How Appealing

Monday, December 31, 2007

"After Ruling, Groups Spend Heavily to Sway Races": Tuesday's edition of The New York Times will contain an article that begins, "Spurred by a recent Supreme Court decision, independent political groups are using their financial muscle and organizational clout as never before to influence the presidential race, pumping money and troops into early nominating states on behalf of their favored candidates."
Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Chief justice pushes for higher salaries for federal judges": The Associated Press provides this early report on Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.'s year-end report on the federal judiciary.
Posted at 08:57 PM by Howard Bashman


"Abrahamson talks Supreme Court campaigns, perceptions": The Associated Press provides this report on its recent interview with Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
Posted at 08:05 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court Bars Detainee Transfer to Algeria": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A federal appeals court Monday blocked the Bush administration from transferring a detainee at Guantanamo Bay to Algeria, where the prisoner says his life would be in danger from the government and al-Qaida. The appeals court is stopping any transfer while it considers Ahmed Belbacha's request that he not be returned to his home country."
Posted at 06:04 PM by Howard Bashman


In case 2007 wouldn't feel complete without at least one more precedential U.S. Court of Appeals ruling (or "All About Eve"): The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which issued a precedential ruling on Christmas Eve (my post reporting on that ruling can be accessed here), has now also issued a precedential ruling on New Year's Eve.

Today's decision begins, "This appeal raises an issue that we have not previously decided: what standard should be applied when analyzing a claim that a defendant has breached a plea agreement." Interestingly, the Third Circuit did not issue any precedential rulings after Christmas Eve until today.
Posted at 03:25 PM by Howard Bashman



"The Chief's Year-End Report": At "The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times," Tony Mauro has a post that begins, "Tonight's the night for champagne, Auld Lang Syne -- and the chief justice's end-of-year report on the state of the federal judiciary." If earlier years are any indication, press reports on the document will begin to appear online several hours before midnight east coast time, so stay tuned!
Posted at 03:11 PM by Howard Bashman


You're not going anywhere: I'm pleased to announce that I have extended my current relationship with ALM's law.com for another two years. As a result, my weekly "On Appeal" column, which I began two years ago, will continue for another two years. And "How Appealing" will remain a part of the law.com blog network through at least April 20, 2010.

The next installment of my "On Appeal" column will appear next Monday, when I will provide my list of the top ten appellate court rulings of 2007 (excluding U.S. Supreme Court rulings). Readers who would like to offer nominations for that list are invited to contact me via email.
Posted at 08:35 AM by Howard Bashman



"Race emerges as a death penalty issue": The Kansas City Star today contains an article that begins, "Across the nation, death chambers sit idle while the U.S. Supreme Court mulls the viability of lethal injection. But it's another less-publicized death penalty issue that in the long run may prove to have a much larger impact on who dies and who decides if they should. The issue is race."
Posted at 08:23 AM by Howard Bashman


"Phila.'s campaign limits are upheld": The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains an article that begins, "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld Philadelphia's campaign-finance limits, a victory for reform-minded Mayor-elect Michael Nutter just days before his inauguration."

And The Philadelphia Daily News reports today that "Supreme Court upholds city's law on campaign finances."

Friday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which that court posted online yesterday, consists of a majority opinion and a dissenting opinion.

As I wrote in this post from last night reporting on another ruling that Pennsylvania's highest court issued Friday and posted online yesterday, "In just a matter of days, three of the seven justices currently serving on Pennsylvania's highest court will be departing from that court. As a result, the court has been issuing an unusually high volume of decisions in argued cases over the past few days and weeks."
Posted at 08:22 AM by Howard Bashman



"Narragansetts mull U.S. Supreme Court appeal in smokeshop case": This article appears online today at Indian Country Today.
Posted at 08:17 AM by Howard Bashman


"Deep divisions over US gun control; Gun control is expected to become a hot topic for the US presidential election as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a controversial handgun ban in the nation's capital": BBC News provides this report.
Posted at 08:15 AM by Howard Bashman


"Robert Henry to take top spot on federal court": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Henry is getting a promotion. The Shawnee, Oklahoma, native will become chief judge of the Denver-based federal court tomorrow. The cousin of Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, Robert Henry joined the court 13 years ago."

Because Circuit Judge Robert H. Henry was placed on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President Bill Clinton, his ascension to chief judge of that court will end the Republican appointee stranglehold on all of the Nation's federal appellate court chief judgeships that began when Alex Kozinski became chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit earlier this month.
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman



"Guantanamo Bay detainee dies of cancer; The Afghan native, 68, was accused of being a member of the Taliban; He is the prison's first inmate to die of natural causes": Carol J. Williams has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

And Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald has an article headlined "Pentagon: Cancer killed Guantanamo detainee."
Posted at 07:18 AM by Howard Bashman



"The Challenges Alex Kozinski Faces as the New Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit": Carl Tobias has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 06:50 AM by Howard Bashman


Sunday, December 30, 2007

"In the Fight Over Piracy, a Rare Stand for Privacy": Monday's edition of The New York Times will contain this installment of Adam Liptak's "Sidebar" column.
Posted at 11:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"In sum, the number of issues raised in a Rule 1925(b) statement does not, without more, provide a basis upon which to deny appellate review where an appeal otherwise complies with the mandates of appellate practice." So states the opinion announcing the judgment of the court that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued Friday in Eiser v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.

The question presented in the case asked: "Did Appellant waive her right to appellate review by raising a quantity of issues sufficient to impair meaningful appellate review?"

The decision, which the court posted online today, also consists of an opinion concurring in the judgment and two dissenting opinions (here and here). In addition, the court's Chief Justice concurred in the result without issuing an opinion.

In just a matter of days, three of the seven justices currently serving on Pennsylvania's highest court will be departing from that court. As a result, the court has been issuing an unusually high volume of decisions in argued cases over the past few days and weeks.
Posted at 10:48 PM by Howard Bashman



"Chipping at tough crack sentencing; Laws were ineffective and the drug's ravages overblown, experts say": Richard B. Schmitt and David G. Savage have this article today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 08:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Aussie Taliban Goes Free": This article appears online at Time magazine's web site.
Posted at 08:14 PM by Howard Bashman


"In-state tuition fight may head to high court; Controversial state law allows lower rate for some illegal immigrants": The Topeka Capital-Journal today contains an article that begins, "The fight over in-state tuition in Kansas for the children of some illegal immigrants may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court."
Posted at 02:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Malls: free speech zones; A California Supreme Court decision says malls, like parks, can't pick who protests inside." This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 02:27 PM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. Supreme Court expected to make decision on Teck Cominco case soon": The Canadian Press provides this report.
Posted at 02:22 PM by Howard Bashman


"Kenneth Starr: Open to the public; These days, the former special prosecutor pursues service and conscience in the law." Jim Newton has this interview online today at the web site of The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 02:18 PM by Howard Bashman


"High court's ruling to have lasting impact in Ohio; Law limiting money damages in pain-and-suffering lawsuits will make Ohio business-friendly, supporters say": The Dayton Daily News today contains an article that begins, "The Ohio Supreme Court's decision to uphold a law limiting the money damages that can be awarded in pain-and-suffering lawsuits could discourage people from pursuing those lawsuits and eliminate a deterrent for companies to fix defective products, trial lawyers said."
Posted at 02:11 PM by Howard Bashman


"Voter ID Law Heads to Supreme Court": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press has a report that begins, "The dispute over Indiana's voter identification law that is headed to the Supreme Court next week is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle."
Posted at 02:05 PM by Howard Bashman


Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Ruling Against Muslim Group Is Overturned; Former Charity, Others Not Liable in Teen's Death": This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The Chicago Tribune today contains an article headlined "Terror suit award tossed out; Judge: No Hamas tie to teen slaying shown."

And Reuters reports that "U.S. court overturns $156 mln award in terror case."

My earlier coverage of yesterday's Seventh Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 11:24 PM by Howard Bashman



"Court reverses IU teacher assistant's firing": The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today contains an article that begins, "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday ordered a new hearing for a teacher's assistant fired in 2002 from her job in Westmoreland County for allegedly violating a district morality clause."

Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania consists of a majority opinion, a concurring opinion, and two dissenting opinions (here and here).
Posted at 11:20 PM by Howard Bashman



"Drug dealer ordered to finish prison term after nine years free; Smithton man remained out of jail due to bureaucratic mistakes": This article appears today in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

And The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports today that "Rankin man jailed years after arrest must finish time."

Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania consists of a majority opinion and a concurring opinion.
Posted at 11:11 PM by Howard Bashman



"High court lifts limit on OHSU liability; The move against the $200,000 cap affects state agencies and all local governments": The Oregonian today contains an article that begins, "The Oregon Supreme Court ruled Friday that the family of a brain-damaged child can pursue millions of dollars from Oregon Health & Science University, opening the door for people hurt by any public employee to seek full compensation for their injuries. The court ruled that a liability cap of $200,000 designed to protect government agencies from expensive lawsuits violates the constitutional rights of Jordaan Michael Clarke, 9, who suffered permanent brain damage in 1998 while in intensive care at OHSU Hospital." The newspaper also reports today that "Ruling will force cuts in programs."

And The Statesman Journal of Salem, Oregon reports today that "Government liability cap is overruled; Public agencies, and taxpayers, may face more expensive lawsuits."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Oregon at this link.
Posted at 11:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"A Texas tale: Oil, business meet history, sabotage; Historic family, Exxon, small producer wage legal war fueled by old wells." Chuck Lindell will have this article Sunday in The Austin American-Statesman.
Posted at 10:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"Pentagon sends 10 Saudis home from Gitmo": Today in The Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg has an article that begins, "The Pentagon has downsized the detainee population at Guantanamo again -- announcing Friday evening that it had sent 10 presumably long-held captives home to Saudi Arabia."
Posted at 10:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Upcoming Supreme Court Case Could Redefine Patent Exhaustion": Dow Jones Newswires provide this report.
Posted at 10:37 PM by Howard Bashman


"After 7-Year Custody Fight, Family to Return to China; Faced With Deportation, Anna Mae He and Her Parents Plan to Return to China": ABCNews.com provides this report.

The Associated Press reports that "Girl in Custody Fight Headed to China."

And earlier this month, The Commercial Appeal of Memphis published articles headlined "Faced with deportation, the He family heading back to homeland" and "Anna He absorbing Chinese culture, adjusting to a different world with her family."
Posted at 10:35 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court's clerks find Indian law unimportant": Matthew L.M. Fletcher has this essay online at Indian Country Today.
Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"More Power for Executive: Will It Last?" Adam Liptak will have this article Sunday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:28 PM by Howard Bashman


"Tapes by C.I.A. Lived and Died to Save Image": This article will appear Sunday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:27 PM by Howard Bashman


"Feds plan to drop 43 counts in Wecht fraud case": The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today contains an article that begins, "Less than two weeks before jury selection is scheduled to begin, federal prosecutors late yesterday filed a motion to dismiss 43 of the criminal counts against former Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht. That motion came on the same day that defense attorneys filed a second petition with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the judge overseeing the case be removed."

And The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports today that "Prosecutor cuts Wecht case in half."
Posted at 07:10 PM by Howard Bashman



"Pa. court upholds church-state case; It said Phila. was within the law in condemning private land for a Catholic educational project": Today's edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer contains an article that begins, "In Pennsylvania, it is now legal in some cases to condemn blighted private property and turn it over to a religious organization, the state Supreme Court ruled this week. The case, which blended the hot-button issues of eminent domain and separation of church and state, revolved around a North Philadelphia neighborhood that the city certified as blighted 36 years ago."

Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania consists of a majority opinion and a dissenting opinion.
Posted at 07:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Court orders judge to reconsider ruling on deaf truck drivers": Bob Egelko has this article today in The San Francisco Chronicle.

My earlier coverage of yesterday's en banc Ninth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 06:38 PM by Howard Bashman



Friday, December 28, 2007

"Lacking lawyers, justice is denied; Attorneys often avoid medical malpractice suits because California limits 'pain and suffering' awards to $250,000": Saturday's edition of The Los Angeles Times will contain this article.
Posted at 11:57 PM by Howard Bashman


"Caps on personal-injury damages upheld by Ohio Supreme Court; Business group applauds ruling": This article appears today in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Toledo Blade reports today that "Limits on damages for pain are upheld by Ohio Supreme Court; Court affirms 2004 law."

The Columbus Dispatch reports that "Cap on lawsuit damages upheld; Right to a jury trial does not rule out $350,000 limit."

And The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that "Court upholds cap on damages; Max for pain and suffering is $350,000."

My earlier coverage of yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Ohio appears at this link.
Posted at 11:50 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from law.com: Tony Mauro reports that "Small Firm Business Attorney Tapped to Argue High Court Lethal-Injection Case; Choice of veteran Supreme Court advocate reflects trend by states."

And in other news, "9th Circuit Switches Gears on UPS Drivers in Closely Watched Class Action; 15-judge panel comes up with a new 'business necessity' standard for employers faced with ADA litigation." My earlier coverage of today's en banc Ninth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 11:35 PM by Howard Bashman



Jurisprudence essays available online at Slate: Dahlia Lithwick has an essay entitled "Legal Fictions: The Bush administration's dumbest legal arguments of the year."

And Niko Karvounis has an essay entitled "Capital Opportunity: Democrats could safely champion death-penalty reform--why aren't they?"
Posted at 10:55 PM by Howard Bashman



"Hicks released from Yatala - but it's freedom at a price": The Advertiser of Adelaide, Australia provides a news update that begins, "Confessed terrorism supporter David Hicks has been released from an Adelaide jail - but has left dealing with the media to his father and lawyer. The 32-year-old walked out of the Yatala prison in Adelaide's north at 8.17am. Hicks has been in custody since being captured among Taliban forces in Afghanistan, in December 2001."

And The Associated Press reports that "Australian Guantanamo Convict Released."
Posted at 05:25 PM by Howard Bashman



It's not every day that you see an opinion involving a conviction for possession of child pornography where the images in question were created by the "victim" at the victim's suggestion and then sold by the victim to the defendant in a transaction the victim proposed: A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued this ruling today. These facts, among others, explain why the appellate court in this decision affirms a sentence that is substantially below the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range.
Posted at 05:12 PM by Howard Bashman


"Even litigation spawning multiple Roman numeral suffixes must come to an end." If today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Doe v. Chao marks the end of that case, the litigation will have concluded at Doe VII.
Posted at 04:55 PM by Howard Bashman


Second Circuit rejects challenges to the use of an anonymous jury and the removal for cause of certain jurors opposed to the death penalty based only on responses to a written questionnaire in a case where the death-qualified jury ended up imposing a life sentence: You can access today's lengthy ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit at this link.
Posted at 04:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"$156M Terrorism Damage Award Thrown Out": The Associated Press provides this report.

And the Anti-Defamation League has issued a press release entitled "ADL Disappointed With Overturn of Landmark Anti-Terrorism Judgment."

My earlier coverage of today's Seventh Circuit ruling appears at this link.

You can access via this link the briefs filed on appeal. The case was orally argued a little over two years ago, and you can download the oral argument audio in three parts via this link.
Posted at 03:38 PM by Howard Bashman



Fifteen-judge en banc Ninth Circuit panel sets aside injunction that would have required United Parcel Service to hire hearing-impaired drivers to operate local delivery vans: You can access today's en banc ruling at this link.

In October 2006, a unanimous three-judge Ninth Circuit panel had affirmed the injunction, holding that the company's refusal to hire the hearing-impaired to make local deliveries violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. In covering that ruling, Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle had an article headlined "Deaf drivers due a chance at UPS jobs, court says; Some may be as safe as rivals with normal hearing, ruling holds."
Posted at 02:45 PM by Howard Bashman



Partially divided three-judge Seventh Circuit panel sets aside $156 million judgment awarded to parents of teenager randomly shot to death in Israel by gunmen believed to be acting on behalf of the terrorist organization Hamas: You can access today's 102-page ruling at this link.

The majority has ruled that the federal district court erred in holding that the defendants were liable on plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The end result is that the case is remanded for further proceedings. Before summarizing its holdings, the majority opinion concludes:

Belief, assumption, and speculation are no substitutes for evidence in a court of law. However the plaintiffs might establish a line of proof connecting the defendants with the murder of David Boim, the law demands that they demonstrate such a nexus before any defendant may be held liable for David's death. We must resist the temptation to gloss over error, admit spurious evidence, and assume facts not adequately proved simply to side with the face of innocence and against the face of terrorism. Our endeavor to adhere to the dictates of law that this great nation has embodied since its founding must persevere, no matter how great our desire to hold someone accountable for the unspeakably evil acts that ended David Boim's life and created a lifetime of grief not only for the Boims but also for every other family scarred by terrorism.
Circuit Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Diane P. Wood joined. In his opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, Circuit Judge Terence T. Evans explains that he would have affirmed the district court's judgment except as to one defedant.

Update: Coincidentally, earlier this month the publication Washington Jewish Week published an article headlined "Lewin and Lewin make their mark." According to the article, "The Lewins currently represent the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and are working on a number of other Jewish-related cases, such as the Boim case, in which, on behalf of a victim of a Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, they successfully sued the Holy Land Foundation and two other U.S. charities for providing funding to the terrorist organization. They are waiting for the results of an appeal, but the legal theory they developed has been adopted by a number of other terror victims since."
Posted at 11:45 AM by Howard Bashman



"Galle on 'The Tax Law Made Me Crazy' Defense Approved by the 9th Circuit in Cohen": This post appears today at "TaxProf Blog."

My earlier coverage of Wednesday's Ninth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 10:47 AM by Howard Bashman



Part man, part beast: In case you are concerned that today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving xenotransplantation -- which the opinion describes as "a relatively new procedure whereby animal organs or tissues are transplanted to the human body" -- would be too fascinating to pass-up, do not despair.

In fact, all that the decision addresses is whether the organization known as Campaign for Responsible Transplantation (whose web site features this lovely image) is entitled to recover attorneys' fees from the Food and Drug Administration pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. Nevertheless, please do keep xenotransplantation in mind the next time you sit down to play Scrabble.

You can access many of the trial court filings in the case via this link.
Posted at 10:44 AM by Howard Bashman



Supreme Court of Pennsylvania grants review to decide "[w]hether accessing and viewing child pornography over the internet constitutes 'control' of such pornography under 18 Pa.C.S. sec. 6312(d)": You can access Monday's order of Pennsylvania's highest court at this link.

The case in which review was granted is captioned Commonwealth v. Diodoro. In November 2006, I had this post reporting on the decision of a unanimous three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania setting aside the defendant's conviction. In December 2006, I criticized that decision in an installment of my weekly "On Appeal" column headlined "Just Looking: Should Internet Ignorance Be a Defense to Child Porn Charges?" Thereafter, the Pa. Superior Court granted reargument en banc. Next, in August 2007, a nine-judge en banc panel of the Pa. Superior Court affirmed the defendant's conviction by means of a 7-2 ruling that you can access here. And now the Pa. Supreme Court has agreed to have the final word on the matter.
Posted at 08:47 AM by Howard Bashman



"Guantanamo Terror Convict to Be Set Free": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Convicted terror supporter David Hicks was due to walk free Saturday after more than six years of captivity in Guantanamo Bay and Australia, but will face strict controls on his movements after a court found he was still a security risk."
Posted at 07:30 AM by Howard Bashman


"Entertainer and Fighter Is Clemens's Lead Lawyer": This profile of attorney Rusty Hardin appears today in The New York Times. The article notes that Hardin also represents the woman who is accusing U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of sexual assault.
Posted at 07:25 AM by Howard Bashman


"Protection and Pay for Federal Judges": The New York Times contains this editorial today.
Posted at 07:20 AM by Howard Bashman


"Affirmative action may be on ballots; Campaign in five states seeks end of preferences": This front page article appears today in USA Today.
Posted at 07:11 AM by Howard Bashman


Thursday, December 27, 2007

"S-R loses court battle over school records": The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington provides a news update that begins, "The Washington Supreme Court sided Thursday with Spokane Public Schools in a six-year legal battle with The Spokesman-Review over access to witness accounts of the events that led to the death of a third grader on a school field trip in 2001. The 5-4 ruling upholds the school district’s decision to withhold public documents when it assumed a wrongful death lawsuit was likely."

And The Associated Press reports that "High court shields attorney-client records; State's justices rule out releasing documents regarding child's death."

My earlier coverage appears at this link.
Posted at 11:58 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from law.com: Tony Mauro has an article headlined "A Historic Find Behind a Supreme Court Filing Cabinet; A copy of the Declaration of Independence sat forgotten at the high court; Now it's cleaned up and on display."

In other news, "Court Rejects Billionaire's Bid to Obtain Milberg Weiss Work Product; CA shareholder Wyly had sought internal documents to support claim that settlement did not adequately account for company fraud."

And a newsbrief reports that "Airline Industry to Appeal 'Passenger Bill of Rights' Ruling." My earlier coverage appears at this link.
Posted at 11:48 PM by Howard Bashman



"Iowa appeals videotape evidence case to U.S. Supreme Court": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Iowa's attorney general has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Iowa Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the use of videotaped testimony in a child sexual abuse case against a man whose brother killed the child."

And Radio Iowa News reports that "Iowa Attorney General asks for U.S. Supreme Court review of Bentley ruling."
Posted at 11:44 PM by Howard Bashman



"SF appeals to court to allow health coverage plan to proceed": Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle provides a news update that begins, "San Francisco asked a federal appeals court this morning to let the city extend health coverage to all uninsured adult residents next week, despite a federal judge's ruling that struck down a key provision requiring employers to pay part of the cost."
Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Plaintiffs’ lawyers blast Exxon brief to high court": This article appeared last week in The Kodiak Daily Mirror.
Posted at 11:38 PM by Howard Bashman


Credit reporting service that failed to correct the credit report of a woman who was the victim of identity theft remains liable to pay six-figure judgment on woman's claims for economic loss and emotional distress: A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued this ruling today. Defendant Equifax did succeed in setting aside an attorneys' fee award of $181,083 in the woman's favor, although the district court will be able to reconsider what amount of attorneys' fees to award on remand. And if the woman is dissatisfied with the Fourth Circuit's remittitur of the jury's $245,000 mental anguish award to $150,000, she has the ability to elect a new trial.
Posted at 04:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"In a first for any federal court, my colleagues hold that a foreign company that has no United States employees, locations, or business activities must produce a designee to testify at a deposition in the Eastern District of Virginia so long as it has applied for trademark registration with a government office located there." So begins a dissent that Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III issued today from a ruling of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The case arises from a Portuguese company's effort to obtain a United States trademark registration of the mark VIRGIN GORDA. Opposing the registration of that mark is Virgin Enterprises Ltd., a conglomerate that operates businesses such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Wines, and Virgin Digital.
Posted at 04:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Ohio Supreme Court upholds law limiting punitive damages": The Columbus Dispatch provides a news update that begins, "A Republican-sponsored law to limit the amount of punitive damages people can collect for defective products or malpractice does not violate the Ohio Constitution, the state Supreme Court ruled today. In a 5-2 decision, the court said lawmakers didn't overstep their bounds when they capped non-economic damages at $350,000 per person and $500,000 per incident in 2005."

The Toledo Blade provides a news update headlined "Ohio Supreme Court upholds law that puts cap on personal injury damages."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides a news update headlined "Ohio personal injury caps upheld."

The Cincinnati Enquirer provides a news update headlined "Lawsuit limits upheld."

And The Associated Press reports that "Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Damages Law."

You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Ohio at this link. And the court's Public Information Office issued a news release headlined "Court Upholds Two Tort-Reform Statutes."
Posted at 03:44 PM by Howard Bashman



"KOZINSKI, Chief Judge, dissenting for the most part:" So begins Chief Judge Alex Kozinski's opinion "dissenting for the most part" from a ruling that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued today.

A search of Westlaw's CTA database discloses that today is not the first time Kozinski has dissented "for the most part." He also did it once in 1992 and once earlier this year. Thus far, the characterization hasn't caught on with any other federal appellate judges, as there are no other recorded use of the "dissenting for the most part" language in any other federal appellate court rulings available in that database.
Posted at 02:14 PM by Howard Bashman



"Nine-year-old Nathan Walters died after ingesting part of a peanut butter cookie, which was served to him in a school lunch on a school field trip." So begins the majority opinion in today's 5-4 ruling of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington in Soter v. Cowles Publishing Co. Today's decision also includes a concurring opinion and a dissenting opinion.

At issue on appeal is whether the school district properly declined to release 75 documents relating to the child's food allergy-related death after The Spokesman-Review newspaper sought access to the documents under Washington State's Public Records Act. The majority holds that the documents were properly withheld from the newspaper. The dissenting opinion, in which four justices have joined, disagrees, stating: "The majority essentially creates a public nondisclosure act, turning the act inside out so that documents are withheld from the public unless the public can demonstrate that no remotely connected litigation exists, past, present, or future."
Posted at 11:54 AM by Howard Bashman



"A Court in Need: The Senate should act on nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:56 AM by Howard Bashman


"KU graduate to clerk for Supreme Court": The Topeka Capital-Journal today contains an article that begins, "A 2003 University of Kansas graduate who earned a law degree this spring at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., is the second Kansan recently selected for a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship in the 2008 term. Jameson Reece Jones, of Wichita, who earned degrees in American studies and civil engineering at KU, will clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during the 2008-09 term. Jones currently is a clerk for Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court, in Columbus, Ohio."

And the University of Kansas yesterday issued a press release entitled "2003 KU graduate selected to clerk for U.S. Supreme Court."
Posted at 08:54 AM by Howard Bashman



"Strip clubs fighting $5 fee focus on tax argument, not First Amendment; Fee goes into effect Tuesday": This article appears today in The Austin American-Statesman.
Posted at 08:44 AM by Howard Bashman


"A Colony With a Conscience": Today in The New York Times, Kenneth T. Jackson has this op-ed about the Flushing Remonstrance.
Posted at 08:34 AM by Howard Bashman


"Google to Face Suit Over AutoLink Patents, Court Says": Bloomberg News provides a report that begins, "Google Inc., owner of the most-used Internet search engine, must face a Wisconsin company's lawsuit over a toolbar feature that generates Web links from computer-search data, a federal appeals court decided."

You can access yesterday's non-precedential ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at this link.
Posted at 07:47 AM by Howard Bashman



"State Without Pity": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "It is a shameful distinction, but Texas is the undisputed capital of capital punishment."
Posted at 07:40 AM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. Prevails in Tax-Shelter Battle; 'Son of Boss' Court Ruling Could Be Used To Pressure Other Taxpayers to Settle": This article appears today in The Wall Street Journal.

And The New York Times reports today that "Judge Hands I.R.S. Victory in Tax Shelter."

"TaxProf Blog" reports on and links to last Friday's ruling of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Posted at 07:23 AM by Howard Bashman



"Convicted Felon Tests Second Amendment": Joseph Goldstein has this article today in The New York Sun.
Posted at 07:08 AM by Howard Bashman


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Mom Serving 19 Years in Crack Case May Get Break": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered."
Posted at 11:03 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Score was Justice 7, Law 2": The latest installment of James J. Kilpatrick's syndicated column begins, "When the dust settled over the Supreme Court's most recent opinion day, the box score in Gall v. United States read 7-2 for Brian Gall. Put another way, the court cast seven votes for justice, two votes for law. You decide."
Posted at 10:54 PM by Howard Bashman


Available online from law.com: Shannon P. Duffy reports that "Splenda Gets Partial Win in Ruling by 3rd Circuit." My earlier coverage of Monday's Third Circuit ruling appears at this link.

And an article headlined "Libeled Judge Faces Reprimand" begins, "The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct has scheduled a Jan. 8 hearing about its recommendation to publicly reprimand state court Judge Ernest B. Murphy for improper letters to Boston Herald publisher Patrick J. Purcell concerning Murphy's libel lawsuit against the newspaper."
Posted at 10:50 PM by Howard Bashman



"Number of Supreme Justices Increase to 14": The Korea Times provides this report.
Posted at 09:42 PM by Howard Bashman


"Historian James MacGregor Burns tackles Supreme Court": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 09:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Gun Seized After Katrina? NRA Wants You." The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week. The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane."
Posted at 09:25 PM by Howard Bashman


Does a federal district court abuse its discretion if it rejects a criminal plea agreement on the basis of evidence that has not been disclosed to the defendant? A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit narrowly avoids having to decide the answer to that difficult question in this decision issued today. The prosecution arose after an Assistant U.S. Attorney received a threatening letter referring to a case on which she was working.
Posted at 09:14 PM by Howard Bashman


"Dress code suit costs couple $40,931.50; Anderson plaintiffs' predicament illustrates the risks of being your own lawyer": Monday's edition of The Indianapolis Star contained an article that begins, "Laura and Scott Bell took on their school district's new dress code, but their lawsuit was booted from court after they missed critical deadlines and pressed claims that a judge deemed frivolous. Four months later, the judge has ordered them to pay up for the trouble. The Bells now are on the hook for $40,931.50, the amount Anderson Community Schools said its law firm charged for fending off the couple's lawsuit in July and August. The couple represented themselves in court. U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder's decision underlines the risk of wading into legal waters without a lawyer. The danger is higher in litigation, where paying the winning side's attorney fees is common."

"The Indiana Law Blog" links to the federal district court's attorneys' fee ruling at the conclusion of this post from Monday.
Posted at 04:22 PM by Howard Bashman



"IRS Issues 70-Page Memo Debunking Tax Protester Arguments": On Sunday, "TaxProf Blog" had this post linking to a 70-page memorandum titled "The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments" that the Internal Revenue Service issued last Friday.

Just when you think that matters can't get any worse for tax protesters, they actually don't get any worse for once. Today a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision granting a new trial on criminal charges against Lawrence Cohen, whom the opinion describes as an "acolyte" of "well-known recidivist tax protestor Irwin Schiff." The basis for the ruling is that the district court wrongly excluded the expert testimony of Cohen's psychiatrist, who would have offered evidence relevant to Cohen's mental state.

Today's Ninth Circuit ruling also vacates fifteen criminal contempt convictions that the federal district judge summarily imposed on Schiff based on Schiff's unruly courtroom behavior. Unfortunately for Schiff, the criminal contempt convictions were set aside due to a procedural flaw that the Ninth Circuit is allowing the district court to cure on remand.
Posted at 03:33 PM by Howard Bashman



Majority on 15-judge Ninth Circuit en banc panel corrects what it describes as that court's earlier misconstruction of the Schlup v. Delo "actual innocence" "gateway": Nine judges join in the lead opinion, four other judges join in an opinion concurring in the result, and two judges dissent. You can access the four opinions that today's en banc ruling has generated by clicking here.

You can access the original three-judge Ninth Circuit panel's ruling, which produced the grant of rehearing en banc, by clicking here. And the briefs that caused the Ninth Circuit to take the case en banc can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 03:00 PM by Howard Bashman



"Investigating the Destroyed CIA Videotapes": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on Monday's broadcast of NPR's "Talk of the Nation."
Posted at 11:57 AM by Howard Bashman


"Liability waivers at winter resorts have legal teeth": Geoffrey Fattah has this article today in The Deseret Morning News.
Posted at 08:37 AM by Howard Bashman


"State court puts limits on health insurers' policy cancellations": Bob Egelko has this article today in The San Francisco Chronicle.

