Wednesday, October 3, 2007
"Report: Security for Judges Falls Short." Hope Yen of The Associated Press has a report that begins, "Federal judges are in danger because the U.S. Marshals Service does not work quickly enough to protect them amid growing threats of violence, Justice Department investigators said Wednesday."
The report of the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice is titled "The United States Marshals Service Judicial Security Process."
"Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations": The New York Times on Thursday will contain a lengthy article that begins, "When the Justice Department publicly declared torture 'abhorrent' in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations. But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales's arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency."
Posted at 10:53 PM by Howard Bashman
What's a federal district court to do when a pro se litigant who is unable to afford counsel asks the district court to recruit pro bono counsel? Back in late December 2006, I had a post titled "Chief Judge Easterbrook versus Circuit Judge Posner, once again" reporting on the divided three-judge panel's ruling in this case.
Thereafter, the Seventh Circuit granted rehearing en banc in the case, and today the en banc court issued its ruling, which appears to side with the dissenting view on the original three-judge panel.
"Lawyer: Kent sex complaint more than words." The Galveston County Daily News today contains an article that begins, "When Cathy McBroom complained in May that she had been sexually harassed by U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent, she wasn't just recounting an off-color remark. Rather, she described an episode that her attorney, Rusty Hardin, characterized as unwanted physical contact."
The article goes on to report, "While Hardin wouldn't further describe what McBroom claims happened, The Daily News was told the judge called his case manager to his office, where physical contact occurred. When she resisted, he told her she owed him because he had interceded in her favor in a dispute among clerk's office employees, the paper was told. Since Kent was suspended in August, The Daily News has conducted interviews with more than a dozen members of the legal community -- lawyers, their employees and employees of the court. Some claimed first-hand knowledge of allegations of Kent's misconduct, but none agreed to be identified. McBroom wasn't the only female employee Kent, who is more than 6 feet tall and more than 200 pounds, is alleged to have touched inappropriately, The Daily News was told. The judicial council's report also seems to indicate more than one incident occurred."
Later, the article states, "Those aren't the only reports that Kent engaged in inappropriate conduct. Other sources have told The Daily News that, at a party and in the offices of a law firm, a drunken Kent cornered women and grabbed them."
"Anita Hill, stung by justice's book, stands by story; She defends 1991 testimony about Thomas": This article appears today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 10:14 PM by Howard Bashman
"Government duty in detainee cases narrowed": At "SCOTUSblog" this evening, Lyle Denniston has a post that begins, "The D.C. Circuit Court, in a significant opinion Wednesday denying rehearing in the key case setting procedures for civilian court review of Guantanamo Bay detainees' legal status, appeared to have narrowed an earlier ruling that had stirred a vehement protest by the government."
"Anger Still Fresh in Clarence Thomas' Memoir": Monica Dolin has this review online today at ABCNews.com.
Posted at 08:40 PM by Howard Bashman
Colorado Rockies 4, Philadelphia Phillies 2: Well, no one said the post-season would be easy. This afternoon, my son and I were at Citizens Bank Park to see game one of this Division Series match-up.
The Rockies stayed red-hot, while the Phillies are once again facing the same sort of adversity that the team has thrived in the face of all season. When two "Baseball Tonight" commentators on this morning's broadcast of ESPN's "SportsCenter" both picked the Phillies to face the New York Yankees in the World Series this year, they said that the Rockies-Phillies series would go five games. I don't have tickets in this series again until game five, so I hope it happens, although I'd settle for a Phillies sweep of the next three in a row.
Tomorrow afternoon's game is now almost a must-win for the Phillies. Unlike today, I'll be watching that game on television. You can access the box score of today's game at this link, while wraps from MLB.com are here and here.
Programming note: Due to an event that my son and I will be attending out-of-the-office this afternoon, additional posts will appear here this evening.
Plenty of additional coverage of the event can be accessed here and here, and don't forget to study these notes in advance of this afternoon's 3:07 p.m. eastern time start.
