Friday, February 2, 2007
"Pentagon official quits over lawyer remarks": Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald provides a news update that begins, "A senior Pentagon official has resigned, it was disclosed today, three weeks after he ignited a firestorm of controversy by casting fellow lawyers as dishonorable for offering free-of-charge legal service to U.S.-held captives at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
Posted at 11:20 PM by Howard Bashman
Available online from law.com: An article reports that "Calif. Court Clarifies 'Kangaroo' Comment." My most recent earlier coverage appears here.
And the brand new installment of my "On Appeal" column is headlined "For Federal Appellate Judicial Nominations, It's a Time for Pragmatism."
"Roberts Supports Court's Shrinking Docket": Robert Barnes has this article today in The Washington Post.
To convict someone of international money laundering, no actual washing, folding, and ironing of the money is required: The en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today has issued an opinion explaining what is required to convict a defendant of the crime of international money laundering.
Previously, a divided three-judge panel -- by means of a majority opinion written by Circuit Judge Jerry E. Smith, whom no one can legitimately accuse of being soft on crime -- held that the defendant's conviction for international money laundering had to be reversed.
Today, the en banc court, by a vote of 13-3, reinstates the conviction over a passionate dissent from Judge Smith. His dissenting opinion begins:
This is a case of a prosecution run amok. Mike Nifong, another prosecutor apparently familiar with the "win at any cost" mantra, most surely would approve. The government set out to "get" Humberto Cuellar for something, and why not? He is apparently a "bad dude," an accessory to what likely was a serious drug-running operation; moreover, this is, after all, the "war on drugs." But instead of charging under a statute of which Cuellar (by his attorney's admission) is guilty, the government used the wrong law, and the majority now has blessed the government's missteps with a holding that makes "money laundering" out of virtually any transfer of illicit proceeds across an international border.And Judge Smith's dissenting opinion concludes:
The war on drugs is not an excuse to violate the norms of fair play and evenhandedness. I call upon the Attorney General to confess error in this case of prosecutorial excess, and I respectfully dissent from the majority's blessing of the government's failure to do justice in this case.You can access the complete en banc ruling at this link.
Posted at 08:27 PM by Howard Bashman
"Behind the Federal Abortion Ban": This article appears in the current issued of The Harvard Law Record.
Posted at 06:05 PM by Howard Bashman
"Interview on Blogging and Legal Scholarship with Yale Law Report": Law Professor Jack M. Balkin has this interesting post today at his blog, "Balkinization."
Posted at 06:04 PM by Howard Bashman
"Roe v. Wade lawyer urges continued action at anniversary gathering": This article appears today in The Napa Valley Register.
And The Vallejo Times-Herald reports today that "Roe v. Wade lawyer speaks at luncheon; Summit was in honor of the anniversary of landmark case."
"Justice Alito at GW Law": Orin Kerr has this post at "The Volokh Conspiracy."
And The Daily Colonial reports today that "Justice Alito judges Moot Court."
"Defense Official Resigns Over Remarks": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A senior Pentagon official resigned Friday over controversial remarks in which he criticized lawyers who represent terrorism suspects, the Defense Department said." Thanks to Jonathan Adler for the pointer.
Posted at 04:35 PM by Howard Bashman
Don't call AARP the "American Association of Retired Persons": The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit learned this lesson the hard way, as this order amending opinion issued today reveals.
Posted at 03:05 PM by Howard Bashman
"Montana sues Wyoming over river use; Supreme Court asked to rule on 1950 water deal": This article appears today in The Billings Gazette.
Montana's motion for leave to file bill of complaint, bill of complaint, and brief in support can be accessed here.
"Libby: Don't Release Grand Jury Tapes." The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 02:24 PM by Howard Bashman
As the saying goes, it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you: Those who fear that the government may be monitoring their every move suffered a legal setback from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit today. A unanimous three-judge panel, in an opinion by Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, held that the police did not violate a drug suspect's Fourth Amendment rights when the police attached a GPS tracking device to the suspect's car without first having sought or obtained court approval.
Today's opinion suggests that the Fourth Amendment calculus might produce a different answer if the government were actually tracking everyone, a group that by definition includes appellate judges. But since, as far as we know, the government isn't yet tracking everyone, folks whom the government is in fact tracking are well advised not to drive their cars repeatedly to remote areas where their meth labs are located.
"Greenburg: 'Bush Will Not Get Another Supreme Court Appointment.'" Roger Alford was at Jan Crawford Greenburg's book tour appearance yesterday at Pepperdine University School of Law, and he has this post about it today at the blog "Opinio Juris."
Posted at 12:28 PM by Howard Bashman
When "or" means "and": In a dispute over language contained in an ERISA plan, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit today divides over whether "or" may properly be construed to mean "and." The majority answers "yes," while Circuit Judge Lavenski R. Smith, in dissent, would answer "no." You can access today's ruling at this link.
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman
"Michigan Court: No Same-Sex Benefits." The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Public universities and local governments can't provide health insurance to the partners of gay employees without violating the state constitution, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday. A three-judge panel said a 2004 voter-approved ban on gay marriage also applies to same-sex domestic partner benefits."