My earlier coverage of Monday's ruling of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, appears at this link.
Posted at 08:17 AM by Howard Bashman



"Adjusted Penalties for Crack May Aid Ex-Ballplayer's Case": The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, "Willie Mays Aikens is a part of baseball lore. As a member of the 1980 Kansas City Royals, he became the only man to hit more than one home run in two games of the same World Series. But 27 years after his feat, Aikens languishes in a federal prison in Jessup, Ga., brought low by cocaine addiction and a federal law that mandated long prison sentences for crack cocaine offenses. From a face on a baseball card, Aikens is now a poster child for what some jurists and civil rights activists say is the absurdity of the difference between the way federal law treats people convicted of crack cocaine offenses and those found guilty of crimes involving powder cocaine."

You can access his Major League Baseball statistics via Baseball-Reference.com. And in the June 7, 2007 issue of The Los Angeles Times, Margaret Colgate Love had a related op-ed headlined "Begging Bush's pardon."
Posted at 08:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"Stephen Radich, Owner of Controversial Art Gallery, Is Dead at 85": The New York Times today contains an obituary that begins, "Stephen Radich, a New York art gallery owner who became embroiled in a famous legal case involving flag desecration in the late 1960s, died on Dec. 18. He was 85, and lived in New York."

According to the obituary, "After losing in New York, Mr. Radich appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which, in 1971, voted on the case 4 to 4, with Justice William O. Douglas not voting. Then the Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a tie vote did not represent an actual adjudication, thereby allowing for yet another appeal. Finally, in 1974, a federal judge overturned the conviction."
Posted at 08:02 AM by Howard Bashman



"The Work Remaining": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "It has been nearly a year since the United States attorneys scandal broke, and much has changed."
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman


"Guitar-Strumming Attorney Sets Legal Parodies to Music": This article appears today in The New York Sun.
Posted at 07:44 AM by Howard Bashman


"DOJ's Free Pass for Tort Fraud": Law Professor Lester Brickman has this op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 06:54 AM by Howard Bashman


"Is the Nighttime the Wrong Time for Searching Houses?: The Supreme Court of Minnesota Reads the U.S. Constitution to Say Yes." Sherry F. Colb has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 06:44 AM by Howard Bashman


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"Justices strike a balance; Pals Ginsburg, Scalia ring in the new year, then duke it out in court": Joan Biskupic will have this article Wednesday in USA Today.
Posted at 10:58 PM by Howard Bashman


"Club seeks US Supreme Court help in nude-dancing fight": This article appeared yesterday in The News-Journal of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Posted at 10:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"Texas is Bucking Execution Trend": Adam Liptak will have this article Wednesday in The New York Times.

The Washington Post on Wednesday will contain an article headlined "Repeal of Md. Death Penalty Still Seems Out of Reach; Activists Encouraged by New Jersey, but Key Senate Panel Remains in the Way."

And from Nebraska, The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Senator: Next year could be 'best chance' to repeal death penalty."
Posted at 10:48 PM by Howard Bashman



"Court: Reporter Need Not Turn Over Notes." The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "An appeals court on Monday struck down a ruling ordering a reporter to give prosecutors unpublished notes from an interview with a man who shot two police officers before killing himself."

And The Free Press of Mankato, Minnesota reports that "Free Press wins Amboy shooting case; Appeals Court rules prosecutors didn't meet standards."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Court of Appeals of Minnesota at this link.
Posted at 10:35 PM by Howard Bashman



"Partisan Fissures Over Voter ID; Justices to Hear Challenge to Law": Robert Barnes has this front page article today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 11:28 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court curbs insurers' ability to rescind medical policies; A ruling restricts the ability of California health plans to cancel coverage after patients run up medical bills": The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, "California health insurers have a duty to check the accuracy of applications for coverage before issuing policies -- and should not wait until patients run up big medical bills, a state appeals court ruled Monday. The court also said insurers could not cancel a medical policy unless they showed that the policyholder willfully misrepresented his health or that the company had investigated the application before it issued coverage."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, at this link.
Posted at 11:27 AM by Howard Bashman



"Court allows free speech on private-property malls; Case about protest at Fashion Valley": Greg Moran has this article today in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko reports that "California's top court curbs malls seeking to limit boycotts."

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Court upholds protest at mall; Justices split 4 to 3 in opposing rules based on the content of a union's protected free speech."

And The New York Times reports that "Court Ruling on Protests Curbs Malls in California."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Court of California at this link.
Posted at 11:17 AM by Howard Bashman



Monday, December 24, 2007

"State Supreme Court dismisses libel suit brought by a San Francisco rabbi": Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle provides this news update.

And Bay City News reports that "Libel Lawsuit By SF's Hebrew Academy Rejected."

My earlier coverage of today's ruling of the Supreme Court of California appears at this link.
Posted at 09:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"Mall boycott leaflets are protected free speech, California high court rules": Bay City News Service provides this report.

And The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Court: Malls can't bar protesters from boycotting stores."

My earlier coverage of today's ruling of the Supreme Court of California appears at this link.
Posted at 05:47 PM by Howard Bashman



Supreme Court of California holds that the "single-publication rule" for determining when the statute of limitations begins to run on a defamation claim arising from a publication with widespread distribution also applies to a defamation claim arising from a publication that is not widely distributed: You can access today's ruling from California's highest court at this link.
Posted at 04:07 PM by Howard Bashman


"Political leafleting at malls upheld": Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle provides a news update that begins, "A deeply divided California Supreme Court today upheld the right of unions and political protesters to leaflet shoppers at malls and urge a boycott. The 4-3 decision was based on the court's landmark 1979 ruling that allowed political leafleting at large shopping centers under the state constitutional right of free speech. The court said in that ruling that a shopping mall was the modern equivalent of a town square or community meeting place, where people come to exchange ideas as well as spend money. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that the constitutional right of free speech applies only to restrictions imposed by the government and not by private property owners. But the 1979 ruling remains the law in California."

And Central Valley Business Times reports that "Malls may not regulate content of free speech, says California Supreme Court."

You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of California at this link.

The case reached California's highest court on certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Posted at 03:47 PM by Howard Bashman



"This appeal requires us to decide when the trade dress on the packaging of store-brand products is so similar to that of directly competing national-brand products as to create a likelihood of confusion among consumers." So begins a 40-page ruling that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued today. The case involves claims that store-brand sucralose is being packaged in a way that looks too much like the packaging used by the brand Splenda.
Posted at 03:44 PM by Howard Bashman


"Disquiet over schools' moment of silence; A family of Illinois atheists is fighting to overturn a law requiring time for students' quiet reflection; The father and daughter say it mandates prayer": The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.
Posted at 08:04 AM by Howard Bashman


"Wagons circled at CIA over tapes' demise; The clandestine branch has a fierce instinct for protecting the agency's interests and a reputation for undermining directors perceived as hostile": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 07:58 AM by Howard Bashman


"During Recess, Democrats Push Back": Recess appointments are the subject of this article published today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 07:50 AM by Howard Bashman


On this past Saturday's broadcast of C-SPAN's "America and the Courts": By clicking here (RealPlayer required) you can view the remarks Justice Clarence Thomas delivered late last month at an event sponsored by Hillsdale College.

Justice Thomas's remarks at this event made news, as noted in this earlier post.
Posted at 07:40 AM by Howard Bashman



"Judging Lawyers: Lawyers sue over a rating site -- and see their claim rejected on First Amendment grounds." This editorial appears today in The Wall Street Journal.

My most recent earlier coverage appears at this link.
Posted at 07:33 AM by Howard Bashman



"The Ehrenfeld/Mahfouz Case: How 'Libel Tourism' Undermines the First Amendment and, in the Internet Age, Compels An International Solution." Julie Hilden has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:20 AM by Howard Bashman


Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Death Penalty in Review: Capital punishment loses ground, for good reasons." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 11:12 PM by Howard Bashman


"Several Top Positions at Justice Department Unfilled; Although Congress Has Blocked Some Candidates, Bush Has Not Offered Nominees for Every Job": Dan Eggen has this article today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 11:07 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Worst Courts for Businesses? It's a Matter of Opinion." This installment of Adam Liptak's "Sidebar" column will appear Monday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:54 PM by Howard Bashman


"Castille goal: No politics on court; His Pennsylvania Supreme Court will get two new justices plus an interim one named by Gov. Rendell." The Philadelphia Inquirer contains this article today.
Posted at 09:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Move to impeach federal judge a rarity; Porteous case first lodged in decade": This article appears today in The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.
Posted at 09:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Creative vigilantes: Magicians, chefs, and stand-up comics protect their creations without the law; What they can teach lawyers - and Congress - about the future of intellectual property." Daniel B. Smith has this article today in the Ideas section of The Boston Globe.
Posted at 11:24 AM by Howard Bashman


"CIA needs more taping, experts say; The videos could have given analysts valuable information about terrorism interrogations, according to some observers": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 11:22 AM by Howard Bashman


Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Proponent of pit bulls seeks high court test; Warden pushing for spay, neuter rule": The Toledo Blade today contains an article that begins, "Former Toledoan Paul Tellings has taken his fight against the city's pit bull ordinance to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging its constitutionality as a 'breed-specific' law because it allows only one of those types of dogs per household."
Posted at 11:03 PM by Howard Bashman


"A Conversation With U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg": Justice Ginsburg was today's guest on the Voice of America program "Press Conference USA."

You can access the audio online using either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. In addition, you can download the audio in mp3 podcast format.
Posted at 11:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"State court overturns medical pot user's conviction for dealing": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "A person who carries a small amount of marijuana with a doctor's note allowing medical use can't be convicted of dealing the drug just because police thought he was a dealer, a state appeals court ruled Friday. In overturning an Orange County man's conviction for possessing marijuana for sale, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said the prosecutor needed more evidence of sales than the opinion of a sheriff's deputy who specialized in investigating narcotics dealers."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, at this link.
Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman



"Judge lets Bonds keep lawyers despite conflict; Attorneys represented others in BALCO": Howard Mintz has this article today in The San Jose Mercury News.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports today that "Bonds tells judge he accepts defense lawyers' possible conflicts."

The New York Times reports that "Bonds Will Keep Lawyers, Despite Potential Conflicts."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Bonds waives lawyers' conflict-of-interest issue; Slugger's legal team includes two attorneys who represented others in the federal steroids investigation."
Posted at 10:35 PM by Howard Bashman



"FBI Prepares Vast Database Of Biometrics; $1 Billion Project to Include Images of Irises and Faces": The Washington Post today contains a front page article that begins, "The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world's largest computer database of peoples' physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad."
Posted at 08:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes": This front page article appears today in The New York Times, which has posted a related document online at this link. The newspaper also contains an article headlined "No Immediate Ruling on Judicial Inquiry."

The Washington Post today contains articles headlined "CIA Tapes Were Kept From 9/11 Panel, Report Says; Agency Defends Its Role as Information Provider in Commission's Investigation of Terrorist Plots" and "Detainee Evidence Probe Weighed; Judge Told Guantanamo Information May Have Been Destroyed."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Judge reluctant to probe tapes case; The Justice Department is conducting an inquiry into the CIA's destruction of videotaped interrogations, he says."
Posted at 08:44 PM by Howard Bashman



"Pentagon prosecuting kin of 9/11 hijacker": Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.
Posted at 08:41 PM by Howard Bashman


"Two more freed in Genarlow Wilson case": The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contains this article today.
Posted at 08:38 PM by Howard Bashman


"Questions and Doubts in a Texas Shooting Case": This article will appear Sunday in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:32 PM by Howard Bashman


"Stained robe": The Times-Picayune of New Orleans today contains an editorial that concludes, "Judge Porteous took an oath to uphold the law and to conduct himself in an honorable and ethical manner. Two entities that have reviewed his conduct -- the disciplinary Special Investigatory Committee and the administrative panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals -- have concluded that he broke that oath. For doing so, Judge Porteous should be impeached."
Posted at 08:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"Order keeps Kent from hearing certain cases": The Galveston County Daily News today contains an article that begins, "The latest order by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will greatly restrict the cases U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent can hear when he returns to the bench in January, a legal expert said Friday. The order said that as long as a federal criminal investigation into the judge's conduct continues, Kent will not handle any cases in which the federal government is a party or in which sexual misconduct is alleged."

And yesterday in The Houston Chronicle, columnist Rick Casey had an op-ed entitled "Kent probe might take a long time."
Posted at 08:17 PM by Howard Bashman



"Judge: Blogger identity is safe; Rules for person targeting officials": Today's edition of The Asbury Park Press contains an article that begins, "The undisclosed identity of an Internet blogger whose comments targeted local officials will remain a mystery for now, a state Superior Court judge ruled Friday. Judge Terence P. Flynn in Freehold ruled to quash a subpoena filed by Manalapan Township against Google, seeking the name and account information of the author of the blog 'daTruthSquad.blogspot.com' calling the request 'an unjust infringement on the blogger's First Amendment rights.'"

Da blog celebrates da ruling at this link.
Posted at 01:10 PM by Howard Bashman



"Carcieri won't have to testify in smoke shop case": The Providence (R.I.) Journal today contains an article that begins, "The state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Governor Carcieri will not have to take the stand at the trial of seven Narragansett Indians charged when the state police raided a tribal smoke shop four summers ago."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island at this link.
Posted at 01:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Crack sentences eligible to be cut; Scores in Mass. will have right to appeal; Federal panel acted to reduce disparities": This front page article appears today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 12:58 PM by Howard Bashman


Friday, December 21, 2007

Available online from National Public Radio: This evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained an audio segment entitled "Judge Weighs Legality of CIA Tapes' Destruction."

And today's broadcast of "Day to Day" contained an audio segment entitled "Federal Agency Investigates Waterboarding Source."

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 11:14 PM by Howard Bashman



"Government appeals on speech-debate privilege": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog."
Posted at 11:10 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Next Supreme Court Justice?" Tom Goldstein had this essay yesterday in The Daily Journal of California.
Posted at 11:08 PM by Howard Bashman


"High court rules on child visitation; Having grandparents' rights trump parents' is unconstitutional": Today's edition of The Honolulu Star-Bulletin contains an article that begins, "A law that gives grandparents visitation rights to their grandchildren even if the parents object is unconstitutional, the Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled."

The newspaper also contains a related editorial entitled "Change law to modify grandparent visitation."

You can access last week's ruling of the Supreme Court of Hawaii at this link.
Posted at 11:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Starcher won't seek another court term": The Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette today contains an article that begins, "State Supreme Court Justice Larry Starcher announced Thursday he would not run for re-election for another 12-year term, and will end his time on the court in January 2009."

And The West Virginia Record reports that "Starcher not running for re-election."
Posted at 10:58 PM by Howard Bashman



"Phony grenade causes scare": The Seattle Post-Intelligencer today contains an article that begins, "What appeared to be a grenade addressed to Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders turned out to be a novelty item, but it caused a scare when postal workers discovered it early Thursday."
Posted at 10:52 PM by Howard Bashman


"Chesapeake man convicted of child porn gets new trial": The Virginian-Pilot today contains an article that begins, "A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a Chesapeake man convicted of possessing child pornography should have been given his Miranda warnings when 24 FBI agents showed up at his house with guns drawn to question him."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit at this link.
Posted at 08:55 PM by Howard Bashman



"Trouble in Paradise": The January 2008 issue of Vanity Fair magazine contains a lengthy article that the publication describes as follows, "Settled in 1790 by mutineers from the storied H.M.S. Bounty, Pitcairn Island is one of the British Empire's most isolated remnants, a mystical hunk of rock that was largely ignored until 1996. Then Pitcairn's secret was exposed: generations of rape and child molestation as a way of life. Delving into the South Pacific island's past, the authors chronicle its 10-year clash with the British legal system, which ripped apart a tiny society."
Posted at 08:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"EFF Protects Free Speech Rights for New Jersey Blogger; Judge Quashes Bogus Subpoena for Critic's Identity": Electronic Frontier Foundation today issued a news release that begins, "A Superior Court judge in New Jersey quashed a bogus subpoena for the identity of an anonymous blogger Friday, protecting the free speech rights of a critic writing about a local government controversy."

Earlier today, I had this lengthy post collecting recent news coverage of the case.
Posted at 08:40 PM by Howard Bashman



"[W]e hold that the Texas Supreme Court would likely adopt the single publication rule for Internet publications." A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today issued this ruling affirming the dismissal of a defamation claim against The Dallas Morning News as time-barred.

The lawsuit was actually filed within the one-year statute of limitations that Texas applies to defamation actions, but then the plaintiff took too long to serve the complaint on the defendants, leading the court to conclude that the claim was untimely unless the continued online availability of the allegedly defamatory statements at the newspaper's web site constituted a continuing tort under the so-called "continuous publication rule." As have a lopsided majority of courts, the Fifth Circuit's ruling rejects the continuous publication rule for internet publications (or, more precisely, predicts that the Supreme Court of Texas would reject that rule).
Posted at 08:23 PM by Howard Bashman



"The Department of Justice has determined that it will not appeal the dismissal of the indictment in U.S. v. Stolt-Nielsen S.A. et al." So begins a press release that the U.S. Department of Justice issued today.

My coverage of the dismissal appears at this link.
Posted at 08:11 PM by Howard Bashman



"Broad court inquiry on CIA tapes doubtful": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog."
Posted at 03:05 PM by Howard Bashman


Nurses who don't want to be forced to receive a flu shot as a condition of working at their Seattle-based hospital win on appeal in the Ninth Circuit: Nurses willing to risk the well-being of their patients by avoiding a flu shot might not make the most sympathetic litigants, but they emerge victorious in this ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued today.
Posted at 02:48 PM by Howard Bashman


"Judge Seems Wary of Opening CIA Inquiry": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A federal judge appeared reluctant Friday to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes while the Justice Department is conducting its own inquiry."
Posted at 12:33 PM by Howard Bashman


"Surrogate loses case involving triplets; Pennsylvania woman had no right to sever agreement, Ohio Supreme Court rules": This article appears today in The Columbus Dispatch.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer today contains an article headlined "Ohio Supreme Court: Surrogate mothers have no right to child if egg isn't theirs."

And The Associated Press provides a report headlined "High court: Contract voided surrogate mother's right to triplets."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Ohio at this link. And the court's Office of Public Information issued this summary of the decision.
Posted at 12:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"Investigators Seek More CIA Tapes": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition."
Posted at 12:11 PM by Howard Bashman


Not only can't you attend a garlic festival in California, but you also can't be a prison guard in Connecticut: Motorcycle club members received more bad news today, as a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a lengthy opinion affirming the dismissal of claims brought by current or former employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction alleging that DOC officials violated plaintiffs' First Amendment and due process rights to freedom of expressive association and freedom of intimate association by disciplining them on account of their membership in, and their association with members of, the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

You can access today's lengthy Second Circuit ruling at this link.

My most recent coverage of the Ninth Circuit's pending en banc reconsideration in Villegas v. City of Gilroy, a case that involves involves whether motorcycle club members have the right to wear clothing bearing their club's insignia while attending the Gilroy, California garlic festival, can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman



"Ex-bin Laden aide's trial set; A military judge set a trial date for Osama bin Laden's former driver; Later, the Pentagon swore out charges against the brother-in-law of a 9/11 hijacker": Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.

And today in The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams reports that "Military court gets OK to try Bin Laden's driver; The commission at Guantanamo has jurisdiction, a Navy judge says; The Yemeni is charged with conspiracy and material support to terrorism."
Posted at 09:30 AM by Howard Bashman



"Bonds' surgeon likely to testify at perjury trial, prosecutor says": The San Francisco Chronicle contains this article today.

The New York Times reports today that "Doctor May Testify if Bonds Goes to Trial."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Baseball affidavit is unsealed; Grimsley accuses Canseco, Dykstra and others of using steroids, but The Times' story last year contained inaccuracies about other players, including Clemens."
Posted at 09:28 AM by Howard Bashman



"Muslim rite of sacrifice collides with law; A farmer who sold goats and lambs to families to kill has been accused by N.C. officials of operating an illegal slaughterhouse": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

And last Saturday, The Raleigh News & Observer published an article headlined "Mass lamb slaughter is halted; 250 Muslim families killing lambs at farm is a health risk, state says."
Posted at 09:18 AM by Howard Bashman



"Agency has home-court edge in next round; California's backers are confident, though the D.C. circuit leans right": Today in The Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage has an article that begins, "Environmentalists voiced confidence Thursday that California's bid to strictly limit greenhouse gases will survive a regulatory veto from the Bush administration, but the state's legal challenge first will have to go through an appeals court that tilts in favor of the federal government and industry."
Posted at 09:14 AM by Howard Bashman


"Judges to wait on criminal probe": The Galveston County Daily News today contains an article that begins, "The Judicial Council of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals announced Thursday that it would await the outcome of a criminal investigation before deciding whether to discipline U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent more than it already has."

My most recent earlier coverage appears at this link.
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"CIA Seeks Investigation Of Ex-Officer's Claims; Waterboarding Statements Raise Concern": Today's edition of The Washington Post contains an article that begins, "The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether a former agency officer illegally disclosed classified information in describing the capture and waterboarding of an al-Qaeda terrorism suspect, officials said yesterday."

And The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Bush urges 'wait and see' on CIA tapes." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "Bush yields on CIA tapes: The White House agrees to cooperate in the CIA tape scandal after Congress and a judge put the hurt on it."
Posted at 09:08 AM by Howard Bashman



"U.S. Asks High Court to Nix 'Speech-or-Debate' Ruling; Justice Dept. Says It Makes Lawmakers Invulnerable": The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, "The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision limiting law enforcement searches of congressional offices, arguing that the sweep of the ruling last summer may kill ongoing public corruption investigations."

And The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports today that "Feds lodge appeal over records; Jefferson testimony delayed until Jan. 16."
Posted at 09:02 AM by Howard Bashman



"Ouster fight starts for U.S. judge; Complaints against Porteous passed on": The Times-Picayune of New Orleans today contains an article that begins, "Gambling debts, false statements under oath, bank fraud and secret gifts from lawyers form the heart of an extraordinary impeachment referral that was lodged Thursday against U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous Jr. An administrative panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans barred Porteous from overseeing certain cases and sent its findings to the Judicial Conference of the United States, a national body led by Chief Justice John Roberts. If the conference agrees, the case would go to the U.S. House of Representatives to consider steps to remove Porteous from office."

My earlier coverage appears at this link.
Posted at 08:58 AM by Howard Bashman



"N.Y. Appeals Court Opens Door to 'Libel Tourism'": Today in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein has an article that begins, "New York's highest court has passed up an opportunity to protect American authors from the libel judgments of foreign courts. In a decision handed down yesterday, the Court of Appeals in Albany told a New York-based researcher that she could not use the courts here to challenge a British judgment ordering her to pay 30,000 British pounds -- more than $60,000 -- for defaming a Saudi billionaire. The case was a test of how New York's courts will respond to concerns that the First Amendment rights of American authors are undermined by libel judgments imposed abroad, especially in Britain."

And Publishers Weekly reports that "Appeals Court Rejects Ehrenfeld's Bid to Block 'Libel Tourism.'"

My earlier coverage of yesterday's ruling of the Court of Appeals of New York -- that State's highest court -- in Ehrenfeld v. Bin Mahfouz can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 08:52 AM by Howard Bashman



"Milberg Weiss Trial Will Not Move To New York, Judge Decides": Josh Gerstein has this article today in The New York Sun.

And law.com reports that "Milberg Weiss Trial to Remain in L.A., Judge Rules."
Posted at 08:47 AM by Howard Bashman



"New York Law on Stranded Passengers' Rights Is Upheld": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "In a victory for air travelers, a federal judge in Albany upheld on Thursday a state law that would penalize airlines that fail to provide adequate services to passengers trapped on the tarmac for more than three hours."

And law.com reports that "Federal Judge Upholds 'Passenger Bill of Rights.'"

I have posted online at this link yesterday's ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
Posted at 08:44 AM by Howard Bashman



"Friday Court Fight Over Blogger's Free Speech Rights; EFF Defends Anonymous Critic in New Jersey Lawsuit": Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a news release that begins, "On Friday, December 21, at 10:30 a.m. ET, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a Superior Court judge in New Jersey to preserve the free speech rights of an anonymous blogger facing legal threats from local government officials. The blogger, writing as 'daTruthSquad' on a site hosted on Google's Blogspot service, has strongly criticized a controversial malpractice lawsuit filed by the township of Manalapan against its former city attorney. Despite having no evidence to back up its accusation that the blogger is actually the former attorney in the case, the township has subpoenaed Google for 'daTruthSquad's' identity, as well as for any emails, blog drafts, and other information Google has about the blogger."

EFF has posted online at this link the court filings in the case, while you can access the "daTruthSquad" blog at this link.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported on the case late last month in an article headlined "Shielding face of N.J. blogger." The Asbury Park Press reported on the case late last month in an article headlined "Manalapan asks Google to reveal blogger ID; Advocacy group says it will fight subpeona."

And the local Greater Media Newspapers have reported extensively on the case in articles headlined "Manalapan case draws Google into the mix; Attorney wants search engine to reveal blogger's identity; Google says no"; "Foundation files motion to quash Google subpoena"; "Attorney clarifies who is working on civil action; Manalapan embroiled in cases vs. Google, and former town atty."; and "Attorney expects to file answer to town complaint." In addition, the newspapers' executive editor, Gregory Bean, had an op-ed headlined "Subpoena for blogger's identity on national stage."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman



"Apple Rumor Site to Shut Down in Settlement": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "Apple on Thursday put to rest the last of a series of lawsuits it brought in a losing and costly effort to put a stop to Web leaks about its product plans. The suits raised questions about whether independent Web publishers should be accorded the same legal protections as traditional journalists."

The Los Angeles Times reports today that "After outing Apple for years, blog shuts down; Think Secret reportedly receives an undisclosed sum in a settlement with the iPod maker."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "Apple, blog settle suit; Think Secret closes, but won't name source."

The Boston Globe reports that "Website to be closed as part of deal with Apple."

Financial Times reports that "Bloggers bitter after site for Apple buffs is closed."

The New York Daily News reports that "Apple deletes Web site started by teen."

BBC News reports that "Apple shuts down rumours website; Apple has settled a legal row with tip site Think Secret that will see the website shut down."

Reuters reports that "Popular Apple rumor Web site to shut down."

ComputerWorld provides a report headlined "Lawyer: Apple's the loser in ThinkSecret deal; Rumor site shuts down, but Apple was the one who blinked, says lawyer."

law.com reports that "Apple Deal Kills Blog That Leaked Product Information; Some say Apple sued hard to win little, but to others, shutting down a site with early product info is ominous development."

And Wired.com's "Epicenter" blog contains a post titled "Ciarelli Lawyer Says Apple is the Real Loser in Think Secret Deal."

This announcement of the settlement appears at the "Think Secret" site.
Posted at 08:04 AM by Howard Bashman



"In Witness Killing, Prosecutors Point to a Lawyer": This article appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 07:54 AM by Howard Bashman


Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Spill's cost a defense by Exxon; Company will argue law, price it's already paid": The Anchorage Daily News today contains an article that begins, "Exxon Mobil will argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that the $2.5 billion verdict the company was ordered to pay as punishment for one of the nation's worst oil spills conflicts with more than 200 years of maritime law."

The newspaper has posted online at this link Exxon's opening brief on the merits.
Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from law.com: Marcia Coyle reports that "Supreme Court Asked to Set a Standard for Lethal Injection."

In other news, "N.Y. High Court: No LLP Shield in Disputes Among Law Firm Partners."

And Shannon P. Duffy reports that "3rd Circuit Rejects Superior Court Precedents in Arbitration Case."
Posted at 11:35 PM by Howard Bashman



McClatchy Newspapers are reporting: An article reports that "FBI investigates former CIA officer over waterboarding interviews."

And Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald reports that "Pentagon sets trial date for one Guantanamo detainee, charges another."
Posted at 11:32 PM by Howard Bashman



"Control order for detainee Hicks; Former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks will face tough restrictions on his movements when he is released from jail next week, an Australian court ruled": BBC News provides this report.

The Advertiser of Adelaide, Australia provides a news update headlined "Control order placed on David Hicks."

The Australian provides a news update headlined "Hicks subject to a control order."

Bloomberg News reports that "Australia Puts Controls on Ex-Guantanamo Inmate Hicks."

Reuters reports that "Australia judge limits ex-Guantanamo inmate Hicks."

The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Restrictions for Aust Terror Supporter."

And Agence France Presse reports that "Court place tough restrictions on 'Aussie Taliban' release."
Posted at 11:24 PM by Howard Bashman



"Bonds' surgeon likely to testify for feds": The San Francisco Chronicle provides a news update that begins, "Barry Bonds' personal surgeon is likely to testify for the government in the home run king's upcoming perjury trial, federal prosecutors said in a legal filing today."
Posted at 10:25 PM by Howard Bashman


Available online from National Public Radio: This evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained an audio segment entitled "Men Freed from Guantanamo Accuse U.S. of Abuse."

Today's broadcast of "Talk of the Nation" contained an audio segment entitled "Castle Doctrine: In Defense of Self-Defense" (featuring Law Professor Jonathan Turley).

And today's broadcast of "Day to Day" contained audio segments entitled "Judge Will Hear from Administration on CIA Videos"; "Is the CIA Entitled to Complete Secrecy?"; and "Canada Won't Intervene in Death Penalty Cases."

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 10:00 PM by Howard Bashman



"Florida stands firm amid death penalty debate; Despite ripples across the country, the state's support for execution is seen as unwavering": This article appears today in The St. Petersburg Times.
Posted at 09:08 PM by Howard Bashman


"'Moral judgments have no place in court'": Today in The Telegraph (UK), legal editor Joshua Rozenberg has this report (via "Instapundit") on Justice Antonin Scalia's recent lecture marking the University of Edinburgh School of Law's Tercentenary.

The title of Justice Scalia's talk was "Ayatollahs of the West: Judges as Moral Censors of Democratic Choice." There is at least a remote possibility that the audio of Justice Scalia's remarks will someday be available to be downloaded via this link.
Posted at 08:45 PM by Howard Bashman



"Federal panel defers action against Judge Kent": The Houston Chronicle provides a news update that begins, "The 5th Circuit Judicial Council has decided to defer taking any further disciplinary action against Judge Samuel Kent for at least 90 days while the U.S. Department of Justice continues its probe of the judge's allegedly inappropriate touching of a female employee last March."

And The Associated Press reports that "Council delays considering further punishment for federal judge."

