How Appealing


Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Rehnquist to Preside Over Closed Judicial Conference Meeting; Judges' safety may be discussed in wake of Lefkow family murders": law.com's Tony Mauro provides this report.
Posted at 10:02 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Lawyer: Ross Was 'At The End Of His Rope'; Lefkow Dismissed Case In January." Chicago's NBC5.com provides this report.

And this evening's broadcast of The CBS Evening News contained a segment entitled "Big Break In Judge Case."
Posted at 09:15 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has posted online the civil action complaint filed by Bart A. Ross that was assigned to U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow: You can access the pleading at this link [large PDF file]. Earlier today, I posted here links to the dispositive court rulings issued in the case.

The Associated Press reports that "Milwaukee judges alerted after suicide note names them."

Charlie Madigan, senior correspondent at The Chicago Tribune, has an essay entitled "The 9mm ending."

You can access the audio of a radio interview with the police officer who made the traffic stop of Ross yesterday evening by clicking here (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 07:22 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"A smuggling trial that raises racial issues, too: Of 14 indicted in immigrant deaths, why does only Tyrone Williams face capital punishment?" This article will appear Friday in The Christian Science Monitor.
Posted at 07:08 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


Also on this evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered": The broadcast contained segments entitled "Man Claims Responsibility for Lefkow Killings, Commits Suicide" and "Analysis: Protecting Judges" (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 06:10 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"The National Organization for Women Urges Defeat of Thomas Griffith for U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit": The organization today issued this press release and previously joined in this letter sent to all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Posted at 05:55 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Texas Man Could Face Death Penalty in Human Smuggling Case": This evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered" included this segment (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 05:50 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"High court is asked to take reparations case; Survivors pursue 1921 race riot suit": This article appears today in The Boston Globe.
Posted at 05:45 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Survivor of truck smuggling ordeal testifies heat hit quickly": The Houston Chronicle provides this news update.
Posted at 05:33 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"'Weird' recluse spent years in court over treatment": The Chicago Sun-Times provides a news update that begins, "Disfigured and increasingly destitute and desperate, Bart A. Ross spent the past dozen years battling the medical and legal system, convinced he'd been wronged."

And NBC News reports that "Letters tie suicide to Lefkow case; Author claims judge was target, not her family."
Posted at 05:25 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Answer" to yesterday's Ninth Circuit en banc trivia: Sadly, no Ninth Circuit Judges have emailed to supply their take on the correct answer to my Ninth Circuit en banc trivia post from yesterday.

Several readers have noted that in September 2004, an eleven-judge en banc panel issued a unanimous ruling in Gilbertson v. Albright purporting to overrule, in part, the unanimous ruling from July 2001 of an eleven-judge en banc panel in Green v. City of Tucson.

This result suggests either that: (1) any eleven-judge en banc panel is free to overrule an earlier eleven-judge en banc panel no matter how many judges agree with the ruling in either case; or (2) any eleven-judge en banc panel is free to overrule an earlier eleven-judge en banc panel so long as the same number or more judges in the second case vote for the new holding as supported the superseded ruling in the earlier case.

But, this being the Ninth Circuit, not all of my correspondents reached the same conclusion. One writes:

Regarding limited en banc courts, circuit rule 35-3 provides that "In appropriate cases, the Court may order a rehearing by the full court following a hearing or rehearing en banc." This implies that an 11-judge opinion would be binding on a subsequent 11-judge court. I'm not aware that the full court has ever been convened.
And another, who recently clerked for a Ninth Circuit judge, writes:
Ninth Circuit local rule 35-3 states that "in appropriate cases, the Court may order a rehearing by the full court following a hearing or rehearing en banc." To my knowledge, this provision has been employed by Ninth Circuit judges to call for a vote on whether to rehear a case by the full court only four times, but full court rehearing has never been granted. See United States v. Orso, 275 F.3d 1190, 1192-98 (9th Cir. 2001) (Trott, J., dissenting from denial of full court rhr'g en banc), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 828 (2002); Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 85 F.3d 1440, 1440-51 (9th Cir. 1996) (O'Scannlain, J., dissenting from denial of full court rhr'g en banc), rev'd sub nom. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997); Campbell v. Wood, 20 F.3d 1050, 1051, 1053 (9th Cir.) (Reinhardt, J., dissenting from denial of full court rhr'g en banc), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1119 (1994); United States v. Penn, 647 F.2d 876, 889-91 (9th Cir.) (B. Fletcher, Pregerson & Ferguson, JJ., individually dissenting from denial of full court rhr'g en banc), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 903 (1980). In none of these cases did the judges dissenting from full court rehearing assert that the limited en banc court overruled a prior limited en banc decision.

