How Appealing

Friday, July 8, 2005

“A Prosecutor Who Didn’t Back Down: Patrick J. Fitzgerald pushed for the jailing of two reporters who refused to testify; Legal observers disagree on whether he was right.” This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 11:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“Judge Urged to Dismiss Gay Military Case”: In news from Boston, The Associated Press reports here that “A federal prosecutor urged a judge Friday to dismiss a legal challenge to the U.S. military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gay service members, arguing that only Congress can change it.”

And The Los Angeles Times provides a news update headlined “Lawsuit Is Filed vs. Military Policy Against Homosexuals.”

Posted at 11:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Rumors Fly Over Rehnquist’s Plans”: Lawrence K. Altman and Linda Greenhouse will have this article Saturday in The New York Times.

Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman

A vehicle arises for the U.S. Supreme Court to test whether a ban of partial-birth abortion remains unconstitutional once Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is no longer serving on the Court: Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit became the first appellate court to adjudicate the constitutionality of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Readers may recall that challenges to the law were brought in California, Nebraska, and New York, and each federal district court declared the law unconstitutional.

Today a unanimous three-judge Eighth Circuit panel agreed that the federal law was unconstitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court‘s 5-4 ruling from 2000 in Stenberg v. Carhart, a case in which Justice O’Connor provided the crucial fifth vote for holding a state law prohibition on partial-birth abortion unconstitutional. You can access today’s Eighth Circuit ruling at this link. The name of today’s case, coincidentally, is Carhart v. Gonzales. The Carhart is the same in both cases, while the Gonzales is Attorney General (and possible Supreme Court nominee) Alberto Gonzales, who likely would recuse himself, if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, from ruling on any of these three cases involving the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 because he is currently the named party in all of the cases.

Also, the Eighth Circuit’s decision in this case and the likelihood that the federal government will seek U.S. Supreme Court review of that decision will enable whomever is nominated to the Supreme Court to refrain from testifying at his or her confirmation hearings on the subject of what abortion-related restrictions are permissible, because that nominee if confirmed would certainly be immediately facing cases presenting that very question. Whether the nominee’s ability to duck such a question benefits pro-choice or pro-life forces will only be learned post-confirmation, when it’s too late for the disgruntled side to do anything about it.

In coverage of today’s ruling, The Lincoln Journal Star reports that “Appeals court: Abortion ban unconstitutional.” The AP reports that “Neb. Court Upholds Partial Birth Decision.” And at “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has a post titled “‘Partial-birth’ abortion case advances.”

Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court Speculation Fuels Rumors”: Gina Holland of The Associated Press provides this report. reports that “D.C. Wonders When Rehnquist Will Go.”

The blog “Wonkette” chronicles the day’s media frenzy in posts titled “Rehnquist Rumors Suggest That Blogs Not Always Reliable” and “Rehnquist: Fat Lady to Sing? (Sort of Liveblogging).” today offered posts titled “William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States (Ret.)?“; “SCOTUS Daily Recap“; and “Rehnquist To Retire TODAY — Or Not.”

Meanwhile, the folks at “SCOTUSblog” remained justifiably confident (see “removed” posts here and here) that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wouldn’t announce his retirement on a day when I was traveling out-of-town for work and was thus unable to chronicle in real-time the resulting tumult.

Posted at 10:20 PM by Howard Bashman

Programming note: My day job has me in Columbia, South Carolina today, where I will be presenting an oral argument a bit later this morning.

Although yesterday’s very distressing news from London calls into question the continued validity of the widespread rumor that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist will announce his retirement today, should that rumor prove true I will have complete coverage once I return home to Philadelphia later today.

Posted at 7:30 AM by Howard Bashman

In today’s issue of The Los Angeles Times: An article is headlined “Confronting Abortion Anew; Both sides in the fight see a test case in their struggle to recruit a generation that has come of age after 1973’s Roe vs. Wade ruling.”

And the newspaper contains an editorial entitled “Gonzales’ Fatal Flaw” that begins, “Our reasons may differ, but add our vote to the chorus of social conservative groups clamoring against a possible nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales to the Supreme Court.”

Posted at 7:04 AM by Howard Bashman

“Lobbyist to Campaign For Bush Court Nominee; Gillespie Choice Marks Bid to Use GOP Muscle”: This article appears today in The Washington Post. Also today, Al Kamen’s “In the Loop” column is entitled “Bettor Days for Gonzales,” while columnist Charles Krauthammer has an op-ed entitled “Philosophy for a Judge.”

And CNN/Money provides a report headlined “Big biz draws up Supreme Court wish list; There’s a lot at stake for corporate America in President Bush’s nominee to succeed O’Connor.”

Posted at 6:58 AM by Howard Bashman

“Eminent-Domain Ruling Knits Rivals; High Court’s Decision Puts Conservatives and Liberals Together, As Both Sides See Threats”: This article (free access provided) appears today in The Wall Street Journal.

Posted at 12:08 AM by Howard Bashman