My most recent earlier coverage appears in the post immediately below.
Posted at 08:20 PM by Howard Bashman



"During the pendency of the criminal investigation, Judge Kent has agreed he will not handle any civil or criminal cases in which the United States is a party or in which sexual misconduct of any kind is alleged." So states this order that the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued today. The order defers action on the complainant's motion for reconsideration while the current criminal investigation remains underway. According to the order, the Judicial Council revisit the issue in three months if the criminal investigation has not concluded by then.
Posted at 04:35 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court calls for impeaching Porteous": The Times-Picayune of New Orleans provides a news update that begins, "Judge Thomas Porteous of the U.S. District Court in New Orleans "has engaged in conduct .. which might constitute one or more grounds for impeachment,' a special investigative panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said today."

And The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Judicial Commission: Evidence to back up impeaching federal judge."

You can access at this link the Memorandum Opinion and Certification that the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued today.
Posted at 04:27 PM by Howard Bashman



"New York Appeals Court Opens Door to 'Libel Tourism'": Joseph Goldstein of The New York Sun provides a news update that begins, "New York's highest court turned down a chance today to protect American authors from libel judgments awarded by foreign courts. The case decided today, which pits a Saudi billionaire against a New York-based researcher, was a test of how New York's courts will respond to concerns that the First Amendment rights of American authors are being undermined by libel judgments imposed abroad, especially in Britain."

And The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Court: State law won't protect terror author from Saudi libel judgment."

You can access today's ruling of the Court of Appeals of New York -- that State's highest court -- in Ehrenfeld v. Bin Mahfouz at this link.

My earlier coverage from June 2007 of the Second Circuit's ruling certifying this case to New York State's highest court can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 03:27 PM by Howard Bashman



"Early release of Baze audiotape": At "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a post that begins, "The Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will promptly release the audiotape of the oral argument on Monday, Jan. 7, in Baze v. Rees (07-5439) -- the Kentucky case testing the constitutionality of the three-drug protocol for execution by lethal injection. The case also involves the question of a constitutional standard for judging the validity of such a protocol."

And The Associated Press reports that "Court to Release Audio in Death Case."

You can access at this link the press release that the Public Information Office of the U.S. Supreme Court issued today.
Posted at 02:20 PM by Howard Bashman



The Associated Press is reporting: Now available online are articles headlined "Bush Won't Judge CIA Tape Destruction" and "Judge: Gitmo Trial for Bin Laden Driver."
Posted at 10:58 AM by Howard Bashman


Guantanamo Military Commission rules that Salim Ahmed Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant and not a prisoner of war: You can access the Commission's ruling, issued yesterday, by clicking here.
Posted at 09:22 AM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. appellate court overturns state murder conviction": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has this article reporting on a decision that an eleven-judge en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued yesterday.
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman


"White House Lawyers Told Of Videotapes; CIA Chief Says They Urged Caution in Destroying Tapes": This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The New York Times reports today that "C.I.A. to Cooperate With House on Tapes."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Subpoena of CIA officials threatened; Justice Dept. action in tape destruction probe angers House panel chairman, who expects testimony from two top intelligence agency officials."
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman



"Mukasey Signals He'll Be a Strong Bush Advocate": The New York Times contains this article today.

The Washington Post reports today that "Mukasey Limits Agency's Contacts With White House."

And The Los Angeles Times contains an article headlined "Mukasey closes a door to the White House; Outlines new guidelines for Justice employees to have such contacts."
Posted at 08:35 AM by Howard Bashman



"Backlash Endangers California Pot Dispensaries": This article appears today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 08:11 AM by Howard Bashman


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Available online from law.com: An article reports that "Congress OKs Extra Seat for 9th Circuit; The seat won't materialize until the day after President Bush leaves office."

And in news from Florida, "Attorney Whose Blog Post Blasted Controversial Judge Fights Bar Investigation."
Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman



"Chicago judge faces questions at confirmation hearing": James Oliphant of The Chicago Tribune provides a news update that begins, "In his bid to be the second-ranking official at the Justice Department, Chicago federal Judge Mark Filip ran afoul Wednesday of the same tripwire that almost did in his putative boss, Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey. Filip refused repeatedly to declare the interrogation practice known as waterboarding illegal, despite the urging of several senators. While his hesitation is unlikely to jeopardize his nomination to be deputy attorney general, it again underscored the level of tension between Congress and the Justice Department over the issue of torture."
Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Exxon to argue damages award conflicts with maritime law": The Anchorage Daily News provides an update that begins, "Exxon Mobil will argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that the $2.5 billion it was ordered to pay in punitive damages -- one of the largest awards ever against an American corporation -- was in conflict with more than 200 years of maritime law. Exxon filed a brief in the case Monday, arguing mostly that trial and appellate courts erred in blaming the company for the actions of captain Joe Hazelwood when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Prince William Sound in 1989 and spilled nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil."

The newspaper has posted online at this link Exxon's opening brief on the merits.
Posted at 10:27 PM by Howard Bashman



"9th Circuit in Line for New Judgeship; Congress Agrees to Reorganization as Part of Security Bill": Lawrence Hurley has this article today in The Daily Journal of California.
Posted at 10:15 PM by Howard Bashman


On this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered": The broadcast contained audio segments entitled "White House Knowledge of CIA Tapes Scrutinized" and "Senate Panel Questions Deputy AG Nominee" (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 10:08 PM by Howard Bashman


"Lafave denies wrongdoing; Her attorney is questioning probation officials' take on her chats with a teen": This article appears today in The St. Petersburg Times.

And The Tampa Tribune reports today that "Lafave's Hearing Postponed."
Posted at 09:58 PM by Howard Bashman



"Judge rules in favor of Avvo's online rankings; Attorney ratings protected under First Amendment": The Seattle Post-Intelligencer contains this article today.

The Seattle Times reports today that "Lawyers' suit over site's legal ratings dismissed."

And The Associated Press provides an article headlined "Federal judge: Web site is free to rate lawyers."

Avvo, Inc. issued a press release headlined "U.S. District Court Dismisses Case Against Avvo; Court Grants Company's Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice, Supports Avvo's First Amendment Right to Express Opinion." Via the "Avvo blog," you can access yesterday's ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at this link.
Posted at 08:20 PM by Howard Bashman



Programming note: A client I will be representing on direct appeal from a criminal conviction is being sentenced today at a courthouse in central Pennsylvania. Moments from now I will be traveling there to observe the proceeding. Additional posts will appear here later today.
Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman


"Senate approves Tinder for appeals court": The Indianapolis Star provides a news update that begins, "The Senate has confirmed U.S. District Judge John Daniel Tinder of Indianapolis to a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The vote, held late Tuesday, was 93-0. President Bush nominated Tinder to replace Judge Daniel A. Manion, a former Indiana state senator. Manion is moving to 'senior status' on the court, giving him a lighter caseload."

You can view the U.S. Senate's official roll call vote tally at this link.
Posted at 10:47 AM by Howard Bashman



"Lacking Options, Officials Keep Schizophrenic in Jail": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition."

On November 30, 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a press release entitled "ACLU Urges Court to Fine Virgin Islands Officials for Indefinitely Detaining Innocent Mentally Ill Inmates; After Violating Two Court Orders, Government Should Face Contempt Fines, ACLU Says."

The federal district court in the U.S. Virgin Islands is under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman



Available online from law.com: An article headlined "9th Circuit: Trademark Plaintiffs Can't Have It All; Appeals court panel concludes plaintiffs can't collect fees based only on statutory damages for trademark counterfeiting" reports on this ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued yesterday.

And an article headlined "Defense Lawyers Take Issue With 9th Circuit Ruling on Closing Courtrooms" reports on a ruling that the Ninth Circuit issued on Monday.
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman



"Lindh no terrorist, parents say in new plea to commute sentence": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "John Walker Lindh's lawyers and parents appealed to President Bush for the fourth time Tuesday to commute the Marin County man's 20-year prison sentence for aiding the Taliban in 2001, saying the nation has grown less fearful since then and that others convicted of similar charges have been treated more leniently."
Posted at 08:45 AM by Howard Bashman


"Feinstein offers compromise: secret court review of wiretap cases." Bob Egelko has this article today in The San Francisco Chronicle.

And today's edition of The New York Times contains an editorial entitled "Bad Bill Now, Bad Bill Later."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman



"Legal Challenges Put Brakes on Executions; Annual Total Hits a 13-Year Low": Robert Barnes has this article today in The Washington Post.

Today in The Los Angeles Times, Henry Weinstein reports that "U.S. executions at a 13-year low; Experts say litigation over lethal injection clearly had a significant effect on the death penalty this year."

And The New York Times reports that "Executions in U.S. Decline to 13-Year Low, Study Finds."
Posted at 08:24 AM by Howard Bashman



"Military lawyers stay unbridled; White House drops veto bid on promotions": Today in The Boston Globe, Charlie Savage has an article that begins, "The Bush administration is dropping a plan to take control over the promotions of military lawyers, following an outpouring of alarm over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly objected to the White House's policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism."
Posted at 08:22 AM by Howard Bashman


"Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A. Tapes": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations of two operatives from Al Qaeda, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials. The accounts indicate that the involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged."

The Washington Post reports today that "Judge Schedules Hearing On CIA Tape Destruction; Agency Acted Despite Order to Preserve." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "A Job for Justice: Congress has legitimate questions in the CIA tapes case, but any criminality needs to be dealt with first."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Destruction of CIA tapes may have violated a court order; A federal judge will investigate whether the action defied his instructions to the federal government to preserve evidence in terrorism detentions."
Posted at 08:17 AM by Howard Bashman



"Waivers can't stop skier suits": Today in The Salt Lake Tribune, Pamela Manson has an article that begins, "Ski resorts took a nasty fall Tuesday when the Utah Supreme Court ruled waivers can't prevent injured skiers from suing the resorts for negligence. Barring those suits is not in the best interests of society, the court said."

You can access yesterday's 3-2 ruling of the Supreme Court of Utah at this link.
Posted at 08:05 AM by Howard Bashman



"Judges narrow case to two points; The appeal's outcome could boil down to the significance of Nacchio's inside information and a witness' exclusion": This article appears today in The Denver Post. In addition, columnist Al Lewis has an essay entitled "Nacchio's got me, babe."

And The Rocky Mountain News reports today that "Case may hinge on witness; Appellate judges show concern that law professor couldn't testify." In related commentary, David Milstead has an essay entitled "What world are the judges and Nacchio's defense living in?" while Scott Robinson has an essay entitled "New precedent is only certainty."
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman



"A Positive Development in All the Sentencing Insanity: How The Supreme Court and the U.S. Sentencing Commission Have Begun to Correct the Damage Done by the War on Drugs." Mark H. Allenbaugh has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:44 AM by Howard Bashman


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Bin Laden's driver to receive POW review": Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald provides a news update that begins, "In an interim ruling made public Tuesday, a military judge said Osama bin Laden's Yemeni driver, captured in Afghanistan, is entitled to consideration that he may be a prisoner of war -- a status that would collapse his war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a third time."
Posted at 11:22 PM by Howard Bashman


"Lafave Hearing Postponed": The Tampa Tribune provides a news update that begins, "Reporters and television cameras packed the courthouse this morning as Debra Lafave walked through the building, her attorney and parents at her side."
Posted at 11:18 PM by Howard Bashman


"Law School Clinic Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Major Juvenile Justice Case": The University of Texas School of Law has issued this news release today. The law school has posted online both the petition for writ of certiorari and the appendix to the petition.
Posted at 11:14 PM by Howard Bashman


"Justice Clarence Thomas reveals personal side at Chapman; Supreme Court jurist describes his upbringing and professional life during book signing": This article appears today in The Orange County Register.
Posted at 09:27 PM by Howard Bashman


"Utah Supreme Court: Waivers offer no protection for ski resorts from lawsuits." Pamela Manson of The Salt Lake Tribune has a news update that begins, "Ski resorts took a nasty fall today when the Utah Supreme Court ruled waivers can't prevent injured skiers from suing them for negligence."

And The Associated Press reports that "Lawsuit Against Utah Ski Resort Revived."

You can access today's 3-2 ruling of the Supreme Court of Utah at this link.
Posted at 09:18 PM by Howard Bashman



"Nacchio lawyer: Conviction flawed." The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 08:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"Executions drop in '07 as states rethink death penalty": CNN.com provides this report.
Posted at 07:15 PM by Howard Bashman


"Nacchio appeal hearing wraps": The Denver Post provides this news update.

And The Rocky Mountain News provides an update headlined "Big day for ex-Qwest boss Nacchio."
Posted at 06:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"Judge Orders Hearing on CIA Videotapes": Dan Eggen of The Washington Post provides this news update.

The Los Angeles Times provides a news update headlined "White House must answer questions over CIA tapes."

And The New York Times provides a news update headlined "Judge Orders Hearing on C.I.A. Videotapes."
Posted at 03:09 PM by Howard Bashman



Access online the petition for writ of certiorari filed yesterday in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case captioned Pittman v. South Carolina: Earlier today, I had a post which linked to an article from The Associated Press that begins, "Attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a teen sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his grandparents when he was 12, arguing that the sentence is cruel."

The cert. petition can be accessed at this link [link updated]. The ruling of the Supreme Court of South Carolina, from which review is sought, can be accessed here.

CNN.com contains a report from February 2005 headlined "Teen gets 30 years in Zoloft case; Boy found guilty of murder in grandparents' deaths." And opponents of the child's sentence have created this web site.
Posted at 02:50 PM by Howard Bashman



"Potential new obstacle to Hamdan trial": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog."
Posted at 02:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Decision won't be reconsidered; Court won't rehear case regarding tuition break for illegal immigrants": The Topeka Capital-Journal today contains an article that begins, "An appeals court Monday refused to reconsider its Aug. 30 decision against opponents of the controversial Kansas law that gives a financial break on college tuition to some illegal immigrants."

The Associated Press reports that "Court won't rehear challenge of in-state tuition for immigrants."

And The Chronicle of Higher Education's "News Blog" has a post titled "Federal Court Won't Rehear Case Against In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants."

Yesterday's decision denying panel rehearing contained, as an attachment, the panel's original decision issued August 30, 2007.
Posted at 02:24 PM by Howard Bashman



"Morrison's mistress says she didn't leak affair": The Lawrence Journal-World today contains an article that begins, "The attorney representing the woman whose sexual harassment allegations toppled Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison said Monday he doesn't know who leaked her statement to the media."

The Kansas City Star reports today that "Morrison's move puts pressure on Sebelius."

The Wichita Eagle contains an article headlined "Foulston on AG job: No, thanks."

And The Associated Press reports that "On list of potential A.G.s, Biggs ranks high; At least 11 people on political radar for Morrison's position."
Posted at 02:17 PM by Howard Bashman



"Psychologist's files won't be at trial": Today's edition of The San Antonio Express-News contains an article that begins, "A state judge on Monday tossed aside subpoenas issued last month by a prosecutor for a defense expert in a capital murder case that had provoked widespread complaints from defense lawyers. In their motion to quash, lawyers for forensic psychologist Mark Cunningham labeled the prosecution's subpoenas 'an unprecedented, unconstitutional and unlawful attempt to invade' privileged areas for the expert witness and defense attorneys."
Posted at 02:11 PM by Howard Bashman


"[T]here is nothing in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to prevent a party from filing successive pleadings that make inconsistent or even contradictory allegations." Chief Judge Alex Kozinski issued this ruling today on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Chief Judge Kozinski's opinion proceeds to observe, "Unless there is a showing that the party acted in bad faith--a showing that can only be made after the party is given an opportunity to respond under the procedures of Rule 11--inconsistent allegations are simply not a basis for striking the pleading."
Posted at 01:15 PM by Howard Bashman


Ninth Circuit reinstates federal criminal defendant's challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to having to provide a blood sample for the federal DNA database: You can access today's per curiam decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this link. Unfortunately for the defendant, there are many ways to harvest his DNA, and it is unlikely that his religion proscribes them all.
Posted at 01:11 PM by Howard Bashman


"Judge Orders Hearing on CIA Videos": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A federal judge has ordered a hearing on whether the Bush administration violated a court order by destroying CIA interrogation videos of terror suspects. U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy rejected calls from the Justice Department to stay out of the matter. He ordered lawyers to appear before him Friday morning."

"SCOTUSblog" has posted at this link a copy of the order announcing Friday's hearing.
Posted at 11:45 AM by Howard Bashman



The U.S. Senate approved the pending judicial security legislation last night, and approval from the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to occur today: The version of the legislation as approved by the Senate can be accessed here. And legislative history generated in connection with yesterday's Senate approval can be accessed here.

Effective January 21, 2009, the legislation will eliminate the twelfth seat on the D.C. Circuit and add a twenty-ninth seat to the Ninth Circuit.

Amendments to the legislation that occurred in the Senate have clarified that a provision intended to increase the powers of senior judges will only apply to senior federal district judges, thereby eliminating the possibility that senior federal appellate judges would receive an enhanced roll in en banc proceedings. The October 8, 2007 installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com had suggested that Congress should amend the legislation to clarify that it was not intended to alter the current law on federal appellate judges' powers to decide whether to take a case en banc and to resolve en banc cases on their merits.
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman



"Interrogation: Anti-Bush Overreaction." In this week's issue of National Journal, Stuart Taylor Jr. has an essay that begins, "Imagine that U.S. forces capture Osama bin Laden or a high-level lieutenant in Pakistan next month and hand him over to the CIA, amid intelligence reports that a massive new Qaeda attack on America may be imminent. Should it be illegal for CIA interrogators to try to scare the man into talking by yelling at him?"
Posted at 10:32 AM by Howard Bashman


"The Curious Kurnaz Case": In the current issue of CQ Weekly, columnist Kenneth Jost has an essay that begins, "Murat Kurnaz is a free man today in his adopted home, Germany, after having spent nearly five years in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as a wrongly suspected terrorist. He is free despite the procedures that the Bush administration has established for trying 'enemy combatants' held at that naval base in Cuba. And his hard-earned freedom represents what even the administration's supporters concede is a strong argument against the legal policies now being challenged for the third time before the Supreme Court."
Posted at 10:22 AM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court Asked to Hear Zoloft Case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a teen sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his grandparents when he was 12, arguing that the sentence is cruel."
Posted at 10:10 AM by Howard Bashman


"Lawyer says weapon can clear his death-row client; Attorney says he dug up gun where hit man says he left it, but witnesses can't verify his find": Maura Dolan has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

And The Associated Press reports that "Attorney finds possible murder weapon in death penalty case."
Posted at 08:54 AM by Howard Bashman



"N.J. first to abolish the death penalty; Cost of appeals, uncertainty over guilt were factors": The Philadelphia Inquirer contains this article today.

The New York Times reports today that "Corzine Signs Bill Ending Executions, Then Commutes Sentences of Eight."

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that "Death row disappears as Corzine signs bill; 8 condemned men to live rest of natural lives in jail."

And law.com reports that "N.J. Ends Capital Punishment, Commutes All Death Sentences; First state to legislatively repeal the death penalty since 1965, and since the Supreme Court reauthorized it in 1976."
Posted at 08:47 AM by Howard Bashman



"Secret Service Logs of White House Visitors Are Public Records, Judge Rules": This article appears today in The Washington Post.

And The New York Times reports today that "White House Visitor Logs Are Public, Judge Rules."

Yesterday's rulings of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia can be accessed here and here.
Posted at 08:37 AM by Howard Bashman



"FBI, CIA Debate Significance of Terror Suspect; Agencies Also Disagree On Interrogation Methods": Today in The Washington Post, Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus have a front page article that begins, "Al-Qaeda captive Abu Zubaida, whose interrogation videotapes were destroyed by the CIA, remains the subject of a dispute between FBI and CIA officials over his significance as a terrorism suspect and whether his most important revelations came from traditional interrogations or from torture. While CIA officials have described him as an important insider whose disclosures under intense pressure saved lives, some FBI agents and analysts say he is largely a loudmouthed and mentally troubled hotelier whose credibility dropped as the CIA subjected him to a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding and to other 'enhanced interrogation' measures."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman


"Democrats Delay a Vote on Immunity for Wiretaps": The New York Times contains this article today.

The Washington Post reports today that "Telecom Immunity Issue Derails Spy Law Overhaul; Reid Pulls Legislation, Citing Insufficient Time Before Recess."

And James Rowley of Bloomberg News reports that "Telephone-Liability Shield Vote in Senate Delayed by Opposition."
Posted at 08:22 AM by Howard Bashman



"State says strip club fee does not violate First Amendment; Officials say it's about helping women, not hampering speech": This article appears today in The Austin American-Statesman.
Posted at 08:15 AM by Howard Bashman


"When Suing Your Boss Is Not an Option: More Companies Are Requiring Employees to Settle Disputes By Going Into Arbitration." Nathan Koppel has this article today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 08:05 AM by Howard Bashman


"It's second round for Nacchio; The defense team for the former Qwest chief executive is expected to zero in on jury instructions": This article appears today in The Denver Post.

And The Rocky Mountain News today contains an item headlined "Nacchio appeal in court today," along with articles headlined "Former Qwest CEO's attorney has made winning a habit" and "Government's lawyer, 32, but toughened by experience."

Today's oral argument before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. local time in Denver. Late last month, the court issued this oral argument protocol.
Posted at 07:53 AM by Howard Bashman



Monday, December 17, 2007

"Supreme Court justice speaks tonight at Chapman University; Clarence Thomas will speak and sign his new book, 'My Grandfather's Son'": The Orange County Register today contains an article that begins, "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will speak at Chapman University tonight about his new memoir, 'My Grandfather's Son.'"

The event at which Justice Thomas will be speaking is scheduled to get underway at 9 p.m. eastern time tonight, and you can then view a live webcast by clicking here. If you happen to miss the live webcast or prefer to dwell on the past, you can view Justice Thomas's remarks at earlier stops on his book tour via this link.
Posted at 08:48 PM by Howard Bashman



"Senate Crafts New Rules on Warrantless Spying": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered."
Posted at 08:35 PM by Howard Bashman


"Pornography and the First Amendment": You can learn more about this week's episode of National Public Radio's "Justice Talking" program via this link. And you can access the audio using either Windows Media Player or mp3 podcast.
Posted at 08:33 PM by Howard Bashman


"Foxes Only: How not to investigate the destruction of the CIA tapes." Emily Bazelon has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 08:30 PM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: An article headlined "Judge: White House Logs Are Public" begins, "White House visitor logs are public documents, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting a legal strategy that the Bush administration had hoped would get around public records laws and let them keep their guests a secret." Today's rulings of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia can be accessed here and here.

Meanwhile, in other news, "Senators Debate Immunity for Telecoms."
Posted at 04:44 PM by Howard Bashman



"Death Penalty Repealed in New Jersey": The New York Times provides this news update.

The Philadelphia Inquirer provides a news update headlined "Corzine signs bill ending death penalty."

And The Newark Star-Ledger provides a news update headlined "Corzine ends death penalty in New Jersey."
Posted at 04:34 PM by Howard Bashman



"N.J. Bans Death Penalty": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment."
Posted at 11:28 AM by Howard Bashman


"Amendment to Federal Appellate Rules Tackles Identity Theft": You can access at this link today's installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com.
Posted at 09:00 AM by Howard Bashman


"Bills aim to get consumers their day in court; Many lawmakers say mandatory arbitration has tipped the playing field in favor of businesses; Critics of the legislation say Democrats are just doing trial lawyers a favor": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"House vows to pursue CIA inquiry; A key GOP lawmaker says his committee will investigate the destruction of interrogation tapes over the objections of the Justice Department": The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.
Posted at 08:48 AM by Howard Bashman


"When Judges Get Generous: A better way to donate surpluses from class-action awards." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:30 AM by Howard Bashman


"Here Dumbs the Judge: Sen. Jon Kyl joins a left-wing effort to censor seminars for federal judges." John Fund has this essay online today at OpinionJournal.
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman


"Giving Crime Victims More of Their Say; A federal law has created tensions in the legal system": Emma Schwartz has this article in the current issue of U.S. News & World Report.
Posted at 08:02 AM by Howard Bashman


Available online from Newsweek's web site: An article is headlined "Suburban Swingers: On a quiet street in a Dallas suburb, dozens of guests have been meeting for sex in a private house; Do they have a right to party?"

And columnist Ellis Cose has an essay entitled "The Harm of 'Get Tough' Policies: The Supreme Court's ruling on federal cocaine sentences could be a turning point--toward justice and righting an old wrong."
Posted at 08:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"Germain on Murphy's Cert. Petition": This post appears today at "TaxProf Blog."
Posted at 07:55 AM by Howard Bashman


Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Control sought on military lawyers; Bush wants power over promotions": Yesterday in The Boston Globe, Charlie Savage had an article that begins, "The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House's policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism."
Posted at 10:44 PM by Howard Bashman


"Bill Would Penalize Judges Leaving for High-Paying Jobs": Monday in The Daily Journal of California, Lawrence Hurley will have an article that begins, "Congress may be offering federal judges a major pay raise for the first time in 16 years, but lawmakers are also embracing a plan to deter senior judges from taking high-paying jobs in the private sector."
Posted at 10:33 PM by Howard Bashman


"Whittling Away, but Leaving a Gap": Monday's installment of Adam Liptak's "Sidebar" column in The New York Times begins, "There was an avalanche of sentencing news last week. The Supreme Court gave trial judges more power to show mercy, the United States Sentencing Commission gave almost 20,000 prisoners doing time on crack cocaine charges a good shot at early release, and even President Bush commuted a crack sentence."

And Monday in The Chicago Tribune, James Oliphant will have an article headlined "New drug rules won't crack many jail doors."
Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"Whitehouse discounts value of court nominee's hearing": The Providence Journal on Monday will contain an article that begins, "Even if U.S. District Judge William E. Smith pledges to follow judicial precedent as a member of a powerful federal appeals court, he could go back on his word once he gets the lifetime job, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse suggested last week. 'You've got to make sure that the guy's not a stalking horse for Bush ideology,' Whitehouse said of Smith, whom the president has nominated to a vacancy on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 'That's an issue that needs to be put to rest,' said Whitehouse, who could play a decisive role in whether Smith is elevated to the Boston-based court. Supporters of Smith, including the man he would replace, senior Judge Bruce M. Selya, have presented him as a moderate jurist who has built a solid reputation since the Senate confirmed him to Rhode Island's federal court in 2002. Republican Smith, a labor lawyer with ties to former Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee, won the approval of the Democrat-controlled Senate without any dissent."
Posted at 10:10 PM by Howard Bashman


"Top court's dynamic duo is never out of order; Justices liven up sessions with their repartee and tag-team tactics": Today in The Newark Star-Ledger, Kate Coscarelli has an article that begins, "The seven justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court file into their eighth-floor courtroom in Trenton and each settles into a high-backed leather chair behind the raised bench of polished African mahogany. Once in session, from the first moments a case is called, lawyers know they must be prepared to field all kinds of difficult and probing questions from any of the black-robed men and women peering down at them. While all of the justices can and do interrogate the attorneys making their arguments before the court, these days much of the verbal sparring comes from one end of the bench -- where Justices Roberto Rivera-Soto and Barry Albin sit, side by side."
Posted at 10:04 PM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to Speak at Chapman Dec. 17; Second Visit to Chapman by the Justice, Who Helped Open Kennedy Hall, Home of the Chapman School of Law, in 1999": Chapman University has issued this news release.
Posted at 09:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Ex-San Jose aviation firm worker says exec talked of torture flights": Bob Egelko had this article yesterday in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Posted at 09:42 PM by Howard Bashman


"Gone Wild and Gone All Wrong": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "The multimillionaire creator of 'Girls Gone Wild' sits in a jail visiting room here, wearing a uniform of orange shirt and gray pants and looking pale but rested from eight months of incarceration."
Posted at 08:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Wider Spying Fuels Aid Plan for Telecom Industry": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "For months, the Bush administration has waged a high-profile campaign, including personal lobbying by President Bush and closed-door briefings by top officials, to persuade Congress to pass legislation protecting companies from lawsuits for aiding the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program. But the battle is really about something much bigger. At stake is the federal government's extensive but uneasy partnership with industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance operations in fighting terrorism and crime. The N.S.A.'s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before, according to government and industry officials, yet that alliance is strained by legal worries and the fear of public exposure."
Posted at 02:22 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court rules on sentences: By loosening the reins on guidelines, has the court given judges too much leeway?" This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 02:15 PM by Howard Bashman


"Clause and Effect: The best way to make sense of the Second Amendment is to take away all the commas." Adam Freedman has this op-ed today in The New York Times.
Posted at 02:07 PM by Howard Bashman


"Detainee takes torture debate to court; Requesting the judiciary to rule on what is and isn't torture, lawyers for Guantanamo detainee Majid Khan asked a federal court in a classified motion to examine how the CIA interrogated him": Carol Rosenberg had this article yesterday in The Miami Herald. The newspaper has posted online at this link a copy of Majid Kahn's motion, as redacted, and has posted online at this link the transcript of Kahn's CSRT hearing.

The Washington Post reports today that "Destruction of CIA Tapes Defended."

The New York Times reports that "Court Inquiry on Tape Case Is Opposed."

And at "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a post titled "US: CIA tapes issue not for courts."
Posted at 02:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Torture, American style -- The surprising force behind torture: democracies." Darius Rejali has this article today in the Ideas section of The Boston Globe.
Posted at 01:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Crack ruling of little effect locally; Houston-area drug convictions mostly produced at state rather than federal level": This article appears today in The Houston Chronicle.
Posted at 01:10 PM by Howard Bashman


"Appeals court reviews Libby case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A federal appeals court heard arguments Wednesday on an appeal of a pretrial ruling in the government's asbestos case against W.R. Grace & Co. and some of its former executives. Earlier this year, Grace asked for the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a decision by a three-judge panel that allowed certain government witnesses to testify against the chemical manufacturer. The 9th Circuit granted the request and heard arguments on the issue Wednesday afternoon; it was unclear when a decision would be issued."

The article is reporting on this past Wednesday's en banc reargument before an eleven-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. You can download the en banc oral argument audio via this link (9.95MB Windows Media audio file).

I have listened to the audio from three Ninth Circuit en banc oral arguments that have occurred last week, the first en banc arguments held since Alex Kozinski became that court's chief judge. (I provided links to download those three oral arguments in earlier posts here and here.) Appellate advocates should be aware that en banc oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit seem to have taken on a much less advocate-friendly tenor since Kozinski has become that court's chief judge and thus has begun to preside over that court's en banc hearings.

My two favorite recurring instances of this are when the new chief judge aggressively asks the advocate, "Why are you talking at the same time I am talking?!" which invariably occurs after Kozinski has taken a long pause and then starts speaking again at the same time that the lawyer believes that it is safe to resume arguing his case. This outburst from the bench was then followed by a lengthy lull or further admonishment of counsel during which time no further progress in arguing the case occurred, while the clock keeping track of the time remaining for the advocate's oral argument continues its steady march toward the red light. The new chief judge also has several times during these arguments interrupted to tell the advocate that the advocate is wasting the court's time by making whatever argument the advocate was in the midst of making. Whether the other ten judges on the en banc panel likewise believed that their time was being wasted is not readily apparent.