But I imagine that, should a limited (11-judge) en banc court wish to overrule a decision of a prior limited en banc court, a full court rehearing would be required. This model of adjudication would mirror FRAP 35(a)(1), which implies that en banc courts are necessary to overrule a prior three-judge panel's decision, and settled circuit procedure. See, e.g., Morton v. De Oliveira, 984 F.2d 289, 292 (9th Cir.1993) ("[O]nly the court sitting en banc may overrule a prior decision of the court."). It makes sense that, if an 11-judge panel is required to overrule a 3-judge panel, a full court panel would be required to overrule an 11-judge panel.

At the risk of crossing from the ridiculous to the sublime, it is worth noting that Public Law 95–486 (28 U.S.C. sec. 41 note) states that "Any court of appeals having more than 15 active judges *** may perform its en banc function by such number of members of its en banc courts as may be prescribed by rule of the court of appeals."

Normally, the en banc function includes the ability to overrule earlier en banc rulings. Which perhaps raises the question whether a later eleven-judge en banc Ninth Circuit panel could overrule a holding reached by a twenty-eight judge full Ninth Circuit en banc court if one ever were convened?

Thanks so very much to all who have taken the time to write concerning the subject of yesterday's trivia question.
Posted at 05:20 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


Chicago's NBC5.com posts online handwritten letter apparently from Bart Ross, who committed suicide in a traffic stop in Wisconsin yesterday and is suspected of having killed the husband and mother of a federal district judge: You can view the handwritten, and largely illegible, letter at this link (PDF).

The latest news update from The Chicago Tribune is available here. Tribune columnist Eric Zorn comments further in this blog post today.

The New York Times offers a news update headlined "Police Say Suicide May Be Tied to Murder of Judge's Relatives."

And NPR's "Morning Edition" today included a segment titled "Suicide in Wisconsin Linked to Chicago Murders."
Posted at 03:54 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejects, as premature, challenge to attorneys' fee award in federal Diet Drugs MDL: Readers who peruse this opinion may notice that I was one of the lawyers involved.

My clients' main argument on appeal involved excusable neglect, because trial counsel had filed a notice of appeal on their behalf slightly more than thirty days after entry of the order from which the appeal was taken. Happily (but not surprisingly, given how things went at oral argument), today's ruling on that issue was in favor of my clients; the discussion of the excusable neglect issue begins on page 23 of the opinion.
Posted at 03:44 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


The text of the statement that Ranking Democratic Member Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) delivered at today's Senate Judiciary Committee executive business meeting is available online: You can access the statement at this link.

And Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) today delivered a new statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate regarding the so-called "nuclear option."
Posted at 03:30 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"West Allis suicide linked to slaying of Chicago judge's family": The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides a news update that begins, "Investigators looking for the killer of a federal judge's husband and mother in Chicago apparently found him and his confession during a traffic stop in West Allis."

If today's journalistic speculation proves accurate, as it now appears it will, a disgruntled litigant, acting alone, on Monday of last week killed the husband and mother of a U.S. District Judge and was intending to kill the judge, too, before changing his mind.