"Court Hears NY Judicial Elections Case": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 12:04 PM by Howard Bashman
Additional coverage of Justice Clarence Thomas's new book, "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir." Ann Althouse is blogging her way through the book. At "Althouse," you can access recent posts titled "Justice Thomas steels himself by listening, over and over, to 'The Greatest Love of All'"; "Justice Thomas drives south, 'drinking beer and watching other cars slide off the road and crash into one another'"; "Clarence Thomas helps 'a sister' -- Anita Hill"; "Clarence Thomas on middle-class white women who think they're 'oppressed'"; "'Cases and terms of which I knew nothing swirled about me in an incomprehensible miasma'"; and "Clarence Thomas on Ayn Rand."
Yesterday's broadcast of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" contained video segments titled "Minority Opinion: Justice Clarence Thomas not only disagrees with the Left - he personally hates them" and "Here Comes the Grudge: Jason Jones reports that justice is blind until she gets her hands on the person who blinded her."
And on a more serious note, an interview with Justice Thomas appeared yesterday on the Fox News program "Hannity & Colmes." You can access both a text report and three video reports (part one; part two; and part three).
"'Howl' too hot to hear; 50 years after poem ruled not obscene, radio fears to air it": The San Francisco Chronicle today contains an article that begins, "Fifty years ago today, a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruled that Allen Ginsberg's Beat-era poem 'Howl' was not obscene. Yet today, a New York public broadcasting station decided not to air the poem, fearing that the Federal Communications Commission will find it indecent and crush the network with crippling fines."
And online at the First Amendment Center, Lydia Hailman King has a report headlined "'Howl' obscenity prosecution still echoes 50 years later."
"Porn Vendor, Paper Among Mukasey Clients": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 10:30 AM by Howard Bashman
"Thomas seen as role model": The Washington Times today contains an article that begins, "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has lived a life that should serve as an example for today's youth -- one of hard work, self-discipline, academic achievement and moral conviction, conservative blacks say."
Posted at 09:20 AM by Howard Bashman
"Panel Is Told of 'Mess' Over Eavesdropping": Today in The New York Times, Neil A. Lewis has an article that begins, "Jack L. Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who led the Justice Department office that objected to a Bush administration domestic eavesdropping plan, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the situation became a 'legal mess' because the White House did not believe either the courts or Congress had any role to play."
And The Washington Post today contains articles headlined "White House Secrecy On Wiretaps Described" and "Telecoms Pressed on Surveillance; Democrats Seek Details on What Government Is Given."
"California Supreme Court will rule on boycott leafleting at a mall": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "A divided California Supreme Court debated Tuesday whether a mall can prohibit union members and others with gripes about retailers from leafleting shoppers to urge a boycott. The case is an outgrowth of the court's landmark 1979 ruling that extended the state constitutional right of free expression to large shopping centers, which the justices described as the modern equivalent of a town square. By contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal Constitution prohibits only government interference with free speech."
Posted at 09:08 AM by Howard Bashman
"Judges weigh whether city's emblem religious; Las Cruces, N.M., man says cross is; city calls symbol historic": Yesterday's issue of The Denver Post contained an article that begins, "Three Latin crosses displayed on the official city emblem of Las Cruces, N.M., are the subject of a legal battle over the U.S. Constitution's treatment of religion and its proper place in government. The fight made its way to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday as a three-judge panel heard arguments from lawyers representing the city and Paul Weinbaum, a resident who is fed up with the seal."
Posted at 09:05 AM by Howard Bashman
"Two court employees suing over Bible study; Group meetings at courthouse barred": The San Diego Union-Tribune today contains an article that begins, "Two San Diego court employees are suing the Superior Court because they say they have been prohibited from holding a lunch-hour Bible study in the courthouse. The federal civil rights suit claims court officials unfairly denied the group's request to meet in an empty courtroom or jury deliberation room."
"Malvo Offers an Apology By Phone; Five Years Later, Sniper Talks to Ariz. Victim's Daughter": The Washington Post contains this article today.
Posted at 08:57 AM by Howard Bashman
"Texas Ruling Signals Indefinite Halt to Executions": This article appears today in The New York Times.
The Austin American-Statesman reports today that "Ruling could halt Texas executions; After stay, temporary ban likely while judges debate appeal."
The Houston Chronicle reports that "Appeals court halts execution of Honduran man."
The Dallas Morning News reports that "Arlington killer granted reprieve."
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that "Gunman in Arlington case gets stay of execution."
And The Los Angeles Times contains an editorial entitled "The death penalty injection paradox: The search for 'humane' capital punishment could end up making state-sanctioned killing more prevalent."