Of course, attorneys at oral argument should not be talking at the same time that a judge is talking and should not be wasting a court's time discussing irrelevant matters. My point here is merely that attorneys who were used to the old style of en banc oral argument before the Ninth Circuit where they were not as likely to be put through the wringer should be prepared to receive a different sort of treatment while at the lectern under the new regime.
Posted at 01:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Death judge broke rules": Today in The Houston Chronicle, columnist Rick Casey has an op-ed that begins, "So many judges, so little time. One article on this paper's front page Thursday revealed that U.S. District Judge Sam Kent had hired lawyer Dick DeGuerin and undergone questioning by the FBI in connection with findings that he had sexually harassed an employee. Right next to it was an article disclosing the fact that the state's highest judge on criminal matters grossly violated at least the spirit of her court's policy in September by turning down a request to keep the clerk's office open an extra half hour or so to accept a last-minute appeal for a Texas man scheduled to be executed that night."
Posted at 12:42 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Judgment Power": William Baude has this article (SSRN abstract with link for download) forthcoming in The Georgetown Law Journal. The article's abstract begins, "When an Article III court decides a case, and the President disagrees with the outcome, what can he do about it?"

As for why the article's abstract, posted online only yesterday, already has more than 1,000 views, a link from "Instapundit" never hurts!
Posted at 12:40 PM by Howard Bashman



Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Justice Clinton? President Taft went on to the high court; Hillary could find it a tempting place to park her husband." Law Professor Douglas W. Kmiec has this op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal.

Update: The newspaper has now made the op-ed freely available over OpinionJournal, so I've updated the link to provide free access to non-subscribers.
Posted at 03:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"Delay Is Sought by Justice Dept. on C.I.A. Inquiry": The New York Times contains this article today. The newspaper has also posted online this letter from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Washington Post today contains a front page article headlined "Congress's Probe of CIA Tapes Resisted; Both Parties Decry Justice Dept. Move."

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Justice moves to control tapes probe; The department says neither it nor the CIA will cooperate with congressional inquiries; Lawmakers question whether the executive branch can 'oversee itself.'"

And The Associated Press provides an article headlined "Justice Dept: Back Off on CIA Tapes."
Posted at 03:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Crackdown on Child Pornography; Federal Action, Focused on Internet, Sets Off a Debate": This front page article appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 02:48 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Court That May Not Be Heard": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the special court that reviews government requests for warrants to spy on suspected foreign agents in the United States, seems to have forgotten that its job is to ensure that the government is accountable for following the law -- not to help the Bush administration keep its secrets."
Posted at 02:44 PM by Howard Bashman


"Chicago web weaves through Nacchio appeal; Judge, witness, defense attorney tied to law school": The Rocky Mountain News contains this article today.

And yesterday's edition of that newspaper contained an article headlined "Nacchio verdict: uphold or overturn? 10th Circuit panel will decide which argument merits favor in appeal."
Posted at 02:25 PM by Howard Bashman



"Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison resigns": This article appears today in The Kansas City Star.

The Topeka Capital-Journal today contains articles headlined "Morrison resigning amid sex scandal" and "GOP tries to drag Sebelius into fray."

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that "Morrison walking away; State's top prosecutor resigns amid scandal."

And The New York Times reports that "In Kansas, Top Official Announces Resignation."
Posted at 11:50 AM by Howard Bashman



"School discipline over photos sparks free speech lawsuit": Yesterday's edition of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch contained an article that begins, "Seven grainy classroom photos of a Lafayette High School teacher posted on the Internet by a student are at the center of a federal lawsuit that tests the limits of school discipline in the cyber age."
Posted at 11:44 AM by Howard Bashman


In news from Missouri: The Kansas City Star reported yesterday that "Blunt calls for death penalty for child rape." The article begins, "Gov. Matt Blunt on Thursday called for the death penalty for child rape, a move critics said likely would encourage sexual predators to kill their young victims. Blunt’s proposal would impose the death penalty on those who commit forcible rape or forcible sodomy on children younger than 12."
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman


"Tiggergate proves expensive for Napa Valley school district": The San Francisco Chronicle today contains an article that begins, "A Napa Valley middle school's decision to bar a child from class last winter for wearing a pair of Tigger socks has proved costly. The Napa Valley Unified School District is on the hook for at least $95,000 in lawyers' fees under a legal settlement announced Thursday between the district and five Napa families who challenged the school's dress code. That's enough to pay the salaries of two teachers for a year, but it's only about a quarter of what the district would have had to pay if it went on to lose the Tiggergate lawsuit instead of settling."

The Napa Valley Register reports today that "'Tigger socks' battle settled; Redwood, ACLU find a compromise on dress code."

And The Times-Herald of Vallejo, California reports that "Napa schools, ACLU settle dress code suit."

My earlier coverage of this matter appeared in posts titled "The wonderful thing about Tigger socks" and "Don't Pooh-Pooh this school dress code."
Posted at 11:33 AM by Howard Bashman



"Inside the CIA's notorious 'black sites': A Yemeni man never charged by the U.S. details 19 months of brutality and psychological torture -- the first in-depth, first-person account from inside the secret U.S. prisons." Mark Benjamin has this article at Salon.com.
Posted at 11:25 AM by Howard Bashman


"Judge wants wrongful death lawsuit dropped; Keller says she's not to blame for not answering call in execution case": The Houston Chronicle today contains an article that begins, "The Texas judge accused of improperly denying a death row inmate a last-minute appeal has asked a federal judge to dismiss the wrongful death suit filed against her by the executed man's widow. Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller contends that while she ordered the clerk's office closed promptly at 5 p.m., state law clearly gave attorneys for death row inmate Michael Wayne Richard the power to contact judges on the court directly."

The San Antonio Express-News reports today that "Judge defends actions in execution case."

Texas Lawyer reports that "Keller Moves to Dismiss Suit Filed By Executed Man’s Widow."

And The Associated Press reports that "Judge who refused to keep court open wants lawsuit dismissed."
Posted at 11:20 AM by Howard Bashman



"DeGuerin's slick opening argument": Yesterday in The Houston Chronicle, columnist Rick Casey had an op-ed that begins, "Dick DeGuerin's legend as a criminal defense attorney grows. He represents Tom DeLay. He represented Kay Bailey Hutchison. He represented David Koresh. He got a jury to acquit Robert Durst after the multi-millionaire admitted to killing his elderly neighbor, chopping up his body and dumping it in Galveston Bay. Now he represents U.S. District Judge Sam Kent."
Posted at 11:15 AM by Howard Bashman


Available online from law.com: An article is headlined "Calif. Supreme Court: Don't Use Your Opponent's Notes." My earlier coverage of Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court of California appears at this link.

Shannon P. Duffy reports that "3rd Circuit Finds No Private Right to Sue Over Unwanted Mail." My earlier coverage of Thursday's Third Circuit ruling appears at this link.

An article reports that "New Jersey Death Penalty Repealer Heads for Governor's Desk; State is poised to become the first to eliminate capital punishment by legislation since 1965."

In other news, "A Small Firm Wages '100 Years' War' on Tort Reform; Center is engaged in 40 cases challenging limits on tort claims."

And the brand new installment of my weekly "On Appeal" column is headlined "Amendment to Federal Appellate Rules Tackles Identity Theft."
Posted at 11:11 AM by Howard Bashman



Friday, December 14, 2007

"High court: Barzee to be forcibly medicated." The Deseret Morning News provides an update that begins, "Doctors at the Utah State Hospital have been given the green light to forcibly medicate accused Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Wanda Barzee. Friday, the Utah Supreme Court issued its opinion that 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton's ruling allowing forced medication will stand. The state's high court voted 3-2 in favor of upholding Atherton's ruling in a 52-page opinion. Chief Justice Christine M. Durham and Justice Ronald E. Nehring dissented."

And The Salt Lake Tribune provides a news update headlined "Justices to accused Elizabeth Smart kidnapper: You will take your meds."

You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Utah at this link.
Posted at 11:12 PM by Howard Bashman



"Practitioners Guide to Oral Argument Before the Utah Supreme Court": The Supreme Court of Utah has posted online this guide, which contains much advice that is useful not merely in that court but anywhere one might present an appellate oral argument.

I especially enjoyed the following passage found in the guide: "The allotted time for argument is consumed quickly, especially when numerous questions come from the Court. Counsel should be prepared to present the strongest or most significant elements of the case concisely. The Court does not measure the persuasive force of an argument by its duration. The Court encourages counsel to submit the matter with time remaining if appropriate."
Posted at 11:08 PM by Howard Bashman



"'Potty-mouth' case dismissed": The Times-Tribune of Scranton, Pennsylvania today contains an article that begins, "Dawn Herb won’t have to spend up to 90 days in jail. She won’t have to pay a $300 fine. And she can use any language she wants to celebrate. Magisterial District Judge Terrence V. Gallagher said the 31-year-old West Scranton woman did nothing wrong when she cursed at her overflowing toilet Oct. 11, then cursed at a neighbor -- an off-duty Scranton cop -- who told her to watch her language."
Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"High court clarifies residency ruling: Home-owning sex offenders exempt." Today's edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contains an article that begins, "The Georgia Supreme Court ruling that struck down residency restrictions for registered sex offenders now applies only to offenders who own their homes, the state attorney general's office said Thursday."

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued this news release explaining the alteration to last month's ruling.
Posted at 10:57 PM by Howard Bashman



"Major tax case reaches Court": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog." My coverage from earlier today can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 07:57 PM by Howard Bashman


"Magistrate Judge Finds Fifth Amendment Right Not to Enter Encryption Passphrase": Orin Kerr has this thought-provoking post at "The Volokh Conspiracy."
Posted at 07:44 PM by Howard Bashman


"Whose Prisoners Are They, Anyway? The Americans you've never heard of who are being held in Iraq." Online at Slate, Justin Florence and David Fontana have a jurisprudence essay that begins, "Last Friday, the Supreme Court voted to take up the appeals of two American citizens being held by the United States in Iraq. So far, these cases are little known, but they may end up being crucial to the Supreme Court's interventions in the war on terror."
Posted at 07:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Kansas AG Resigns After Admitting Affair": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Attorney General Paul Morrison announced his resignation Friday, less than a week after he acknowledged having an extramarital affair with a former employee who has accused him of sexual harassment, and of professional misconduct aimed at his predecessor."
Posted at 05:15 PM by Howard Bashman


"Mukasey Rejects Call for CIA Tape Details": Dan Eggen of The Washington Post provides this news update.
Posted at 03:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Roommates.com Updates": Law Professor Eric Goldman has this post today at his "Technology & Marketing Law Blog."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has just made available for download via this link (9.53MB Windows Media audio file) the audio of Wednesday's en banc reargument in the case.

With regard to the en banc court's order issued yesterday rejecting the amicus brief filed in the case by Amazon.com, et al., Eric writes: "This is an unfortunate development for two reasons. First, the brief was first-rate advocacy. Second, the list of parties signing onto the brief was very impressive and really illustrated the depth and breadth of parties that are affected by the ruling. I hope the panel internalizes that point anyway." Because the amicus brief is just one click away on the internet, I'm sure it will be read by those on the en banc panel, which further illustrates the absurdity of the order rejecting the brief's official filing.

In response to my post from yesterday about the Ninth Circuit's order rejecting the amicus brief, a reader emails:

Regardless of where one stands on the question whether a judge should recuse based solely on the participation of an amicus (and I tend to agree with your position), the CA9 rule that you quote in your post makes no sense to me. If one is of the view that the position taken by a proposed amicus creates a conflict requiring recusal, I don't see how refusing to permit the filing of the amicus brief cures the conflict. In the case that gave rise to your post, the position taken by Amazon, et al. is known to all regardless of whether their amicus brief is formally accepted for filing or not. Any judge who feels that his or her relationship with one of the amici on the Amazon brief precludes sitting on the case (presumably because a ruling consistent with their brief will benefit the amici) would seem to be equally precluded even though the Court did not accept the brief for filing because the fact remains that those amici will still be benefited if the Court decides the case favorably to the position taken in the amicus brief.
I wrote back to my correspondent agreeing with his observations, while offering these additional thoughts of my own:
At the same time, a federal appellate judge may choose to have a blanket recusal policy from cases in which the law firm where his daughter is employed represents a party, even though she is a real estate associate who doesn't handle litigation. Yet if that law firm decides to file an amicus brief, I think the judge should relax his recusal rule and not recuse because that law firm doesn't represent an actual party and his daughter is not actually involved in handling the case. (If she were involved in working on the case even for an amicus, I would see merit to either rejecting the brief or recusing.) Similarly, as you know, owning just one share of stock in a party requires recusal from judging that party's cases. However, if a judge held an insubstantial interest in an amicus that would not give rise to an appearance of impropriety in a reasonable observer, I don't think that the judge should recuse simply because that amicus has appeared on the scene.
Perhaps this will someday find itself as the topic of a weekly installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com.
Posted at 01:57 PM by Howard Bashman


"Murphy Files Cert. Petition in U.S. Supreme Court": This post appears today at "TaxProf Blog," which also provides this link to the petition for writ of certiorari.

The first question presented asks "Can Congress tax 'make whole' personal injury or sickness damage awards that are solely intended as compensation for a loss (or restoration of human capital), as opposed to income or any accession to wealth."

To be sure, this case was once cert.-worthy, after a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel originally ruled that imposing a tax on such compensation was unconstitutional. Thereafter, following a great outcry that the original decision provoked, the same three judges on panel rehearing held that taxing such compensation is not unconstitutional. My extensive earlier coverage of this case can be accessed via this post.
Posted at 11:44 AM by Howard Bashman



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirms 1,772-month sentence of imprisonment for defendant convicted of brandishing a firearm during six separate robberies: Translated into years, the defendant has been sentenced to serve 147 and two-third years. Still better than a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, some might argue. You can access today's ruling at this link.
Posted at 10:35 AM by Howard Bashman


"Oakland pot club loses court appeal": Bay City News Service provides a report that begins, "Three medical marijuana clubs in Oakland, Fairfax and Ukiah today lost what may be their final appeal in a long-running battle against a federal court injunction barring them from giving marijuana to patients."

You can access yesterday's non-precedential ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this link.
Posted at 09:22 AM by Howard Bashman



"'Justice'": The Los Angeles Times today contains an editorial that begins, "The motto 'Equal Justice Under Law' appears on the west facade of the Supreme Court building, not the White House. But presidents have played an important rolein making good on that aspiration." The newspaper today also contains an editorial entitled "'Liberty.'"
Posted at 09:15 AM by Howard Bashman


"House Passes Bill to Ban CIA's Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics": This article appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 09:14 AM by Howard Bashman


"Rove, Bolten Found in Contempt of Congress; Senate Committee Cites Top Bush Advisers in Probe of U.S. Attorney Firings": The Washington Post contains this article today.

The Washington Times reports today that "Rove, Bolten cited for contempt."

And The Hill reports that "Senate panel approves contempt citations."
Posted at 08:57 AM by Howard Bashman



"Terror trial falters again; With the mistrial in Miami, the government extends its mixed record": This news analysis appears today in The St. Petersburg Times.
Posted at 08:40 AM by Howard Bashman


"Police Blotter: Can Circuit City techs legally peruse your files?" Declan McCullagh has this article at c|net News.com reporting on a recent ruling of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Posted at 08:35 AM by Howard Bashman


"Arguments From Death Row: Lawyers Challenge Fairness Of Capital Felony Cases." This article appears today in The Hartford Courant.

And The New York Times today contains an article headlined "Arguing Against the Death Penalty, in a Gym Near Connecticut's Death Row."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman



"New Jersey Moves to End Its Death Penalty": The New York Times contains this article today.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports today that "Assembly OKs measure to end N.J. executions."

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "N.J. Legislature approves abolishing death penalty."

Henry Weinstein of The Los Angeles Times reports that "New Jersey lawmakers vote to end death penalty; Gov. Jon Corzine says he will sign the bill into law, which would make the state the first to repeal capital punishment since 1965."

And The Washington Post reports that "N.J. Approves Abolition of Death Penalty; Corzine to Sign."
Posted at 08:05 AM by Howard Bashman



"Al-Arian contempt charge is lifted; Lawyers say he could be deported by April": This article appears today in The St. Petersburg Times.

The Tampa Tribune reports today that "Judge Drops Al-Arian's Contempt Charge."

And Josh Gerstein of The New York Sun reports that "Judge Drops Contempt Citation Against Al-Arian."
Posted at 08:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"Living a comfortable life on the third rail": The Washington Times today contains an article that begins, "Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was in a happy mood, talking about stereotypes -- racial or religious -- and how he enjoys defying them in the pursuit of impartiality." The article reports on Justice Thomas's interview over lunch yesterday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
Posted at 07:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Federal Judge Probed on Harassment Allegations; Texas Judge Is Accused of Inappropriately Touching Female Employee": ABCNews.com provides this written report.
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman


"The Investigations of the Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes: How An ACLU Lawsuit Might Force the Bush Administration To Reveal What Actually Happened." John W. Dean has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:40 AM by Howard Bashman


Thursday, December 13, 2007

"In the courtroom, timing can be everything": Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers has an article that begins, "Sometimes the courthouse clock can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Soon, the Supreme Court will decide a crucial private property rights case that turns on timing."
Posted at 10:09 PM by Howard Bashman


"High court deadlocks on Smart Growth; Donations prompt Ziegler to step aside on moratorium case": The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today contains an article that begins, "The state Supreme Court deadlocked on a Smart Growth decision Wednesday after Justice Annette K. Ziegler stepped aside because of campaign contributions she received."
Posted at 10:07 PM by Howard Bashman


"House Passes Bill to Ban CIA's Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics": This article will appear Friday in The Washington Post.

McClatchy Newspapers report that "House votes to outlaw waterboarding by CIA."

And The Associated Press reports that "House Votes to Ban Harsh CIA Methods."

You can view the official roll call vote tally at this link.
Posted at 10:04 PM by Howard Bashman



"Lawyer may lose license for blog entry on Broward judge": The South Florida Sun-Sentinel today contains an article that begins, "A defense attorney's law license is at risk because he posted an angry description on the Internet of embattled Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman, calling her an 'evil, unfair witch.' Last week, as Aleman was on trial for alleged misconduct before the Judicial Qualifications Commission, The Florida Bar signed off on its finding that Sean Conway may have violated five bar rules, including impugning the judge's qualifications or integrity. In the Halloween 2006 posting on a blog, Conway denounced Aleman for what he said was an 'ugly, condescending attitude' and questioned her mental stability after, he says, she unlawfully forced attorneys to choose between unreasonable trial dates or waiving their clients' rights to a speedy trial. Conway, a former Broward assistant public defender now in private practice, said Wednesday he feels justified in his comments."
Posted at 05:10 PM by Howard Bashman


"This appeal requires us to determine whether section 3009 of the Postal Reorganization Act, 39 U.S.C. sec. 3009 (2000), which regulates the shipment of unordered merchandise, provides an implied private right of action." So begins the majority opinion that a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued today. The majority concludes that Congress did not intend to create a private right of action.

In her dissenting opinion, Circuit Judge Dolores K. Sloviter expresses a lament with which numerous federal appellate judges would agree:

There is a Wonderland quality about the majority's enunciation of the inquiry before us: only if Congress intended to create a personal right and a private remedy, may a court hold that an implied right of action exists under a federal statute. I do not suggest that the majority misconstrues the recent Supreme Court precedent. Quite the contrary. The majority scrupulously reviews the relevant decisions in articulating its version of our task. The fact that I arrive at a different conclusion should not obscure the inescapable truth that we are both engaged in an illusory errand. The search is to determine whether Congress, the Congress that enacted the statute, also intended to create a private right of action. Do we really believe that Congress, with its legislative aides, lawyers, paralegals and assorted staff, is unable to state in simple declarative language that anyone injured by a violation of that statute may file suit in federal court? Do we really believe that it simply forgot? But whatever the reason Congress chose to remain silent, the Supreme Court set our course decades ago and we have the responsibility to follow by looking for clues that Congress intended that which it did not say.
You can access the complete ruling at this link.
Posted at 04:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Here we consider what action is required of an attorney who receives privileged documents through inadvertence and whether the remedy of disqualification is appropriate." So begins a ruling that the Supreme Court of California issued today.

The court's unanimous opinion continues, "We conclude that ... an attorney in these circumstances may not read a document any more closely than is necessary to ascertain that it is privileged. Once it becomes apparent that the content is privileged, counsel must immediately notify opposing counsel and try to resolve the situation. We affirm the disqualification order under the circumstances presented here."
Posted at 03:50 PM by Howard Bashman



Access online the oral argument audio from Tuesday's Ninth Circuit en banc oral arguments: As noted in my update to this post from earlier this afternoon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is hearing en banc oral arguments this week.

On Tuesday, the court heard en banc oral argument in Villegas v. City of Gilroy, which involves whether motorcycle club members should be allowed to wear clothing bearing their club's insignia while attending the Gilroy, California garlic festival. You can download that oral argument audio via this link (9.52MB mp3 audio file). My earlier coverage of the Ninth Circuit's actions in this case can be accessed here and here.

Also on Tuesday, the court heard en banc oral argument in Navajo Nation v. United States Forest Service, an action brought by Indian tribes and environmental groups under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the National Environmental Protection Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, challenging the Forest Service's approval of a proposed expansion of the Arizona Snowbowl ski area on Humphrey's Peak. In particular, the case involves an objection to using reclaimed water produced from sewage for snowmaking. You can access that audio file via this link (9.96MB audio file). My earlier coverage of the Ninth Circuit's actions in this case can be accessed here and here.
Posted at 03:35 PM by Howard Bashman



"The Hattiesburg Incident": At "The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times," Tony Mauro has a post that begins, "The U.S. Marshals Service has released, with minor redactions, the report on its internal investigation of what it calls the 'Hattiesburg Incident' of April 7, 2004. That is when a deputy U.S. marshal in the Mississippi city directed two local reporters who were covering a speech by Justice Antonin Scalia to erase their recordings of the speech, believing she was enforcing the justice's policy against recording his public talks."

Update: You can access the report online by clicking here.
Posted at 03:24 PM by Howard Bashman



"Mo. high court to rule on death benefits": The St. Louis Post-Dispatch today contains an article that begins, "As Floyd Wilcut lay dying in a hospital bed from a work-related truck accident, he saw a choice between survival and salvation. He chose to spare his soul, refusing a blood transfusion that likely would have saved his life. And in dying, the devout Jehovah's Witness stayed true to a tenet of his faith. In the eight years since, the courts, an insurance company, his employer and a state commission have second-guessed his decision. Each has offered ideas of whether his choice to refuse medical care was, in legal terms, 'reasonable.' And each has wrestled over whether that decision disqualifies his widow from collecting death benefits for his work-related injuries. Now, the question lies before the state's highest court, in a case that raises questions about freedom of religion and who's responsible for decisions based on faith."
Posted at 03:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"Mitchell Report released; Findings concern use of performance-enhancing drugs in MLB": MLB.com provides this coverage. You can view the 409-page Mitchell Report by clicking here.
Posted at 02:58 PM by Howard Bashman


Ninth Circuit rejects amicus brief from Amazon.com, et al. on rehearing en banc in Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com: Some people may be wondering what is the meaning of this published order that Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued today.

Chief Judge Kozinski's order does not provide any explanation beyond citing to Circuit Advisory Committee Note to 9th Cir. R. 29-2 (click here and scroll down to access that text). The advisory committee note states, in what I presume to be pertinent part, "The court will ordinarily deny motions and disallow stipulations for leave to file an amicus curiae brief where the filing of the brief would result in the recusal of a member of the en banc court. Any member of the court who would be subject to disqualification in light of the amicus curiae brief may, of course, voluntarily recuse, thereby allowing the filing of the amicus curiae brief."

Thus, it appears that the proposed amicus brief (the text of which you can access online at this link, courtesy of Eric Goldman) would have led to one or more recusals. I don't know whether "the en banc court" for purposes of the advisory committee note means the full Ninth Circuit or just that subset of eleven judges who have been selected to hear and decide this case en banc now that en banc review has been granted.

The Ninth Circuit granted en banc review in this case on October 12, 2007. My earlier extensive coverage of this case consists of an installment of my law.com column and various blog posts (see here and here, in particular). The original three-judge panel's divided ruling, from May 2007, can be accessed at this link.

The February 2005 installment of my "Upon Further Review" column published in The Legal Intelligencer was headlined "A Federal Appellate Court Attempts To Thwart Strategic Recusals On Appeal." Therein, I wrote: "In my experience, some federal appellate judges will be more reluctant to recuse where the recusal is triggered by an amicus than if the same grounds for recusal involve a party to the appeal." The more that I think about this question, the more I conclude that it is appropriate for a federal appellate judge to be more reluctant to feel an obligation to recuse if the recusal would be based solely on the participation of an amicus or counsel for an amicus. Readers who wish to share their views on this issue are invited to do so via email.

Update: Because this case was reargued en banc yesterday, the original version of this post was incorrect in stating that the identity of the eleven judges on the en banc panel was not yet known. Those eleven judges are Chief Judge Alex Kozinski and Circuit Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Pamela A. Rymer, Barry G. Silverman, M. Margaret McKeown, William A. Fletcher, Raymond C. Fisher, Richard A. Paez, Carlos T. Bea, Milan D. Smith, Jr., and N. Randy Smith. Regrettably, Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, who wrote a very persuasive dissent from the original three-judge panel's ruling, was not randomly selected to serve on the en banc panel. But looking at who is on the panel, I can still envision six or more votes for the outcome that Judge Ikuta favors. Notably, Judge Paez was on the unanimous three-judge panel that issued an earlier decision whose reasoning Judge Ikuta relied on in her dissent.
Posted at 01:50 PM by Howard Bashman



"Church and State: Separation Anxieties." That's the title of the current episode of "Dan Rather Reports" on HDNet. Among the panelists are Tenth Circuit Judge Michael W. McConnell and Law Professor Rick Garnett. You can view the program online via this link.

"PrawfsBlawg" earlier this month provided more detail about the panelists in this post.
Posted at 12:25 PM by Howard Bashman



"Are GPS devices for sex offenders worth it?" This article appears today in The Seattle Times.

And yesterday's edition of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer contained an article headlined "GPS for state sex offenders gets split verdict; Does tracking system cut crime? Opinions differ."
Posted at 12:20 PM by Howard Bashman



"In jury selection, 'race-neutral' isn't: New rules are needed to keep prosecutors from concealing racial bias when choosing jurors." The Los Angeles Times today contains an editorial that begins, "It seemed like a good idea at the time. In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors could not use peremptory challenges of prospective jurors -- challenges for which no cause need be offered -- to exclude individuals because of their race."
Posted at 10:03 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court will review challenge to Prop. 83's sex offender restrictions": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "The state Supreme Court took up the incendiary issue of sex criminals' residency requirements Wednesday, agreeing to decide the constitutionality of a voter-approved law prohibiting paroled rapists and other sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park."
Posted at 10:01 AM by Howard Bashman


"C.I.A. Chief Cites Agency Lapse on Tapes": This article appears today in The New York Times, along with a news analysis headlined "C.I.A. Agents Sense Shifting Support for Methods."

The Washington Post today contains articles headlined "CIA Chief: Hill Should Have Been Told More; Probe of Videotapes May Be Drawn Out" and "Even at Cheney's Holiday Party, CIA Chief Faces Interrogators." In addition, columnist David Ignatius has an op-ed entitled "Intelligence Oversight In Free Fall."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "CIA failed to fully inform Congress on tapes, director says; Michael Hayden said the agency should have kept lawmakers better apprised on videotaped interrogations." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "The CIA tapes: Congressional outrage over their destruction should lead to new anti-torture rules." And columnist Rosa Brooks has an op-ed entitled "Torture's blame game: Who gave the green light to 'enhanced' interrogations? We all did."
Posted at 09:50 AM by Howard Bashman



"Journal Grants Gonzales A Superlative": Dan Eggen has this article today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 09:40 AM by Howard Bashman


"Bush plays politics with judicial nominations": Glenn Sugameli has this op-ed today in The Providence (R.I.) Journal.
Posted at 09:34 AM by Howard Bashman


"Discrimination claimant gets access to documents": Friday's edition of The Sydney Morning Herald contains an article that begins, "Secrets of the inner sanctum, including legal advice to key players, unguarded in-house notes and other possibly embarrassing details must be revealed to the woman who is pressing a bitterly fought $10 million sex discrimination case against a giant in corporate consulting. Lawyers for PricewaterhouseCoopers were in crisis mode yesterday after a ruling by a NSW Federal Court judge, Catherine Branson, concerning information that the firm's partners had fought to keep private. The company is involved in a legal battle with Christina Rich, a star tax lawyer who is a deposed partner of the firm."
Posted at 09:22 AM by Howard Bashman


"Florida Court Rejects Claim, a Boon for Morgan Stanley": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the financier Ronald O. Perelman, who asked the court to restore a $1.58 billion verdict against the investment bank Morgan Stanley."

Bloomberg News reports that "Perelman Loses Appeal of Morgan Stanley Jury Award."

The Associated Press reports that "Court rejects Perelman appeal."

And Reuters reports that "Perelman's Morgan Stanley suit comes to an end."

I covered the March 2007 ruling of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal, which the Supreme Court of Florida declined to review yesterday, in posts that you can access here and here.
Posted at 09:20 AM by Howard Bashman



"Milestone: Gitmo captive census drops below 300." Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald has an article that begins, "The Pentagon said Wednesday it sent home 15 presumably long-held captives from Guantanamo, reducing the prison camp population to fewer than 300 for the first time since the earliest days of the detention center."
Posted at 09:06 AM by Howard Bashman


"Rush to free crack inmates not expected despite ruling on sentence disparities; State prisoners not affected by U.S. ruling on sentence reductions": This article appears today in The Dallas Morning News.
Posted at 08:44 AM by Howard Bashman


"Guns Case Is a Test Of Discretion": Today in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein has an article that begins, "A gun trafficking case out of Brooklyn is emerging as the next test over how much discretion federal judges have in setting prison sentences. In two decisions this week, the U.S. Supreme Court offered judges greater leeway in deciding for how long to put criminals away. Neither case addressed the vexing question of whether more time can be tacked on just because the crime occurred someplace urban such as New York City, where the chances seem higher that innocent bystanders will be hurt any time a crime is committed."

My coverage of the Second Circuit's most recent ruling in the case that is the subject of this article can be accessed here.
Posted at 08:25 AM by Howard Bashman



"Judge in death case violated policies; Keller, who shut out appeal, says new written rules reflect unwritten ones on that day": The Houston Chronicle today contains a front page article that begins, "Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller apparently violated court policies for handling death penalty cases when she closed the court clerk's doors on Michael Richard's efforts to file a last-minute appeal before his execution."
Posted at 08:15 AM by Howard Bashman


"Justice Clarence Thomas: A new book and some tough questions; He opposes use of TV cameras in the highest court." This article appears today in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The Palm Beach Daily News today contains an article headlined "Justice Thomas: 'There's a reason to hope'; His book is about 'the life of an ordinary person to whom extraordinary things happened.'"