The question necessarily arises: what can change and what will change as a result of this recent but (as The Christian Science Monitor previously reported here) far from unique tragedy?
Posted at 03:05 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"NBC5 Receives Letter Apparently Written By Lefkow Killer": Chicago's NBC5 provides this report.
Posted at 01:15 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Preserve Senate Tradition By Ending Judicial Nomination Filibusters": U.S. Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) delivered these remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate today.
Posted at 01:05 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Source: Suicide note describes killing of judge's family." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has posted online a news update that begins, "Notes found in the car of Bart Ross, who killed himself after a traffic stop in West Allis last night, describe how he killed a federal judge's husband and mother in Chicago and listed additional people he blamed for ruining his life, including two Milwaukee judges."
Posted at 12:25 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Judge Orders Arrest of Michael Jackson": The Associated Press reports here that "An angry judge issued an arrest warrant for Michael Jackson on Thursday after he failed to show up for his child molestation trial on time and his attorney announced the singer was being treated for a serious back problem."

And The Los Angeles Times offers a news update headlined "Jackson Late for Trial, Arrest Threatened."
Posted at 12:05 PM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Wisconsin death has Lefkow tie; Source: Note blames judge for loss of 'his house, his job and family.'" The latest news update from The Chicago Tribune can be accessed here.

The Washington Post offers a news update headlined "Slayings of Chicago Judge's Mother, Husband Tied to Wisconsin Suicide."

And The Associated Press reports that "Report: Suicide Linked to Chicago Slayings."

News reports, including these, identify the man who took his own life during a traffic stop yesterday evening in West Allis, Wisconsin as Bart Ross.

A reader has forwarded to me a copy of the complaint that Mr. Ross filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois initiating the civil action assigned to U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow.

I have posted online the order dismissing the case; the order denying reconsideration; and the order of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirming Judge Lefkow's dismissal of the case. An earlier Seventh Circuit decision affirming the dismissal of an earlier, related case can be accessed here. All of these documents are publicly available online via the PACER access system.
Posted at 11:44 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


Picture this: The folks who publish "Pennsylvania Super Lawyers" were just visiting with me to take my picture for a profile to be published in their 2005 edition.

In other happy news, it appears that I will have the chance to visit with some friends and readers in California because I've been invited to participate in the annual conference of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, which is scheduled to occur around the last weekend in October 2005.
Posted at 11:20 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit declines invitation to become embroiled in the substance of a dispute between Geoffrey Fieger and four Justices serving on the Supreme Court of Michigan: Today's ruling, by a unanimous three-judge Sixth Circuit panel, can be accessed at this link.
Posted at 10:20 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Suicide note linked to Lefkow slayings": The Chicago Sun-Times provides this news update.

The latest news update from The Chicago Tribune is headlined "Wisconsin death has Lefkow tie; Source: Note blames judge for loss of 'his house, his job and family.'"

CNN.com offers a report headlined "Police sources: Note claims link to Chicago killings."

Audio of this morning's news briefing from West Allis, Wisconsin can be accessed at this link (RealPlayer required).
Posted at 10:00 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Wisconsin death has Lefkow tie; Source: Note blames judge for loss of 'his house, his job and family'; Tribune reporter turned away from Chicago scene": You can access here the latest news update from The Chicago Tribune. According to the update, police in West Allis, Wisconsin are scheduled to hold a news conference at 8 a.m. central time to discuss the case.

Update:The Milwaukee Channel plans to broadcast the police briefing live online, and you can access it via this link.

Second update: Present at the news conference are representatives of local police, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These officials are not yet willing to state whether the individual who committed suicide is the individual who killed the husband and mother of a federal judge in Chicago. Presumably once the results of weapons testing and DNA testing are available, a further update will be provided.
Posted at 08:12 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"San Diego to Move Giant Cross; City Council Votes To End Suit Over Religious Symbol": The Washington Post contains this article today.

Henry Weinstein of The Los Angeles Times reports that "ACLU Sues Over Mormon Lease on Land; The civil liberties group says the deal to control Wyoming's Martin's Cove, a national historic site, amounts to federal endorsement of religion."

