How Appealing

Thursday, March 22, 2007

“ALM on the block”: At the “LawBeat” blog, Mark Obbie has a post that begins, “The largest legal journalism company is for sale. Wasserstein & Co. – investment banker Bruce Wasserstein’s publishing sideline (his day job is as chairman and CEO of Lazard) – announced in this release that it’s shopping ALM after 10 years of highly leveraged ownership.”

You can access a related press release at this link. I noted this development here earlier today.

Posted at 11:35 PM by Howard Bashman

In Friday’s edition of The New York Times: An article will report that “New to Pentagon, Gates Argued for Closing Guantanamo Prison.” According to the article, “Mr. Gates’s arguments were rejected after Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and some other government lawyers expressed strong objections to moving detainees to the United States, a stance that was backed by the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, administration officials said.”

And tomorrow’s newspaper will also contain articles headlined “U.S. Attorney in Michigan Disputes Reason for Removal” and “Prosecutors in a Past Life, Sleuths of the Senate Now.”

Posted at 11:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Bongwater Into Whine: Drug warriors push broad censorship of student speech.” Jacob Sullum has this essay online at Reason.

Posted at 10:11 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justice Weaver slams majority; ‘Misleading’ minutes creating a ‘power block?'” This article appears today in The Traverse City (Mich.) Record-Eagle.

And yesterday’s edition of The Detroit Free Press contained an article headlined “Michigan Supreme Court judge assails colleagues” that begins, “Dissident Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver issued another broadside against four of her colleagues on the court late Tuesday, accusing them of abusing the process by which the court publishes minutes of its administrative proceedings. Weaver issued a 24-page memorandum she described as a dissent to minutes approved by the court on March 14, and attached a letter to Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature renewing her request for a review of what she calls abuse of power by the court majority.”

At her personal web site, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver has posted both her “Statement to Governor and State Legislature March 20, 2007” and “Justice Weaver’s Dissent to the March 14, 2007 Approval of Minutes Concerning Rules for Disqualification of Justices.”

Posted at 8:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Does the prospect of arranged marriage and abuse warrant asylum in the US? An immigration judge said no, but an appeals court panel found a valid fear of persecution.” Warren Richey will have this article Friday in The Christian Science Monitor about a case that the federal government is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review.

Posted at 8:10 PM by Howard Bashman

“Child Online Protection Act Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Judge”: Shannon P. Duffy of The Legal Intelligencer provides this news update (free access).

Posted at 3:18 PM by Howard Bashman

“We agree with the reasoning used by the majority of courts and subscribe to their conclusion that a sentencing court may not deviate from the 100:1 crack-powder ratio based solely upon its belief that the policies underpinning that sentencing regime are misguided or unfair.” So concludes a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a per curiam opinion issued today.

Today’s decision notes that the District of Columbia and Third Circuits have disagreed with the result that the Fifth Circuit reaches today. I linked to those circuits’ decisions to the contrary in this earlier post.

Posted at 2:54 PM by Howard Bashman

“Congress May Examine Guam Prosecutor Case; U.S. Attorney Was Demoted After Abramoff Probe”: Lawrence Hurley has this article today in The Daily Journal of California.

Posted at 12:24 PM by Howard Bashman

Available from Sidney Blumenthal has an essay entitled “What Bush is hiding: In the U.S. attorney scandal, Alberto Gonzales gave orders, but he also took them — from Karl Rove, who plotted to turn the federal criminal justice system into the Republican Holy Office of the Inquisition.”

And Mark Follman, Alex Koppelman, and Jonathan Vanian have an essay entitled “How U.S. attorneys were used to spread voter-fraud fears: Long before it fired eight U.S. attorneys for political reasons, the Bush administration had politicized their jobs by making them push a favorite GOP talking point.”

Posted at 10:55 AM by Howard Bashman

“Lawsuit: Clinic Used Wrong Sperm.” The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A couple can proceed with a lawsuit against a fertility clinic they filed after the wife gave birth to a daughter whose skin they thought was too dark to be their child, a judge has ruled.”