"Justice's house fire seen as 'suspicious'": The Houston Chronicle today contains a front page article that begins, "Three months after a fire destroyed the home of Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina, investigators are treating the blaze as arson, saying it is 'very suspicious,' in part because a dog detected an accelerant, the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said Tuesday."
The article goes on to report that "Green said six 'persons of interest,' all of whom are Medina family members or friends, have been identified in the investigation, which is expected to be completed within 90 days. He said there were inconsistencies in Medina's and his wife's account of where he was the night of the fire. She was at home. Contacted by telephone on Tuesday, Medina said he would not comment about his whereabouts that night. The judge also said he was unaware that investigators had identified six people of interest, including family members and friends."
"Justices Take Up Discretion of the Courts in Sentencing": Linda Greenhouse has this article today in The New York Times.
Today in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that "Court Revisits Sentencing Guidelines; Increased Penalties for Crack Cocaine Disproportionately Affect Blacks." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "The Crack Gap: The Supreme Court hears a case about unequal penalties for cocaine possession."
David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times reports that "Justices say they lean to sentencing leeway; Foes of strict guidelines point to overcrowded prisons and substantial variations in terms."
And Joan Biskupic of USA Today reports that "High court examines judges' power to be lenient; Some impose penalties that fall short of what sentencing guidelines call for."
"Mukasey Papers Cite Giuliani Friendship; Nominee Recused Himself From Cases": This article appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:25 AM by Howard Bashman
"Judge allows class action against Target website": Reuters provides a report that begins, "A federal judge in California certified a class action lawsuit against Target Corp brought by plaintiffs claiming the discount retailer's website is inaccessible to the blind, according to court documents. Judge Marilyn Patel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California also rejected Target's motion for summary judgment in the case, according to the ruling filed October 2."
And the National Federation of the Blind has issued a press release headlined "Court Ruling Says California Disabled Rights Law Applies to the Web; Federal Court Issues Landmark Decision Certifying Nationwide Class Action Against Target Corporation to Make its Web Site Accessible to the Blind."
I have posted online at this link yesterday's ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
"Appeals Court Extends Time for Suit on Holocaust Insurance Payments": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "A federal appeals court yesterday extended a long-running dispute over unpaid life insurance claims brought by victims of the Holocaust and their families, potentially reopening a case that many thought had been resolved."
"When $1,000 an Hour Is Not Enough": David Lat has this article today in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:05 AM by Howard Bashman
"Justice Thomas looks back in anger": Today in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Karen Heller has a book review that begins, "Clarence Thomas has sat on the Supreme Court for 16 years. He chose this week, the moment of the court's return, to publish his $1.5 million My Grandfather's Son, possibly the most intimate, angry and vindictive book ever written by a justice on the nation's highest court, the government's last bastion of professional reserve."
"State panel files complaint against Judges Fiss, Young in DUI case; Discipline sought for judges' actions": The Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat today contains an article that begins, "St. Clair County Circuit Judges Patrick Young and Jan V. Fiss drank Bloody Marys and beers before a traffic crash that injured a Swansea man, according to an Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board complaint filed Tuesday. The complaint alleges the judges' actions were 'prejudicial to the administration of justice and brought the judicial office into disrepute,' and seeks to discipline them."
The Madison County Record reports today that "Judicial Inquiry Board files complaint against Fiss and Young."
And The Associated Press reports that "2 Judges' Jobs on Line After Car Wreck."
"Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas, Redux": These seven letters to the editor appear today in The New York Times.
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman
"High Court Seems To Tilt Toward City on Special Ed": Yesterday in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein had an article that begins, "The Supreme Court appears poised to make it more difficult for the parents of children with disabilities to get the government to pay for a private education. On the first day of the high court's new term yesterday, several justices seemed to side with New York City's interpretation of a federal law that requires school districts to pay for children who require specialized teaching techniques to attend private schools."
Posted at 07:35 AM by Howard Bashman
In commentary available online from FindLaw: Marci Hamilton has an essay entitled "Did the Six Supreme Court Justices Who Chose to Attend the 54th Annual 'Red Mass' Exercise Bad Judgment?"
And Joanna Grossman has an essay entitled "Maryland's Highest Court Rules Against A Claim to a Right to Same-Sex Marriage: Why, In This Area, Litigation Still Matters."