And online at FindLaw, Marci Hamilton has an essay entitled "The Texas State Capitol's Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court: Part One of a Two-Part Series on This Term's Ten Commandments Cases."
Posted at 07:28 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Survivor describes terror in trailer; Immigrants' cries for help at checkpoint went unheard, he says": This article appears today in The Houston Chronicle, along with an article headlined "Witness admits he did 'bad things'; Smuggler says he paid trucker to take immigrants past checkpoint."
Posted at 07:05 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"U.S. Withdraws From ICJ Jurisdiction Over Consular Relations Claims": Law Professor Julian Ku offers this post at the blog "Opinio Juris."
Posted at 06:50 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


BREAKING NEWS -- "Wisconsin death has Lefkow tie; Man who shot self left note, cops say": The Chicago Tribune this morning contains an article that begins, "Investigators early Thursday said a man who shot himself in the head during a traffic stop in Wisconsin had a suicide note claiming responsibility for the slaying of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother last week." According to the article, "The note included details in the case that were not released to the public, investigators said." A news update containing many of the same details is headlined "Wisconsin death has Lefkow tie; Source: Note blames judge for loss of 'his house, his job and family.'"

The Associated Press reports that "Judge's Kin's Slaying, Suicide Said Linked."

In related coverage, The Chicago Tribune today also contains an article headlined "Shell casing 3rd found at murder site; Lefkow investigators hope to track weapon; judge still under guard." And columnist Eric Zorn has an essay entitled "A good hangup comes in handy in inmate scam."

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that "Dog sniffs for gunpowder, shell casings at Lefkow home."

The Daily Herald of suburban Chicago reports that "Lawyer's caseload now gets a look."

Yesterday evening's broadcast of The CBS Evening News contained a segment entitled "Protecting Federal Judges" (RealPlayer required).

The Denver Post reports that "Memorial set for U.S. judge's slain mother."

And in The Peoria Journal Star, columnist Phil Luciano has an essay entitled "Destroying Hale embryo 'only option'; White supremacist's ex-wife makes the request during recent divorce proceedings."
Posted at 06:30 AM by Howard Bashman




Thursday, March 10, 2005


"Pa. Superior Court to hear Barnes case; Student wins review of ruling approving move to Phila.": The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains this article, in which I am quoted.
Posted at 06:28 AM by Howard Bashman




Wednesday, March 9, 2005


"We're on a Mission From God: Is the Ten Commandments case turning Scalia into a devotee of natural law?" Michael McGough of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate.
Posted at 11:44 PM by Howard Bashman




Wednesday, March 9, 2005


"Springfield lawyers won sentence limits": The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts today contains an article that begins, "Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision restricting federal judges' sentencing powers provides a safeguard for defendants, said Linda J. Thompson, a Springfield lawyer, who argued the case before the nation's highest court."
Posted at 11:42 PM by Howard Bashman




Wednesday, March 9, 2005


Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the news: The Stanford Daily today contains an article headlined "Cap and Gown turns 100."
Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman




Wednesday, March 9, 2005


"U.S. Quits Agreement On Access To Diplomats": In Thursday's edition of The Washington Post, Charles Lane will have a front page article that begins, "The Bush administration has decided to pull out of an international agreement that opponents of the death penalty have used to fight the sentences of foreigners on death row in the United States, officials said yesterday."

And online at "SCOTUSblog," Lyle Denniston has a post titled "Are the states 'puppets of a ventriloquist President'?"
Posted at 11:20 PM by Howard Bashman




Wednesday, March 9, 2005


"Trying a New Tack in Bid to Split 9th Circuit": law.com provides this report.
Posted at 11:14 PM by Howard Bashman




Wednesday, March 9, 2005


"Judge Tries to Regain Balance in a Family Shaken by Killings": This lengthy article will appear Thursday in The New York Times.

And Thursday's issue of The Guardian (UK) reports that "Racist's mother had cryptic note."
Posted at 11:10 PM by Howard Bashman



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Patently-O

PrawfsBlawg

Professor Bainbridge.com

Religion Clause

Re's Judicata

SCOTUSblog

Sentencing Law and Policy

TaxProf Blog

Threat Level

tonypierce.com + busblog

Trial Insider

The Volokh Conspiracy

Workplace Prof Blog

WSJ.com's Law Blog