Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Available online from law.com: Tony Mauro reports that "Clement Resigns as Solicitor General."
And an article headlined "2nd Circuit Splits Over Scope of Class Action Fairness Act" reports on this ruling issued today.
Available online from National Public Radio: This evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained an audio segment entitled "Former Justice Asks Congress for Alzheimer's Aid."
"Fieger's ex-aide says FBI agent bullied her": This article appears today in The Detroit Free Press.
Posted at 10:45 PM by Howard Bashman
"Government's top Supreme Court attorney resigns": Lara Jakes Jordan of The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 04:09 PM by Howard Bashman
"Solicitor General Paul D. Clement submits his resignation, effective June 2." So reports David Kurtz of "Talking Points Memo."
Posted at 03:40 PM by Howard Bashman
Over the dissent of five judges, the Ninth Circuit denies rehearing en banc of decision holding that Congress cannot cure a government agency's Establishment Clause violation by ordering sale of the land upon which a religious symbol is situated: Today's order, which denies rehearing en banc and amends the original panel's decision, along with Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain's dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc (in which four other Ninth Circuit judges joined) can be accessed at this link.
The dispute arose from a Christian cross located in a remote area of the Mojave National Preserve. Judge O'Scannlain's dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc appears to provide attorneys for the federal government with a good head start on any cert. petition that they may consider filing.
"Top California court to rule on gay marriage Thursday": Reuters provides a report that begins, "California's Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it would issue a long-awaited decision on Thursday on whether it is constitutional for the the nation's most populous state to bar gays from marrying."
And The Associated Press reports that "California high court set to rule on gay marriage."
According to today's official announcement from the Supreme Court of California, the case to be announced tomorrow presents the question: "Does California's statutory ban on marriage between two persons of the same sex violate the California Constitution by denying equal protection of the laws on the basis of sexual orientation or sex, by infringing on the fundamental right to marry, or by denying the right to privacy and freedom of expression?" The decision is scheduled to be announced and posted to the internet at 10 a.m. pacific time tomorrow.
"O'Connor makes personal plea for Alzheimer's aid": The AP provides this report on today's hearing of the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on Aging.
You can access at this link the prepared text of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's statement to the committee. And C-SPAN has posted the video of the hearing at this link (RealPlayer required).
"Merck says appeals court overturns verdict in Vioxx case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A Texas appeals court on Wednesday overturned a multimillion-dollar verdict against Merck & Co. in a case involving its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. A Texas jury in April 2006 awarded the widow of 71-year-old Leonel Garza $32 million. That later was cut to about $7.75 million under Texas damage caps. On Wednesday, the Texas 4th Court of Appeals overturned the verdict, ruling that Garza's family failed to provide evidence that Garza's long-standing heart disease could not have been the cause of his fatal heart attack in 2001."
"Rendell's judicial nominees rejected in partisan showdown": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Four vacancies on Pennsylvania's appellate courts, including one on the Supreme Court, will remain unfilled for now. In a near party-line vote, the Republican-controlled state Senate on Wednesday rejected four men nominated by Gov. Ed Rendell to temporarily fill the openings. Republican senators say Rendell stepped over the established practice of taking the Senate's advice on whom to nominate."
Posted at 01:27 PM by Howard Bashman
"The plaintiffs claimed their Halloween display--wooden tombstones with epitaphs describing, in unflattering terms, the demise of their neighbors--was constitutionally protected speech." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit today issued an opinion that begins, "This free-speech lawsuit requires us to determine the present scope of the 'fighting-words' doctrine."
Today's opinion summarizes its holding as follows: "The tombstone inscriptions, although insulting, cannot be considered fighting words as that doctrine is presently understood. The display was, accordingly, protected speech. But the officer's mistake about the scope of the plaintiffs' constitutional right to ridicule their neighbors was one a reasonable officer might make in this situation. He was therefore entitled to qualified immunity."
The opinion, written by Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel, concludes:
In closing, a few words in defense of a saner use of judicial resources. It is unfortunate that this petty neighborhood dispute found its way into federal court, invoking the machinery of a justice system that is admired around the world. The suit was not so wholly without basis in fact or law as to be frivolous, but neither was it worth the inordinate effort it has taken to adjudicate it--on the part of judges, jurors, court staff, and attorneys (all, of course, at public expense). We take this opportunity to remind the bar that sound and responsible legal representation includes counseling as well as advocacy. The wiser course would have been to counsel the plaintiffs against filing such a trivial lawsuit. . . . Not every constitutional grievance deserves an airing in court. Lawsuits like this one cast the legal profession in a bad light and contribute to the impression that Americans are an overlawyered and excessively litigious people.Back in April 2007, I had this post linking to the appellate briefs and the appellate oral argument audio in the case.
