How Appealing

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

“Paul Horwitz on Jeopardy this Wednesday March 21st!!” Dan Markel recently had this post at “PrawfsBlawg.” I just watched the broadcast here in Philadelphia, and I’m pleased to report that Paul did a great job and has set the bar high for any future blogging law professors who will appear on the show.

Posted at 7:32 PM by Howard Bashman

“Schools 4 free thinkers: In the Supreme Court case over ‘Bong hits 4 Jesus,’ both sides are wrong.” Jonathan Zimmerman will have this op-ed Thursday in The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 6:02 PM by Howard Bashman

“Cost-Conscious Federal Courts Trim Needs, Ask for FY 2008 Funding”: The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has today issued a news release that begins, “The federal courts today asked Congress for enough funding to cover basic operating costs in Fiscal Year 2008, while assuring both Houses that the federal Judiciary is doing its part to contain costs and enhance productivity.”

Posted at 5:35 PM by Howard Bashman

We be jammin’ (and we also be overturnin’ our jammin’ conviction): The Associated Press today provides a report that begins, “State Democrats want Congress to investigate whether politics delayed prosecution of a Republican phone-jamming plot in New Hampshire until after the 2004 presidential election. The national furor over alleged politics in the firings of eight federal prosecutors prompted the move, state party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The scheme devised by state and national Republicans jammed local Democratic ride-to-the-polls and a nonpartisan get-out-the-vote phone bank for about 90 minutes on Election Day 2002, the year of a hotly contested U.S. Senate race between then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, and then-U.S. Rep. John Sununu, a Republican, who won. The case resulted in four criminal convictions, including that of strategist James Tobin, of Bangor, Maine, who was New England chairman of President Bush’s re-election campaign two years later.”

And back in May 2006, The Washington Post published an article headlined “GOP Official Faces Sentence in Phone-Jamming; Democratic Lines Were Blocked in 2002 as New Hampshire Elected U.S. Senator.” The GOP official in question was James Tobin.

Today, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued this ruling overturning Tobin’s conviction and sentence and sending the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Posted at 5:07 PM by Howard Bashman

There’s still time to register to attend the first annual Matthew J. Ryan Law and Public Policy Forum on the topic “Judicial Independence: Crisis and Opportunity.” Two Fridays from now, on March 30, 2007, this event featuring current and former judges, law professors, and even a journalist or two will be held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Thanks to friend of “How Appealing” Ben Wittes for the heads-up. I am planning to attend. According to the registration brochure that I’ve posted online, five hours of Pennsylvania CLE credit are available, and the registration fee is just $100.

Posted at 4:45 PM by Howard Bashman

“The Washington Back Channel”: In this upcoming Sunday’s edition of The New York Times Magazine, Max Frankel will have an article (TimesSelect temporary pass-through link) about the Scooter Libby trial that begins, “So there I sat, watching the United States government in all its majesty dragging into court the American press (in all its piety), forcing reporters to betray confidences, rifling their files and notebooks, making them swear to their confused memories and motives and burdening their bosses with hefty legal fees — all for the high-sounding purpose, yet again, of protecting our nation’s secrets. Top-secret secrets! In wartime!”

Update: Non-TimesSelect subscribers can freely access the article by clicking here.

Posted at 4:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Morgan Stanley wins reversal of $1.58 bln award”: Reuters provides a report that begins, “Morgan Stanley won a major victory on Wednesday when a divided Florida state appeals court threw out a $1.58 billion award to billionaire Ronald Perelman over his 1998 sale of camping equipment company Coleman Co. to Sunbeam Corp.”

The Palm Beach Post provides a news update headlined “Court throws out verdict against Morgan Stanley for Perelman.”

Bloomberg News reports that “Morgan Stanley Wins on Perelman’s $1.57 Billion Award.”

And MarketWatch reports that “Florida court rejects $1.57 bln verdict vs Morgan Stanley.”

You can access at this link today’s ruling of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Posted at 4:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Do the Justices have writer’s block? the blue flu? spring (training) fever?” Doug Berman has this post today at “Sentencing Law and Policy.”

Posted at 3:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“No word yet on whether Fartman plans to appeal to the Supreme Court. (But I wouldn’t hold my breath).” So concludes a post titled “Court rules for Pull My Finger Fred, against Fartman” at the blog “27B Stroke 6” hosted by Wired News.

My coverage of yesterday’s Seventh Circuit ruling appears at this link.

For those readers who can’t get enough of the case, also freely available online are the briefs and appendices (via this link) and the oral argument audio (mp3 file; right click and save to disk)

Posted at 3:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Judicial Disclosures Off to Slow Start”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A new requirement that federal judges promptly tell the public about their expense-paid trips has so far produced no disclosures, a judicial ethics watchdog group said Wednesday. The change went into effect Jan. 1, requiring sponsors of trips to report in advance who is paying for judges’ travel and lodging at private seminars. The information is supposed to be made available promptly to the public.”

The article reports on a press release titled “Records Show U.S. Courts’ Staff Slow-Walking New Junkets Reporting Rules, ExxonMobil Reaping Benefits” issued today by the organization Community Rights Counsel. Two additional, related CRC news releases issued today are titled “CRC Review Finds New Judicial Openness Policy Opening Little For Public; After Nearly Three Months, New Junkets Reporting Standard Has Produced Nothing From Judges” and “Exxon, Punitive Damages, and Judicial Junkets.”

Update: At “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Tony Mauro has a related post titled “Judicial Junket Update.”

Posted at 3:23 PM by Howard Bashman

“Before the court are consolidated petitions for review which challenge an order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) preempting state regulation of telecommunication services which utilize a relatively new technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).” So begins a decision that a two-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued today. The decision rejects one challenge as unripe and rejects all of the other challenges on the merits.

Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“E-Mails Shed Light on Inner Workings at Justice; Behind the Scenes Tough Scrutiny of U.S. Attorneys by Top DOJ Officials”: Lawrence Hurley has this article (free access) today in The Daily Journal of California.

Posted at 11:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“E-mail trail shows power struggle behind US attorneys’ firings; Newly released documents show the White House sought the upper hand over US prosecutors and Congress”: This article appears today in The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 10:30 AM by Howard Bashman