How Appealing

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Slow news day in Decatur, Alabama: The Decatur Daily today contains an article headlined “Pryor quotes B-52s in decision” that begins, “Fresh from Senate confirmation, U.S. 11th Circuit Court Judge Bill Pryor authored what appears to be the first court decision ever to quote lyrics from The B-52s.”

In actuality, because the ruling issued on the same day that Eleventh Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. achieved U.S. Senate confirmation, chances are quite good that the decision was written in advance of that day. My earlier coverage of the ruling can be accessed here and here.

Posted at 10:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“Evangelical Republicans Trust States on Social Issues; Poll Finds Fewer Want Courts’ Say”: Charles Lane will have this article Thursday in The Washington Post. Complete results of this Washington Post-ABC News poll can be accessed here.

Posted at 9:15 PM by Howard Bashman

Coming soon from the Supreme Court of California: The Golden State’s highest court is scheduled to announce rulings in two important punitive damages appeals tomorrow. In addition, the court will announce an opinion in a case presenting the question whether “the operator of an amusement ride that starts and stops at the same place [is] a common carrier and subject to the heightened standard of care set forth in Civil Code sections 2100 and 2101?” Additional details on all three cases can be accessed here. And decisions in all three cases will be available online via that court’s web site at 1 p.m. eastern time tomorrow.

By the way, I hope one or more of my readers is willing and able to let me know when Justice Janice Rogers Brown plans to leave California’s high court to join the D.C. Circuit. If I understand correctly, the D.C. Circuit takes a summer recess similar to that of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the D.C. Circuit stops hearing oral arguments sufficiently in advance of its recess so that all argued cases can be decided before that court heads for the hills. Indeed, the D.C. Circuit’s current oral argument calendar indicates that the court has not heard oral argument since May 10, 2005. If my understanding of how the D.C. Circuit operates during the summer months is correct, Justice Brown could stay with the California Supreme Court for a while longer and still be on the D.C. Circuit when it again begins hearing cases in September.

Posted at 8:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“A powerhouse of the right flexes muscle; Roe v. Wade could be overturned within a decade, says the president of the Family Research Council”: This article will appear Thursday in The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 6:04 PM by Howard Bashman

See a close-up of the Justice Antonin Scalia bobblehead doll (animated, no less!): You can view the doll here, at The Green Bag’s web site. Below the animated photograph, The Green Bag explains that not all of its subscribers as of April 1, 2005 will qualify for a copy of this collector’s item. In particular, those who suggest that the doll does not resemble Justice Scalia won’t be receiving a certificate, so be sure to keep any thoughts along those lines to yourself.

Posted at 6:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Democrat joins high court; Napolitano ally creates 3-2 majority among Arizona’s justices”: This article appears today in The Arizona Republic.

Posted at 5:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court backs executive order barring Iran trade”: Reuters provides this report on a ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued today.

Two other rulings that the Ninth Circuit issued today also merit mention. A unanimous three-judge panel issued a decision holding that citizens and residents of the Philippines could not invoke CERCLA to compel the United States government to clean-up environmental contamination allegedly present at Clark Air Force Base and Subic Naval Base in the Philippines.

And in a separate ruling, the majority on a divided three-judge panel held that a previously deported alien has not committed the federal criminal offense of being “found in” the United States when all the individual did after crossing the border was to go straight to the border station and present himself for entry. The case is made more interesting due to the fact that it involves a border crossing from Canada into Alaska and the majority opinion’s author is the nation’s northernmost federal appellate judge.

Posted at 5:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Is Staying Home with Children ‘Shirking Work’ For Child Support Purposes? The Wisconsin Supreme Court Says No.” FindLaw yesterday posted online this essay by commentator Joanna Grossman. Oddly, the folks at FindLaw (at least as of this moment) have linked to the wrong ruling (they link to this instead of this).

Posted at 3:03 PM by Howard Bashman

Who says that the Fourth Amendment is toothless in the war against drugs? A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, consisting of three rather conservative judges, today overturned a criminal defendant’s convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and using and carrying a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense upon concluding that the police officers’ community caretaking responsibilities did not under the circumstances presented permit them to enter the defendant’s apartment without a warrant and without his consent. You can access today’s ruling at this link.

Posted at 2:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“Vacancy Fight Could Be Swift”: Roll Call today contains an article (paid subscription required) that begins, “Girding for an imminent Supreme Court vacancy, some Senate Republicans are pushing to move the nominee through the Judiciary Committee in a matter of weeks rather than allowing more time for liberal opposition to mount throughout the summer. And in one of the most intriguing twists, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a key member of Judiciary, said Tuesday that the White House is considering putting off announcing who the nominee is – if there’s an opening – until later in the summer to delay the amount of time liberal activists would have to attack the nomination.”

Posted at 10:15 AM by Howard Bashman

Just in time for summer: Today a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a federal district court’s injunction prohibiting the City of Athens, Ohio from installing barricades that restricted access to a Dairy Queen located there. You can access today’s major appellate court victory for ice cream lovers at this link.

Posted at 10:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Commercial use of Michigan groundwater at stake in suit”: The Detroit Free Press today contains an article that begins, “Who owns the rights to Michigan’s water is at the crux of a case argued before the state Court of Appeals in Lansing on Tuesday by lawyers for a bottling company and a citizens group.”

Posted at 8:35 AM by Howard Bashman

In Sixth Circuit-related news: The home page of that court’s web site notes that “David W. McKeague was sworn in June 13, 2005 as a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge.”

The Associated Press reports that “Bush has chance to name at least five federal judges in Michigan.”

And The Cincinnati Post yesterday contained an editorial entitled “Breaking the logjam” that begins, “Regardless of what you think about their politics, the arrival of two new judges to the shorthanded 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a welcome development that will speed justice in the four states it serves.”

In largely unrelated news, I am gaining admission to the bar of the Sixth Circuit in connection with a Brief for Appellants that I’m filing in that court today. That leaves the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits as the only federal appellate courts before which I have yet to be admitted to practice (although I have worked behind the scenes on appeals pending in all but the Tenth Circuit).

Posted at 8:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“SMU professor gets probation, $1,000 fine for hitting cyclist; Prosecutor, man who was struck call decision appropriate”: The Dallas Morning News today contains an article that begins, “Jurors handed down the lightest possible punishment Tuesday to a Southern Methodist University professor who they convicted a day earlier for using her car to intentionally run down a bicyclist at White Rock Lake.” As a result, this law professor defendant will not have to serve any time in jail.

The article concludes: “As a convicted felon, Ms. Dolkart could face professional punishment. She is a member of the Washington D.C. bar association, and an investigation is open into the incident. The bar association could suspend or revoke her license, Mr. Gibson said. She remains a tenured professor at SMU, although she’s currently teaching law as a visiting professor at American University in Washington, D.C. SMU officials said that they will conduct their own inquiry into the charge.”

Posted at 6:35 AM by Howard Bashman

“Laying Down a Challenge”: The Los Angeles Times today contains an editorial that begins, “On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing in overturning the murder convictions of black defendants in California and Texas after determining that, in both cases, racial discrimination played a role in jury selection.”

Posted at 6:34 AM by Howard Bashman

“Who’ll Apologize for the Filibuster? The Senate should be ashamed of the tactic that killed anti-lynching legislation.” Today in The Los Angeles Times, columnist Andres Martinez has this op-ed, which also discusses judicial filibusters.

Posted at 6:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court blocks records seizure; Planned Parenthood’s patient files off-limits to state, pending appeal”: This article appears today in The Indianapolis Star.

Posted at 6:25 AM by Howard Bashman