How Appealing

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

“Supreme Confidence: The jurisprudence of Justice Antonin Scalia.” Margaret Talbot’s quite interesting profile of Justice Scalia, published in the March 28, 2005 issue of The New Yorker, is now available online at this link. Thanks to Gene Vorobyov for the pointer.

Posted at 11:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. District Court Rejects Federal Government’s Attempt to Bypass Ruling on Mojave Cross; Federal Land Transfer to Private Party is Unconstitutional, Court Rules”: The ACLU issued this press release yesterday.

In news coverage, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California reports today that “Judge’s ruling calls for removal of cross; An ACLU official calls the proposal to swap land a ‘sham’ to keep the war memorial.”

And The Desert Dispatch of Victorville, California reports today that “Judge puts kibosh on land swap; Exchange to save Mojave Cross has been declared unconstitutional.”

Posted at 11:15 PM by Howard Bashman

Available online from An article reports that “D.C. Circuit Renomination Sets Stage for ‘Nuclear’ Option; California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown gets a second chance at seat on federal bench.”

Tony Mauro has an article headlined “When the Supreme Court Met Congress.”

In other news, “High Court Asked to End Religious Teatime; Government says New Mexico Christian group’s ceremonial drink violates federal controlled substance laws.”

And an article reports that “11th Circuit Upholds Fla. Law Barring Ex-Felons From Voting.”

Posted at 10:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“DeLay apologizes for remarks about judges, pushes for inquiry”: James Kuhnhenn of Knight Ridder Newspapers has an article that begins:

Rep. Tom DeLay, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, apologized Wednesday for his “inartful” criticism of federal judges, but said he wants the House Judiciary Committee to examine judges’ decisions in the Terri Schiavo case as part of an inquiry into “judicial activism.”

And The Associated Press reports that “DeLay Apologizes for Schiavo Case Rhetoric.”

Posted at 8:30 PM by Howard Bashman

The Supreme Court of Oregon is scheduled to issue a ruling regarding same-sex marriage tomorrow: Reuters offers a report headlined “Oregon legislators, governor back gay civil unions” that begins, “Gay and lesbian couples in Oregon would have marriage-like rights in the form of civil unions under a bipartisan bill introduced in the Legislature on Wednesday. The move, backed by Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski, came one day before the Oregon Supreme Court was expected to rule on the legality of gay marriage.”

The court’s notice that a ruling will issue tomorrow in Li v. State of Oregon can be viewed at this link. Links to documents filed in that case can be accessed here.

Posted at 7:54 PM by Howard Bashman

“Out of Exile: Will libertarians influence the next Supreme Court appointment?” Slate provides this teaser for an article that Law Professor Jeffrey Rosen will have next Sunday in the forthcoming issue of The New York Times Magazine. Once Professor Rosen’s article becomes available online, I will of course provide a link.

Posted at 6:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justice Sunday: The Family Research Council says anticlerical judges pose a greater danger than al-Qaeda.” The American Prospect today has posted online an essay by Rob Garver that begins, “The fight over the Senate confirmation of President George W. Bush’s most conservative judicial nominees is about to take an ugly turn, as the administration’s supporters in the religious right prepare an organized campaign to accuse Democrats of being biased against Christians.”

Posted at 6:04 PM by Howard Bashman

“Edwin Vieira Responds … And Dissembles”: Law Professor Eric Muller has a new post at his “Is That Legal?” blog that begins, “I asserted recently that Edwin Vieira’s invocation of Josef Stalin’s paean to murder in calling for Justice Kennedy’s ‘removal’ warranted investigation as a threat against a federal judge.”

Posted at 5:55 PM by Howard Bashman

In today’s edition of The New York Daily News: An article headlined “Pulpit won’t pay” begins:

A Brooklyn judge wants a deadbeat dad to choose the law over God – telling him to use his legal degree to make money to support his kids, and postpone plans to become a minister.
The bizarre intersection of church and state was revealed yesterday in a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine.

The judge held the wanna-be clergyman in contempt for being “voluntarily unemployed” and stiffing his ex-wife out of $40,000 in back child support.

The trouble started when Ivy League grad Simon Ajose left his six-figure job as a lawyer, stopped paying child support and enrolled in divinity school.

And in other news, “Porn star, publisher
bear claws in lawsuits

Posted at 4:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“Make-or-break weeks for DeLay and Frist; Leaders face decisions with far-reaching electoral reverberations”: Tom Curry, national affairs writer for MSNBC, mentions the subject of judicial filibusters in this report.

Posted at 4:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Conservatives near lock on US courts; Senators will consider new judicial nominees Thursday; GOP-appointed judges already control 10 of 13 appeals courts”: Warren Richey will have this article in Thursday’s edition of The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 3:30 PM by Howard Bashman

Questions that Justice Antonin Scalia is unlikely to answer: This morning, I linked here to an article headlined “Ralliers: Scalia unwelcome” published today in Washington Square News, the student newspaper of New York University.

