Friday, December 15, 2006
"Military Taking a Tougher Line With Detainees": This article will appear Saturday in The New York Times.
Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman
Splintered three-judge Fifth Circuit panel holds that Tangipahoa Parish School Board cannot open its meetings using any of four specified prayers: Today's decision consists of separate opinions from each of the three judges on the panel. At first blush, this case appears to be a likely candidate for rehearing en banc.
Posted at 10:35 PM by Howard Bashman
Alcohol, nude dancing, simulated sexual acts, and fondling of sexual organs: A North Carolina statute provides that those things shouldn't mix, at least on the premises of a business licenced to serve alcohol by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Today a unanimous three-judge Fourth Circuit panel holds that the North Carolina law passes muster under the federal constitution. You can access today's ruling at this link.
Posted at 10:25 PM by Howard Bashman
Fourth Circuit holds that public school board's policy of unfettered discretion concerning whether to waive fees for religious club meetings held in school buildings presents such a risk of viewpoint discrimination as to run afoul of the First Amendment: A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued this ruling today. The decision, written by Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, reverses a federal district court's decision finding that the challenged policy, while vague enough to allow school administrators to violate the First Amendment by treating speakers differently based upon their views, presented no constitutional problem because the school district had not in fact engaged in viewpoint discrimination.
Posted at 09:28 PM by Howard Bashman
Access online the audio from the recent Yale Federalist Society blogging panel: If you didn't get to see me, Glenn Reynolds, and Jack Balkin at our joint appearance in New Haven on December 5th, you can listen to the festivities via audio files accessible here.
Posted at 08:55 PM by Howard Bashman
Lyle Denniston is reporting: At "SCOTUSblog," he has posts titled "New filings on detainees" and "South Carolina seeking historic papers." My earlier coverage of the historic papers case can be accessed here.
Posted at 08:44 PM by Howard Bashman
Who wants to be a sentencing judge? The "Ask the Audience" lifeline may sometimes prove valuable in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" but when it comes to criminal sentencing, apparently not so much.
The Pocono Record today contains an article headlined "Parents assail rulings in teen drinking case" that begins, "A district judge has drawn some community ire for how he conducted a Thursday court proceeding for a woman charged with providing alcoholic drinks to minors, specifically for polling the minors' parents on how large a fine they thought she should pay."
BREAKING NEWS -- "In ruling, judge calls California's lethal-injection procedure 'intolerable'": Henry Weinstein of The Los Angeles Times provides this news update.
Howard Mintz of The San Jose Mercury News provides a news update headlined "California's lethal injection system is 'broken' 'San Jose judge rules; Executions remain suspended indefinitely."
And David Kravets of The Associated Press reports that "Judge Says Executions Unconstitutional."
"Subpoena Silliness: The feds overplay their hand against the ACLU." Jack Shafer has this Press Box essay online at Slate.
Posted at 02:20 PM by Howard Bashman
"Another Bush judge on the hot seat": Will Evans has this post today at Salon.com's "War Room" blog, focusing on Third Circuit nominee Thomas M. Hardiman's responses to written follow-up questions from two Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Posner: First Judge in Cyberspace." The blog "Eminent Domain" links to this fascinating transcript of Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner's foray into the cyber reality known as "Second Life" last week.
Here's one interesting excerpt (with an accompanying photo):
JRP [Judge Richard Posner]: Is that a raccoon?Near the end of his visit to "Second Life," Judge Posner speaks further to the raccoon-like avatar (added bonus -- another photo):
JRP: My pleasure. But where's the raccoon? Come back here, raccoon. That's an order.You can access the complete transcript at this link, while an image of Judge Posner's cat can be viewed at page two of this PDF document.
Posted at 12:30 PM by Howard Bashman
"What wrong with equitable Booker retroactivity in the Ninth Circuit?": Law Professor Doug Berman has this post at his "Sentencing Law and Policy" blog, along with a related post titled "Distinguishing finality interests between convictions and sentences."
Posted at 12:15 PM by Howard Bashman
Happy Birthday First Amendment! (Or just one more reason to spend the winter in Florida?) "The First Amendment turns 215 years old today," Paul K. McMasters writes at the start of this essay posted today at the First Amendment Center.
A state trial court judge in Florida yesterday got a jump on the festivities, as The Associated Press recounts in an article headlined "Judge: Ormond Beach woman didn't break law by exposing breasts." An even more detailed article -- published today in The Daytona Beach News-Journal under the headline "Court rules in favor of topless protester" -- quotes the protester's attorney as having said, "I've never seen another city or case where the city has shown so much time and effort to shut down one person's First Amendment right of protected speech." And the article also reports that municipality has already appealed the case to a higher court.
D.C. Circuit rejects challenge by providers of internet telephone service to the FCC's order requiring them within 120 days to effectuate the ability to transmit 911 calls to a local emergency authority: You can access today's VoIP-related ruling at this link.
The importance of 911 service in our post-9/11 world did not escape the attention of Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, whose concurring opinion concludes, "In sum, the evidence establishes that adequate 911 service is vital to the personal security of American citizens and the homeland security of our Nation. The broad public safety and 911 authority Congress has granted the FCC therefore includes the authority to prevent providers from selling voice service that lacks adequate 911 capability."
Unable to be heard, the mute swan loses protection under federal law from being hunted or killed: A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today ruled that the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act amended the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to revoke protection the mute swan enjoyed under the earlier act from being hunted or killed. The more recent of those two laws limits the protection afforded under the earlier law only to migratory birds native to the United States or its territories, which the mute swan is not. You can access today's ruling at this link.