"This case presents the question of whether an arrest for obscenity, vulgarity, or disturbing the peace, when based upon speech and not conduct, is valid when it occurs during a democratic assembly where there is no evidence that the individual arrested was out of order and some evidence of improper motive by the arresting officer." A man's utterance of the words "God damn" at a township meeting in Michigan led to the man's arrest. And today, the majority on a three-judge Sixth Circuit panel reverses the dismissal of the man's lawsuit against a police officer who arrested him for, among other things, having said those words. Chief Judge Danny J. Boggs wrote the opinion of the court.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton issued a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Therein, Judge Sutton writes, "To my knowledge, the Supreme Court has never rejected a claim of qualified immunity to a police officer who enforced a statute that had not been declared unconstitutional at the time of the citizen-police encounter."
"So long as the Supreme Court deems the death penalty to be permissible under the Constitution, and so long as prosecutors and state court judges are subject to political pressure to be 'tough on crime' and pro-death penalty, the politicization of the death penalty will only accelerate." So writes Circuit Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr., dissenting from the Sixth Circuit's denial of rehearing en banc today in a death penalty case from Ohio. You can access the order denying rehearing en banc and today's opinions related to that order at this link.
"Acquittal just latest setback in courts": The Chicago Tribune today contains an article that begins, "The acquittal of two Palestinian activists on the main terrorism-financing charge against them Thursday represented another setback on the legal front for the Bush administration's war on terror, legal experts say."
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman
"F.B.I. Agent Says Libby Denied Being Leak Source": Neil A. Lewis has this article today in The New York Times.
The Washington Post reports today that "Libby Left Out Some Facts In Interviews, FBI Agent Says."
And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Video undercuts Libby's defense; His assertion that he was a scapegoat clashes with the White House stance that he had no role in leaking a CIA operative's identity."
"Justice Scalia: Constitution not there for the tinkering." This article appears today in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of California.
Posted at 08:44 AM by Howard Bashman
"Secret execution talks challenged; Lawyers for a death row inmate and some news outlets want California officials' discussions on revising lethal injection to be conducted in the open": Henry Weinstein has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.
And today in The San Jose Mercury News, Howard Mintz has an article headlined "Death row lawyers: Debate on injections should be public."
"Plaintiff strikes out in lawsuit over Angels bag giveaway; Judge dismisses bias claim contending men were discriminated against in promotion for tote on Mother's Day at Angel Stadium": This article appears today in The Orange County Register.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Lawsuit against Angels thrown out."
"Judges Pose Questions on Bush Detainee Policy": Adam Liptak has this article today in The New York Times.
The Washington Post reports today that "Detainee Rights at Center Of Fight; U.S. Opposes Court Challenge."
"Legislature Reappoints Superior Court Judge": The Hartford Courant today contains an article that begins, "A state judge deemed not qualified for the federal bench by the state and national bar associations was unanimously confirmed Thursday for reappointment as a Superior Court judge. Vanessa L. Bryant of Avon was endorsed 148-0 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate for another eight-year term, a tenure she hopes will be cut short this year by her becoming the first black woman appointed as a U.S. District judge in New England."
Posted at 08:22 AM by Howard Bashman
"School Hears Calls to End Mascot's Act; Chief's Friends, Foes Rally At University of Illinois": This article appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:20 AM by Howard Bashman
"Kaine Dubious on Death Penalty Expansion": The Washington Post today contains this report from Virginia.
And The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that "Execution team's privacy is goal; Measure advances that would shield identity of members."
"Judge Explains His Dismissal of Scientist’s Suit Against Times": This article appears today in The New York Times.
The Washington Post reports today that "Judge Explains Tossing Out Suit Against N.Y. Times; Columns on Anthrax Attacks Called Hatfill a 'Likely Culprit' but Also Said He Could Be Innocent."
In The New York Sun, Josh Gerstein reports that "Judge Gives Rationale for Tossing Hatfill Suit Against Times."
And The Associated Press reports that "Judge Explains Dismissal of Anthrax Case."
I have posted online at this link Tuesday's ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
"Police blotter: Texas student guilty in SSN hack; Former UT computer science student appeals conviction for writing program to guess Social Security numbers." Declan McCullagh has this article today at c|net News.com.
"Better Security for Judges": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "One of the more refreshing changes in Congress's mind-set growing out of the November election is that the House is no longer led by Republicans who demonize judges for sport. This change to more judge-friendly leadership should, at long last, lead to the House's joining the Senate in passing a much-needed bill to protect federal judges from physical attack."
Posted at 07:48 AM by Howard Bashman
"Late for Court: Connecticut Case Draws Scrutiny." This article appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman
"Roberts strives for consensus on court; Chief justice says more unified voice would strengthen institution": The Chicago Tribune today contains an article that begins, "Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. brought his increasingly public campaign for a more private and less divisive Supreme Court to Chicago on Thursday and laid out a vision that may shape his tenure."
And The Daily Northwestern reports today that "Chief Justice Holds Court; Roberts speaks on judicial history at Law School."
"The Supreme Court Invalidates California's 'Determinate Sentencing' Law: Part One in a Two-Part Series on Yet More Cases Involving Judicial Factfinding in Sentencing." Vikram David Amar has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 06:48 AM by Howard Bashman