According to the article:

The Q-and-A [between students and Justice Scalia] opened with hostility as audience members expressed frustration with many of Scalia’s opinions.

In asking about Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas and his view that privacy is not constitutionally protected, Eric Berndt, a law student, shocked the crowd by asking, “Do you sodomize your wife?”

Scalia refused to answer the question while the crowd gasped and the administrators promptly turned off Berndt’s microphone.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported yesterday that “Scalia to address students at W&L” this Friday, where a more cordial reception is anticipated.

Update: The blog “Underneath Their Robes” offers these additional thoughts.

Posted at 3:28 PM by Howard Bashman

Choose litigation (but not in federal court): The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today announced its ruling in a case in which a federal district court in Louisiana declared unconstitutional that State’s law authorizing the adoption of a “Choose Life” license plate. Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones delivered the opinion on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel. The opinion begins:

This appeal concerns whether Louisiana’s prestige license plate program facially discriminates against pro-choice views in contravention of the First Amendment. The program diverts excess charges over handling and ordinary registration fees for the plates to organizations endorsed by the legislature. Because of this feature of the program, we conclude that we lack jurisdiction over the case because of the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. sec. 1341.

You can access the complete ruling at this link. The effect of today’s ruling would seem to allow Louisiana once again to begin offering “Choose Life” licence plates to those who wish to purchase them, and the challengers would be able to raise their constitutional objections in the state court system.

Posted at 2:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Schumer v. Reality on Bush Judges”: The Committee for Justice issued this press release today.

On Monday, Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a news release titled “As Senate Prepares To Confirm 205th Judge, Reid And Leahy Urge Bush, To Protect Checks And Balances Of Democracy.”

Yesterday, both the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Democratic Leader spoke before the cameras on the subject of judicial filibusters. Via C-SPAN, you can access online video of both sets of remarks: Senator Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) here; and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) here.

Senator Reid, during his remarks, referred to a recently updated Congressional Research Service report entitled “Changing Senate Rules: The ‘Constitutional’ or ‘Nuclear’ Option.” A reader has kindly sent along a copy of that report, but in HTLM rather than PDF format, which is why I’m not posting the entire report online. If I do receive the report in PDF format, I will post it online here.

Posted at 2:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Floridians disapprove of Schiavo case handling, poll says”: The Miami Herald offers a news update that begins:

With the nation’s highest court as the only exception, Florida voters disapproved of the way the governor, his presidential brother, the state Legislature, Congress, the courts and the news media handled the Terri Schiavo case, according to a poll released today.

The biggest loser: The news media, by a 71-23 margin, according to Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University’s survey of 1,044 Florida registered voters. The error margin is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

On the other end of the spectrum was the U.S. Supreme Court. Fifty percent of people supported the court, compared to 44 percent who didn’t. On the whole, the courts fared better than the legislative and executive branches of government. Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said the more involved an entity was in the Schiavo case, the more likely it was to be viewed unfavorably.

Quinnipiac University, whose polling center conducted the survey, has today issued a press release entitled “Supreme Court only winner in Schiavo case, Florida voters tell Quinnipiac University Poll; most have living will, health care proxy.” Complete results of the poll can be accessed at this link.

Posted at 2:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Republicans Clash Over Filibuster; Critics Say Ending Tactic Against Judicial Nominees Could Someday Backfire on Party”: This very interesting article (pass-through link) appeared yesterday in The Wall Street Journal.

Posted at 2:05 PM by Howard Bashman

“Anti–Filibuster Yet Anti–’Nuclear Option'”: The text of my April 2005 monthly appellate column is now available online at this link.

Posted at 10:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Dr. Phill: We’d like to examine Phill Kline the same way he wants to probe Kansas women.” This article appears in this week’s issue of The Pitch, based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Posted at 10:02 AM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Confusion: The New Yorker doesn’t understand originalism.” Edward Whelan has this essay today at National Review Online.

Posted at 8:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court unseals Passaro papers; Tenet, Gonzales on witness list”: The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina today contains an article that begins, “A former CIA contractor accused of beating an Afghan prisoner plans to call former agency Director George Tenet and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as witnesses to aid his defense that he was acting under government authority.”

And in other coverage, The Washington Post reports today that “Interrogator Says U.S. Approved Handling of Detainee Who Died.”

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“A wake-up call for the Sane Majority”: Today in The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Gene Lyons has an op-ed that begins, “Does it strike you as odd that persons calling themselves Christians are furious that the U.S. Supreme Court found executing juveniles unconstitutional?”

Posted at 7:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Justices defend court’s independence; Supreme Court budget hearing evolves into larger Q&A”: Joan Biskupic has this article today in USA Today.

Posted at 7:28 AM by Howard Bashman