How Appealing

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

“Legal Analysts Critical of N.Y. Times Reporter’s Stance in Leak Probe”: Howard Kurtz will have this article Wednesday in The Washington Post.

Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Let’s get another touchstone”: Today in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Don Erler has an op-ed that begins, “The slender Supreme Court majority that outlawed public displays of the Ten Commandments in last month’s McCreary County vs. ACLU decision included its recently retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Let’s hope that her replacement will reduce those five votes to four.”

Posted at 10:54 PM by Howard Bashman

“Philadelphia health care advocacy firm sues search-engine operators; Lawsuit against company that locates old Web postings is the first legal challenge to Internet archiving, experts say”: This article appears today in The Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. The complaint can be accessed here, and the “The Patry Copyright Blog” offers a post titled “The Way Back Machine and Robots.txt.”

Posted at 10:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine”: USA Today quotes President Bush as having said that in an interview which was the subject of an article published one week ago today.

While it certainly would be unusual for a President to appoint a foe to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, all the talk about President Bush’s possible nomination of his “friend” Alberto Gonzales has caused me to wonder about the other instances when a President nominated a bona fide friend to serve on the Supreme Court, and also whether the friendship survived the Justice’s later service on the Court.

For example, Justice Byron R. White has been described (see here and here, for example) as a friend of President John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy, however, was assassinated the year after Justice White joined the Court.

A list of all the Justices who have served on the Court can be accessed here. Were any of these other Justices actually friends of the President who nominated them, and if so did the friendship continue thereafter? Answers are invited via email.

Update: A reader emails:

There are many examples of Presidents who appointed personal friends to the Supreme Court. For example, President F.D. Roosevelt was friendly with several of his appointees, including Justice Douglas, who apparently was a regular poker buddy at the White House, and Justice Jackson, among others. As to the Roosevelt-Jackson relationship, see, e.g., Justice Scalia’s opinion in chambers declining to recuse himself in Cheney v. U.S. District Court (March 18, 2004) and sources cited therein.

President Truman was roundly criticized for appointing “cronies” to the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Vinson, as well as Justice Burton and Justice Minton, both of whom were friends from his Senate years.

President L.B. Johnson was an intimate friend of Justice (and Chief Justice-designate) Fortas, who had been Johnson’s personal lawyer for more than 25 years, including representing him in the Stevenson v. Johnson election litigation in 1948.

The author of this email also notes that the web site “A Vacancy on the Court” contains a page titled “Rewarding Personal or Political Friends.”

Posted at 5:44 PM by Howard Bashman

“Judgment Day: President Bush should listen to his base, not his opponents.” Mark R. Levin has this essay today at National Review Online.

Posted at 3:35 PM by Howard Bashman

“After all these years, our government still treats Native American Indians as if they were somehow less than deserving of the respect that should be afforded to everyone in a society where all people are supposed to be equal.” So writes District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a quite remarkable decision issued today in the Indian Trust litigation captioned Cobell v. Norton.

Update: The Associated Press reports that “Judge Condemns Interior Department.”

Posted at 3:33 PM by Howard Bashman

“Say It Loud: Even Antonin Scalia thinks that judicial candidates should talk about their beliefs.” Jack C. Doppelt has this essay online today at The American Prospect.

Posted at 3:28 PM by Howard Bashman

“At issue is whether a permanent injunction barring defendant Thurston Paul Bell from promoting and selling unlawful tax advice is permissible under the First Amendment.” So begins a decision that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued today.

Back on January 12, 2003, The New York Times reported on this case in an article headlined “Judge Orders Group to Stop Promoting Income Tax Evasion.” It appears that the complete text of the article can be accessed here.

Posted at 3:05 PM by Howard Bashman

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issues its decision in Defenders of Wildlife v. Flowers: The answer to why defenders of wildlife would be involved in litigation adverse to flowers can be accessed here. In a nutshell, the majority on a divided three-judge panel appears not to give a hoot about threats to the survival of the Arizona cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. You can learn more about the Arizona cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Posted at 2:42 PM by Howard Bashman

For man convicted in federal court of wire fraud offenses for having successfully separated Joe Piscopo from $3 million of Piscopo’s money, the price of plain error exceeds $100.00: Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued this decision today on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel. Because the Seventh Circuit ends its decision by ordering that the defendant be re-sentenced due to a separate error, it will be interesting to see whether the new sentence will (or must?) include the additional $100 special assessment that the Seventh Circuit today holds unlawful but not unlawful enough to constitute plain error.

Posted at 2:14 PM by Howard Bashman

What’s more baffling than a 56-page en banc patent claim construction decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit? How ’bout a 56-page en banc patent claim construction decision that centers on the meaning of the term “baffles.” Today the Federal Circuit issued its en banc ruling in Phillips v. AWH Corp.

“Patently-O: Patent Law Blog” analyzes the decision in a post titled “En Banc Federal Circuit Changes The Law of Claim Construction.” And the blog “madisonian theory” offers these thoughts.

Posted at 2:00 PM by Howard Bashman

Video available online from C-SPAN: The following video clips require RealPlayer:

Much additional video content can be accessed online via C-SPAN’s “Supreme Court” web page.

Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman

In today’s edition of The Hill: In addition to the articles I noted here earlier this morning, the newspaper today also reports that “Brownback set to hold meeting with Gonzales.”

And a newsbrief headlined “Dems huddle on Sensenbrenner action” begins, “Democrats yesterday were considering a response to a news report that House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) chastised the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago for giving a drug courier what he considered to be a light sentence.”

Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“No-Comment Is Common at Hearings for Nominees”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “Each time senators asked Sandra Day O’Connor about her views on a specific topic like abortion during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1981, she looked down at a piece of paper that had been prepared for her and read, ‘I do not believe as a nominee I could tell you how I would vote.'”

Posted at 11:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Nan Aron, president of the Alliance For Justice, redefining the Gang of 14’s filibuster agreement”: “Radio Blogger” provides this transcript from yesterday’s broadcast of the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

As the transcript reflects, Aron argued that the “Memorandum of Understanding on Judicial Nominations” that avoided an attempt to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” in the U.S. Senate does not expressly state that Janice Rogers Brown, William H. Pryor, Jr., and Priscilla Owen fail to satisfy the “extraordinary circumstances” threshold for filibuster. While this is a plausible construction of the memorandum, I’ll leave it to others to judge whether this construction is persuasive.

Posted at 10:55 AM by Howard Bashman