Although the swan at issue may be mute, Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was not, writing both the majority opinion and a concurring opinion in the case. The wikipedia entry for the mute swan can be accessed here. Wordplay experts have already denounced today's ruling, which deprives them of their hoped-for headline "Mute Swans Moot!"
Today is your final opportunity to vote for "Best Law Blog" in The 2006 Weblog Awards: Please do so, by clicking here to access the page where you can cast your vote.
"The Volokh Conspiracy" continues to maintain a well-deserved 900+ vote lead in first place, so please cast your vote in favor of "How Appealing" to help assure that this blog remains in second place. The battle for second place in the voting remains intense, so your vote in favor of this blog will be very much appreciated.
"N.J. lawmakers approve gay civil unions; Corzine applauds historic passage": This article appears today in The Newark Star-Ledger.
The New York Times reports today that "Legislators Vote for Gay Unions in New Jersey."
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "N.J. legislature OKs civil-union bill."
The Washington Post reports that "N.J. Legislature Votes to Allow Same-Sex Unions."
And The Los Angeles Times reports that "New Jersey is 3rd state to allow gay civil unions; The Legislature moves swiftly after it was ordered to allow same-sex marriages or create an equivalent."
"Lawyers for Ryan make case; Appeal hinges on 'avalanche' of judicial errors": The Chicago Tribune today contains an article that begins, "Attorneys for former Gov. George Ryan argued Thursday in appeal papers that Ryan's conviction should be reversed, citing 'an avalanche of errors' by the judge who presided over the historic, marathon trial."
Posted at 08:25 AM by Howard Bashman
"Israeli High Court Backs Military On Its Policy of 'Targeted Killings'": This front page article appears today in The Washington Post.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that "Israeli high court upholds 'targeted killings' of Palestinians."
And The Chicago Tribune reports that "Israeli high court OKs targeted killings policy."
"Adding color to farm-raised salmon lands on state Supreme Court menu": Bob Egelko has this article today in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Posted at 08:20 AM by Howard Bashman
"Take your wife's name? That'll cost you -- so ACLU steps in." This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.
Posted at 08:17 AM by Howard Bashman
"Judge allows release of 'Alpha Dog' film": The Los Angeles Times today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge has refused to block next month's release of the movie 'Alpha Dog,' despite a defendant's argument that the film would bias jurors in his upcoming murder trial. On Thursday, an attorney for Jesse James Hollywood, 26, asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the opinion by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner before the movie's scheduled Jan. 12 release."
Posted at 08:15 AM by Howard Bashman
"Florida Death Row Inmate Dies Only After Second Chemical Dose": This article appears today in The New York Times.
The Miami Herald reports today that "State probes lengthy execution."
The Tampa Tribune reports that "Execution Puts Crist To Test."
The Orlando Sentinel contains an article headlined "Florida death-penalty system: In legal limbo?"
The Palm Beach Post reports that "Lengthy execution sparks protests from state death-penalty opponents."
The Gainesville Sun reports that "Diaz ordeal raises legal challenges."
And Associated Press reporter Ron Word, who has witnessed more than 50 Florida executions since 1984, including all 20 the state has conducted by lethal injection, has an article headlined "Florida inmate seemed like he 'would never die.'"
"Profs Assail Anti-Terror Act; Harvard professors take on Bush administration and enlist unlikely allies": The Harvard Crimson today contains an article that begins, "A group of elite law professors from Harvard filed a legal brief this week asserting that one of the Bush administration’s central anti-terror policies is unconstitutional, a move that brought together ideologues from across the political spectrum."
Posted at 07:55 AM by Howard Bashman
"Shooting of Lawyer and His Wife Remains a Mystery": Today's edition of The New York Times contains an article that begins, "There is a suspicious gun as well as a police sketch, but still no arrests. Nearly a month after a disbarred lawyer from this Westchester County town told the police that his wife was slain and he was slightly wounded by a stranger in a roadside ambush, the police say they are still vigorously seeking the gunman."
Posted at 07:44 AM by Howard Bashman
"A Gag on Free Speech": The New York Times today contains an editorial that begins, "The Bush administration is trampling on the First Amendment and well-established criminal law by trying to use a subpoena to force the American Civil Liberties Union to hand over a classified document in its possession."
And The Washington Post today contains an editorial entitled "Pentagon Papers Revisited: The Bush administration's ever-expanding war on the First Amendment."
"Judges for Sale": Online at the web site of The New York Times, Dorothy Samuels has a "Talking Points" essay (TimesSelect temporary pass-through link) that begins, "It was bound to happen sooner or later. Special interests have long targeted candidates for executive offices, like president and governor, and legislative offices, like Congress and state legislatures. It was just a matter of time before well-heeled business and other interests would expand their influence-peddling efforts, and begin pouring large amounts of money into previously sleepy judicial campaigns."
Posted at 07:35 AM by Howard Bashman
"Death Sentences Decline, and Experts Offer Reasons": Neil A. Lewis has this article today in The New York Times.
And today in The Los Angeles Times, Henry Weinstein reports that "Executions in U.S. drop to a 10-year low; In 2006, 53 death sentences were carried out, down from 60 last year; Public opinion seems to be changing."
"The Racial Runaround: The University of Michigan isn't accepting voters' rejection of affirmative action." This editorial appears today in The Wall Street Journal.
Posted at 06:48 AM by Howard Bashman
"A Kidney Is Given Away, and Patient Can't Sue To Get It Back, Court Says": Joseph Goldstein has this article today in The New York Sun.