Posted at 01:18 PM by Howard Bashman
"Vacation photos doom W.Va. top judge in primary": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "West Virginia's top judge will be out a job after a conflict-of-interest scandal involving an exotic vacation with a coal company boss derailed his bid for another term. Chief Justice Elliott 'Spike' Maynard finished third in a field of four candidates in the state's Democratic primary Tuesday, following an uproar that began in January when photos surfaced showing him vacationing in Europe with the chief executive of Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co. The company had cases before the court."
In other coverage, The Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail reports today that "Workman, Ketchum knock Spike Maynard off Supreme Court."
The Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette reports that "Workman, Ketchum win; Maynard out."
The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington, West Virginia reports that "Huntington's Ketchum moves on in Supreme Court race."
And The West Virginia Record reports that "Workman, Ketchum top Maynard in Supreme Court battle."
"Bush administration rules limit lawsuits": Pete Yost of The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 11:58 AM by Howard Bashman
"Barred artwork triumphs on appeal; Murals hang in court 70 years after a judge rejected them": The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger today contains an article that begins, "It took about 70 years, but Tanner Clark's artwork will finally get its day in court. As an aspiring artist in 1936, the young New Brunswick native won a contest and was commissioned to paint two murals for the opening of the new federal courthouse and post office in Newark."
Posted at 11:17 AM by Howard Bashman
"O'Connor: The Pain of Alzheimer's." Jan Crawford Greenburg has this post today at her "Legalities" blog.
Today's broadcast of the ABC News program "Good Morning America" included an interview that Jan conducted with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. You can view the segment by clicking here.
"The problem with ID laws: Supreme Court ruling opens door to efforts to suppress voter turnout." This editorial appears today in USA Today.
In response, that newspaper also contains an op-ed by Stanley Cox entitled "Protect our election process: Tough ID requirements are needed to deter, detect vote fraud schemes."
"A Few Good Soldiers: More members of the military turn against the terror trials." Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick have this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 09:15 AM by Howard Bashman
"High Court Caricature": Columnist Ruth Marcus has this op-ed today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 09:14 AM by Howard Bashman
"Charges Against 9/11 Suspect Dropped; His Statements Were the Result of Abusive Interrogation, Officials Say": This article appears today in The Washington Post.
Today in The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams reports that "Charges dropped for 20th alleged 9/11 hijacker; But five other suspects, including the alleged mastermind, face the death penalty at the troubled Guantanamo Bay tribunal."
"Pentagon accused of delays; With charges ready for this summer's Guantanamo arraignment in the Sept. 11 conspiracy trial, legal defense groups are protesting that the Pentagon has not cleared approved civilian lawyers to work on the cases": Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.
Posted at 09:08 AM by Howard Bashman
"Florida justice hails rule of law campaign; A Florida Supreme Court justice underscored the American Bar Association's aim to reinforce the rule of law in his speech at a Miami conference": Today in The Miami Herald, Jay Weaver has an article that begins, "Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero on Tuesday gave a brief history lesson about his life, the United States and Cuba to dramatize how vital an independent judiciary is to a democratic society."
Posted at 09:05 AM by Howard Bashman
"Now Bonds faces 14 BALCO perjury counts": Lance Williams has this article today in The San Francisco Chronicle.
And The New York Times reports today that "Prosecutors Rework Indictment of Bonds."
You can view at this link the superseding indictment filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
"Loving v. Virginia and the Secret History of Race": Brent Staples has this Editorial Observer essay today in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:45 AM by Howard Bashman
"O'Connor takes private ordeal public; Former justice to testify about Alzheimer's painful reach": Joan Biskupic has this article today in USA Today.
The Associated Press reports that "O'Connor urges help for Alzheimer's disease."
And The Washington Post contains a related article headlined "Man With Alzheimer's Fights 'Family Disease'; 5th-Generation Patient Copes With Early Onset."
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is scheduled to testify today at a hearing of the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on Aging. The hearing is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. eastern time, and a live webcast of the hearing will be available via this link (RealPlayer required).
"McCain's Supreme wrongheadedness": Today in The Boston Globe, columnist Jeff Jacoby has an op-ed that begins, "In a speech on the federal judiciary last week, John McCain sounded the familiar conservative call for judges who know their place."
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman
"Some Detainees Are Drugged For Deportation; Immigrants Sedated Without Medical Reason": This front page article appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:10 AM by Howard Bashman
"Judge punished for profanity; Lamdin draws a 30-day suspension": The Baltimore Sun today contains an article that begins, "The state's highest court suspended a Baltimore County judge yesterday for making profane and uncivil comments from the bench, issuing the harshest punishment for a Maryland judge in more than two decades and, observers said, sending a message to judges to watch their behavior."