Monday, May 7, 2007
"Hitting the Bottlers: A baffling Texas Supreme Court ruling could make juries irrelevant." This article appears in the current issue of The Texas Observer.
The 5-4 Supreme Court of Texas ruling at issue consists of a majority opinion and a dissenting opinion. You can access the other documents filed in the case via this link.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit announces its proposed local rules governing petitions for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands: The Supreme Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands officially came into being on January 29, 2007.
Some may recall that recently, the U.S. Congress deprived the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of jurisdiction to consider cert. petitions from the Supreme Court of Guam. Now, cert. petitions from Guam's highest territorial court must be filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court recounts this procedural change in its decision this Term in Limtiaco v. Camacho, No. 06-116. It will be interesting to see whether, eventually, Congress will do something similar with regard to the V.I. Supreme Court.
"Dever's ruling sparks concern; Judge in scandal seen as thorough": The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina today contains an article that begins, "U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III got his robes after working for more than a year as a lawyer in a Republican lawsuit designed to overturn a Democratic legislative redistricting plan."
Posted at 11:03 PM by Howard Bashman
"Senate panel wants to question Justice Department official": McClatchy Newspapers provide this report.
Posted at 10:58 PM by Howard Bashman
Tonight's dinner at the Seventh Circuit's Judicial Conference: It was a pleasure to meet Justice John Paul Stevens and his lovely wife at this evening's dinner. Justice Stevens admits that he is not among the U.S. Supreme Court's blog readers. I mentioned the Court's posting online of video in connection with its recent car chase ruling, and he explained that when I view the video I should listen for the police sirens, which he said were key to his view of the case.
Justice Stevens' remarks at dinner demonstrated to me that he has no plans to depart from the Court any time soon. Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook had the assignment of introducing Justice Stevens, and Easterbrook in a good-natured jest explained that Stevens had the good sense to attend undergraduate school at the University of Chicago but then made the mistake of attending law school at Northwestern. Stevens returned the favor by joking that Easterbrook's recent ruling in the Southwest Airlines imperfect landing case took three weeks from oral argument to issue, demonstrating that Easterbrook's other tasks as Chief Judge must be undermining his ability to get work done in Easterbrook's usual timely manner. In talking about the ruling, Stevens reminisced about his former days as a pilot. Stevens also described the events leading up to President Ford's announcement that Stevens would be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It was also nice visiting again with Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who like me was at yesterday's Milwaukee Brewers game. His remarks at dinner focused on the subject of separation of powers within the Justice Department, emphasizing the role that the Solicitor General's Office plays in disputes over litigation and policy strategy within the executive branch.
I was fortunate to be seated at dinner between Judges Joel M. Flaum and Terence T. Evans, two of the Seventh Circuit's most avid baseball fans. Before dinner, I had the pleasure of visiting with U.S. Attorneys Steven M. Biskupic and Patrick J. Fitzgerald. And it was great to finally meet in person Chief Judge Easterbrook and Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, who are both fans of the site.
In all, I greatly enjoyed my visit to Milwaukee and the Seventh Circuit's Judicial Conference. Tomorrow morning, I'll be heading back to Philadelphia.
Update: At the "Althouse" blog, Ann Althouse has posts titled "Writing about the law -- traditional reporting and blogging" and "At the 7th Circuit dinner."
"On Wednesday, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Wal-Mart was not required to go as far as an employee pharmacist requested in accommodating his religious objections to filling birth-control prescriptions." The blog "Religion Clause" notes at this link a non-precedential ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued last week.
Posted at 06:02 PM by Howard Bashman
"Bad Science and Abortion Rights": Julia Frank, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine, has this post today at the "Balkinization" blog.
The religion of not wanting to pay taxes sustains another judicial setback: Few people really enjoy paying a part of their hard-earned money over to the federal government in the form of taxes. Today the Ninth Circuit decides a case in which the appellants asserted that it violated their religion to have a social security number or to pay social security self-employment tax. In a decision issued today, the Ninth Circuit holds that a part of the lawsuit should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, while the federal district court's rejection of the balance of the case is affirmed. If the plaintiffs' claims had succeeded, surely this religion would become much more popular.
Posted at 03:57 PM by Howard Bashman
"Oxymoronic and unfortunate as it may seem, Buckmaster appears to have been done in by a burning waterbed." So writes Circuit Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr. in an opinion that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued today. The decision affirms a criminal defendant's federal conviction for possession of commercial fireworks. Those fireworks, however, did not cause the bed to catch fire. Apparently the idea of a steam bed is not always as soothing as it is portrayed (image possibly not safe for work). Or, as the lyrics from the group Midnight Oil ask, "How do we sleep while our beds are burning?"
