to pray for his death.
     Christie said he would fire any member of his staff who sent an email like that.
     Ahem.
     But in that town hall meeting, Christie showed he had mastered the issues. He didn't plead for understanding or suck up to people who could deliver him votes. He told them how it was, and that they could stuff themselves if they didn't like it.
     I liked him for that and I still do.
     "Great, Bob," those of you who are still awake may say. "But why didn't you tell us this about the noble governor months ago?"
     Well, first, because I just remembered it, but also because he's not a noble governor.
     The George Washington Bridge traffic jam was one of the sleaziest political tricks of all time. I lived by that bridge, on the New York side. I know what Christie did, and so do you. And it will all come out, eventually, in the Bridgegate emails .
     I think Christie could have been a good president - and I don't agree with him about anything. He wouldn't have been a Lincoln or an FDR, but he would be better than any of the bozos still in the race in his party: the odious Ted Cruz, the kewpie doll Rubio, the neofascist Trump.
     So, farewell, Governor Christie. You had your chance and you blew it - for a cheap political trick.
     But I still like the guy, probably because I grew up in Chicago when the Hon. Richard J. Daley was mayor. I learned all I'll ever need to know about politics from Mike Royko's column on Page 3 of the Sun-Times.
     Royko, the greatest political columnist since Mencken, would have said that Christie didn't have enough clout.
     God $ave us from clout.

     Sparks flew Thursday night in Milwaukee as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders argued about Wall Street money and its influence on politics, realism and idealism, and the record of the man who holds the office both of them want.

     The massive methane gas leak that displaced thousands of people in a Los Angeles suburb could soon be over, with SoCalGas saying Thursday it had temporarily controlled the flow of leaking gas from the well.

     Courts must intervene if lawmakers and regulators do not fix a "systemic failure" with the Medicare reimbursement appeals process, the D.C. Circuit ruled. 

     A North Las Vegas elementary schoolteacher sexually molested students for years after the school district merely transferred him, rather than fire him, after his first arrest, parents of victims say in a federal class action.

     A federal judge dismissed without prejudice an America's Cup sailor's claim that Oracle Team USA breached his contract by blaming him for a crewmate's mistake, though the judge found it "difficult to imagine" how the sailor could successfully amend his lawsuit. 

     To cap off his last year at Homeland Security, Secretary Jeh Johnson vowed to push an "aggressive agenda," fighting a new type of terrorism and controlling immigration along the southern border.

     Documents from the corruption case against Sheldon Silver that describe others who have thus far escaped public scrutiny will come to light, a federal judge vowed Thursday.

     The Fifth Circuit this week overturned a federal judge's sweeping injunction that halted all executions in Mississippi at the request of three death row inmates. 

     A man who was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor did not have to prove his innocence to win a legal malpractice case, a divided Iowa Supreme Court ruled. 

     A change in how the U.S. Department of Energy plans to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium has prompted a lawsuit by the South Carolina attorney general, who says shutting down the program will cause the state irreparable harm. 

     While the Justice Department took significant steps to implement recommendations from its Inspector General in the wake of the Fast and Furious gun walking scandal, more opportunities for progress remain, a report released Thursday found. 

     Morgan Stanley will pay $3.2 billion to settle claims over its sale and issuance of mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the Justice Department announced Thursday. 

     The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy must give a libertarian think tank five pages of a draft letter and unredacted emails relating to a "polar vortex" video posted on its website, a federal judge ruled. 

     A landlord and her contractors took "deadly" shortcuts, setting the stage for an explosion that killed two people and injured dozens in the East Village last year, prosecutors said Thursday. 

     An Ohio law prohibiting the printing of judicial candidates' political affiliations on the general election ballot is constitutional, the Sixth Circuit ruled. 

     The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a state constitutional amendment does not give nonviolent felons the right to bear arms. 

     The Pennsylvania Senate refused to remove Kathleen Kane as state attorney general despite the suspension of her law license in the wake of "Porngate."

     Civil-forfeiture practices have diverted millions of dollars worth of seized funds away from Indiana public schools, disgruntled Hoosiers claim in court. 

     A $54.9 billion budget Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder laid out Wednesday includes more than $230 million to aid the city of Flint, plus $72 million a year for 10 years to fix Detroit Public Schools. 

     A jury cleared the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation of recklessly disregarding a female prison guard by subjecting her to longtime sexual harassment by male inmates while supervisors did nothing about it.

     A federal judge has denied a last-ditch effort to halt privatization of three hospitals brought by local unions worried the plan will impair workers current contracts. 

     The European Commission said Thursday it is investigating whether Spain paid its postal service too much to deliver the nation's mail.

     A federal class action accuses Apple of false advertising and unjust enrichment from its iPhone 6, which registers a fatal, disabling "Error 53" if owners update their phone or restore it from a backup. 

     A Michigan man who paid $10,000 to hunt and kill a trophy-sized leopard on safari claims in court that Trophies Africa gave him the skin of a much smaller leopard. 

     One year for a Zika vaccine is the goal of a partnership signed by a University of Texas research hospital and Brazil, its health minister announced Thursday.

     An initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Long Beach should be placed on city ballots in time for this year's election, an attorney told the Ninth Circuit Thursday.

     As he heads to trial in Pennsylvania on aggravated indecent assault charges, Bill Cosby asked a federal judge in Massachusetts to stay the civil defamation suit against him. 

     Days after decisively winning New Hampshire's Republican primary, billionaire Donald Trump quietly settled his long-shot $500 million lawsuit against Univision on undisclosed terms.


     The National Enquirer wants a federal judge to keep a lid on the terms of its settlement with a woman accusing Bill Cosby of drugging and raping her. 

     A federal judge said Thursday he was inclined to dismiss a case claiming that Uber made false claims about the safety of its rides.

     After a very quick hearing on Thursday morning, a federal judge gave final approval to a class action settlement of claims that video game developer Zynga artificially inflated its share prices. 


     The Friends of Animals advocacy group cites PTSD as one reason to reverse a Fish and Wildlife Service decision allowing three American zoos to import 18 African elephants. 

     The widower of a South Florida woman killed in an airplane crash in Ohio claims in court the plane's owner allowed its pilots to operate it with a malfunctioning instrument and control panel. 

     Minnesota is illegally withholding video footage of Minneapolis police fatally shooting Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, the ACLU and NAACP claim in court. 

     The Ninth Circuit blocked habeas relief Thursday for a death-row prisoner convicted by a minority-free jury in 1989 for the brutal attempted robbery of a San Diego auto-body shop. 

     Xerox stiffed call-center employees for overtime and paid them in part with "items of value," which it deducted from their paychecks, whether they wanted the items or not, a class claims.