And The Palm Beach Post reports that "Justice recounts rise from poverty."
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman



"Swinger sues Duncanville over sex club ban; Resident says ordinance violates his privacy, due process rights": The Dallas Morning News today contains an article that begins, "A Duncanville swinger sued the city Wednesday, contending that a new ordinance banning sex clubs violates his privacy and due process rights. Jim Trulock, 59, and his partner, 29-year-old Julie M. Norris, call themselves advocates for the swinging lifestyle. On weekends, they turn their home near Cedar Ridge Drive and Interstate 20 into the Cherry Pit, where guests can mingle, dance and have sex."
Posted at 08:08 AM by Howard Bashman


"Kent hires DeGuerin in harassment case; Top defense attorney says judge committed 'no crime'": This front page article appears today in The Houston Chronicle. According to the article, "The 5th Circuit judicial council used a Baton Rouge law firm for its investigation. The firm, whose Houston office regularly conducted business in Kent's court, was hired to review McBroom's complaint and take sworn statements from witnesses. Three investigating judges also interviewed witnesses, including McBroom."

The Galveston County Daily News reports today that "Kent's lawyer says allegations are false."

Texas Lawyer reports that "U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent Hires Dick DeGuerin, Meets With FBI."

And The Associated Press reports that "Attorney confirms suspended federal judge being investigated."
Posted at 07:54 AM by Howard Bashman



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Shootings Test Limits of New Self-Defense Law": This article will appear Thursday in The New York Times.
Posted at 11:17 PM by Howard Bashman


"Utah Supreme Court considers strengthening shield for journalists; Law would protect identities of sources": The Salt Lake Tribune provides this news update.
Posted at 11:14 PM by Howard Bashman


"Ex-judge has mixed feelings on new sentencing ruling": The Deseret Morning News today contains an article that begins, "Former U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell says he has 'mixed feelings' about Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that vastly expanded the discretion federal judges can exercise when sentencing people to prison."
Posted at 11:11 PM by Howard Bashman


"From a Critic of Tribunals to Top Judge": This article will appear Thursday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:48 PM by Howard Bashman


Available online from law.com: An article reports that "House Judiciary Committee OKs Bill to Raise Federal Judges' Pay."

Shannon P. Duffy has an article headlined "Pre-emption Issue Weighed in Label Cases; 3rd Circuit hears arguments on antidepressant warnings."

And in other news, "2nd Circuit Backs Work Product Tape Subpoena."
Posted at 10:44 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from National Public Radio: This evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained audio segments entitled "Ex-CIA Officer Speaks Out Against Waterboarding"; "Panel Makes Reduced Drug Sentencing Retroactive"; "Police Use DNA to Track Suspects Through Family"; "Doping Report a Key Test of Mitchell's Fixer Skills"; and "Doping Has Long-Term Health Consequences."

Today's broadcast of "Talk of the Nation" contained an audio segment entitled "Sentencing Relaxed for Crack Cocaine Offenders" (featuring Law Professor Douglas A. Berman).

Today's broadcast of "Day to Day" contained an audio segment entitled "Former Gitmo Prosecutor: System Too Politicized."

Today's broadcast of "Morning Edition" contained audio segments entitled "Legal Limits Murky for Use of 'Discarded' DNA."

Yesterday's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained audio segments entitled "Senators Grill CIA Director Behind Closed Doors"; "Rep. Boehner Explains GOP Strategy on CIA Tapes"; "Senate Panel Presses Officials on Waterboarding": and "Guantanamo Translator Wins Rhodes Scholarship" (she's also a Yale law student).

And yesterday's broadcast of "Tell Me More" contained an audio segment entitled "High Court Rules on Drug Sentencing Disparities" (featuring Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree).

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"State Supreme Court to hear challenge to sex-offender residency law": Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle provides a news update that begins, "The state Supreme Court took up the incendiary issue of sex criminals' residency requirements today, agreeing to decide the constitutionality of a voter-approved law prohibiting paroled rapists and other sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park."
Posted at 10:04 PM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: Now available online are articles headlined "Crack Decision Could Reunite Families" and "Judge Affirms $30M Judgment Against EBay."
Posted at 10:02 PM by Howard Bashman


"New Drug Sentencing Rules Raise Questions for 19,000 Inmates": This segment (transcript with link to audio) featuring, among others, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton appeared on this evening's broadcast of the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Posted at 09:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Man That Got Away: Judges dreamed of having Barack Obama as their clerk; Why did he turn them all down?" Tony Mauro has this article in the current issue of Legal Times.
Posted at 08:22 PM by Howard Bashman


"Justice Thomas says Supreme Court is no place for cameras": The South Florida Sun-Sentinel provides this news update.

The Palm Beach Post provides a news update headlined "Clarence Thomas says memoir a story of hope." The newspaper has also posted online this video clip showing a small portion of Justice Thomas's remarks.

And The Associated Press reports that "Justice system based on reality, not racism, Thomas says."
Posted at 08:14 PM by Howard Bashman



Conducting "plain error" review, the majority on a divided three-judge Seventh Circuit panel holds that a federal district judge's failure to explain a plea agreement's appellate waiver provision entitles the defendant to set aside his guilty plea: You can access the ruling, issued late today in typescript form, by clicking here. The defendant, a nearly 70-year-old man, was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm because he owned and kept at home as a souvenir a World War II Beretta, for which he owned no ammunition.

Circuit Judge Diane P. Wood issued the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner joined. Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook issued a quite persuasive dissenting opinion.

The case was argued in November 2006, and you can download the oral argument audio via this link (4.74MB mp3 audio file).
Posted at 05:55 PM by Howard Bashman



"Federal Judiciary Salary Bill Progresses - With Caveats": Lawrence Hurley of The Daily Journal of California has this post at his "Washington Briefs" blog.
Posted at 04:02 PM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: Now available online are articles headlined "If Death Penalty Abolished, What Next?" and "CIA Destroyed Tapes Despite Court Order."
Posted at 02:50 PM by Howard Bashman


Sixth Circuit rejects double jeopardy challenge to retrial involving the first defendant brought to trial as a terrorism suspect after September 11, 2001: Today's decision begins:
Karim Koubriti was the first defendant brought to trial as a terrorism suspect after September 11, 2001. His trial was a highly charged affair, and resulted in his conviction on two of four counts. Afterwards, it was discovered that the United States Attorney's office in Detroit had committed numerous acts of misconduct in the prosecution of his case. The district court accordingly dismissed one count of his conviction without prejudice, and ordered a retrial on the second count for which he was convicted. Prior to the second trial, the government filed a superseding indictment replacing the count that had been ordered to be retried by the district court, albeit the new count involved some of the same conduct alleged in the first trial. Koubriti moved to dismiss, claiming that double jeopardy barred the new superseding indictment. The district court denied his motion, and this appeal followed. Because we find no double jeopardy is implicated by Koubriti's retrial, we AFFIRM the district court's decision.
You can access the complete ruling at this link.
Posted at 10:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Nine years later, murder of Yale senior still unsolved; As Jovin Investigation Team debuts, interviews suggest holes in original police inquiry": This article appears today in The Yale Daily News, along with an article headlined "District judge reopens Van de Velde suit; State law claims resurrected in former Saybrook dean's lawsuit against Yale, NHPD."
Posted at 09:12 AM by Howard Bashman


"AT&T case lobbying yields just one document, federal spy chief says": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "The Bush administration's top intelligence official, responding to a court order, reported Tuesday that his office had located only one document showing lobbying contacts with telecommunications companies about a pending surveillance bill - notes of a phone conversation that were too sensitive to release."
Posted at 09:03 AM by Howard Bashman


"Wal-Mart sex-bias suit order adjusted": Today's edition of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contains an article that begins, "A federal three-judge panel on Tuesday modified its earlier decision that allowed the largest class-action sex discrimination lawsuit to proceed against Wal-Mart."

And law.com reports that "9th Circuit Limits Wal-Mart Class; It's the February ruling redux, with a tweak on the issue of class standing."

My earlier coverage of yesterday's Ninth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 09:01 AM by Howard Bashman



"In Special Education Cases, City Is Fighting Harder Before Paying for Private School": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "New York City, at the suggestion of private consultants, is significantly ramping up its effort to challenge cases in which it pays for private school tuition of children with disabilities whose parents say they are ill-served by the public schools."

The article later notes that "In October, the United States Supreme Court split evenly in a case about whether the city should reimburse the private school tuition that Tom Freston, the former chief executive of Viacom, paid for his learning-disabled son."
Posted at 08:54 AM by Howard Bashman



"A FISA fix": Today in The Los Angeles Times, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has an op-ed that begins, "One of the most critical matters facing Congress is the need to enact long-term legislation updating our nation's foreign intelligence surveillance laws."
Posted at 08:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Hayden Tells Panel He Can't Answer Every Question About Tapes": This article appears today in The Washington Post, along with an article headlined "Evidence From Waterboarding Could Be Used in Military Trials."

The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Senate widens probe of destroyed tapes; CIA director's testimony leaves questions about interrogation recordings unanswered, lawmakers say; More witnesses will be called."

The New York Times reports that "C.I.A. Director Speaks to Senate Committee."

And The New York Sun reports that "Hoekstra Sets His Sights on CIA Chief."
Posted at 08:47 AM by Howard Bashman



"The Value of a Judge: It's more than Congress has been willing to pay." A pay raise for federal judges is the subject of this editorial published today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 08:40 AM by Howard Bashman


"Surveillance Court Declines to Release Secret Opinions": This article appears today in The New York Times.

And The Washington Post reports today that "Secret U.S. Intelligence Court Intends To Keep Wiretap Rulings Under Wraps."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at this link.
Posted at 08:35 AM by Howard Bashman



"For Crack Offenders, Earlier Shot At Release": The Washington Post contains this front page article today.

The New York Times reports today that "Retroactively, Panel Reduces Drug Sentences."

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Ruling could free 2,500 drug inmates; A federal sentencing panel reduces penalties in crack cocaine cases; One member says it's a matter of fairness."

And USA Today reports that "New cocaine sentencing guidelines mean 20,000 could go free sooner."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman



"A Las Vegas Gym Faces a 'Ladies' Night' Bias Case": This article appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:27 AM by Howard Bashman


"Solo Convicted in Sex Scam": law.com provides a report that begins, "A San Antonio, Texas, jury has convicted solo Mary S. Roberts on five counts of theft stemming from allegations that she helped her lawyer-husband appropriate $155,000 from four men with whom she had affairs in 2001."
Posted at 08:20 AM by Howard Bashman


"Justice in Sentencing": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "With a pair of 7-2 rulings this week, the Supreme Court struck a blow for basic fairness and judicial independence."
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman


"Why A Conservative Federal Appeals Court Ruled in Favor of Users of Swingers' Magazines Dating Services: The Sixth Circuit's Recent First Amendment Ruling Limiting the Scope of Federal Recordkeeping Requirements." Julie Hilden has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Appeals court names panel in Nacchio case; Same 3 judges who OK'd bail to review conviction": The Rocky Mountain News contains this article today, along with an article headlined "Nacchio's appellate hearing next week: Will he attend?"

And Sunday's edition of The Denver Post contained an article headlined "Court will decide fate of Nacchio next week; If the appeals panel upholds his insider-trading conviction, few options will remain."
Posted at 10:24 PM by Howard Bashman



"Kansas attorney general caught up in sex scandal": This article appears today in The Washington Times.

The Kansas City Star reports today that "Scandal turns Morrison from political powerhouse to tattered target."

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that "Sebelius weighs in on A.G.; If allegations against Morrison prove true, he should resign, governor says."

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that "Morrison’s fate as AG uncertain; Lawmakers say resignation may be in order if allegations by former lover are true."

And The Wichita Eagle contains an article headlined "Is political future for Morrison now over?"
Posted at 10:17 PM by Howard Bashman



"Sentencing phase opens in murder trial; Jurors who convicted Patrick Lorenzo will decide whether he can ever be paroled": The Honolulu Star-Bulletin today contains an article that begins, "The 12 jurors who convicted Patrick Lorenzo of killing an off-duty deputy sheriff returned yesterday in the first hearing ever in which a jury -- not a judge -- could impose the state's strictest penalty of life imprisonment without parole."

And The Honolulu Advertiser reports today that "Hawaii's extended-sentence law put to test."
Posted at 09:58 PM by Howard Bashman



"FISA Court Denies Public Access to Records Concerning Wiretapping; Decision Blocks Essential Oversight of Spying Program, ACLU Says": The American Civil Liberties Union issued this press release today. The organization has posted today's decision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court online at this link.

And at "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a post titled "Secret court won’t release spying orders."
Posted at 09:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"US Court Grants Motion on Gitmo Suspect": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A federal court on Tuesday granted a defense motion to have the U.S. government preserve any evidence of torture in the case of a suspected 'high-value' Guantanamo prisoner who alleges he was tortured in overseas CIA prisons."

Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald has a news update headlined "Court orders Bush administration to preserve possible evidence of torture."

And at "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a post titled "Appeals court acts on torture evidence."
Posted at 08:55 PM by Howard Bashman



"Analysis of Justices' Revised Crack Sentencing Guidelines": This segment (transcript with links to audio and video) appeared on yesterday's broadcast of the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Posted at 08:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Panel Allows Easing of Crack Sentences": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to allow some 19,500 federal prison inmates, most of them black, to seek reductions in their crack cocaine sentences. The commission, which sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, decided to make retroactive its recent easing of recommended sentences for crack offenses."
Posted at 05:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"US court won't reconsider Wal-Mart sex bias case": Reuters provides this report on today's revised Ninth Circuit ruling, which I earlier noted here.

At his "Daily Developments in EEO Law" site, Paul Mollica discusses how today's opinion differs from the opinion the panel issued just over ten months ago.
Posted at 05:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Ifs and Buts: If the CIA hadn't destroyed those tapes, what would be different?" Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick have this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 03:23 PM by Howard Bashman


"Spy Court Won't Release US Wiretap Docs": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The nation's spy court said Tuesday that it will not make public documents regarding the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in a rare public opinion, said the public has no right to view the documents because they deal with the clandestine workings of national security agencies."
Posted at 03:17 PM by Howard Bashman


"Coming in From the Cold: CIA Spy Calls Waterboarding Necessary But Torture; Former Agent Says the Enhanced Technique Was Used on Al Qaeda Chief Abu Zubaydah." ABCNews.com provides a report that begins, "A leader of the CIA team that captured the first major al Qaeda figure, Abu Zubaydah, says subjecting him to waterboarding was torture but necessary. In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds." You can view last night's Nightline video report by clicking here, while you can view the complete interview with the CIA officer by clicking here.

And CNN.com provides a report headlined "Ex-CIA agent: Waterboarding 'saved lives.'"
Posted at 03:05 PM by Howard Bashman



Ten months after originally doing so, divided three-judge Ninth Circuit panel again affirms the class certification order in Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc., in which a class of approximately 2 million female employees allege sex discrimination in pay and promotions: In the Ninth Circuit, to a degree not seen in any other federal appellate courts, published opinions often resemble works in progress. A three-judge panel will issue an opinion, the losing party will petition for rehearing and/or rehearing en banc, and then months later the panel will withdraw its original opinion and substitute in its place a new and presumably improved decision.

That phenomenon has happened once again, as the same divided three-judge panel whose majority affirmed the controversial class certification of nearly 2 million female Wal-Mart employees alleging sex discrimination in pay and promotions by means of a decision issued in February 2007 has today withdrawn that ruling and replaced it with a new decision reaching the same result by the same 2-1 margin. Today's ruling restarts the clock for seeking rehearing en banc.

What has changed between February's original ruling and today's substitute ruling? Well, for one thing, the passage of time has produced more footnotes. The majority opinion has four more footnotes than before, while the dissenting opinion has grown by six footnotes. Despite this increase in footnotes, the PDF file containing today's decision consists of only 52 pages, while February's original ruling was 53 pages in length.

My earlier coverage of February's ruling can be accessed here. And I linked to press coverage of February's ruling in this post.
Posted at 02:38 PM by Howard Bashman



"Libby Decides To Drop Appeal; Ex-Aide to Cheney Cites Personal Costs": This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The New York Times reports today that "Libby Drops His Appeal in Leak Case."

And The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Libby drops appeal of CIA leak conviction; The former vice presidential aide, who was found guilty of lying and obstruction of justice, already had his sentence commuted by Bush."
Posted at 12:25 PM by Howard Bashman



"Roberts convicted on 5 counts": The San Antonio Express-News today contains an article that begins, "Bexar County jurors late Monday convicted a San Antonio lawyer on felony charges that she helped her husband blackmail four of her former lovers. Mary S. Roberts was found guilty on all five theft counts she faced. The verdict was harsher than the one handed her husband, Ted H. Roberts, who was convicted earlier this year on three counts in the scheme."
Posted at 12:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"Destruction of C.I.A. Tapes Cleared by Lawyers": This article appears today in The New York Times.

Today's edition of The Washington Post contains articles headlined "Waterboarding Recounted: Ex-CIA Officer Says It 'Probably Saved Lives' but Is Torture" and "Lawyers Assert That Pentagon Overstates Ex-Detainee Threat."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Lost tapes may entangle CIA; Questions now arise as to whether the agency's action impeded terrorism investigations and criminal trials."
Posted at 12:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"Panel to Consider Crack Sentence Reductions; Sentencing Panel Will Decide Whether to Make Reduced Crack Sentences Retroactive": ABCNews.com provides this report.
Posted at 12:09 PM by Howard Bashman


"Sharply split Senate votes to end state executions; If Assembly approves repeal, Corzine could sign it by Friday": This article appears today in The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports today that "N.J. closer to ending death penalty; Bill passes state Senate, and faces likely approval; Among those against the measure is the father of Megan Kanka."

And The New York Times reports that "New Jersey Nears Repeal of Death Penalty."
Posted at 12:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"A 17-Year-Old Legal Case and a $5.4 Million Fine Shadow D'Amato's Hometown": According to an article published today in The New York Times, "The case actually occupies a strange legal limbo in the federal civil court system. On one side are federal prosecutors who have doggedly pursued the Village of Island Park on civil rights charges since 1990. On the other is a famously plodding judge, who has spent a decade pondering his options, and a judiciary process that can seem arcane. Letters, motions, conferences, adjournments, requests for extensions, motions for reconsideration of earlier motions, and other delays -- all have consumed months and years at a time, for going on two decades now."
Posted at 11:45 AM by Howard Bashman


"A Tug of War Over a Declaration of Independence": This article appears today in The New York Times.

And yesterday's edition of The Kennebec Journal contained an article headlined "Reclaiming History: State sues to recover copy of Declaration of Independence."
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman



Available online from National Public Radio: Today's broadcast of "Morning Edition" contained audio segments entitled "Sentencing Panel May Cut Crack Cocaine Terms" (featuring Nina Totenberg); "Hayden to Testify on CIA Tapes to Senate Panel"; and "Graham: Senate Panel Had No Word of Tapes."

Yesterday evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained audio segments entitled "Supreme Court Gives Judges Sentencing Leeway" (featuring Nina Totenberg); "Rep. Harman Says She Raised Concerns to CIA"; "A Disregard for Constitution and Ethics" (featuring Daniel Schorr); and "Vick Sentenced to 23 Months in Dogfighting Case."

And yesterday's broadcast of "Talk of the Nation" contained an audio segment entitled "Senate to Investigate Destroyed CIA Tapes."

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 11:32 AM by Howard Bashman



"We speak with George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley about today's Supreme Court decision ruling that judges may impose shorter prison terms for crack cocaine crimes": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on yesterday's broadcast of the public radio program "Here & Now."
Posted at 11:12 AM by Howard Bashman


"SJC ruling adds to doctor liability; Allows suit in crash caused by a patient": The Boston Globe today contains an article that begins, "The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that a doctor can be sued over a car accident caused by his patient, greatly expanding potential liability for the medical profession. A divided court said that the mother of a boy who was hit by a car and died can sue the physician who prescribed numerous medications to the driver, including narcotics that can cause drowsiness."

And The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Massachusetts today contains an article headlined "High court: Doctors can be sued for failing to warn patients of drugs' side effects."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts at this link.
Posted at 09:15 AM by Howard Bashman



"Appeals court dismisses complaint against judge; Panel says that despite The Times' allegations of favoritism in judgments and fees, the jurist's ties didn't affect his impartiality": The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, "The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a complaint against a federal judge who awarded more than $4.8 million in judgments and fees to people with whom he had long-standing political and business ties. U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan of Las Vegas, who was featured in a 2006 Los Angeles Times investigation into the Nevada judiciary, was cleared of allegations that he had personal connections with those involved in cases he heard."

Update: Today's LATimes article refers to an article that The Las Vegas Review-Journal published in October 2007 headlined "Complaint against judge dismissed; Council finds no misconduct occurred."
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"Appeals court throws out parts of anti-terror law as too vague": Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, "A law that makes it a crime to help groups that the U.S. government considers terrorist is unconstitutionally vague and could punish Americans for advising organizations about nonviolent methods, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco invalidates portions of a 1996 federal anti-terrorism law and a set of amendments in 2004. The law prohibits knowingly providing material support or resources to a foreign organization on the State Department's terrorist list."

And The Associated Press reports that "Appeals Court Upholds Patriot Act Ruling."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this link.
Posted at 09:08 AM by Howard Bashman



"War vs. Terrorism Debate in Embassy Bomb Appeal": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "The national debate over Guantanamo and the way the government has pursued its fight against terrorism since the 9/11 attacks was a presence yesterday as a federal appeals court in Manhattan considered the cases of three operatives of Al Qaeda convicted in the last major terrorism trial in the United States before 9/11."

And The Associated Press reports that "NY Judge Ponders War Vs. Terrorism."
Posted at 08:52 AM by Howard Bashman



"Colo. Petition Revives Anti-Abortion Bid": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "A 20-year-old law student has become a cause celebre in the anti-abortion movement for her efforts to have the state Constitution define fertilized eggs as people - a tactic spreading nationwide in bids to neutralize the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion."
Posted at 08:47 AM by Howard Bashman


"Justices Restore Judges' Control Over Sentencing": Linda Greenhouse has this article today in The New York Times. And Adam Liptak has a news analysis headlined "Given the Latitude to Show Leniency, Judges May Not."

Today in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes has a front page article headlined "Justices Reinforce Leeway on Sentences; Cocaine Disparity At Heart of 1 Case." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "Sense in Sentencing: The Supreme Court gives judges some leeway in drug cases."

In The Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage reports that "Justices OK latitude on sentencing; Two decisions object to narrow federal prison guidelines that have led to disparities, especially in cocaine cases." And Henry Weinstein has an article headlined "To some jurists, high court ruling brings vindication; For years, federal judges have been critical of strict sentencing guidelines, saying the rules tied their hands."

In USA Today, Joan Biskupic reports that "Judges have leeway to be lenient; Supreme Court OKs option of setting lighter sentences."

In The Chicago Tribune, James Oliphant reports that "Mandatory prison terms loosened."

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "Justices unfetter judges on sentences; The Supreme Court said sentencing guidelines are advisory, not mandatory; A racial disparity was seen."

The Houston Chronicle reports that "Judges can set shorter jail terms for crack; Ruling may put sentences closer to those for powder cocaine."

The Washington Times reports that "Judges can cut crack terms."

And The Associated Press reports that "Panels Weighs Easing Old Crack Sentences."
Posted at 08:40 AM by Howard Bashman



"Airlines hope to block flier Bill of Rights; Carriers say only federal officials can regulate service": Today's edition of USA Today contains an article that begins, "The U.S. airline industry's main trade group goes to federal court next week to try to block a New York state law that would punish airlines for stranding passengers on jets without adequate food, water or sanitation."
Posted at 08:12 AM by Howard Bashman


"Government's Post-9/11 Actions Questioned": The New York Sun today contains an article that begins, "A federal appellate judge questioned the government's accountability with respect to air quality in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during oral arguments yesterday in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan."

And The Associated Press reports that "Government says it's wrong to blame Whitman for 9/11 air comments."
Posted at 08:05 AM by Howard Bashman



"Church / state wall goes just 1 way: A 60-year-old ruling has helped turn the Establishment Clause on its head." Today in The Orange County Register, Gary M. Galles has an op-ed that begins, "Atheist Michael Newdow is renewing his legal attack against God. This month, he argued before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the words 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance make requiring students to say it unconstitutional."
Posted at 07:53 AM by Howard Bashman


"The Rhode Island Supreme Court Denies a Divorce to a Same-Sex Couple That Was Married in Massachusetts: Why This Case Was Wrongly Decided." Joanna Grossman has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman


Monday, December 10, 2007

"Attorney: CIA has photos showing abuse." Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald provides a news update that begins, "A lawyer for an Ethiopian captive at Guantanamo, who claims he was tortured when his interrogation was outsourced to Morocco, is asking the British government to intervene and help preserve alleged CIA photos that illustrate his treatment."

And The Associated Press reports that "Gitmo Inmate's Lawyer Urges US on Photos."
Posted at 10:08 PM by Howard Bashman



"New law to set Hawaii killer's prison term": The Honolulu Advertiser contains this article today.
Posted at 09:57 PM by Howard Bashman


"Per Curiam Opinions: What's the [counter]point?" This post appears today at the blog "Have Opinion, Will Travel."
Posted at 09:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court Restores Sentencing Powers of Federal Judges": Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times provides this news update.
Posted at 09:04 PM by Howard Bashman


"For Yale, new chapter opens in Jovin case; Administrators hope to 'bring comfort' to family, friends in continuing media frenzy": This article appeared Friday in The Yale Daily News.
Posted at 08:44 PM by Howard Bashman


"Jurors to begin deliberations in trial of Mary Roberts": The San Antonio Express-News provides an update that begins, "Jurors this afternoon began deliberating the fate of Mary Roberts, who is accused of helping her husband extract thousands of dollars from her former paramours. Roberts is charged with five counts of theft by coercion and deception, and if convicted she could get anywhere from two years of probation to as much as 20 years in prison."
Posted at 08:32 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court Enhances Judges' Sentencing Discretion; In a pair of key decisions, high court reaffirms that federal sentencing guidelines are merely advisory": law.com's Tony Mauro provides this report.
Posted at 08:24 PM by Howard Bashman


Warren Richey is reporting: Tuesday in The Christian Science Monitor, he will have articles headlined "Supreme Court gives judges more leeway in crack-cocaine sentencing; In two decisions Monday, the high court offers guidance on US sentencing guidelines" and "Supreme Court reverses conviction in drugs-for-gun case; The primary authority for the justices' decision was the English language -- specifically, the common meaning of the word 'use.'"
Posted at 07:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Passing of the Gavel Ceremony - Video": As I noted in this earlier post, the video file that the Ninth Circuit initially made available of the ceremony at which Alex Kozinski became that court's chief judge ended somewhere in the middle of the ceremony, before the actual passing of the gavel. In fact, the earlier video file ended in the midst of a U.S. District Judge's retelling of a joke involving some Irish guy (I kid you not). Was the joke well-received or did it fall flat, because the joke was being retold to an audience full of other judges instead of an audience full of lawyers who knew better than not to laugh? Now that and other mysteries can be solved, as the Ninth Circuit apparently has recently posted the entire video file, which checks in at a whopping 100MB!!! You can download the video file or launch it using Windows Media Player via this link.

Update: After telling an Irish joke of his own, Chief Judge Kozinski begins his remarks by quoting from a law blog post, demonstrating perhaps that blogs are not necessarily such "hateful things" after all. By the way, now that I've finally heard the rest of it, the federal district judge's Irish joke was quite good, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a lawyer.
Posted at 05:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"NJ Senate approves abolishing death penalty": The Newark Star-Ledger provides this news update.

And The Associated Press reports that "N.J. Senate Moves to Ban Death Penalty."
Posted at 05:07 PM by Howard Bashman



"Libby Files Motion to Dismiss Appeal": The Washington Post provides this news update.

The article reports that, according to Libby's attorney, "a successful appeal would likely only lead to the case being retried, adding to the already enormous time and cost Libby has spent defending himself."

If Libby were retried, and if the retrial resulted in the exact same conviction as the first trial, presumably President Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence resulting from the first trial would not preclude Libby from being resentenced to prison, and from having to serve that sentence absent a new commutation, following a second trial. Because a new president may be in office by that point, Libby may have reasonably concluded that the odds of getting a better result than he has now, plus the costs and risks that it would entail, made abandoning his appeal and accepting the status quo quite an attractive option.
Posted at 04:05 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from National Public Radio: Today's broadcast of "Day to Day" contained audio segments entitled "Supreme Court Allows Shorter Crack Sentences" (featuring Dahlia Lithwick) and "Saudis Offer Detainee Reintegration Program."

And today's broadcast of "Morning Edition" contained audio segments entitled "Senate Panel to Question Hayden on CIA Videotapes"; "Justice, CIA Launch Inquiries into Destroyed Tapes"; and "N.J. Legislature May Revoke Death Penalty."

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 03:54 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court Allows Lighter Crack Sentences; Justices Say Sentencing Guidelines Are Advisory, Not Mandatory": Robert Barnes of The Washington Post provides this news update.

David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times provides a news update headlined "High court gives sentencing judges more power; The justices' decision allows for greater ease in setting lower prison terms under strict federal cocaine laws."

Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers reports that "Supreme Court permits flexible drug sentencing."

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports that "U.S. High Court Gives Judges More Power on Sentences."

Bill Mears of CNN.com has a report headlined "Justices: Judges can slash crack sentences."

And Reuters reports that "Supreme court allows lighter crack cocaine terms."
Posted at 03:25 PM by Howard Bashman



"Conrad Black Gets 6 1/2 Years in Prison": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 03:17 PM by Howard Bashman


"KU law graduate accepts clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court": The University of Kansas School of Law issued a news release last Friday that begins, "A 2005 University of Kansas School of Law graduate has become the fifth KU law alumnus to be accepted for a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship. Travis Lenkner, a Coats native, will clerk for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy during the 2008-09 term."

In August 2004, The Lawrence Journal-World published this profile of Leckner.
Posted at 03:10 PM by Howard Bashman



"Sex scandal rocks A.G.; Affair with former employee in D.A.'s office results in federal complaint": Yesterday's edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal contained an article that begins, "Attorney General Paul Morrison faces a sexual harassment claim tied to an extramarital affair he had with a subordinate in the Johnson County district attorney's office that continued after he became the state's top prosecutor this year."

The Kansas City Star reports today that "Extramarital affair leaves Kansas attorney general's job in doubt."

The Lawrence Journal-World provides a news update headlined "Sebelius: Morrison should resign if charges proven true."