Posted at 03:35 PM by Howard Bashman
"Death Penalty for Child Molesters?" This article appears at Time magazine's web site.
Posted at 03:27 PM by Howard Bashman
"Analysis: The State of the Court -- May 2007 -- Part II (Unanimity and Justice Kennedy's Vote)." Tom Goldstein has this post today at "SCOTUSblog."
Posted at 03:22 PM by Howard Bashman
Programming note: As I have previously noted, I'll be participating this morning on a law bloggers panel at the Seventh Circuit's Judicial Conference in Milwaukee. The complete conference agenda is here.
I'm told that wireless internet service is not available in the room where the event is taking place. If that's correct, additional posts will appear here only sporadically throughout the day. If that's incorrect, additional posts will appear here more frequently (and perhaps live-blogging will appear at "Althouse").
Today's event concludes this evening with a dinner at which Justice John Paul Stevens and Solicitor General Paul D. Clement will speak. I'll have a post detailing their remarks tonight.
From today's issue of Legal Times: Tony Mauro's "Courtside" column is headlined "Ginsburg and Souter: Separated At Birth?" The oral argument in which an advocate addressed Justice David H. Souter as "Justice Ginsburg" was Office of Sen. Mark Dayton v. Hanson, No. 06-618. The mix-up appears at page 26 of the oral argument transcript. In addition, the column's very first item bears the subhead "Stevens ain't leavin'."
And Law Professor Herman Schwartz has an op-ed entitled "Gitmo Detainess Are Still Stuck Down There: Once again, lower courts have denied habeas rights to Gitmo detainees; When will Congress or the Supreme Court intervene?"
"Ziegler doesn't need to be a schemer": Today in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, columnist Mike Nichols has an op-ed that begins, "Annette Ziegler's attorney plans to seek dismissal of Ethics Board charges criticizing the Supreme Court justice-elect's participation in five cases involving a bank her husband helps run."
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman
"'Counselor, Do You Have Any Authority for That Proposition?'" Today's installment of my weekly "On Appeal" column for law.com can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 07:30 AM by Howard Bashman
"Car chases make the Supreme Court: A high-court ruling favoring police did not clear the way entirely for high-speed pursuits, even though it OKd ramming cars that threaten bystanders." The Los Angeles Times contains this editorial today.
Posted at 07:25 AM by Howard Bashman
"Fixing FISA: The rules for domestic electronic surveillance need a careful updating." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 07:08 AM by Howard Bashman
"An American's Kafkaesque Encounter With Nicaragua's Justice System": The Washington Post contains this article today.
Posted at 07:02 AM by Howard Bashman
"Journalists Intend to Sue Hewlett-Packard Over Surveillance": This article appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 06:58 AM by Howard Bashman
"Throngs Attend Speech by Pakistan's Suspended Justice": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "The chief justice of Pakistan's supreme court, suspended by the government after he investigated some of its practices, received an emotional welcome here on Sunday from thousands of supporters."
"How to Sink a Newspaper: Free news for online customers is a disastrous business plan." Walter E. Hussman, Jr., publisher of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has this op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 06:45 AM by Howard Bashman
"Supreme Court Alters the Patent Landscape": Harold Furchtgott-Roth has this essay today in The New York Sun.
Posted at 06:42 AM by Howard Bashman
"Gonzalez v. Carhart: How the Supreme Court's Validation of the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Affects Women's Constitutional Liberty and Equality." Joanna Grossman and Linda McClain have this essay online today at FindLaw. Their first essay in this two-part series appeared last Tuesday at this link.
Posted at 06:40 AM by Howard Bashman
"A Bit of Thin Skin Peeks Out of the Robes": Today in The New York Times, this week's installment (TimesSelect temporary pass-through link) of Adam Liptak's "Sidebar" column begins, "When judges talk about threats to judicial independence, which is constantly, they sometimes make important points about the value of the rule of law in a democracy. Other times they are looking for a pay raise. But lately, more and more, they seem to be saying their work should be above criticism. They have been lashing out at lawyers and even other judges who say harsh things about their decisions."
In somewhat related coverage, the February 12, 2007 installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com was headlined "Marsupial Alert: Don't Refer to Appellate Judges as a 'Kangaroo Court.'"