How Appealing

Thursday, December 8, 2005

“Ask Supreme Court nominees if they’ll be polite to lawyers; No judge should be an activist when it comes to discourtesy; Yet some act like thugs on the bench”: David Lebedoff will have this op-ed Friday in The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Britain’s Top Court Rules Information Gotten by Torture Is Never Admissible Evidence”: Friday’s edition of The New York Times will contain this article.

Posted at 10:38 PM by Howard Bashman

“Case too complex to get a conviction; A juror says the case against Sami Al-Arian left them overwhelmed; Now prosecutors have to decide whether to try again”: This article appears today in The St. Petersburg Times, along with articles headlined “Trial’s cost: still counting; Trying Al-Arian and his co-defendants probably cost tens of millions; But no one knows yet” and “Verdict a ‘turning point’ for Muslims.” In addition, columnist Howard Troxler has an op-ed entitled “Like it or not, Al-Arian verdict a testament to our system of justice.”

The New York Times today contains an article headlined “Professor in Terror Case May Face Deportation.”

The Los Angeles Times contains a news update headlined “The Patriot Act Can’t Make Up for a Weak Case.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports that “Al-Arian’s fate remains up in the air; Though not convicted on terror charges, he may be deported — or retried.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “A lack of evidence: The outcome of Al-Arian’s trial shows the feds should bring much stronger cases,” while columnist Mike Thomas has an op-ed entitled “Verdict shows worth of what we hold dear.”

The Oracle of the University of South Florida reports that “Al-Arian’s future still unclear; Prosecutors may decide to retry Sami Al-Arian on nine remaining charges.”

And The Palm Beach Post contains an editorial entitled “Trial exposed al-Arian but didn’t convict him.”

Posted at 10:24 PM by Howard Bashman

“Teacher-student sex plea deal rejected; Woman who pleaded guilty in one county faces trial in another”: provides a report that begins, “A judge in Marion County, Florida, on Thursday rejected a proposed plea deal for Debra Lafave, who pleaded guilty in another county to having sex with a 14-year-old student while she was a teacher.”

Posted at 10:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Senate Democrats Request More Alito Info”: Jesse J. Holland of The Associated Press provides a report that begins, ” Senate Democrats on Thursday called for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to provide them with more information about his time as a federal judge and a government lawyer, citing ‘questions that seem to have incomplete answers.'”

Posted at 6:05 PM by Howard Bashman

“Blogging Is the New Black; Sheppard Mullin uses blogging as an innovative marketing tool, gets techie street cred”:’s Law Technology News provides this report.

Posted at 4:58 PM by Howard Bashman

“RIM and NTP Resume Settlement Talks”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. has resumed settlement talks with NTP Inc. through a mediator, bolstering hopes for a truce in a patent battle that has threatened the popular BlackBerry e-mail service.”

Posted at 4:14 PM by Howard Bashman

Reporter for the U.S. Courts Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules reportedly under consideration for federal judgeship: The Minneapolis Star Tribune last month reported that “St. Thomas dean said to be on court list; A onetime clerk for U.S. Justice Antonin Scalia will likely be Bush’s next pick for a federal judgeship.” For what it’s worth, I have been most impressed with Law Professor Patrick J. Schiltz‘ work as reporter for the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee. Coincidentally, both Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Third Circuit Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. are recent former members of the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee.

Posted at 4:04 PM by Howard Bashman

Access online the text of the revised, prospective-only proposed Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which the Judicial Conference of the United States transmitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on November 29, 2005: Newly revised FRAP 32.1 can be viewed at this link. My December 2005 monthly appellate column, to be published next Monday in The Legal Intelligencer, will explain why the Supreme Court should strike from the proposed rule the newly-added prospective-only limitation.

Posted at 3:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Knight-Ridder distorts Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito’s 15-year record on the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals”: The Senate Republican Conference issued this news release yesterday. And Stephen Henderson, one of the co-authors of the article, appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show yesterday (transcript here) to discuss the article and Henderson’s recent C-SPAN appearance (RealPlayer required) concerning the article.

Update: Last night, Knight Ridder issued this response to the Senate Republican Conference’s critique.

Posted at 2:11 PM by Howard Bashman

Pooh copyright agreement upheld; Washington State death sentence overturned: Here are today’s rulings of note from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In an opinion by Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, the court today granted a writ of habeas corpus vacating the death sentence imposed on a “not a nice man” convicted of murder in Washington State because the state trial court had unlawfully dismissed for cause a juror who “expressed no antipathy toward the death penalty.”

And today’s other ruling of note involves a copyright action brought by one of A.A. Milne’s heirs pursuant to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.

Posted at 1:45 PM by Howard Bashman

BREAKING NEWS — U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reverses dismissal of obscenity prosecution in United States v. Extreme Associates, Inc.: Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith wrote today’s opinion of the court.

The final sentence of the opinion’s opening paragraph states, “Because we conclude that the District Court improperly set aside applicable Supreme Court precedent which has repeatedly upheld federal statutes regulating the distribution of obscenity in the face of both First Amendment and substantive due process attacks, we will reverse the judgment of the District Court.” The district court’s ruling, which the Third Circuit reversed today, can be accessed at this link.

Last month, published an article that observed:

While obscenity prosecutions are up, the Justice Department faced a major setback in January, on the day of President Bush’s inauguration. A federal district judge in Pennsylvania dismissed an obscenity case against one porn company, Extreme Associates, which produces the most offensive types of pornography, including scenes that involve violence, urination and simulated rape.

