How Appealing

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tusk: It’s not just a Fleetwood Mac album; rather, it’s also the subject of a decision that the Washington State Court of Appeals issued Monday.

The appellate court’s opinion begins, “While his patient, also an employee, was under anesthesia for a dental procedure, a dentist played a practical joke by putting false teeth shaped like boar tusks into her mouth and taking pictures.”

Reporting on this rather unusual insurance coverage dispute, The Seattle Times today contains an article headlined “Appeals court rules against dentist.”

Posted at 11:28 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court Vacancies: Bush Should Choose Consensus Not Confrontation.” The organization People For the American Way issued this press release today, along with related items entitled “Precedent for Consensus Nominees” and “High Stakes for the Court and the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, yesterday PFAW issued a press release entitled “PFAW Foundation Files Joint Brief in Padilla Case with Rutherford Institute; Groups Cross Political Divide to Defend Due Process.” You can access here this amicus brief filed in the Fourth Circuit.

Posted at 11:15 PM by Howard Bashman

Available online from An article headlined “Courting the Clerks” begins, “Among departing U.S. Supreme Court clerks, careers in academia, public interest law and the government hold much allure for life beyond the high court, but for those clerks who opt for private practice, big-firm lawyering appears to be the path they most often choose.”

In other news, “In Loss for Court TV, N.Y. Judges Continue Ban on Cameras in Courts; Media and public found to possess same right of access.”

And an article reports that “Long-Running Patent Fight Winds Down With Decision in ‘Festo’ Case.”

Posted at 11:04 PM by Howard Bashman

“A New Challenge to Same-Sex Marriages”: The New York Times on Friday will contain an article that begins, “More than a year after gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, Gov. Mitt Romney said Thursday that he would support a newly proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would overturn that right.”

Posted at 10:58 PM by Howard Bashman

Proposed Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which would allow non-precedential rulings to be cited in all U.S. Courts of Appeals, is one significant step closer to becoming law: Yesterday at its meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the U.S. Courts (also known as the Standing Committee) unanimously approved proposed Rule 32.1. As a result, the rule will now be transmitted to the Judicial Conference of the United States, with a recommendation that the proposed rule be approved at the Conference’s September 2005 session and transmitted to the Supreme Court. Thus, proposed Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 is currently on schedule to go into effect as of December 1, 2006. More details on this proposed new rule can be accessed here and here.

Posted at 9:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Roseville stubs out its medical pot law; Council cites Supreme Court decision on federal supremacy”: The Sacramento Bee today contains an article that begins, “Taking its cue from the highest court in the nation, the Roseville City Council terminated a local law Wednesday night that allowed medical marijuana shops to operate in some parts of town.”

Posted at 9:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“Ethics Complaint Against Judge Serving on FREE’s Board Dismissed; Allegations of Judicial Misconduct ‘Lack Any Factual Foundation'” The Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment has issued this press release today. My recent related posts can be accessed here and here.

Posted at 5:08 PM by Howard Bashman

“Vt. seeks Supreme Court campaign finance law review”: The Rutland Herald today contains an article that begins, “Vermont’s attorney general Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether Vermont’s landmark campaign finance reform law is constitutional. Joining William Sorrell in asking the high court to settle the dispute — over whether big money corrupts the political process and should be limited — was a broad coalition including Sen. Rick Reed, D-R.I., 13 other attorneys general, several public interest groups and former presidential candidate Bill Bradley.”

Additional information about the case can be accessed here from Law Professor Rick Hasen’s “Election Law” blog and here from Tom Goldstein at “SCOTUSblog.”

Posted at 4:44 PM by Howard Bashman

“States still push for medical pot; Lawmakers say Congress is out of step with public on issue”: This article appears today in USA Today.

Posted at 3:42 PM by Howard Bashman

A State that does not permit same-sex civil unions should favor judicial decisions from its courts dissolving same-sex civil unions authorized elsewhere, correct? The Supreme Court of Iowa is scheduled to issue a decision tomorrow arising out of a controversial case where an Iowa trial judge granted dissolution of a same-sex civil union entered into in a State where, unlike in Iowa, such same-sex civil unions are legal. The trial judge’s decision sparked controversy both inside Iowa and elsewhere. (Thanks to the blog “Iowa Family Law” for the pointer.)

Posted at 2:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Boyle Nomination Sent to Senate for OK”: Jesse J. Holland of The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday sent North Carolina judge Terrence Boyle’s nomination to the U.S. Appeals Court for confirmation on a party-line vote, leaving Boyle vulnerable to a possible Democratic filibuster.”

Posted at 2:20 PM by Howard Bashman

By a vote of 3-2, the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit holds constitutional the voluntary plan to achieve racial diversity in the public schools of Lynn, Massachusetts: You can access today’s en banc ruling at this link.

In so ruling, the en banc court affirms the ruling that the federal district court had issued in the case. The en banc court’s decision, however, reaches the opposite result from that reached by the original unanimous three-judge panel (opinion here), which consisted of two First Circuit judges (today’s dissenters) and a judge visiting from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Posted at 1:45 PM by Howard Bashman

Access online today’s decisions of the Supreme Court of California: As I previewed here last night, the court today has just issued two interesting punitive damages-due process decisions (available here and here) along with a decision resolving whether the operator of an amusement ride that starts and stops at the same place is a common carrier and thus subject to a heightened standard of care specified in two California statutory provisions.

In the case involving the amusement ride, a sharply divided court ruled 4-3 against the Walt Disney Company on a lawsuit brought by the estate of a passenger who died as a result of injuries allegedly sustained while riding on the Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland.

Posted at 1:00 PM by Howard Bashman

The Providence Journal is reporting: A news update reports that “Cianci resentencing hearing a go,” and on Tuesday the newspaper published a related article headlined “Cianci due in court tomorrow via video; The former mayor will ask a federal judge tomorrow to reduce his prison sentence to 35 months from 64 months.”

In other news, today’s newspaper contains an article headlined “AG criticizes McKenna’s new motion; Keven A. McKenna asks the high court to rehear his case against Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, but his petition is called ‘inappropriate and insulting.’” And in earlier coverage, on Tuesday the newspaper reported that “McKenna takes on Williams again; The Providence lawyer calls on the state Supreme Court to withdraw its decision on his challenge to the chief justice’s authority to hold office.”

Posted at 11:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Jury finds heavy smoking to be grounds for eviction; Verdict is said to be one of first in nation”: This article appears today in The Boston Globe.

Posted at 10:20 AM by Howard Bashman

“Divorce Court Shooting Kills Couple and Wounds Lawyer”: This article appears today in The New York Times.

The Hartford Courant today contains articles headlined “A Deadly Ambush; Ex-Trooper Kills Wife, Himself; Injured Lawyer In Stable Condition“; “Divorce Marked By Ugliness, Angry Accusations“; and “Lawyer Known For Her Devotion.”

The Middletown Press contains articles headlined “Deadly day: Former state trooper kills wife, self; injures lawyer“; “Court records show drawn out legal case“; “State’s legal community rocked by news“; “‘It should never come to this’“; and “Divorce can lead to escalating violence.”

Finally, The New Haven Register contains articles headlined “Ex-trooper kills self, wife, wounds lawyer before divorce hearing” and “Emotions run high in family cases, legal experts say.”

Posted at 7:28 AM by Howard Bashman