How Appealing

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

On this date in “How Appealing” history: On April 5, 2004, I had two posts about judicial recess appointments (here and here).

While a Senator proposed a three-way split of the Ninth Circuit, that same federal appellate court issued an order denying rehearing en banc in a case that would have allowed the court to reconsider whether the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms.

Finally, as I noted here, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown was the author of a majority opinion issued that day about whether the unintentional killing of a fetus can constitute murder.

Posted at 11:30 PM by Howard Bashman

In news from California: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko reports that “Court rules against hospitals in payment-lien dispute.” And The Los Angeles Times reports that “Court Limits Use of Liens by Hospitals; State justices say care providers can’t touch insured patients’ personal injury awards.” You can access yesterday’s ruling of the Supreme Court of California, written by D.C. Circuit nominee Janice Rogers Brown, at this link.

In other news, Bob Egelko reports that “Coastal panel’s fate hangs in balance; State’s top court to hear challenge to appointments.” And Claire Cooper, legal affairs writer for The Sacramento Bee, reports that “Coastal panel’s power in high court’s hands.”

Posted at 9:33 PM by Howard Bashman

“PM to keep his control of top court”: The Toronto Globe and Mail today contains an article that begins, “The federal government will reject the opposition’s calls for public hearings on prospective Supreme Court justices as well as demands for the provinces or Parliament to dictate who can be chosen for the top court, sources say.”

Posted at 9:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Reid Accuses GOP of Possessing Arrogance”: Jesse J. Holland of The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Congressional Democrats on Tuesday said Republican criticism of the federal courts following Terri Schiavo’s death showed an ‘arrogancy of power’ that is leading to a Senate confrontation over filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees.”

Posted at 5:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“Wretched judging”: Today in The Washington Times, Bruce Fein has an op-ed that begins, “The fight over President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees is a fight between clashing conceptions of judging.”

Posted at 4:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Mishandled Prisoner Policy, Ex-Adviser Says”: Jess Bravin has this article (pass-through link) today in The Wall Street Journal. The ex-adviser in question is William H. Taft IV, formerly the State Department’s top lawyer.

Posted at 2:38 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court Rules Common Law Protects Recordings”: The Associated Press reports here that “New York’s highest court ruled that common law protects the rights of a record company for music recorded before the 1972 federal copyright law in a decision the judges expect to have ‘significant ramifications for the music recording industry.'”

Today’s ruling of the New York State Court of Appeals, on certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, can be accessed at this link.

Posted at 12:12 PM by Howard Bashman

Federal judge calls behavior of criminal defense counsel “childish, inappropriate, unprofessional, uncivil and even unethical” and describes Kansas City Star article reporting on judge’s earlier comments as “not a truthful, objective account”: The Kansas City Star reports today that “Judge to stay on for Wittig-Lake retrial; Case next month won’t be moved from KCK.” And The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that “Retrial set for Kansas City; Wittig, Lake attorneys had sought change of venue, judge’s recusal.”

The rulings that U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson issued yesterday denying the request for her recusal and denying a request for a transfer of venue are available online. You can also access online a copy of the motion requesting a transfer of venue.

Posted at 11:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“Panel’s mission: Define obscenity; Kansas effort uses little-known law.” The Kansas City Star today contains an article that begins:

A grand jury of 15 persons is expected to be seated today in central Kansas with just one question to answer: What is obscene?
Before they decide, they may watch one or two X-rated movies, analyze dozens of sexual devices and get a crash course on adult toys.

In earlier coverage, The Salina Journal reported last month that “Jury got eyeful in Omaha case; Jurors watched explicit videos for hours in case against Haltom’s store.”

Posted at 11:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court Denies Challenge to Domestic Partners Law; An appellate panel rules that a new state statute extending rights does not constitute same-sex marriage or violate Proposition 22”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “Domestic partner law upheld; It doesn’t violate ban on same-sex marriage, court says.”

And The Sacramento Bee reports that “Partners law passes court test.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of California’s Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District at this link.

Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman

Reader mail: Judge Stuart Shiffman of Springfield, Illinois emails:

As one of your avid readers, every once and a while I am driven to write to you. Your publication of Senator Cornyn’s complete remarks is praiseworthy. While they place the Senator’s thoughts in somewhat of a better context, they do not in any way minimize the notion that the American Judiciary is currently under attack by those who disagree with some of its decisions.

Senator Cornyn seems to equate assaults on Judges with disagreement with their decisions. How absurd. The man who killed the Lefkow family was a deranged individual who knew nothing of any court decision other than his own. The escaping prisoner in Georgia who killed a judge in his courtroom was not striking a blow for the legislative branch in its ongoing battle with the judiciary. To even suggest such a position is absurd.

Senator Cornyn is correct that respect for the judiciary is waning. But the reason is because the media and politicians at both ends of the political spectrum use the judiciary as a whipping boy to stir the frenzy of the fringe element in politics. Politicians do it because it gets votes. The media does it because it gets viewers and subscribers.

Those of us who respect the law and the courts as an institution can only wring our hands in sorrow over these attacks.

Senator Cornyn speaks of his love and respect for the law. Everyone respects the law and the courts when they agree with decisions. True respect comes from supporting the courts when they rule against you.

My post linking to the full transcript of Senator Cornyn’s remarks can be accessed here.

Posted at 10:40 AM by Howard Bashman

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks on the role of international law in adjudication: Thanks much to the reader who managed to figure out that C-SPAN has made the video available at this link (RealPlayer required). Maybe my ears are failing me, but based on the recorded audio I could swear that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduces Justice Ginsburg as “one of our democracy’s most disdained jurists.”

Justice Ginsburg delivered this address last Friday, and Saturday’s edition of The New York Times contained an article headlined “Justice Ginsburg Backs Value of Foreign Law.”

Update: Several readers have emailed to suggest that Secretary of State Rice introduced Justice Ginsburg as “one of our democracy’s most esteemed jurists.” I’m sure that’s correct, although it certainly doesn’t sound like it on C-SPAN’s recording.

Posted at 10:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“Harasser of top court may be in hot water”: Yesterday, The Deseret Morning News contained an article that begins, “A 55-year-old Salt Lake man, who last week set a precedent for irritating the justices of the Utah Supreme Court to the point of being found in contempt, now appears faced with further allegations of contempt.”

And in related coverage, almost two weeks ago The Salt Lake Tribune reported that “Pestering of justices lands man in jail for contempt of court.”

Posted at 10:23 AM by Howard Bashman