And The Associated Press reports that "Sex Scandal Rocks Kansas AG's Office."
Posted at 01:47 PM by Howard Bashman



"Vick Gets 23 Months for Dogfighting": The AP provides this report.
Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: Now available online are articles headlined "Court Rules in Gun Case"; "Supreme Court Upholds Budget Bill"; and "Libby to Drop Appeal in CIA Leak Case."
Posted at 11:11 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court: Judges May Reduce Crack Sentences." Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 10:14 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court eases cocaine sentencing": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog" reporting on today's two eagerly awaited federal sentencing guidelines decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Lyle's post, the criminal defendant prevailed in each case by a 7-2 vote.

The first decision announced today came in the case of Kimbrough v. United States, No. 06-6330. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript at this link. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the majority opinion, from which Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. dissented.

The second sentencing-related decision announced today came in the case of Gall v. United States, No. 06-7949. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript from that case at this link. Justice John Paul Stevens delivered the majority opinion, from which Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. dissented.

Today's third and final opinion in an argued case issued in Watson v. United States, No. 06-571. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript at this link. Justice David H. Souter delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Lastly, you can access today's Order List at this link.
Posted at 10:04 AM by Howard Bashman



"Bumpy ride in store for court nominee": The Providence Journal today contains an article that begins, "Judge William E. Smith 'has served well' on Rhode Island's federal court, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Friday, but his nomination to the federal appeals court in Boston 'is a different situation,' colored in part by what Reed depicted as President Bush's failure to consult with senators about his choice."

Update: See also the third item in this "Political Scene" column published today in The ProJo. It bears the sub-head "Judgeships no done deal."
Posted at 10:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"Some news from Pa.'s chief justice": Columnist John Baer has this essay today in The Philadelphia Daily News.
Posted at 09:58 AM by Howard Bashman


"Per Curiam Opinions: What's the Point?" You can access today's installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com at this link.
Posted at 08:47 AM by Howard Bashman


"School says it can't solve pledge case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "School officials may let others fight the constitutional questions raised by federal lawsuit over a New Hampshire law requiring time be set aside for the Pledge of Allegiance. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Concord in October by an unidentified Hanover family, a California man and a Wisconsin group who object to the reference to God in the oath."

The "California man" referenced in the article, it should come as little surprise, is Michael A. Newdow.
Posted at 08:44 AM by Howard Bashman



"After Guantanamo, 'Reintegration' for Saudis": The Washington Post contains this front page article today.

And today in The Los Angeles Times, Morris D. Davis has an op-ed entitled "AWOL military justice: Why the former chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions resigned his post" that begins, "I was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until Oct. 4, the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system. I resigned on that day because I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively or responsibly."
Posted at 08:42 AM by Howard Bashman



"Destruction of CIA tapes raises bipartisan concerns; Democrats and Republicans talk about possible obstruction of justice charges; Biden calls for a special prosecutor": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that "CIA Official in Tapes Case Tended Toward Caution; Fellow Officers Say Goal Was Probably To Protect Agents."

And The New York Times reports that "C.I.A. Official in Inquiry Called a 'Hero.'"
Posted at 08:40 AM by Howard Bashman



"Floridians Sue Over Loss Of Backyard Citrus Trees": The Washington Post contains this article today.
Posted at 08:34 AM by Howard Bashman


"New Jersey Keeps Its Execution Chamber 'On Standby'": This article appears today in The New York Times, along with an article headlined "Revisiting Violent Past on Eve of New Jersey Death Penalty Vote."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman


"Conrad Black defiant ahead of sentencing": Today's edition of The Telegraph (UK) contains an article that begins, "Conrad Black continued to insist on his innocence in a final act of defiance ahead of his sentencing for fraud and obstructing justice. The 63-year-old and three co-defendants will be sentenced on Monday by Judge Amy St Eve in the US District Court in Chicago."

The Toronto Globe and Mail today contains an article headlined "Lord Black's day of reckoning: Unrepentant since his conviction, fraudster learns his fate Monday morning."

And The Chicago Tribune yesterday contained an article headlined "For Black, appeals for leniency: As ex-press baron's Monday sentencing hearing approaches, lawyers and legal experts are divided on whether written testimonials from his wealthy and famous friends will lengthen or shorten his prison."
Posted at 08:13 AM by Howard Bashman



"Linking cause to effect, 41 years on; The prosecution's burden: The police officer was shot in 1966; A coroner ruled the death in August homicide." Can a gunshot wound give rise to murder if the victim dies 41 years later? The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains this article addressing that question.
Posted at 08:02 AM by Howard Bashman


"Partial picture of Camp X-Ray: Guantanamo detention center is closed, but questions remain." This article, part two of a two-part series, appears today in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Yesterday's newspaper contained the article that was part one of the series, headlined "Mission: Fairness."
Posted at 08:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"The Issue of 'Me Too' Evidence in Employment Discrimination Cases: The U.S. Supreme Court Considers Sprint v. Mendelsohn." Sherry F. Colb has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman


Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Ressam sentencing revived; Supreme Court to hear terrorist case": This article appeared yesterday in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Posted at 10:37 PM by Howard Bashman


"Canadian Judge Finds U.S. Lacking as a Haven for Refugees": Adam Liptak will have this new installment of his "Sidebar" column Monday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:33 PM by Howard Bashman


"Destroyed CIA tapes spur probes; They could have shown if the harsh interrogation of terror suspects was illegal, analysts say": Warren Richey will have this article Monday in The Christian Science Monitor.

Today in The Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg has an article headlined "Filing: Detainee 'tortured'; In a federal court filing, lawyers for a Baltimore man held at a Guantanamo Bay secret camp claimed the detainee was tortured."

The Washington Post today contains a front page article headlined "Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002; In Meetings, Spy Panels' Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say." The newspaper also reports that "Justice, CIA Begin Videotape Inquiry; Spy Agency Asked to Preserve Evidence Related to Destroyed Interrogation Records."

And The Los Angeles Times reports that "Justice, CIA watchdog launch inquiry; It's a first step to see whether the agency acted criminally in destroying videotapes of terrorism suspects' interrogations."
Posted at 10:28 PM by Howard Bashman



"The Supreme Court's habeas hearing: How the justices reacted to the case for giving Guantanamo inmates more rights." This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 09:58 PM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. attorney firings open doors for the 9; A year ago, a Justice Department scandal forced them into new careers; Despite some bitterness, they've landed on their feet": The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.
Posted at 09:54 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Trials and Tribulations of Hashmel Turner: An unassuming small-town preacher and his unconventional Christian lawyer are trying to win the right to pray to Jesus at city council meetings." This article is the cover story in today's issue of The Washington Post Magazine.
Posted at 09:05 PM by Howard Bashman


"Guantanamo: Legal No-Man's Land?" The Associated Press provides this report. According to the article, "U.S. law protects endangered iguanas on the naval base, but the Supreme Court is struggling to determine whether it also applies to the 305 men imprisoned there."
Posted at 08:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Right to bear arms clearly an individual freedom": Joe Nava has this op-ed today in The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Posted at 12:58 PM by Howard Bashman


"Buffer zone law passes its first test": This article appears today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 12:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"Mukasey on the Spot: How will the new attorney general respond to the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes?" Michael Isikoff, Mark Hosenball, and Michael Hirsh will have this article in the December 17, 2007 issue of Newsweek.
Posted at 09:38 AM by Howard Bashman


In today's edition of The New York Times Magazine: The subject of this week's issue is "The 7th Annual Year in Ideas." Among the ideas discussed are "Mob Jurisprudence"; "Right to Medical Self-Defense, The"; and "Suing God."
Posted at 09:35 AM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court justice apologizes for comments to Pakistani lawyer": The Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail on Friday contained an article that begins, "State Supreme Court Justice Larry Starcher has apologized to a Virginia lawyer for referencing her Pakistani heritage during a hearing in a discrimination case."

You can access at this link the concurring opinion that Justice Larry Starcher of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals filed on Thursday.
Posted at 08:38 AM by Howard Bashman



"Law clerks' most morbid duty eases": The Newark Star-Ledger today contains an article that begins, "Ever since New Jersey restored capital punishment a quarter of a century ago, the state Supreme Court has assigned at least one of its law clerks each year to delve deep into the law of death."
Posted at 08:32 AM by Howard Bashman


"Pinpointed": In the December 10, 2007 issue of The New Republic, Law Professor Jeffrey Rosen has this review of the books "My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir" by Justice Clarence Thomas and "Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas" by Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher.
Posted at 08:20 AM by Howard Bashman


Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Bonds Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges": This article appears today in The New York Times, along with an article headlined "Elite Lawyers Anchor the Defense."

Today's edition of The San Francisco Chronicle contains articles headlined "Bonds: I will be vindicated" and "Barry Bonds first court appearance sets off media frenzy."

The San Jose Mercury News contains articles headlined "Barry Bonds launches legal battle against charges of perjury, obstructing justice" and "Bonds draws few fans to court; 'I've got his back for life,' says one." In addition, columnist Mark Purdy has an essay entitled "Bonds' case shaping up as World Series of perjury trials."

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Bonds trial may be a year away; Judge doesn't restrict the travels of the former Giants slugger, meaning he could play another season; His legal team has been expanded."

And The Washington Post reports that "Bonds Takes Center Stage, Pleads Not Guilty."
Posted at 11:55 PM by Howard Bashman



"High Court to Rule On Wal-Mart Transfer Of Disabled Worker": Dow Jones Newswires provide a report that begins, "In a case involving Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the Supreme Court Friday said it will determine if a disabled employee, under federal disabilities law, gets preference over others for a vacant position even if they aren't the best qualified for the job."
Posted at 11:33 PM by Howard Bashman


"Lawyer sues again over Web site he says defamed him": On Tuesday, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article that begins, "Pittsburgh attorney Todd Hollis has revived his lawsuit against a Web site that accused him of infidelity and infecting women with herpes. Mr. Hollis said the site -- DontDateHimGirl.com -- defamed him by publishing false and malicious statements. Acting as his own lawyer, Mr. Hollis filed suit last week in U.S. District Court in Miami against the Florida-based Web site and its owner, Tasha Cunningham. A judge in Allegheny County dismissed Mr. Hollis' initial lawsuit last year, saying a Pittsburgh court had no jurisdiction over a Miami company. Mr. Hollis, 39, said he reluctantly sued again in Miami because Ms. Cunningham refused to remove the numerous lies that her Web site has published about him."

I have made available online via this link a copy of the pro se complaint initiating suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Posted at 08:20 PM by Howard Bashman



"L.A. County's religion-free seal: Squabbles over a cross once found on the emblem have done little but divert attention from more pressing issues." The Los Angeles Times contains this editorial today.
Posted at 07:05 PM by Howard Bashman


"Inquiry Begins Into Tapes' Destruction": This article will appear Sunday in The New York Times, along with an article headlined "Detainee Says He Was Tortured in C.I.A. Prison."

Today's edition of The New York Times contains articles headlined "C.I.A. Was Urged to Keep Interrogation Videotapes" and "Congress Looks Into Obstruction as Calls for Justice Inquiry Rise."

The Washington Post today contains a front page article headlined "Inquiry Sought On CIA Tapes; Destruction Is Said To Be News to Bush." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "The Torture Tapes: The CIA may have destroyed evidence of crimes."

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Democrats demand probe into destruction of tapes; Congress members want the Justice Department to investigate whether the CIA acted illegally in destroying the video of terrorism suspects' interrogations."

And McClatchy Newspapers report that "Democrats seek investigation of destroyed CIA videotapes."
Posted at 07:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Guantanamo detainees face uncertain future; As the number of prisoners dwindles, many are left in diplomatic limbo": Carol J. Williams will have this article Sunday in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 06:48 PM by Howard Bashman


"Cases of 2 U.S. Citizens in Iraq to Be Heard; Supreme Court Extends Review of Role Federal Judges Play in Terrorism Fight": Robert Barnes has this article today in The Washington Post.

And today in The Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage reports that "Americans held in Iraq reach Supreme Court; The justices will decide whether citizens detained by the American military can seek U.S. courts' protection."
Posted at 06:42 PM by Howard Bashman



"In Denver, Former City Official's Death Prompts Promise of a Lawsuit": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "As its city attorney, Larry Manzanares was one of Denver's most prominent public officials, a rising star in Colorado's legal community, when he resigned abruptly in February amid well-publicized accusations that he had stolen a state-owned laptop computer. The authorities later announced that pornographic files had been downloaded on and erased from the computer while it was in Mr. Manzanares's possession."

The Denver Post reports today that "Manzanares' widow files intent to sue notice."

And The Rocky Mountain News reports that "Manzanares' widow to sue DA in Jeffco; She says actions of prosecutor led to suicide."
Posted at 06:33 PM by Howard Bashman



"Policeman's widow seeks execution of Abu Jamal": Reuters provides this report. According to the article, "Abu Jamal's lawyers are seeking a new trial on grounds his first was tainted by racism. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia could rule on the request at any time."
Posted at 06:22 PM by Howard Bashman


"New trial in 'stand your ground' test case; A man convicted of manslaughter will get another chance to argue he acted in self-defense": The St. Petersburg Times contains this article today.

You can access yesterday's ruling of Florida's Second District Court of Appeal at this link.
Posted at 09:25 AM by Howard Bashman



"R.I. high court rules against divorce in same-sex marriages": This article appears today in The Providence Journal.

The Boston Globe reports today that "R.I. court won't let gay couple divorce; Ruling cites 1961 law, deals setback to pair married in Mass."

And The New York Times reports that "Court Rules Against Same-Sex Divorce."

You can access yesterday's 3-2 ruling of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island at this link.
Posted at 09:20 AM by Howard Bashman



"Roberts says she believed petitions legal": The San Antonio Express-News today contains an article that begins, "A lawyer on trial for helping her husband, also an attorney, unlawfully extract thousands of dollars from her former lovers testified Friday that she does not believe the unorthodox means used to get the money is illegal."
Posted at 09:17 AM by Howard Bashman


"America's Best-Known Atheist Riffs On Golden Compass": Michael Newdow has this essay online at Wired.
Posted at 08:20 AM by Howard Bashman


In the current issue of The Harvard Law Record: The publication contains articles headlined "Professor Suk Explains How to Clerk for the Supreme Court" and "Supreme Court Forum Highlights Seattle Schools."
Posted at 08:17 AM by Howard Bashman


Friday, December 07, 2007

Available online from law.com: An article reports that "CIA's Acting GC Apt to Get Tangled in Agency's Destruction of Interrogation Tapes."

And the new installment of my "On Appeal" column is headlined "Per Curiam Opinions: What's the Point?"
Posted at 11:11 PM by Howard Bashman



"Americans Held in Iraq Draw Justices' Attention": In Saturday's edition of The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse will have an article that begins, "The Supreme Court, expanding its inquiry into the role of federal courts at a time of armed conflict, today accepted two cases testing whether federal judges have authority to prevent military officials in Iraq from turning United States citizens over to the Iraqis for criminal prosecution or punishment."
Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"CIA Tapes Re-ignite Debate on Interrogation Tactics": This segment (transcript with link to audio) appeared on this evening's broadcast of the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Posted at 10:02 PM by Howard Bashman


"Detention Retention: Think the Guantanamo detainees are all innocent? Think again." Benjamin Wittes has this essay online at The New Republic.
Posted at 09:15 PM by Howard Bashman


"Is Breyer floating a Guantanamo solution? Supreme Court justice muses about 'preventive detention.'" Tom Curry, national affairs writer for MSNBC, provides this written report.
Posted at 09:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Bush Does Not Recall Learning of Destroyed Tapes; Senate's Second-Ranking Democrat Calls for Justice Dept. Probe": The Washington Post provides this news update.

The New York Times provides a news update headlined "Democrats Call for Inquiry in Destruction of Tapes by C.I.A."

Time magazine's web site contains articles headlined "CIA Tapes Furor: A Legacy of Mistrust" and "The Destroyed Tapes: A Boon for Conspiracy Theorists."

This evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered" contained audio segments entitled "Congress Calls for Hearings About CIA Tapes"; "Fallout Grows from Destroyed CIA Tapes"; and "A View from Inside the CIA" (RealPlayer required).

And at the blog "Balkinization," Marty Lederman has posts titled "Why'd They Do What They Did?"; "The Questions that Beg to Be Answered"; and "Where's Rose Mary Woods When You Need Her?"
Posted at 08:57 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court Continues Case Review of Americans Held in Iraq": Robert Barnes of The Washington Post provides this news update.

And David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times provides a news update headlined "High court to weigh access to U.S. courts for citizens detained abroad; The justices will take up the cases of two dual citizens held in Iraq; They will also consider restoring the prison sentence of the 'millennium bomber.'"
Posted at 08:45 PM by Howard Bashman



"Kennedy's Turn Signals": At her "Legalities" blog, ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg has a post that begins, "Throughout [Wednesday's] argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases, all eyes were focused, of course, on Justice Kennedy. With the Court presumably divided 4-4 along ideological lines, Kennedy once again is at the wheel, deciding where he's going to take the car."
Posted at 08:37 PM by Howard Bashman


"Suspect Detained in Paris Office Bombing": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Police detained a suspect in an overnight raid in connection with the deadly explosion of a parcel bomb at a Paris law firm, and they have ruled out terrorism, officials said Friday."

And in earlier coverage, today's edition of The New York Times reports that "Package Bomb Kills 1 in Paris."
Posted at 05:50 PM by Howard Bashman



Law Professor Eugene Volokh is now off the case: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued this order today in a case I previously reported on here. This should allow Eugene to spend more time blogging.
Posted at 05:05 PM by Howard Bashman


"Justices to Weigh Court Access for Americans in Iraq": Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News provides this report.
Posted at 04:58 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court to Rule on Acting As Own Lawyer": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 04:55 PM by Howard Bashman


"R.I. Supreme Court says no to same-sex divorce": The Providence Journal provides this news update.

And The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Court: Gay couple married in Massachusetts can't divorce in R.I."

You can access today's 3-2 ruling of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island at this link.
Posted at 04:47 PM by Howard Bashman



"Rush to judgment on Limbaugh": In this post at "The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times," Tony Mauro confirms via an interview with Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh that he would resign from the federal judiciary if his son were confirmed to that same court.

The father's federal judicial center biography reveals that he holds one of those unusual appointments where he serves as a U.S. District Judge on both the Eastern District of Missouri and the Western District of Missouri. If only there were some way to retire as a Judge only from the Eastern District, then the father could stay on in the Western District.
Posted at 03:40 PM by Howard Bashman



"Alleged 'shakedown' defended as valid tactic": Today's edition of The San Antonio Express-News contains an article that begins, "Four married men who paid thousands of dollars to keep a lid on their sexual romps with lawyer Mary S. Roberts saw her husband's creative response to her infidelity as a 'shakedown.' But an accomplished fellow attorney Thursday characterized Ted H. Roberts' demands for money as a standard part of civil litigation."

Yesterday's newspaper, meanwhile, contained an article headlined "Men testify how they were duped by Roberts, husband."
Posted at 02:50 PM by Howard Bashman



Anti-nepotism, and why a judge on a state's highest court might resign to accept a federal district court judgeship: A reader who follows these matters closely emails:
The current administration has followed a policy of not making judicial appointments in violation of the anti-nepotism statute. (Thus it has chosen to leave aside any potential constitutional objections to the statute.) The statute addresses appointments, however, and not nominations.

I can't say what we should expect to see with respect to Judge Limbaugh's father should he be confirmed, but I might look to the recent example of the retirement (not senior status) of the esteemed Judge William Osteen, Sr., upon the confirmation of his son to his seat on the Middle District of North Carolina. After the Fletcher kerfuffle on CA9, by the way, Congress amended the statute to take away the option of the relative's taking senior status.

And as for why a judge on Missouri's Supreme Court would accept a nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, a different reader emails:
(1) Even with their July 2007 pay raise (the first in some time), Missouri Supreme Court judges are paid substantially less than US district court judges ($133,043 v. $165,200).

(2) Judge Limbaugh has always commuted from his home in Cape Girardeau; the district court judgeship will allow him to sit at least part of the time in his home town - in a courthouse that bears the name of his grandfather, Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr.

Judge Limbaugh, if confirmed, would not be the first Missouri Supreme Court judge to move to the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri; Judge George F. Gunn, Jr. did so in 1985.

And if Judge Limbaugh fails to attain confirmation to the federal district court post, he'll then share that unfortunate distinction with now-former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie L. White (access the U.S. Senate's roll call vote at this link).
Posted at 02:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Bonds pleads not guilty": The San Francisco Chronicle provides this news update.

And The New York Times provides a news update headlined "Bonds Makes Court Appearance."
Posted at 02:27 PM by Howard Bashman



"Texas marks 25 years of executions, controversy": This article appears today in The San Antonio Express-News.
Posted at 02:24 PM by Howard Bashman


"High Court to Hear Airport Terror Case": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider reinstating part of the conviction of would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam, a case the government says will greatly affect terrorism prosecutions."
Posted at 02:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court grants six new cases": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog."

And Pete Yost of The Associated Press reports that "Court to Hear U.S. Citizens Held in Iraq."

You can access today's Order List at this link.

Among the other cases granted review, that of the so-called Millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam. This blog's earlier coverage of the Ninth Circuit's ruling in that case can be accessed here and here. And I covered that court's denial of rehearing en banc over the dissent of six judges in this post.
Posted at 01:48 PM by Howard Bashman



"Bonds Pleads Not Guilty": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 12:22 PM by Howard Bashman


Another reader chimes in on anti-nepotism in the federal judiciary: A reader emails, in response to this post from earlier this morning:
Blatant contravention of 28 U.S.C. 458 notwithstanding, perhaps one of your readers could explain how Sec. 458 is enforceable if the government chooses to ignore it? It seems to me that the Supreme Court's jurisprudence on standing and causes of action make Sec. 458 a good idea which is nonetheless a dead letter.
Along those same lines, I seem to recall that there is also a persuasive separation of powers argument that could be raised against the statute's enforcement. No doubt the U.S. Senate has the power not to confirm someone whose nomination would run afoul of the statute in question. It is thus interesting to ponder whether a recess appointment in violation of the anti-nepotism provision found in 28 U.S.C. sec. 458 would be valid?
Posted at 11:30 AM by Howard Bashman


"CIA Concedes It Destroyed Al Qaida Tapes": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition."
Posted at 10:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Slate's Supreme Court watchers Dahlia Lithwick and Emily Bazelon discuss one of this term's biggest cases: the request by six Guantanamo detainees to have their day in court." Dahlia and Emily go on camera to talk about law, and you can watch by clicking here.
Posted at 10:45 AM by Howard Bashman


Anti-nepotism and yesterday's nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri: A law professor emails:
Dear Howard: Perhaps I'm missing something, but wouldn't the appointment of the younger Limbaugh to the same U.S. District Court as his father violate the so-called anti-nepotism statute for such appointments, found in 28 U.S.C. sec. 458 (as amended in 1998)? Further discussion of this statute is found in the article, "Nepotism in the Federal Judiciary," 71 University of Cincinnati Law Review 563 (2002).
My earlier coverage of yesterday's federal judicial nominations appears here and here.
Posted at 10:42 AM by Howard Bashman


Even worse, in federal court the sale of beer ceases at the end of the 6th inning: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued "Procedures and Rules for Admission to the Initial Proceedings in USA v. Bonds" that apply to today's criminal arraignment of Major League Baseball home run king Barry Bonds.
Posted at 10:28 AM by Howard Bashman


Journalist interested in accessing under the Freedom of Information Act CIA records potentially relevant to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy obtains some relief on appeal to the D.C. Circuit: You can access today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit at this link.
Posted at 10:22 AM by Howard Bashman


D.C. Circuit holds that it cannot review agency "inaction" of the Federal Communications Commission, even when that inaction has the effect of granting a telephone company's forbearance petition: You can access today's ruling at this link. According to the opinion, "We also recognize that because a deadlocked vote is unreviewable, we lack jurisdiction in what may be the hardest cases -- cases in which the forbearance petition raises such difficult issues that it produces an equally divided vote among the Commissioners. Be that as it may, the statute is clear. Section 160(c) directs that a petition is deemed granted if the Commission 'does not deny' it."
Posted at 10:17 AM by Howard Bashman


"War crimes case laid out against bin Laden driver; A U.S. Army officer testified that Osama bin Laden's driver was captured alone in a car that had surface-to-air missiles in its hatch": Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.

Today in The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams reports that "Hamdan is called more than driver; He helped Bin Laden and had two missiles, according to testimony; A U.S. military judge is to rule on his status."

And The New York Times reports today that "Detainee's Loyalty to bin Laden Is at Issue in Hearing."
Posted at 08:38 AM by Howard Bashman



"Bush selects Smith for U.S. appeals court": The Providence (R.I.) Journal today contains an article that begins, "President Bush yesterday nominated U.S. District Judge William E. Smith, of East Greenwich, to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to succeed Judge Bruce M. Selya, who left full-time bench duty in December 2006 when he assumed senior status."

And The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports today that "Bush nominates Limbaugh Jr. for court."

My earlier coverage of yesterday's federal judicial nominations appears at this link.
Posted at 08:30 AM by Howard Bashman



"Biologist fired for beliefs, suit says; Woods Hole states creationist stance at odds with work": This article appears today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 08:25 AM by Howard Bashman


"CIA says interrogation tapes were destroyed; Critics complain that the destroyed videos most likely contained evidence of employing methods of torture": The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.

And USA Today reports today that "CIA destroyed interrogation videos; Director says 2002 records posed risk to identities of questioners."
Posted at 08:23 AM by Howard Bashman



"With Bonds Set to Appear Today, Former Prosecutor Expects a Trial": This article appears today in The New York Times.

And The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Bonds' at-bat in court begins; The spotlight also turns to a potential witness in the perjury trial."
Posted at 08:15 AM by Howard Bashman



"$3.1M in Fees Awarded in Holocaust Case": Today in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein has an article that begins, "An unusually bitter dispute over legal fees finally came to a close yesterday, when a law professor was awarded $3.1 million for his role in a lawsuit brought by Holocaust survivors against several Swiss banks."

And the New York Law Journal reports today that "Court Approves $3.1 Million Fee for Attorney in Holocaust Case."
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman



"Lawmakers Back Limits on Interrogation Tactics": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "In a sharp rebuke to White House counterterrorism policy, a Congressional conference committee has voted to outlaw the harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency against suspected high-level terrorists."
Posted at 07:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Magna Carta for Sale - To Highest Bidder": This article appears today in The New York Sun.
Posted at 06:45 AM by Howard Bashman


Thursday, December 06, 2007

"C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations": Friday's edition of The New York Times will contain this article. The newspaper has also posted online this related letter filed in the Zacarias Moussaoui case.

And The Washington Post on Friday will contain a front page article headlined "CIA Destroyed Videos Showing Interrogations; Harsh Techniques Seen in 2002 Tapes."

News of the existence of these recordings began to emerge in mid-November 2007, as reflected in the articles I collected in this earlier post.
Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman



"The Irony of Judicial Elections": This interesting article (SSRN abstract with link for download) by David E. Pozen will appear in the March 2008 issue of the Columbia Law Review (via "Legal Theory Blog").

And in a somewhat related development, the organization Justice at Stake has just launched a new blog called "Gavel Grab."
Posted at 10:44 PM by Howard Bashman



"Army officer recounts chauffeur's capture": Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald provides a news update that begins, "U.S.-allied Afghan forces captured Osama bin Laden's driver at a roadblock -- alone in a sedan allegedly with two surface-to-air missiles -- in the early days of the battle for Kandahar, an Army officer testified Thursday in the Pentagon's effort to try the man as a war criminal."
Posted at 10:34 PM by Howard Bashman


The White House has nominated William E. Smith of Rhode Island to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: You can access today's announcement at this link. He currently serves as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Rhode Island. The Providence (R.I.) Journal has this blog post noting that Judge Smith was born in Idaho, but it is doubtful that Smith's confirmation will be delayed over concern about whether someone from Idaho should fill this particular First Circuit seat.

If confirmed to the First Circuit, Judge Smith will join these other currently serving Judge Smiths at the federal appellate court level: Third Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith; Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry E. Smith; Eighth Circuit Judge Lavenski R. Smith; Ninth Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr.; and Ninth Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith, all of whom were appointed to their current courts by Republican Presidents.

Today's White House announcement also includes the nomination of Missouri Supreme Court Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. I understand why the justices on a state's highest court would agree to serve as federal appellate judges, but I remain mystified when a judge or justice on a state's highest court decides to leave that post for a federal trial court judgeship. In news coverage, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides an update headlined "Bush picks Limbaugh to federal court."
Posted at 10:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"'John Doe' warrants case before Supreme Court": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The Kansas Supreme Court is considering whether it is legal to charge a defendant’s DNA with a crime."

In other coverage, The Wichita Eagle reports today that "Justices question 'John Doe' rape warrant."

And Harris News Service reports that "Justices take up 'John Doe' rape cases."
Posted at 08:50 PM by Howard Bashman



"[W]e conclude that 'innocent possession' is not a defense to being a felon in possession of ammunition": So holds the majority on a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in a ruling issued today. The majority rejected the defendant's argument that "if a defendant obtains ammunition innocently, with no illicit purpose, and takes adequate measures to rid himself of it as promptly as reasonably possible, he cannot be convicted."
Posted at 08:40 PM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: Pete Yost reports that "Detainee Fears Being Shipped to Algeria."

And in other news, "FBI: Gitmo Detainee Was With Bin Laden" and "Bonds to Make First Court Appearance."
Posted at 06:10 PM by Howard Bashman



"C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations": The New York Times provides a news update that begins, "The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency's custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A's secret detention program, according to current and former government officials."

And The Associated Press reports that "CIA videos interrogations in '02, destroys tapes in '05."
Posted at 06:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Appeals Court ruling favors Phelps-Roper": The Topeka Capital-Journal provides a news update that begins, "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in Missouri has ruled that Shirley Phelps-Roper is entitled to a preliminary injunction while the constitutionality of statutes restricting where members of Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church can picket is reviewed."

And James Oliphant, at "The Swamp" blog of The Chicago Tribune, has a post titled "Court allows group to picket soldiers' funerals."

My earlier coverage of today's Eighth Circuit ruling appears at this link.

Finally, in related news, The Associated Press provides an article headlined "Supreme Court hears arguments on funeral picketing law" that begins, "The Kansas Supreme Court was asked Thursday to strike down a section of the state's funeral picketing law that prevents it from being enforced." You can view the text of the Kansas law in question by clicking here. Today's Eighth Circuit ruling involved a pair of Missouri laws.
Posted at 04:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Senate Panel Approves Bill To Televise SCOTUS (Again)": At his blog "Washington Briefs," Lawrence Hurley of The Daily Journal of California has this post today.

