How Appealing

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Available online at Tony Mauro reports that “Roberts Adheres to Precedent on High Court Revelry.”

In other news, “11th Circuit Skeptical of Evolution Sticker Ruling; Judges decry inconsistencies in lower court’s timeline of events.”

An article reports that “Texas Court Misquotes Judge’s Findings, Withdraws Opinion.”

And a profile of Heller Ehrman attorney Warrington S. Parker III is headlined “Counsel’s-Eye View of High Court Military Recruiting Case.”

Posted at 10:28 PM by Howard Bashman

It’s official — President Bush has nominated Law Professor Patrick J. Schiltz, reporter for the U.S. Courts Appellate Rules Advisory Committee, to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Minnesota: Yesterday’s official announcement from the White House can be viewed here.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports today that “St. Thomas law professor tapped for federal bench; He was praised by those on both sides of political fence but has been criticized for some writings.” And The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports today that “Schiltz is U.S. District Court nominee; St. Thomas law professor has written extensively about ethics.”

Recently, I had a post mentioning that Professor Schiltz was rumored to be the likely nominee for this judicial post. He has been a great asset to the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee and will be greatly missed once he concludes his service as reporter for the committee.

Posted at 10:11 PM by Howard Bashman

“Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say”: The New York Times has posted online this lengthy news update, which presumably will be a front page article in Friday’s newspaper.

The article begins: “Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.”

And the article goes on to state, “The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.”

Posted at 7:35 PM by Howard Bashman

“Terror case tests reach of federal power; Suspected terrorist Jose Padilla persists in a bid to get the Supreme Court to review US government’s legal tactics”: Warren Richey will have this article in Friday’s edition of The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 6:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court weighs records seizures; Appellate judges have questions for both sides in dispute between state, Planned Parenthood”: The Indianapolis Star today contains an article that begins, “The Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday considered whether the state may seize patient records from Planned Parenthood of Indiana clinics, with the judges pressing the state lawyer about what might be gained by the seizures.” You can watch yesterday’s oral argument online by clicking here (RealPlayer required). “The Indiana Law Blog” links here to additional news coverage and background information.

Posted at 5:35 PM by Howard Bashman

“The Nomination of Samuel Alito: A Watershed Moment for Women.” The National Women’s Law Center issued this report today.

Posted at 5:24 PM by Howard Bashman

“Liberty at Risk: The Vulnerability of Reproductive Rights Under Alito.” NARAL Pro-Choice America issued this report yesterday.

Posted at 4:11 PM by Howard Bashman

“Rehnquist Bobblehead & S. Ct. Quill”: As noted here at “SCOTUSblog,” Tom Goldstein is auctioning at eBay his Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist bobblehead doll, along with an oral argument quill, and the proceeds will be donated to a charity selected in consultation with the purchaser. The eBay listing is here. Be forewarned, the starting bid is $2,000. Some WHR bobbleheads have recently sold for more than that, even without a quill from oral argument and the possibility of a tax deduction.

Posted at 3:55 PM by Howard Bashman

Today’s rulings of note from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit: The court today affirmed the dismissal of a securities fraud lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc. arising from the planned, and later canceled, initial public offering of Merck’s wholly owned subsidiary, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. You can access the ruling at this link. Circuit Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. was on the panel and joined in the ruling.

And in today’s other ruling of note, a divided three-judge panel holds unlawful recently-adopted federal Bureau of Prison regulations that limit a prisoner’s placement in community confinement to the lesser of ten percent of the prisoner’s total sentence or six months.

Posted at 3:03 PM by Howard Bashman

In news from Michigan: The Lansing State Journal reports today that “State elections board deadlocks on affirmative action proposal; Action defies court order to certify petitions.”

The Detroit Free Press today contains articles headlined “No vote on affirmative action ’06 proposal; Protesters interrupt state canvassers’ meeting” and “Fieger asks Granholm to find a special prosecutor.”

And The Detroit News reports today that “Students disrupt election vote; Hundreds storm meeting hurling insults at panel trying to certify affirmative action ban for 2006.”

Posted at 1:54 PM by Howard Bashman

In order to decide this appeal, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had to consume many Haagen-Dazs frozen dessert bars: In today’s ruling, the Federal Circuit summarizes its holding as follows, “Because the finding that the Haagen-Dazs dessert bars are not predominantly sorbet, but frozen ice milk intermixed with yogurt, which is distinguishable from traditional yogurt, is not clearly erroneous, the dessert bars were properly classified.” The ruling temporarily wiped the smile from the face of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Posted at 1:35 PM by Howard Bashman

Today is your final opportunity to vote for “Best Law Blog” in the 2005 Weblog Awards: Polls close at 11:59 p.m. eastern time tonight. You can vote at this link.

