How Appealing

Friday, March 4, 2005

Available online from Tony Mauro has articles headlined “The Next Chief Justice No Longer? Kennedy’s ‘Roper’ stance seen as hurting his chances of heading the Supreme Court” and “Turf War Erupts Over Supreme Court Petitions.”

In other news, “Texas Expected to Commute 28 Death Sentences to Life in Prison; U.S. Supreme Court says executing juvenile offenders unconstitutional.”

In news from California, Jeff Chorney has articles headlined “Two Theories Too Many, Says Calif. Supreme Court; Justices flip death sentence, flog prosecutor” and “Calif. Supremes Toss Varian Verdict, Order New Trial.”

Shannon P. Duffy reports that “3rd Circuit Denies Shooting Victim’s Appeal in Wal-Mart Suit.”

And Joshua Spivak has an essay entitled “Judicial Nomination Battles Are Not New.”

Posted at 11:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“On death penalty, Scalia’s consistency shines”: The Boston Globe yesterday posted online this essay by Thomas Oliphant.

Posted at 10:57 PM by Howard Bashman

“Tuesday hearing is set on cross; Council meeting moved to accommodate crowd”: The San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday contained an article that begins, “San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre and Councilman Scott Peters say the Mount Soledad cross should be moved to end a long legal battle.”

Posted at 10:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Bid to Put Restoration of Cross on County Seal to a Vote Fails”: Yesterday’s edition of The Los Angeles Times contained an article that begins, “A petition drive for a ballot measure to reinstate the old Los Angeles County government seal, with its controversial gold cross, has collapsed.”

Posted at 10:44 PM by Howard Bashman

“A side issue in Moussaoui — or might it be the main event?” At “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston offers this post, in which he links to Zacarias Moussaoui’s reply brief in support of the petition for writ of certiorari.

Posted at 8:24 PM by Howard Bashman

“L.A. death sentence is reversed; Prosecutor told two juries that different defendants did killing” Claire Cooper, legal affairs writer for The Sacramento Bee, has this article today.

In The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko reports that “Justices rule against differing facts at trials.”

Maura Dolan of The Los Angeles Times reports that “High Court Condemns Conduct of Prosecutor.”

The Daily Journal reports that “Court Tosses One of Two Death Verdicts; Prosecutor Argued Different Theories In the Same Crime.”

And Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that “Death Sentence Overturned Over Ipsen’s Inconsistent Arguments.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the Supreme Court of California at this link.

Posted at 6:10 PM by Howard Bashman

Accommodations for the disabled when delivering oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court: A reader emails to note that, at the conclusion of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott‘s oral argument in the Ten Commandments case, presiding Justice John Paul Stevens is quoted in the oral argument transcript as stating, “General Abbott, I want to thank you for your argument and also for demonstrating that it’s not necessary to stand at the lectern in order to a fine job. Thank you.”

A photograph of Attorney General Abbott on his office’s web site depicts him in a wheelchair, and his biography available there states that “Shortly after graduation [from law school], he was partially paralyzed by a falling tree while jogging.”

Thus, I assume that’s what Justice Stevens is referring to, and not that Attorney General Abbott for rhetorical emphasis delivered the oral argument from a perch near the frieze depicting the Ten Commandments inside the oral argument chamber.

Update: This article reporting on the oral argument published in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram confirms the point: “The 47-year-old attorney general, who was partially paralyzed when he was struck by a falling tree while jogging two decades ago, made his arguments from his wheelchair. Stevens told Abbott that his presentation demonstrated ‘that it’s not necessary to stand at the lectern in order to do a fine job.'”

Posted at 5:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“The most powerful man in Washington? The substitute for Robert Bork, Kennedy has wielded immense power in his years on the court.” Tom Curry, national affairs writer for MSNBC, has this essay today.

Posted at 4:10 PM by Howard Bashman

Transcript of U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Texas Ten Commandments case is available online: Via The Associated Press, you can access the transcript online at this link.

Update: The AP has also posted at this link the oral argument transcript in the companion case from Kentucky.

Posted at 3:24 PM by Howard Bashman

Two noteworthy rulings from Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner: Today, the Seventh Circuit has issued an opinion by Judge Posner explaining why the phrase “constructive amendment of the pleadings” must be banished from the lexicon in civil cases pending in federal court.

And in an opinion issued yesterday, Judge Posner included an interesting passage in which he explains that “The law is not finders keepers”:

Wausau has an alternative theory of entitlement to the return of the $239,132 that it sent the defendants in error: restitution for money paid by mistake. The defendants argue that it was a careless mistake and therefore restitution should be denied. There is no “therefore.” Probably the mistake was careless; but the law does not permit a person to keep money that he has received by mistake, just because the mistake is careless. Such a rule would make people too careful, penalizing them for mistakes that caused nobody any harm and so should not be penalized at all–the defendants do not argue that having to return their windfall will cause them harm beyond the natural disappointment that one is bound to feel at having to cough up money to someone else, for whatever reason. The law is not finders keepers, unless the property found has been abandoned, which is to say deliberately relinquished, not merely lost or misplaced. It would be absurd to suppose that if Wausau owed the defendants $1 and by the careless mistake of one of its clerks issued them a check for $1 million, they could keep the $1 million because the mistake was a careless one. But that is their argument.

(citations omitted).

Posted at 2:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“However much individual judges chafe at the Supreme Court’s decisions in Ewing and Andrade or the electorate’s continuing and clear expression of support for tough treatment of repeat offenders, our obligation is to apply the law which the Supreme Court upheld in Andrade and Ewing.” So writes Circuit Judge Richard C. Tallman in dissenting from a three-judge panel’s ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued today.

The author of today’s majority opinion is none other than Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson, whose antipathy toward the U.S. Supreme Court‘s three-strikes rulings (available online here and here) was previously the subject of an op-ed of mine that The Los Angeles Times published in June 2003. The circumstances discussed in that op-ed are described in more detail in this blog post from May 2003.

Posted at 2:11 PM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Supreme Court pre-empts legislators”: Today in The Arizona Republic, columnist Robert Robb has an essay that begins, “In striking down the death penalty for those under the age of 18, the U.S. Supreme Court continued its transformation from a court into a super legislature, if that process is not by now complete. I say that as an opponent of the death penalty who believes it should be abolished entirely.”

Posted at 12:28 PM by Howard Bashman

“What is Richard Posner So Afraid Of? The high cost of the falling sky.” Reason has posted online this essay by Ronald Bailey.

And the March 24, 2005 issue of The New York Review of Books will contain a review entitled “Very Bad News“, written by Clifford Geertz, of Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner‘s book, “Catastrophe: Risk and Response.”

Back in January 2005, The New York Times Sunday Book Review published this review of the book, as I noted then in a post that you can access here.

Posted at 12:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“To Love, Honor, and Be Gay: How the state Supreme Court will decide whether gay marriage can be illegal in Washington.” The current issue of Seattle Weekly contains this article.

Posted at 12:02 PM by Howard Bashman

“How can society assure security and remain free?” Today in The Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Debra Pickett has this essay.

Posted at 11:20 AM by Howard Bashman