As noted in the April 17, 2006 installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com, I'd be quite content to have same-day oral argument audio in all argued cases.
Posted at 02:55 PM by Howard Bashman



An untidy federal district court docket is the price that must be paid for the district court's and the federal prosecutor's having essentially ignored the Seventh Circuit's earlier mandate deciding the merits of this appeal: Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook, on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, issued this interesting decision today denying the federal prosecutor's motion to recall the Seventh Circuit's mandate in the case.
Posted at 02:44 PM by Howard Bashman


Dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc, five Ninth Circuit judges announce that they would hold section 104 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers: Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt's dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc, in which four of his Ninth Circuit colleagues have joined, begins:
I would hold that section 104 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") (codified in relevant part at 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)), violates the separation of powers doctrine and is unconstitutional. Section 2254(d)(1) constitutes a severe congressional incursion on the federal "judicial power," which Article III of the Constitution vests wholly and exclusively in the federal courts. It does so in two principal ways: first, by prohibiting the federal courts from applying the ordinary principles of stare decisis in deciding habeas cases involving prisoners held in state custody, thereby interfering with the federal courts' normal adjudicatory process; and second, by requiring federal courts to give effect to incorrect state rulings that, in the federal courts' independent judgment, violate the Constitution. Such a congressional breach of the federal judiciary's integrity and independence, of its duty to maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and, indeed, of the constitutional structure itself, should not go unchecked by this court.
You can access the complete dissent from today's denial of rehearing en banc in Crater v. Galaza at this link.
Posted at 01:32 PM by Howard Bashman


Cows fight the power in Wisconsin -- and win: The Associated Press provides a report headlined "Supreme Court upholds nearly $533,000 award in stray voltage case" that begins, "The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a nearly $533,000 award to Marathon County dairy farmers who claimed a power company's stray voltage hurt their cows' milk production."

You can access today's 4-3 ruling of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin at this link. A related decision the court also issued today can be accessed here.
Posted at 12:40 PM by Howard Bashman



The Associated Press is reporting: Mark Sherman has an article headlined "Analysis: Detentions Likely to Continue."

And an article reports that "Gitmo Court Hears US Soldier's Testimony."
Posted at 12:08 PM by Howard Bashman



Eighth Circuit recognizes First Amendment right of members of Westboro Baptist Church to picket funerals of soldiers and orders preliminary injunction against enforcement of Missouri laws intended to criminalize such picketing: You can access today's ruling of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit at this link.

The opinion explains that the plaintiff "alleges members of her church believe God is punishing America for what WBC considers the sin of homosexuality by killing Americans, including soldiers. As part of her religious duties, she believes she must protest and picket at certain funerals, including the funerals of United States soldiers, to publish the church's religious message: that God's promise of love and heaven for those who obey him in this life is counterbalanced by God's wrath and hell for those who do not."
Posted at 11:53 AM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court Hears Guantanamo Arguments": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Nina Totenberg appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition."
Posted at 09:30 AM by Howard Bashman


"High court hears Gitmo detainee rights case; The justices appear split, with Kennedy in the middle; Regardless of the ruling, which may be months away, the prisoners' fate may rest with the next president": David G. Savage has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

Today in The Boston Globe, Charlie Savage has an article headlined "Showdown on detainees' rights; Guantanamo inmates press Supreme Court."

Joan Biskupic of USA Today has an article headlined "No quick resolution to Guantanamo detainee cases; High court weighs foreign prisoners' rights, fair hearings."

James Oliphant of The Chicago Tribune reports that "Court hears arguments on Gitmo; Habeas corpus for detainees at issue."

And in The Wall Street Journal, David B. Rivkin Jr. AND Lee A. Casey have an op-ed entitled "Gitmo Goes to Court: The judiciary has no business managing how we fight wars abroad."
Posted at 09:22 AM by Howard Bashman



"Poor medical care at Nevada prison cited; Inmates at the Ely facility have been denied help for heart problems, diabetes and other serious medical conditions, records show": Ashley Powers and Henry Weinstein have this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

According to the article, "Attorneys for some Ely inmates say they believe the lack of medical care has played a role in a high percentage of death row inmates giving up their appeals and 'volunteering' to be executed. All but two of 12 inmates executed in the state in the last 30 years have been volunteers. No other state in the country has had close to that percentage of volunteers, records show."
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"Speak out, judges": James W. Dolan has this op-ed today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 09:02 AM by Howard Bashman


"Time for Cameras: Those who are interested shouldn't have to line up overnight to watch Supreme Court debates." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 09:00 AM by Howard Bashman


"Defense Challenges Status of Guantanamo Detainee": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "Challenging one of the central pillars of the Bush administration's detention policies, lawyers for a detainee who is charged as Osama bin Laden's driver argued here Wednesday that he should be treated as a prisoner of war and should not be tried by military commission. The military judge at a pretrial hearing of the former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, did not rule on the request but opened the way for the defense to present evidence on the issue at a hearing that is to begin Thursday."

Today in The Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg reports that "Detainee wins one, loses one; As Osama bin Laden's driver tries to fend off war-crimes charges, a judge said he would consider his POW claim, but not testimony from the reputed 9/11 mastermind." Yesterday, Rosenberg previewed the matter in an article headlined "New push to prosecute bin Laden's driver."

And today in The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams reports that "Bid Laden driver to argue he's POW; The Guantanamo detainee's lawyers allowed to contend that he is out of the reach of a military tribunal."
Posted at 08:45 AM by Howard Bashman



"Boy Scouts Lose Philadelphia Lease in Gay-Rights Fight": This article appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:34 AM by Howard Bashman


"Bonds's Team Has Trouble Deciding Who's on First": Today in The Wall Street Journal, Justin Scheck has an article that begins, "Over two days last week, baseball star Barry Bonds tried to persuade top San Francisco defense lawyer John Keker to represent him in a federal perjury case. But the talks started faltering when the multimillionaire slugger asked Mr. Keker to handle his case at a steep discount, say several people briefed on the conversations."
Posted at 08:05 AM by Howard Bashman


"The Current Supreme Court Term, and the Pivotal Role of 'Swing' Justice Anthony Kennedy": Edward Lazarus has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:54 AM by Howard Bashman


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Justices Ready to Answer Detainee Rights Question": Linda Greenhouse will have this article Thursday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:58 PM by Howard Bashman


"Justices Appear Divided on Detainees' Rights; Guantanamo Prisoners Get New Supreme Court Hearing; Independent Review at Issue": Robert Barnes will have this article Thursday in The Washington Post.
Posted at 10:55 PM by Howard Bashman


Available online at law.com: Tony Mauro reports that "High Court Justices Clash on Detainee Rights."

And in other news, "11th Circuit Judge Hammers Coke Plaintiffs but Offers Sympathy, Too; In securities fraud arguments, Judge Carnes says he doesn't like the law, but that's the way it is."
Posted at 10:35 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Case Testing Rights of Detainees": This segment (transcript with link to audio) featuring Marcia Coyle, Neal Katyal, and Lee Casey appeared on this evening's broadcast of the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Posted at 09:05 PM by Howard Bashman


"It Was the Best of Habeas, It Was the Worst of Habeas: The Supreme Court gets a reality check in the Guantanamo cases." Dahlia Lithwick has this Supreme Court dispatch online at Slate.
Posted at 08:40 PM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: An article reports that "Inmate Loses Bid to Hang Aniston Photo." My earlier coverage of today's Seventh Circuit ruling appears at this link.

And in other news, "Judge Denies Access to Gitmo Detainees."
Posted at 07:42 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from National Public Radio: This evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained an audio segment entitled "Detainee Lawyers Fight for U.S. Law at Guantanamo" featuring Nina Totenberg.

And today's broadcast of "Talk of the Nation" contained an audio segment entitled "Supreme Court Takes Up Guantanamo Case" featuring David G. Savage.

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 07:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"Skeptical Supreme Court ponders major Guantanamo case": Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers provides this report, along with an article headlined "What's next for Guantanamo prisoners?"
Posted at 06:54 PM by Howard Bashman


"Justices, Attorneys Spar Over Guantanamo Case; Detainees' Rights Debated Before Supreme Court as Part of Ongoing Legal Battle": Jan Crawford Greenburg and Ariane de Vogue have this written report at ABCNews.com. You can also access Jan's video preview of today's oral argument, filmed at Guantanamo, by clicking here.
Posted at 06:44 PM by Howard Bashman


"Guantanamo rights cases split justices": Patti Waldmeir of Financial Times provides this news update.
Posted at 04:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Lafave saga takes new turn; The teacher-turned-felon is accused of violating probation in talks with a teen co-worker": This article appears today in The St. Petersburg Times.

And The Tampa Tribune reports today that "Chats With Teen Co-Worker Led To Lafave's Arrest."
Posted at 04:23 PM by Howard Bashman



"Part 2 of legal lovers' trial begins": Today's edition of The San Antonio Express-News contains an article that begins, "Lawyer Mary S. Roberts was an ignored, emotionally abused spouse whose marriage was on the rocks when she reached into cyberspace for love and lust with other men. Or, she was a conniving woman who cheated on her husband, also an attorney, then helped him shake down her lovers for thousands of dollars."
Posted at 04:13 PM by Howard Bashman


On today's broadcast of NPR's "Day to Day": The broadcast contained audio segments entitled "Supreme Court Hears Detainee-Rights Case" (featuring Dahlia Lithwick) and "Looking Back at Japanese Internment Camps."

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 03:40 PM by Howard Bashman



"They're both from Trenton": At "The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times," Tony Mauro has a post that begins, "Deputy Solicitor General Gregory Garre is the latest advocate to get Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito Jr. mixed up during oral argument."
Posted at 03:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court hears detainee rights case...again": James Oliphant has this post at "The Swamp" blog of The Chicago Tribune.
Posted at 03:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme court hears case over rights of Guantanamo detainees": The Guardian (UK) provides this news update.
Posted at 02:52 PM by Howard Bashman


"Justices grill attorneys in Gitmo case hearings": Joan Biskupic of USA Today provides this news update.
Posted at 02:50 PM by Howard Bashman


Access online the transcript of today's U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Boumediene v. Bush, No. 06-1195: The Court has posted the transcript at this link.
Posted at 02:45 PM by Howard Bashman


You can now access online the audio files of yesterday's two church-state oral arguments that Michael A. Newdow presented before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: I previewed these oral arguments and identified the three judges on the panel in this detailed post from Saturday.

You can download the oral argument audio in the "In God We Trust" case via this link (7.76MB audio file).

And you can download the oral argument audio in the Pledge of Allegiance case via this link (8.60MB audio file).

Windows Media Player is required to launch these audio files.
Posted at 02:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"Passing of the Gavel Ceremony - Video": The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has today posted online this video clip (Windows Media Player required) of last Friday's ceremony. Unfortunately, at least as of this moment, the video clip concludes before the gavel is passed, ending instead smack in the midst of a U.S. District Judge's remarks.
Posted at 02:20 PM by Howard Bashman


Jennifer Aniston in state prison in Wisconsin? No, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit holds today. At issue in today's decision, written by Circuit Judge Terence T. Evans, is the constitutionality of a Wisconsin Department of Corrections policy that prevents inmates from possessing individual, commercially published photographs.
Posted at 02:14 PM by Howard Bashman


"Fluke? Captive granted asylum interview." Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald provides a news update from Guantanamo that begins, "In a first, a captive held here in the war on terrorism has sufficiently filled out an asylum application to get an appointment with the Department of Homeland Security. There's only one problem: Algerian-born Ahmed Belbacha, 39, will be hard-pressed to make it to Washington for his interview because of his status as a detainee inside Camp Delta."
Posted at 02:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Boumediene v. Bush & Al Odah v. United States." Access the audio of today's U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases on demand from C-SPAN, by clicking here (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 01:53 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court Appears Split on Rights of Guantanamo Detainees": Robert Barnes of The Washington Post provides this news update.
Posted at 01:51 PM by Howard Bashman


"Can constitutional issues be finessed?" Lyle Denniston has this oral argument report at "SCOTUSblog."
Posted at 01:50 PM by Howard Bashman


As the reward for announcing the first signed opinion of the new Term, we shall represent the first letter of your last name as "J" instead of "G": Because it took the U.S. Supreme Court seemingly forever yesterday to post its opinions to that Court's own web site, few may have noticed that this page on the Court's web site attributes the decision in Logan v. United States, No. 06-6911, to a Justice whose last name begins with a J.

I am reliably assured, however, that neither Justice Robert H. Jackson, nor Justice Howell Edmunds Jackson, nor Justice William Johnson, Jr., nor Justice Thomas Johnson, nor Chief Justice John Jay delivered the opinion. No, as the opinion itself reveals, the author of the decision was Justice Ruth Bader Jinsburg (sic).

Update: As was bound to happen, the Court has corrected this error. You can view the original uncorrected page by clicking here.
Posted at 01:37 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court weighs Guantanamo hearings": David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times provides this news update.

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports that "Guantanamo Inmate Rights Divide U.S. Supreme Court Justices."

Reuters reports that "High court probes Guantanamo prisoners' rights."

And some thoughts from Joan Biskupic appear in this USA Today blog post.
Posted at 01:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Thoughts on the Oral Argument in Boumediene v. Bush": Orin Kerr has this post at "The Volokh Conspiracy."

At "SCOTUSblog," Marty Lederman has a post titled "Quick Reactions to Boumediene Oral Argument."

And "How Appealing" reader Alan R. Kabat emails:

Arrived at the Supreme Court at around 6:40 am, there were already at least 15 people ahead of me. This time, somebody had started a sign-up sheet which was invaluable in preventing line-skippers once we were inside the building – at 7:35. There were probably over 100 attorneys behind me in the bar members list. I couldn’t tell how many people had camped out overnight for the public line, but given the snow storm, probably most of the public waited until early morning to come. At 9:05 we were inside the SCT chambers.

Since there was only 1 argument today, there was only 1 row of counsel tables, which freed up additional space for another 20 or so chairs for the members of the bar. I don’t know if this scheduling was deliberate, but it did help provide more access to the court room.

Although I did not recognize anyone sitting the row that is ordinarily reserved for Members of Congress, I did see, to my surprise, Senior District Judge Joyce Hens Green in the row behind the congressional row. She, along with District Judge Richard Leon, had handled the two Guantanamo cases that are on appeal today. By way of comparison, I was reliably informed that during the Padilla oral arguments several years ago, then-Judge Mukasey (who originally had that case) was at the SCT, but as I did not then know what he looked like, I cannot verify that. Anyway, I did not see AG Mukasey today, and someone else was sitting in the AG’s chair.

Argument started promptly at 10:02. Waxman (compared with Clement) was able to say a lot more, with fewer interruptions. He emphasized that the DTA review process does not provide an adequate substitute for habeas. CJ Roberts had the first two questions, about the scope of habeas, Waxman’s response was that the detainees need a reasonable opportunity to counter the govt evidence. CJ asked is our judgment dependent on whether or not the procedures are adequate (i.e. is that the threshold issue for the SCT). Ginsburg then jumped in with several questions to counter the CJ, who then asked does habeas turn on where the person is held or captured, i.e., battlefield vs. Guantanamo.

At 10:10, Scalia jumps in, asking whether the new habeas statute makes clear what wasn’t under the old regime, i.e., aliens in Gitmo are in territory not under sovereign control, so that Rasul no longer applies? Other cases, Scalia says, were unambiguously on USA territory. CJ asks if an act of Congress says Gitmo base is not part of USA for the new statute, does that reject Waxman’s argument (so no need to consider anything else). The other justices start weighing in at this point. Alito ask if merely bringing someone here was sufficient for habeas. CJ asks if the court should defer to political branches in determining the scope of sovereignty. Scalia notes that during WWI, there were over 400k German prisoners of war in this country, yet nobody ever thought that they had any habeas right, even though some were civilians, not uniformed soldiers.

10:23, Kennedy asks his first question, about the scope of DTA -- Waxman’s quick, lengthy response that DTA has no prospect that any merits determination will ever be conducted, and that the record on review, either now or at the merits stage is too limited. He emphasizes the need for a hearing to introduce evidence to counter govt evidence, particularly the ex parte and in camera submissions. “Time for experimentation is over,” let’s go back to “experienced district judges” to handle these detainees. Breyer asks about Lord Masefield having issued a similar writ, which discussed sovereignty issues; Waxman noted that in 1777 and 1783 (?) habeas was extended to people on the high seas, even though they were not in any one country’s territory.

Scalia, “I’m still waiting for a single case” in which habeas was granted to aliens not on US soil, etc.

10:38, SG Clement takes over -- as usual, he has no notes, although he did bring up a sheet with an enlarged version of a statute (?). Souter quickly asks the first questions, about how due process fits in, Breyer asks for the basis for indefinite detention without charging, how can that be equivalent of habeas. Clement stresses need for geographical and temporal limits to scope of habeas. Stevens asks about how people who are captured, but not uniformed, could be treated under the law of war, since they could not be charged with war crimes, unlike uniformed troops, also asks about prisoners who were turned in by bounty hunters as opposed to actually captured in combat. Breyer emphasizes that habeas is supposed to be speedy, not 6 years. Clement then fumbles as to what should happen at the D.C. Circuit, under the statutory regime, and this is where I could tell that he seemed to lose Kennedy, who became disgusted with Clements’ response. Clement did admit that “we don’t have good answers as to what habeas looks like in context of enemy combatants.”

11:18, Waxman gets 5 minute rebuttal that seemed to last 10. Emphasizes that DTA review is not equivalent of habeas, need for detainee to be able to prove threshold issue, “I am not a combatant,” and DTA review will never address merits of the issues. DC Circuit review of the record needs to have evidence that is accurate, but the govt evidence includes hearsay, as well as ex parte, in camera submissions that cannot be rebutted, so issue of reliability of evidence. Waxman then notes that Judge Green’s unredacted opinion revealed the severe inadequacies of the due process review -- he starts discussing what came out with respect to Murat Kurnaz, who was subsequently released (this was in the Wash Post this morning!). Waxman notes that this new evidence would never have been considered in a DTA review, even though it is directly relevant to the issue of “I am not a combatant.”

11:25, case submitted.

I predict one opinion by either Souter or Ginsburg, the other opinion by CJ Roberts, with Kennedy’s vote up in the air. Scalia may do a separate opinion with a historical exegesis on the scope of habeas as applied to aliens and those not on sovereign territory.

Thanks much, Alan, for that thorough report!
Posted at 01:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Judge Alex Kozinski Takes Ninth Circuit Helm; New Chief Shares Spotlight with Colleagues, Staff": The Public Information Office of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued this news release yesterday.
Posted at 12:10 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Evil at GTMO": ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg has this post today at her "Legalities" blog.
Posted at 12:05 PM by Howard Bashman


C-SPAN3 has just begun to broadcast this morning's U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases: You can access online the live C-SPAN3 video feed in both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player formats (click on those links to launch the live feed). The oral argument apparently lasted for one hour and twenty minutes.
Posted at 11:44 AM by Howard Bashman


"U. of Colorado Settles Sex-Assault Suit": The Associated Press provides this report.

The article notes that "in September the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the lawsuit, ruling there was evidence the alleged assaults were caused by the school's failure to adequately supervise players." My earlier coverage of that Tenth Circuit ruling can be accessed here.

In other coverage, The Denver Post provides a news update headlined "CU settles lawsuit sparked by alleged football party rape."

And The Boulder Daily Camera provides a news update headlined "CU settles Lisa Simpson lawsuit for $2.5 million; University president Hank Brown signed off on settlement." That newspaper has also posted online in two parts the plaintiff's deposition transcript (part one; part two).
Posted at 11:35 AM by Howard Bashman



"Chief Justice Ralph Cappy to Join Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney": That law firm issued this news release today.

Chief Justice Cappy will not be the first former appellate group to head that law firm's appellate group. Former Third Circuit Judge Timothy K. Lewis previously headed the appellate group at Buchanan Ingersoll, PC. And, for the record, though I'm not a former appellate judge, I too chaired Buchanan Ingersoll's appellate group (see second item) after Judge Lewis but before Chief Justice Cappy.
Posted at 11:15 AM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court Hearing Guantanamo Cases": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides this updated report.
Posted at 11:08 AM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court Mulls Rights of Guantanamo Suspects": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Nina Totenberg appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Morning Edition."
Posted at 10:17 AM by Howard Bashman


"Left Behind? Ossining, New York, was at the forefront of school integration; But as American law and public opinion turn against race-based programs, can the town continue to use racial targeting to close the achievement gap?" Dana Goldstein has this article online today at The American Prospect.
Posted at 10:14 AM by Howard Bashman


How to access online the first play-back of the audio of today's U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases: At C-SPAN's request, the Court has agreed to make available same-day audio of today's oral argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases.

C-SPAN anticipates that its first play-back of the audio will air on the C-SPAN3 network starting at 11:15 a.m. eastern time. The actual start time, of course, will depend on whether the oral argument is allowed to continue past the one hour allotted time and how quickly the Court makes the audio available for broadcast.

You can access online the live C-SPAN3 video feed in both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player formats (click on those links to launch the live feed).
Posted at 10:04 AM by Howard Bashman



"Hawaii lawyer opens bakery shop for dogs": The Honolulu Advertiser today contains an article that begins, "What does a local girl do after graduating from Punahou, UC-Berkeley and then the University of Hawai'i law school? She leaves her job at a big law firm and opens a bakery that caters to dogs, of course."
Posted at 09:30 AM by Howard Bashman


"Precursor of the Constitution Goes on Display in Queens": This article appears today in The New York Times. Perhaps Ann Althouse, now in neighboring Brooklyn, will pay the document a visit and provide some additional photos.
Posted at 09:28 AM by Howard Bashman


"Grand jury to probe abortion-clinic practices": The Washington Times today contains an article that begins, "An unprecedented investigation into abortion-clinic practices will commence soon in Kansas now that the state Supreme Court has cleared the way for a grand jury with subpoena powers to be convened."
Posted at 09:25 AM by Howard Bashman


"Murphy named to Court of Appeals; Court of Special Appeals chief judge known for experience, moderation": The Baltimore Sun today contains an article that begins, "Gov. Martin O'Malley nominated appellate Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. to Maryland's Court of Appeals yesterday, using his first opportunity to make over the state's highest court by choosing a jurist known for his depth of experience and moderate temperament."

And The Washington Post reports today that "Appellate Judge Picked for State's Top Court."
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"Death row inmate's sentence upheld; The 9th Circuit rejects arguments that Kevin Cooper was framed in the 1983 murders of four people in Chino Hills": Henry Weinstein has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California reports today that "Appeals panel upholds Kevin Cooper's conviction in Chino Hills killings in 1983."

And The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Chino, California reports that "Cooper's appeal fails; Judges reject convicted killer's claims."

My earlier coverage of yesterday's Ninth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 09:02 AM by Howard Bashman



"High court hears Medtronic case; Justices asked hard questions in a lawsuit pitting the Minnesota medical device maker against the family of a New York patient": This article appears today in The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Today in Financial Times, Patti Waldmeir reports that "Business in court tussle on safety regulation."

And Reuters reports that "US justices weigh medical-device makers' liability."
Posted at 08:33 AM by Howard Bashman



"Detainees challenge civil, military justice; President Bush's evolving enemy combatant policy is playing out in radically different venues": Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.

Today in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that "Justices Weigh Courts' Role in Detainee Cases." The newspaper also contains a front page article headlined "Evidence Of Innocence Rejected at Guantanamo."

In The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin has an article headlined "Grappling With Guantanamo: Supreme Court's Detainee-Rights Ruling Could Affect Bush Legacy."

At ABCNews.com, Ariane de Vogue reports that "Detainees' Case Heads to Supreme Court; Justices to Weigh National Security Interests, Guantanamo Captives' Rights."

Reuters reports that "Guantanamo prisoners get day in high court."

BBC News reports that "Legal battle on Guantanamo looms; The US Supreme Court is set to hold a hearing in two cases that are being seen as a legal showdown over the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba." And a related item is headlined "Profiles: Odah and Boumediene."

The Harvard Crimson reports that "Students Stage Protest Kidnappings."

The New York Times contains an editorial entitled "A Key Moment for Justice."

The Los Angeles Times contains an editorial entitled "Gitmo inmates deserve protection: The Supreme Court should again reject an effort to deny alleged enemy combatants held at Guantanamo the protection of U.S. law."

And in The Austin American-Statesman, David Currie, Kari Erickson, Ariel Juarez and Anh-Thu Nguyen have an op-ed entitled "U.S. Supreme Court should support the foundation of our democracy."
Posted at 08:07 AM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court casts doubts on Jeff death row trial; Simpson reference, jury picks questioned": This article appears today in The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.

Today in The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse reports that "Supreme Court Reconsiders Pivotal Louisiana Case on Racial Selection of Juries."

In The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that "Court Hears La. Jury Bias Case; Prosecutor in '95 Trial Referenced O.J. Simpson, Excluded Blacks."

David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times reports that "High court considers play of race card; At issue is a prosecutor who worked to exclude African Americans from a jury deciding the fate of a black defendant."

And Joan Biskupic of USA Today reports that "High court mulls racial bias in juror selection."
Posted at 08:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"Atheist has another go at banning pledge": Howard Mintz has this article today in The San Jose Mercury News.

Today in The New York Sun, Josh Gerstein reports that "God on Docket -- Yet Again -- in Coast Court." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "Faith-Based Currency."

And The Washington Times reports that "Appeals court considers 'God' in Pledge."

Once the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit posts online the audio files of yesterday's oral arguments in these two appeals, I will link to them.
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman



"What's at Stake in the Latest Guantanamo Bay Case?" Michael C. Dorf has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Available online from law.com: An article reports that "Newdow's Pledge Arguments Get New Recital Before 9th Circuit."

And in other news, "New York State Denied Authority Over National Banks." My earlier coverage of today's Second Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 11:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court casts doubts on Jeff death row trial": The Times-Picayune of New Orleans provides a news update that begins, "Some U.S. Supreme Court justices reacted with skepticism to a Jefferson Parish prosecutor's argument Tuesday that all five black members of a jury pool were disqualified from a 1996 murder trial for nonracial reasons and that the prosecution's reference to the acquittal of O.J. Simpson wasn't designed to incite the all-white jury to impose the death penalty."
Posted at 11:11 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court Hears Medical Device Case": Linda Greenhouse will have this article Wednesday in The New York Times.
Posted at 11:08 PM by Howard Bashman


"Gitmo returns to high court; Detainees seek right to challenge status": James Oliphant will have this article Wednesday in The Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday in The Austin American-Statesman, Chuck Lindell will report that "UT students take part in high court debate; Law school clinic helps develop Guantanamo detainee arguments."

BBC News provides a report headlined "Supreme Court showdown on detainees."

Mother Jones provides an article headlined "From Sarajevo to Guantanamo: The Strange Case of the Algerian Six."

And The Washington Post on Wednesday will contain an editorial entitled "Their Day in Court: Guantanamo lawyers make the case for a tenet of American law."
Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman



"Senate Judiciary Dems push contempt motion": The Hill on Wednesday will contain an article that begins, "Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats are pushing forward with a resolution holding the White House in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with their subpoenas for information and testimony related to the firings of several U.S. attorneys."
Posted at 10:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Guantanamo headache faces next president; Democrats would shut detention site, but detainees remain a problem": Tom Curry, national affairs writer for MSNBC, provides this report.
Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Death row inmate's sentence upheld; The 9th Circuit rejects arguments that Kevin Cooper was framed in the brutal murders of four people in Chino Hills": Henry Weinstein of The Los Angeles Times provides this news update.

My earlier coverage of today's Ninth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 08:50 PM by Howard Bashman



"Federal Court Hears Pledge, Motto Cases": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 08:47 PM by Howard Bashman


On this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered": The broadcast contained audio segments entitled "Court Hears Case on Black Murder Suspect's Jury" (featuring Nina Totenberg) and "High Court on Guantanamo: Two Views" (featuring Law Professors David Cole and John Yoo).

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 07:28 PM by Howard Bashman



In jurisprudence essays available online at Slate: Emily Bazelon has an essay entitled "Don't Know Much About History: But in the Gitmo cases, that won't stop the Bush administration from claiming it's on their side."

And Law Professor Neal Katyal has an essay entitled "On the Ground at Guantanamo: While the Supreme Court ponders, a real trial begins."
Posted at 07:18 PM by Howard Bashman



"Race to the Bottom: The Supreme Court takes on the O.J.-obsessed prosecutor." Dahlia Lithwick has this Supreme Court dispatch online at Slate.
Posted at 07:15 PM by Howard Bashman


"Former teacher Debra Lafave arrested": The St. Petersburg Times provides this news update.

The Tampa Tribune has a news update headlined "Lafave Charged With Probation Violation."

And CNN.com reports that "Former teacher who had sex with student back in trouble."

You can view the violation report at this link.
Posted at 07:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"Key Guantanamo cases hit Supreme Court; The high court hears two cases Wednesday that challenge the basic US terms of detention at the prison camp": Warren Richey will have this article Wednesday in The Christian Science Monitor.
Posted at 05:54 PM by Howard Bashman


"Padilla sentencing hearing postponed": The Miami Herald provides this news update.

And The Associated Press reports that "Padilla Sentencing Reset for Jan."
Posted at 05:45 PM by Howard Bashman



"Judges appear divided on latest challenge to students reciting Pledge": Howard Mintz of The San Jose Mercury News provides an update that begins, "A federal appeals court today appeared divided over the latest legal challenge to the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. In an hour of legal sparring and occasional musings about the meaning of God in public life, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow, who argues that the pledge in schools is unconstitutional because it contains the phrase 'under God.'"
Posted at 04:53 PM by Howard Bashman


Access online the transcripts of today's oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court: The transcript in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 06-179, can be accessed here.

And the transcript in Snyder v. Louisiana, No. 06-10119, can be accessed here.
Posted at 04:08 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court to Hear 'O.J. Revenge' Case": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Dahlia Lithwick appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Day to Day."
Posted at 03:28 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court Hears Prosecutor's 'OJ' Case": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides this report.

And at "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a related post titled "Trial judges on trial?"
Posted at 02:54 PM by Howard Bashman



Unanimous three-judge Ninth Circuit panel rejects California death row inmate Kevin Cooper's latest attempt to prove his supposed innocence: You can access today's ruling at this link.

The reason the first page of the 35-page PDF file containing today's Ninth Circuit ruling states that the ruling consists of four volumes is that the official copy of the ruling includes as an attachment the 159-page federal district court decision that today's ruling affirms.
Posted at 02:40 PM by Howard Bashman



To what extent, if any, may a state Attorney General investigate evidence of possible racial discrimination in the residential real estate lending practices of several national banks and their operating subsidiaries? A partially divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued this ruling today.

The case involves the New York State Attorney General's appeal from a federal district court's rulings that permanently enjoined him from investigating national banks and their operating subsidiaries for possible violations of federal and state fair lending laws.
Posted at 11:10 AM by Howard Bashman



Second Circuit affirms federal criminal convictions against former mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut: You can access today's ruling of a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit at this link.
Posted at 11:05 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court Sends Summons to Mickey Mouse": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Your honor, I thought I saw a pussycat! Tweety may finally air his signature complaint in front of a judge, after an Italian court ordered the animated canary along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy to take the witness stand in a counterfeiting case."
Posted at 10:55 AM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court turns down 'for sale' case; Appeals-court ruling against Glendale's sign ban stands": This article appears today in The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Posted at 10:34 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court Rules for Railroads in GA Case": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 10:29 AM by Howard Bashman


"Court rules on armed career criminal law": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog" reporting on today's two opinions in argued cases.