Currently, in the battle for first place, “Law Dork” leads “The Volokh Conspiracy” by more than 700 votes. “How Appealing” remains toward the middle of the pack. And the battle for last place continues to rage between “The Becker-Posner Blog” and a blog that hasn’t been updated since October 2005.

As of this moment, fewer than 2,500 votes have been cast for the blog currently in first place, meaning that if everyone who views this post today goes and votes (click here), you could have a major impact on the outcome. As for which blog you should vote in favor of, that’s completely up to you.

Posted at 12:10 PM by Howard Bashman

Eighth Circuit shows no pity for the plight of the biological father: Today, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a ruling that rejects the argument that the University of Iowa’s policy of denying paid leave to biological fathers while at the same time allowing paid leave to biological mothers and adoptive parents of both genders after the birth or arrival of a new child violates the equal protection rights of biological fathers.

Posted at 11:35 AM by Howard Bashman

“Every now and then, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has a hankering for graham crackers and shortbread.” So begins Michael Mugmon’s post titled “Polly Makes a Graham Cracker” today at the “DCist” blog.

Posted at 11:28 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court allows lawyers to sidestep caps on fees; In a signal that it could rule against the state’s doctors, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the Florida Bar to draft rules that would allow attorneys to sidestep a voter-approved attorney fee cap”: The Miami Herald today contains an article that begins, “Handing another blow to the state’s doctors, the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for attorneys to sidestep a voter-approved cap on attorneys’ fees in medical malpractice cases.”

Yesterday’s order of the Supreme Court of Florida can be accessed here.

Posted at 11:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Philip Morris Wins Reversal of $10.1 Bln Damage Award”: Bloomberg News provides this report.

And MarketWatch reports that “Illinois court reversal favors Altria.”

According to the MarketWatch article, “A decision could also come this week in Engle. In that case, the tobacco industry was hit with $145 billion in punitive damages, the largest such award in history. That was later overturned by an appeals court but is now before the Florida Supreme Court.” If that speculation is correct, the Supreme Court of Florida could issue the ruling just moments from now. Background information about the Engle case is available via this link. Update: A decision in the Engle case does not appear among the rulings that the Supreme Court of Florida has announced today.

Posted at 10:45 AM by Howard Bashman

BREAKING NEWS — Illinois Supreme Court reverses $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA in “light” cigarette class action: The Associated Press reports that “Court Tosses $10B Suit Vs. Philip Morris.” And Reuters reports that “Ill. top court reverses $10.1 bln Altria verdict.”

Altria Group, Inc. permits background about the case to be accessed via this link.

In press coverage that preceded today’s ruling, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch today contains an article headlined “Justices may snuff out $10.1 billion judgment.”

Posted at 10:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ill. Court Set to Rule on Cigarette Suit”: The Associated Press reports here that “A ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court on a $10.1 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA could deal a major blow to the tobacco giant and inspire more lawsuits against cigarette makers. The court is scheduled to rule Thursday on a trial court’s verdict that the company tricked Illinois smokers into believing light cigarettes are less harmful than regular ones.”

The ruling of the Supreme Court of Illinois, which many observers expect to be in favor of Philip Morris, is scheduled to be announced at 10 a.m. eastern time today.

Posted at 9:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“Anti-Alito Tour Is Drawing Small Crowds”: This article appears today in The New York Sun.

The Forum of Fargo, North Dakota reports today that “Dorgan to wait and see on Alito.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal contains an editorial entitled “The Democrats’ dangerous bluff: Filibustering Alito would be a mistake.”

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review contains an editorial entitled “Weighing the ‘nuclear option’: A floor vote for Alito.”

The Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg, Virginia contains an editorial entitled “Rolling Indifference.”

In The Rocky Mountain News, columnist Mike Littwin has an op-ed entitled “Focus on Family plays into Salazar’s hands.”

In The Miami Herald, Howard Simon has an op-ed entitled “‘Activist’ judges are in the eye of the beholder.”

And In These Times contains an essay by Christopher Hayes entitled “The Three Alitos.”

Posted at 7:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Political maneuvers”: The Baltimore Sun today contains an editorial that begins, “Stepping into another political minefield, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider the bizarre Texas redistricting case that has come to symbolize the raw abuse of power that sustains legislative incumbency.”

Posted at 7:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“This Land Is Not Your Land: Judges go wild.” Kimberley A. Strassel has this op-ed (free access) today in The Wall Street Journal.

Posted at 7:20 AM by Howard Bashman

“ACLU Leader Approved for City Homeless Panel; Council members back Ramona Ripston, but some criticize agency’s suit over city policies”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 7:15 AM by Howard Bashman