In his decision, Judge Gary Lancaster cited a recent Supreme Court decision, in Lawrence v. Texas, that claimed a Texas ban on consensual sodomy violated the constitutional rights of adults. Lancaster ruled that the same legal reasoning all but nullified the rationale behind many obscenity laws. “After Lawrence,” the judge wrote, “the government can no longer rely on the advancement of a moral code, i.e., preventing consenting adults from entertaining lewd and lascivious thoughts, as a legitimate, let alone compelling, state interest.”

That ruling, if it is upheld on appeal, could be a death knell to the principal legal remedy pornography opponents now have.

As noted above, today the district court’s ruling was not upheld on appeal.

Posted at 1:11 PM by Howard Bashman

“Blood-Clot Victims Lose Appeal in Case”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Britain’s highest court of appeal, the House of Lords, on Thursday ruled against airline passengers who suffered potentially fatal blood clots linked to air travel, rejecting their efforts to sue the airlines for compensation.”

And Reuters reports that “UK court rejects thrombosis claim against airlines.”

You can access today’s ruling of the House of Lords at this link. The lead opinion begins, “This litigation has raised once again, albeit in a fairly new context, the question as to the scope that should be given to the term ‘accident’ in article 17 of the Warsaw Convention 1929.”

Posted at 11:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Chief justice sits out cases on pay raise; Two judges this week asked the high court to reinstate the increase; Ralph J. Cappy had praised the initial action”: This article appears today in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The newspaper has also posted online a copy of the pleading asking the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to take immediate jurisdiction over the judicial pay raise repeal challenge.

In related commentary, The Allentown Morning Call today contains an editorial entitled “Appeals of pay raise repeal create dilemma for state Supreme Court.”

Posted at 11:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Of Essays and Guns”: At “PrawfsBlawg,” Will Baude has a lengthy post that begins, “Via Howard Bashman, I see that David J. Garrow has in the newest issue of the The Green Bag, a review of Jack Balkin, et. al.’s, What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said.” My post linking to the review is here.

Posted at 10:38 AM by Howard Bashman

“Muddy Waters: Alito v. Alito on abortion.” Ryan Lizza will have this TRB essay (pass-through link) in the December 19, 2005 issue of The New Republic.

Posted at 10:33 AM by Howard Bashman

“A victory for Mumia: A court rules that Mumia Abu-Jamal can appeal his murder conviction on three separate grounds.” Dave Lindorff provides this report at

Posted at 10:28 AM by Howard Bashman

“British Court Rules in Torture Case”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Britain’s highest court ruled Thursday that evidence obtained in other countries through torture may not be used in British courts.”

Reuters reports that “Britain’s top court bans ‘torture evidence.’

BBC News reports that “Lords reject torture evidence use; Secret evidence which might have been obtained by torture cannot be used against terror suspects in UK courts, the law lords have ruled.” A BBC News video report can be viewed here (RealPlayer required).

And The Times of London provides a news update headlined “Law Lords rule against use of torture evidence.”

Today’s ruling of the House of Lords can be accessed here.

Posted at 10:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Two New Bomb Threats Delay Court Openings”: The Hartford Courant today contains an article reporting that yesterday was “the fourth straight business day that bomb threats have closed some courthouses in the state.”

Posted at 9:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Jamming with the Supremes: Getting a glimpse of Roberts’s first abortion test.” Deirdre Fulton has this essay in the current issue of The Boston Phoenix.

Posted at 7:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“Harvard Profs’ Brief Could Still Sway Court; Statutory argument is last, best hope for opponents of military presence on campus”: Daniel J. Hemel has this article today in The Harvard Crimson.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports today that “Experts say high court likely to uphold law; Case filed by Penn Law professors could depend on Solomon decision.”

The UCLA Daily Bruin reports that “Court may allow recruiters.”

And the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that “Law School Case Pits Gay Rights Against Groups’ Pro-Israel Strategy.”

In commentary, The Los Angeles Times contains an editorial entitled “Flawed legal logic” that remarks, “We are sympathetic to the schools’ impulse to protest the policy, but their constitutional argument is embarrassingly weak.”

In The Chicago Tribune, columnist Steve Chapman has an op-ed entitled “When liberals oppose strong government.”

And The Athens Banner-Herald contains an editorial entitled “Recruitment lawsuit masks real question.”

Posted at 7:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Committee Democrat Seeks More on Work Alito Did in the 80’s”: The New York Times contains this article today.

The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reports that “Alito record shows doubts about televising Supreme Court.”

Online at The Weekly Standard, Joseph Lindsley has an essay entitled “Alito’s College Days: Reading his senior thesis on the Italian Constitutional Court.”

In The Washington Times, David Limbaugh has an op-ed entitled “The Alito memos.”

In The Boston Globe, columnist Joan Vennochi has an op-ed entitled “Democratic doublespeak.”

And in The Salt Lake Tribune, Jeffrey N. Wasserstein yesterday had an op-ed entitled “Judge Alito is no ideologue.”

Posted at 7:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Student Debt Collectible by Social Security”: Linda Greenhouse has this article today in The New York Times.

David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times reports that “School Loans May Bite Into Social Security; The high court rules that the U.S. may take as much as 15% of benefits to pay off federally backed student loans.”

And Michael McGough of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an article headlined “Supreme Court: Unpaid student loans can be withheld from Social Security.”

Posted at 6:40 AM by Howard Bashman