Today's first ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court comes in the case of Logan v. United States, No. 06-6911, argued October 30, 2007. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript at this link.

The Court today also issued its ruling in CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Georgia State Bd. of Equalization, No. 06-1287, argued on November 5, 2007. You can access the opinion at this link and the oral argument transcript at this link.
Posted at 10:08 AM by Howard Bashman



"Pledge, Motto Cases to Be Heard by Court": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 10:04 AM by Howard Bashman


Michael A. Newdow will argue two appeals today before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: And one of the judges on the three-judge panel that will hear and decide both appeals joined in the Ninth Circuit's previous decision holding that it's unconstitutional to include "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance when spoken in public school.

Today's appeals challenge not only that aspect of the Pledge but also the use of "In God We Trust" on money and as this Nation's motto. My recent detailed preview of both of today's oral arguments can be accessed here.
Posted at 09:04 AM by Howard Bashman



"Court: Iowa Can't Fund Prison Ministry; Judges Find Rehabilitation Program Unconstitutional Without Secular Option." This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The New York Times reports today that "Court Bars State Effort Using Faith in Prisons."

And The Des Moines Register reports that "Court says public cannot pay for Christian prison program."

My earlier coverage of yesterday's Eighth Circuit ruling appears at this link.
Posted at 09:01 AM by Howard Bashman



"Web search for nudity is ruled 'fair use'; A federal appeals court says Google can display tiny photos in search results, even when the images are copyrighted": The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, "The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday reaffirmed its earlier support for the socially redeeming value of searching the Internet for nudie pictures."

You can access yesterday's amended ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at this link.
Posted at 08:57 AM by Howard Bashman



No seals and cross for U.S. Supreme Court: The Los Angeles Times reports today that "High court won't hear seal lawsuit; A three-year battle to restore a cross to the county emblem ends as federal justices decline to take up the case."
Posted at 08:55 AM by Howard Bashman


"Wacky tabacky case: Garden Grove police are ordered to return a suspect's marijuana; But the ruling is not as strange as it sounds." The Los Angeles Times contains this editorial today. My earlier coverage appears at this link.
Posted at 08:53 AM by Howard Bashman


"Nevada man is guilty of killing trees; Douglas Hoffman, 60, of Henderson faces up to 35 years in prison for destroying hundreds of trees that blocked his view of the Strip": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times. I'm pleased to report that the defendant is not a federal appellate judge (but see here, here, and here).
Posted at 08:49 AM by Howard Bashman


"Rogan may be denied seat on federal bench; Boxer says she intends to block the former GOP congressman": David G. Savage has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press reported last week that "Boxer blocking former Rep. Rogan nomination to federal judiciary."

And in somewhat related news, last Thursday's issue of The Washington Post reported that "Impeachment Is So Yesterday for Clinton, Rogan."
Posted at 08:42 AM by Howard Bashman



"Now Online, a Guide to Detainee Treatment": The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, "As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments this week on the rights of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the public is getting another peek at how detainees have been treated there."

I previously linked to the guide in this earlier post from mid-November 2007.
Posted at 08:33 AM by Howard Bashman



"Justices Express Skepticism in a Discrimination Case": In today's edition of The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse has an article that begins, "Beneath the surface of a Supreme Court argument on Monday in a case of job-related age discrimination was a surprising question: has the Supreme Court drifted so far toward the employer's side in job discrimination cases that it is now to the right of the Bush administration?"
Posted at 08:22 AM by Howard Bashman


"Congress Has a Way of Making Witnesses Speak: Its Own Jail." Today in The New York Times, Adam Cohen has an "Editorial Observer" essay that begins, "Congress and the White House appear to be headed for a constitutional showdown. The House of Representatives is poised to hold Joshua Bolten, the White House chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, a former White House counsel, in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas in the United States attorneys scandal."
Posted at 08:20 AM by Howard Bashman


"Evolution and Texas": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "Is Texas about to become the next state to undermine the teaching of evolution?"
Posted at 08:17 AM by Howard Bashman


"Serving Life for Providing Car to Killers": Adam Liptak has this front page article today in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:13 AM by Howard Bashman


"It's Party Time For Dickie Scruggs In Oxford, Miss.; Home of Faulkner, Grisham Rallies Round a Lawyer Just Indicted for Bribery": Paulo Prada and Peter Lattman have this front page article today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 08:07 AM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court May Take Up New York City Teacher Exam": Today in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein has an article that begins, "The Supreme Court is signaling that it may decide whether the teacher certification exam used by New York City illegally discriminates against minority applicants. Yesterday, the federal high court asked the Justice Department for its view on whether the court should take the case. The move doesn't necessarily mean that the Supreme Court will hear the dispute, but it is a sure sign that the justices are interested."
Posted at 08:04 AM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. military more open to gays serving openly; A group of retired generals, the current chief of the Joint Chiefs, and a majority of returning soldiers say full disclosure should replace 'don't ask, don't tell' law": This article appears today in The Christian Science Monitor.

And today in The Los Angeles Times, Nathaniel Frank has an op-ed entitled "Don't need 'don't ask, don't tell'; Rhetoric from presidential candidates aside, gays in the military have wide support."
Posted at 08:02 AM by Howard Bashman



"High court may bar claims for FDA-approved drugs; Injured patients could be prevented from suing manufacturers; The cases may also affect lawsuits already filed": The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, "The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in the first of two cases this term that consumer advocates fear could shut courthouse doors to patients injured by FDA-approved drugs or medical devices."

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports that "Medtronic, Medical-Device Makers Seek to Block Patient Suits."

CNNMoney.com reports that "Medical devices put to legal test; Protections for makers of catheters and other medical equipment are at stake as lawsuit against Medtronic goes before U.S. Supreme Court."

And Minnesota Public Radio provides a written report headlined "Medtronic heads to the Supreme Court."
Posted at 07:58 AM by Howard Bashman



"Secrets Case Eyes Jurors' Religion": Today in The New York Sun, Josh Gerstein has an article that begins, "As two pro-Israel lobbyists near trial on charges of trafficking in classified information, a federal judge is preparing to grapple with some thorny questions, such as what to ask potential jurors about their religion and whether it is legal to knock jurors off the case based on their perceived religious affiliations."
Posted at 07:52 AM by Howard Bashman


In commentary available online at FindLaw: Carl Tobias has an essay entitled "The Successes of Chief Judge Mary Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: How She Set the Bar High."

And Scott Douglas Gerber has a book review essay entitled "The Partisan Reaction to Clarence Thomas's My Grandfather's Son: How Reviewers Have Proven Themselves Unable to Put Politics Aside to Provide a Fair Assessment of the Justice's Memoir."
Posted at 07:45 AM by Howard Bashman



Monday, December 03, 2007

Available online from law.com: Marcia Coyle has an article headlined "High Court Justices to Review Detainees' Rights Under Habeas Corpus; Court to weigh whether Military Commissions Act unconstitutionally bars access to the writ."

An article headlined "N.Y. State Brief Defends Restrictions on Attorney Advertisements; Argues commercial speech can be limited" begins, "A Northern District of New York federal judge failed to recognize the limits the U.S. Supreme Court has placed on commercial free speech when he ruled that most of New York state's new restrictions on attorney advertisements are unconstitutional, the state is arguing on appeal."

And Shannon P. Duffy reports that "Finding Immunity Deal Breached, Federal Judge Dismisses Antitrust Indictment."
Posted at 11:20 PM by Howard Bashman



"State's system of electing justices called 'troubling'": This article appears today in The Wisconsin State Journal.

And today in The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, John Nichols has an op-ed entitled "Why Ziegler must quit the court."
Posted at 09:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court upholds law divvying up lawsuit liability": The Arizona Daily Star provides a news update that begins, "A 20-year-old law doesn't violate Arizona's constitutional rights to sue even if it effectively leaves consumers unable to recover all their damages, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. The justices rejected arguments that a company which distributes a faulty product is automatically liable for any and all damages it causes."

You can access today's ruling of the Supreme Court of Arizona at this link.
Posted at 09:04 PM by Howard Bashman



"Glendale 'for sale' sign saga ends": The Cincinnati Enquirer provides a news update that begins, "The battle over 'for sale' signs in Glendale will not be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court rejected a request Monday to review Glendale’s ban on 'for sale' signs on cars parked on public property, which the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found violated the First Amendment."
Posted at 08:57 PM by Howard Bashman


"A Big Week for Old Grudge: With Detainees And Death Penalty Cases, Supreme Court Reconsiders Emotional Issues." CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen has this CourtWatch essay online today.
Posted at 08:54 PM by Howard Bashman


"Rights for embryos proposed; Abortion foes push state initiatives to bestow 'personhood'": This article appears today in The Chicago Tribune, which also contains a related article headlined "Ethicists ponder embryo personhood."
Posted at 08:53 PM by Howard Bashman


"Sleeping Giant: The Supreme Court needs to do a better job of protecting the Constitution; Here's how we could force them to." Eric Rauchway has this essay online today at The New Republic.
Posted at 08:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Guantanamo Case Goes Beyond Detainee Rights": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Nina Totenberg appeared on this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered."
Posted at 08:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court to Hear Guantanamo Case": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) featuring Dahlia Lithwick appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Day to Day."

And this past Saturday's broadcast of C-SPAN's "America & the Courts" featured a moot court of the case (RealPlayer required), with Chief Justice Joan Biskupic presiding and Tenth Circuit Judge Michael W. McConnell arguing the federal government's side of the case.
Posted at 05:00 PM by Howard Bashman



"How hard can judges crack down on bias? The high court takes up a case where racial bias may have affected jury selection." Warren Richey will have this article Tuesday in The Christian Science Monitor.
Posted at 04:45 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court: State can't pay for religious prison treatment." The Des Moines Register provides a news update that begins, "Spending taxpayer money on a faith-based treatment program in which Iowa prisoners immerse themselves in evangelical Christianity is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled today. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 28-page decision, concluded that the program at the Newton Correctional Facility has advanced religious indoctrination at government expense."

My earlier coverage of today's Eighth Circuit ruling appears at this link.

In related news, two separation of church and state appeals will be heard tomorrow before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit due to the efforts of Michael A. Newdow, as I noted in this post from Saturday night.
Posted at 04:32 PM by Howard Bashman



"Appeal Heard in Border Agents' Shooting": The Associated Press provides this report.

And The Houston Chronicle provides a news update headlined "Judge: Prosecutors 'overreacted' in border shooting."
Posted at 04:25 PM by Howard Bashman



"Writing Lessons: The Supreme Court plays Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." Doug Kendall has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 03:52 PM by Howard Bashman


Access online the transcript of today's U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Sprint/United Management Co. v. Mendelsohn, No. 06-1221: The Court has posted the transcript at this link.
Posted at 03:19 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Court: How 'So Few Have So Quickly Changed So Much.'" In the December 20, 2007 issue of The New York Review of Books, Anthony Lewis has this review of Jeffrey Toobin's book, "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court."
Posted at 01:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. rights stance faces big test in Guantanamo case": Reuters provides a report that begins, "The tarnished U.S. human rights image faces a major test this week as the Supreme Court considers whether terrorism suspects held for years without charges at Guantanamo Bay are wrongly detained."

And if anyone doubts whether the case represents a "major test," word from a "How Appealing" reader based at GTMO is that ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg was there last week for some first-hand reporting.
Posted at 12:40 PM by Howard Bashman



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit announces its ruling in Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries, Inc.: You can access today's ruling at this link.

That court's own summary of the decision begins:

In action by inmates, taxpayers, inmate relatives and Americans United for Separation of Church and State alleging prison officials decision to pay the non-sectarian expenses of a values-based pre-release program violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the inmates, the taxpayer and Americans United had standing to challenge the program, while contributors to the inmates' telephone accounts did not; matter was not moot; defendants Prison Fellowship and InnerChange were state actors for Section 1983 purposes; because the indoctrination and definition criteria indicate InnerChange had the effect of advancing or endorsing religion, the state's direct aid to InnerChange during the years 2000 to 2004 violated the Establishment clauses of the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions; the district court did not err in finding that the per diem structure used for the program from 2005 to 2007 also violated the Establishment clauses of the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions
Circuit Judge Duane Benton wrote the opinion on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel, which included retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sitting by designation.
Posted at 12:24 PM by Howard Bashman


"Ending Bush's War On Due Process": In today's issue of National Journal, Stuart Taylor Jr. has an essay that begins, "Lakhdar Boumediene was abducted almost six years ago from his home in Bosnia and flown to Guantanamo. He may be a bad guy. Or he may not be. We have no idea. The reason is President Bush's continuing war on due process, which has blighted the lives of some unknown number of innocent men while doing vast damage to America's standing in the world."
Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman


The Associated Press is reporting: Pete Yost reports that "Court to Hear Case Over Marcos-Era Funds."

And in other coverage from The AP of today's Order List of the U.S. Supreme Court, "Justices Turn Down Online Piracy Case"; "Court Backs Ruling Against Congressman"; "Court to Stay Out of LA County Seal Case"; and "Court Rejects Mental Health Case."
Posted at 10:42 AM by Howard Bashman



"Court to rule on right to lawyer": Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog." According to Lyle's post, the Court granted review in a total of three cases today.

Update: Today's Order List of the U.S. Supreme Court also reflects that the Court called for the views of the Solicitor General in one case.
Posted at 10:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"2nd Circuit Offers Glimpse of Federal Courts' Recusal Process": You can access today's installment of my "On Appeal" column for law.com at this link.
Posted at 09:42 AM by Howard Bashman


"New team looks into Jovin death; Following takeover from Cold Case Unit, state detectives treat student murder as 'brand new'": This article appears today in The Yale Daily News.

Last Thursday's issue of The Hartford Courant contained an article headlined "Super Sleuths In Jovin Probe; Decorated Ex-Cops Tackle 1998 Killing Of Yale Student." On Saturday, the newspaper published an article headlined "Jovin Family Plea: Homicide Victim's Sister Asks Public To Help New Investigative Team Solve Case." Yesterday's newspaper contained an editorial entitled "Who Killed Suzanne Jovin?" And Donald S. Connery had an op-ed yesterday entitled "Has Case Gotten Colder? A Decade After The Murder Of Suzanne Jovin In New Haven, The Case Is Back In The Hands Of The Department That First Fumbled It."
Posted at 09:20 AM by Howard Bashman



"Jury under justices' scrutiny; The Supreme Court will hear a Louisiana case in which a black man was sentenced to die after all blacks were kept off the panel": Henry Weinstein has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 09:05 AM by Howard Bashman


"Justice on the Mend: The new attorney general's first steps are encouraging." This editorial appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 09:02 AM by Howard Bashman


"'I will never leave Guantanamo'": Sabin Willett has this op-ed today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 09:00 AM by Howard Bashman


"Guantanamo Case May Mean Greater Wartime Role for U.S. Courts": Greg Stohr and Jeff St.Onge of Bloomberg News provide this report.
Posted at 08:55 AM by Howard Bashman


"In Pa., Scouts Refuse to Lift Ban; Chapter to Ignore City's Order to Alter Policy Excluding Gays": The Washington Post contains this article today.
Posted at 08:52 AM by Howard Bashman


"Facebook Founder Finds He Wants Some Privacy": This article appears today in The New York Times. According to the article, "Facebook tried last week to force the magazine 02138 to remove some unflattering documents about Mr. Zuckerberg from its Web site. But a federal judge turned down the company's request for a court order to take down the material, according to the magazine's lawyers."

Today's article goes on to report that "The [magazine] article relied in part on documents submitted in the lawsuit, in Federal District Court in Boston, that were ordered sealed by the judge in the case, Douglas P. Woodlock. On its Web site, 02138 posted not only the article, but also the documents, which include Mr. Zuckerberg's handwritten application for admission to Harvard and an excerpt from an online journal he kept as a student that contains biting comments about himself and others.... [The freelance reporter who wrote the article] said he had obtained the papers in mid-September from the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, which considered a part of the case, where a clerk apparently made a mistake and let him read and copy sealed documents, along with those that were still supposed to be open to the public."

And in other coverage, The Harvard Crimson reports today that "Facebook Founder Loses Court Battle."

You can view the magazine's web site here, and the court documents in question can be accessed via this link.
Posted at 08:44 AM by Howard Bashman



"Ex-border agents' case back in court; Appeals panel to consider hotly debated shooting of suspected drug smuggler": The Houston Chronicle today contains an article that begins, "A panel of federal appeals court judges will hear arguments today in the controversial case of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents sentenced to more than a decade in prison for shooting a suspected drug smuggler and then trying to cover it up."

The El Paso Times reports today that "Agents' shooting appeal is today."

And The Washington Times reports that "Border agents appeal verdict."
Posted at 08:27 AM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court forum discusses changes in the Court's decision-making": Harvard Law School has issued this news release.
Posted at 08:14 AM by Howard Bashman


"Oliver Hill Team Wins Ames; Justice Scalia Presides": This article appears in the current issue of The Harvard Law Record.

And Harvard Law School has issued a news release entitled "HLS holds 'Ames Finals' moot court competition with Justice Scalia presiding."

Joining Justice Antonin Scalia in presiding over the moot court competition were Tenth Circuit Judge Carlos F. Lucero and Second Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston. You can view video of the event by clicking here (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 08:11 AM by Howard Bashman



"Federal Judge Lands at Center Of a New York Legal Mystery": Today in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein has an article that begins, "The docket of Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn has long been a magnet for big lawsuits with billions of dollars at stake. In case after case involving guns, cigarettes, Agent Orange, breast implants, typing keyboards, asbestos, and pharmaceuticals, manufacturers have defended their products before the now 86-year-old federal judge."

The article goes on to report that "The latest interest in Judge Weinstein doesn't stem from any of his Page 1-worthy rulings but the more arcane question of how some of his cases got assigned to the judge in the first place."
Posted at 08:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"The Supreme Court Faces the Kangaroo Courts": Joanne Mariner has this essay online today at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:47 AM by Howard Bashman


Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Controversial Judge Gets a Promotion": This interview (RealPlayer required) with Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski appeared on Friday's broadcast of "The California Report Magazine" on KQED public radio (via the first comment to this post at "The Volokh Conspiracy").
Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"For Justices, Another Day on Detainees": Linda Greenhouse will have this article Monday in The New York Times.
Posted at 10:24 PM by Howard Bashman


"Carefully Plotted Course Propels Gun Case to Top": Adam Liptak will have this "Sidebar" column in Monday's issue of The New York Times.
Posted at 10:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"The Secret Circuit: The Little-Known Court Where the Rules of the Information Age Unfold." Bruce D. Abramson has written this book about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

And today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Spivak has a book review entitled "'Secret Circuit' describes world of U.S. patent court."
Posted at 10:18 PM by Howard Bashman



"Lawsuit Against Intel Stalls; An Illinois judge dismissed a ruling approving a class-action lawsuit over Pentium speeds": IDG News Service provides a report that begins, "Intel had a legal reprieve Thursday when an Illinois judge threw out a state appeals court ruling that would have launched a nationwide class-action lawsuit against the company over Pentium 4 processors. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the decision of the appeals court, which had said the suit could go forward. The action accused Intel of misrepresenting the speed of Pentium 4 processors."

You can access last Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Illinois at this link.
Posted at 10:12 PM by Howard Bashman



Available online from National Public Radio: Today's broadcast of "Weekend Edition Sunday" contained an audio segment entitled "High Court Revisits Guantanamo Detainee Rights" featuring Nina Totenberg.

And yesterday evening's broadcast of "All Things Considered" contained an audio segment entitled "Witness Identities Withheld in Guantanamo Trial."

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.
Posted at 10:05 PM by Howard Bashman



"High Court made right decision in grandparents' rights case": The Sauk Valley Newspapers today contain an editorial that begins, "Fair-minded Illinois grandparents should not take Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court ruling as anything other than what it is - an affirmation that the rights of responsible parents can't be trumped by something called 'grandparents' rights.'"

You can access last Thursday's ruling of the Supreme Court of Illinois at this link.
Posted at 09:02 PM by Howard Bashman



"What's a fair sentence for Jose Padilla? The Al Qaeda recruit asks the court to weigh his torture allegations; The US calls conditions in the brig 'irrelevant.'" Warren Richey will have this article Monday in The Christian Science Monitor.
Posted at 06:18 PM by Howard Bashman


"Tug of War Over Gitmo; Key cases this week signal the strain over prisoners' rights": Emma Schwartz will have this article in the December 10, 2007 issue of U.S. News & World Report.
Posted at 06:15 PM by Howard Bashman


"We're All Journalists Now: Yes, the media aren't winning public favor these days; But when we limit their freedom, we undermine everyone's." Tom Keane has this essay in today's issue of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.
Posted at 11:09 AM by Howard Bashman


"Supreme Court not off the hook; Calls come for investigation into changing of bar exam grades": This article appears today in The State of Columbia, South Carolina.

And, somewhat relatedly, the newspaper also reports today that "Screening to begin to replace retiring Supreme Court justice."
Posted at 11:07 AM by Howard Bashman



"High court considers access suit; Justices will decide by Dec. 10 whether to take case": The Anchorage Daily News today contains an article that begins, "Papa Pilgrim may be going to prison, but his lawsuit is going to the Supreme Court. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will discuss whether to hear the case brought by the family of Robert Hale over access to their remote homesite inside Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. A decision on whether the case will be accepted is due Dec. 10."
Posted at 11:04 AM by Howard Bashman


"Staring down the barrel": Today in The Boston Globe, Law Professor Cass R. Sunstein has an op-ed that begins, "The Second Amendment to the Constitution says that 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to interpret the amendment, gun advocates are asking: What could be plainer? But the Second Amendment is anything but plain. Indeed, no other provision of the Bill of Rights remains nearly so mysterious."

And in today's edition of The Allentown Morning Call, Daylin Leach has an op-ed entitled "Second Amendment allows gun control."
Posted at 11:00 AM by Howard Bashman



"Litigation compounds disaster; Notes from a survivor of the Exxon Valdez oil spill": Riki Ott has this op-ed today in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Posted at 10:55 AM by Howard Bashman


"Won't shave until he gets a raise; Straniere notes judges haven't had a pay hike in nine years": The Staten Island Advance today contains an article that begins, "Staten Island may become its own judicial district, and may get a new courthouse complex, but Acting Supreme Court Justice Philip Straniere isn't touching a razor until New York state judges get a raise."
Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman


"Lethal counsel -- Texas sentences more people to death than any other state in America, and the emotional toll on its defence lawyers is so great that many only ever work on a handful of cases; Not so Jerry Guerinot; He's defended 39 men and women; The bad news: 20 have been sentenced to death; Is he incompetent, or does he just get the 'hardest cases'?" David Rose has this lengthy article in today's issue of The Observer (UK) Magazine.
Posted at 10:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Texas reaches milestone: 25 years, 405 execution." The Fort Worth Star-Telegram contains this article today, along with an item headlined "Questions, answers about the death penalty." The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled "The long green mile of the death penalty," and columnist Bob Ray Sanders has an op-ed entitled "The first to die by injection."

The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reports today that "Stage is set for fight over death penalty."

The Dallas Morning News contains an editorial entitled "The Myth of Deterrence: Death penalty does not reduce homicide rate."

And today in The New York Times, Brigid C. Harrison has an op-ed entitled "Death to Capital Punishment."
Posted at 10:32 AM by Howard Bashman



"High-stakes decision: The U.S. Supreme Court ponders this week when injured patients can sue medical device makers." This article appeared yesterday in The Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minnesota.

And The Minneapolis Star Tribune today contains an article headlined "Medtronic will face high court; Can patients sue med-tech companies in state court over devices approved by the feds? Many will watch Tuesday's appeal."
Posted at 10:20 AM by Howard Bashman



"Power Struggle to Control Ancient Bones": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "Scientists hoping to study the ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man are protesting efforts that they say could block them from examining one of the oldest and most complete set of bones ever found in North America."
Posted at 10:15 AM by Howard Bashman


"Waging the war on child porn; Prosecutors enlist help to track abusers, halt Web images": This front page article appears today in The Houston Chronicle.
Posted at 10:05 AM by Howard Bashman


Saturday, December 01, 2007

"US says it has right to kidnap British citizens": The Sunday Times of London contains an article that begins, "America has told Britain that it can 'kidnap' British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States. A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it."
Posted at 11:58 PM by Howard Bashman


"Ziegler too tarnished, should resign as justice": Today in The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, Diane Everson has an op-ed that begins, "This is a first for Wisconsin. It is unprecedented for a Supreme Court justice to be accused of violating the state's code of judicial ethics."

And Thursday in The Oshkosh Northwestern, Carol McDonald had an op-ed entitled "Judge not fit to serve on state Supreme Court."
Posted at 11:54 PM by Howard Bashman



"State's top court won't remove Nichols judge": This article appears today in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Posted at 11:52 PM by Howard Bashman


"Professor faults way Kansas picks Supreme Court justices": The Kansas City Star contains this article today.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports today that "Judicial selection process criticized."

And Friday's edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that "Professor seeks to change judicial selection process."
Posted at 11:50 PM by Howard Bashman



"Supreme Court justice coming to Chapman University; Clarence Thomas will speak and sign his new book": This article appeared Friday in The Orange County Register. The visit will occur December 17th.
Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Pledge fight to return to S.F. courtroom; Atheists object to 'under God' phrase": Howard Mintz has this article today in The San Jose Mercury News.

Michael Newdow is scheduled to argue the appeal on Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The panel assigned to hear the appeal will consist of Circuit Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Carlos T. Bea and Senior Circuit Judge Dorothy W. Nelson.

Judge Reinhardt, of course, was on the earlier three-judge Ninth Circuit panel that held the inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional with respect to school children, and he joined in that ruling. Neither Judge Bea nor Judge Nelson was on that earlier three-judge panel.

The federal district court's decision that the Ninth Circuit will be reviewing can be accessed at this link. Newdow has made available via this link the documents filed in the district court and on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

I have written extensively about the incorrect premise of the federal district court's ruling (see my earlier posts here, here, and here) and also on the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal for lack of plaintiff's standing on the precedential effect of the Ninth Circuit's earlier ruling (see here and here).

And if that's not enough fun for one day, that very same three-judge Ninth Circuit panel, also on Tuesday, December 4, 2007, will have the pleasure of hearing Newdow's challenge to the use of the phrase "In God We Trust" on the Nation's money and as the Nation's motto. Newdow has also posted online the documents filed in the district court and the Ninth Circuit in connection with this separate case, and you can access them via this link.
Posted at 11:32 PM by Howard Bashman



"Court to review racial element in picking jury": James Oliphant will have this article Sunday in The Chicago Tribune. According to the article, "The accusation of race-based jury selection will be aired before the U.S. Supreme Court this week in a case involving a former Jefferson Parish prosecutor who once kept a toy electric chair on his desk."
Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Court says sperm donor liable for child support": Today's edition of Newsday contains an article that begins, "A Nassau County man who said he donated sperm to a female co-worker as a friendly gesture -- and then sent presents and cards to the child over the years -- is legally considered the father and may have to pay child support for the college-bound teenager, according to a judge's ruling."
Posted at 03:30 PM by Howard Bashman


"Missouri man battles Washington over 2,000-year-old coins": McClatchy Newspapers provide this report.
Posted at 03:28 PM by Howard Bashman


"Guantanamo Lawyers Say Work is Life-Changing": This audio segment (RealPlayer required) appeared on today's broadcast of NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday."
Posted at 03:14 PM by Howard Bashman


"D.C. rally calls for 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal; An ex-soldier who hid his sexuality to avoid being discharged under the law and other opponents mark the policy's 14th anniversary": This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 03:05 PM by Howard Bashman


"A Little Less Conversation: The wrong-headed movement to force judicial nominees to open up more in Senate confirmation hearings." Benjamin Wittes has this essay online at The New Republic.
Posted at 03:00 PM by Howard Bashman


"Open Books: Why Supreme Court justices' speeches are less important than oral arguments." Dahlia Lithwick has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 02:54 PM by Howard Bashman


"Jordan's Spy Agency: Holding Cell for the CIA; Foreign Terror Suspects Tell of Torture." This front page article appears today in The Washington Post.
Posted at 02:50 PM by Howard Bashman


"Army Pays $725 in Set-Aside World War II Case": The New York Times today contains an article that begins, "A month after the Army said it made a mistake when it court-martialed Samuel Snow and 27 other black soldiers in World War II, the Pentagon has cut Mr. Snow a check for back pay, money withheld while he served a year in prison on a rioting conviction. The check was for $725. No interest. No adjustment for inflation."
Posted at 02:45 PM by Howard Bashman


"Jurist's status amid harassment case raises questions": Today in The San Antonio Express-News, columnist Gary Martin has an essay that begins, "A sordid sexual harassment case involving a Texas federal judge has prompted a congressional Republican hopeful to use his campaign office to seek impeachment proceedings against the accused wayward jurist."
Posted at 02:34 PM by Howard Bashman


"Death in the Family: Booth Gardner, a former governor of Washington State who has Parkinson's, is urgently lobbying for a doctor-assisted-suicide law; His son is among those fighting him every step of the way." This cover story will appear in tomorrow's edition of The New York Times Magazine.
Posted at 02:25 PM by Howard Bashman


"Musharraf's emergency upends Pakistan's courts": McClatchy Newspapers provide a report that begins, "A month after President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, the country's once-independent judiciary is in disarray and still under attack, making it unlikely that America's closest ally in the war on terrorism will have a functioning democracy anytime soon. Police lines surround the principal courts, unfit judges are taking over the judicial apparatus and the enormous number of lawyers on hunger strikes has slowed the wheels of justice."
Posted at 02:22 PM by Howard Bashman


"Witness Names to Be Withheld From Detainee": The New York Times today contains a front page article that begins, "Defense lawyers preparing for the war crimes trial of a 21-year-old Guantanamo detainee have been ordered by a military judge not to tell their client -- or anyone else -- the identity of witnesses against him, newly released documents show."
Posted at 02:20 PM by Howard Bashman


"Detainees Get Third Round at High Court": Mark Sherman of The Associated Press provides this report.

And Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers reports that "Guantanamo prisoners to ask Supreme Court for basic rights."
Posted at 01:53 PM by Howard Bashman



The Ninth Circuit passes the gavel to its newest chief judge: You can view the photo by clicking here. You can access a list of the Ninth Circuit's previous nine chief judges at this link. A few more details appear in this post of mine from yesterday.
Posted at 12:48 PM by Howard Bashman


"U.S. judge tosses out case over immunity; He blasted the prosecutors, who reneged on amnesty for the firm": The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge in Philadelphia dismissed a major antitrust indictment against a Luxemburg shipping company and two executives yesterday, chastising U.S. prosecutors who granted the company immunity, then later indicted the company."

My most recent earlier coverage appears here and here.
Posted at 12:44 PM by Howard Bashman




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