The New York Daily News today contains an article headlined “What a mess, baby: Parents say fertility clinic botched in-vitro & girl’s got the wrong dad.”

And The New York Post reports today that “Black Baby is Born to White Pair.”

Posted at 10:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Judge Blocks 1998 Online Porn Law”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A federal judge on Thursday dealt another blow to government efforts to control Internet pornography, striking down a 1998 U.S. law that makes it a crime for commercial Web site operators to let children access ‘harmful’ material. In the ruling, the judge said parents can protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means that do not limit the rights of others to free speech.”

You can access today’s ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania at this link.

The court’s opinion begins:

At issue in this case is the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. §231 (“COPA”) and whether this court should issue a permanent injunction against its enforcement due to its alleged constitutional infirmities. COPA provides both criminal and civil penalties for transmitting sexually explicit materials and communications over the World Wide Web (“Web”) which are available to minors and harmful to them. 47 U.S.C. §231(a). After a trial on the merits, for the reasons that follow, notwithstanding the compelling interest of Congress in protecting children from sexually explicit material on the Web, I conclude today that COPA facially violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs because: (1) at least some of the plaintiffs have standing; (2) COPA is not narrowly tailored to Congress’ compelling interest; (3) defendant has failed to meet his burden of showing that COPA is the least restrictive, most effective alternative in achieving the compelling interest; and (3) COPA is impermissibly vague and overbroad. As a result, I will issue a permanent injunction against the enforcement of COPA.

Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr. is the author of the decision.

Posted at 10:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Can commas shoot down gun control? A grammarian takes issue with a court decision that picks apart clauses of the 2nd Amendment.” Dennis Baron has this op-ed today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:57 AM by Howard Bashman

“Chinese wife goes after Yahoo to free her husband from prison”: The Washington Times contains this article today.

Earlier this month, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “Dissident’s wife may sue Yahoo; She alleges company ‘betrayed’ husband, sentenced to 10 years in Chinese prison.”

Wired News provided a report headlined “‘Yahoo Betrayed My Husband.’

And Voice of America News reported that “Wife of Chinese Cyber Dissident to Sue Yahoo.”

Posted at 8:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Panel is asked to suggest names for SJC; Field ‘wide open’ to replace Sosman”: This article appears today in The Boston Globe.

Posted at 8:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“House Panel Authorizes Subpoenas Of Officials; White House Again Says Aides Will Not Testify”: The Washington Post today contains this front page article, along with a front page article headlined “Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case.” And an editorial is entitled “Political Spectacle: President Bush and Congress should step back from a confrontation that makes them both look bad.”

The Los Angeles Times reports today that “House panel ignores Bush’s subpoena warning; The Judiciary Committee chairman is authorized to order testimony and documents but can keep negotiating with the White House” and “Bush loyalist among fired U.S. attorneys; Threatened controversy over a poor evaluation of federal prosecutor Kevin Ryan in San Francisco derailed plans to retain him.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “Let Rove testify: Bush should compromise with congressional Democrats about testimony from his advisors.”

The New York Times reports that “Democrats See a ‘Document Gap’ in Dismissals.” And columnist David Brooks has an op-ed entitled “A Proper Distinction” (TimesSelect temporary pass-through link).

The Chicago Tribune reports that “Legal experts see compromise; Bush faces battle over aides’ testimony.”

The Boston Globe reports that “Bush vows fight as subpoenas authorized; Showdown looms on firing of prosecutors.” And an editorial is entitled “Let in the light.”

USA Today reports that “3 fired prosecutors were in top 10 for convictions, federal data show; Justice Department spokesman says rankings skewed.”

The Washington Times reports that “Subpoenas OK’d, but not issued.”

The Wall Street Journal contains an editorial entitled “Subpoena Assault: Congress’s real goal is crippling the Bush Presidency” (free access).

And The St. Petersburg Times contains an editorial entitled “To get at truth, put them under oath.”

Posted at 8:17 AM by Howard Bashman