How Appealing

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Programming note: Tomorrow I’ll be attending this event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Because the event gets underway early, and because the U.S. Constitution’s framers neglected to enshrine the right to free, publicly-accessible wireless internet access, this blog won’t be updated again until late in the day on Friday. By then, I will have earned five hours of CLE credit and had lunch in Chinatown with Ben Wittes.

Fortunately, the brand new issue of the Harvard Law Review is all about celebrating the judicial greatness of Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner. You can access lots of interesting reading material from that issue, to keep you busy until I return to the keyboard, via this link.

Update: Wittes’s forthcoming book, about the federal appellate courts, sounds quite interesting. More details definitely to follow.

Posted at 11:30 PM by Howard Bashman

Available online from National Public Radio: This evening’s broadcast of “All Things Considered” contained audio segments entitled “Former Gonzales Deputy Contradicts Boss’s Story” and “Specter: Gonzales ‘Likely Knew’ of Confirmation Plan.”

Today’s broadcast of “Talk of the Nation” contained an audio segment entitled “Gonzales: What’s the Country Saying?” featuring David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times.

Today’s broadcast of “Day to Day” contained an audio segment entitled “Former Gonzales Aide Appears Before Congress” featuring Dahlia Lithwick.

And today’s broadcast of “Morning Edition” contained audio segments entitled “Sampson to Testify on Fired Prosecutors“; “Goodling’s ‘Fifth’ No Win for White House“; and “Senate Bypassed on Many Key Justice Jobs.”

RealPlayer is required to launch these audio segments.

Posted at 11:07 PM by Howard Bashman

“Harris County civil judge nominated to federal bench”: The Houston Chronicle provides a news update that begins, “A Harris County civil court judge was nominated today to fill a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The White House has tapped Jennifer Walker Elrod to replace retiring Judge Patrick Higginbotham. To get the seat, she will have to be confirmed by the Senate. Elrod, 40, has presided over the 190th State District Court since 2002. She ran for re-election unopposed last year.”

Posted at 10:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Neither the text of the Sixth Amendment nor the history of murder trials supports the extension of the Confrontation Clause to testimony relevant only to penalty selection in a capital case.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today upheld a federal death sentence in a decision in which the three-judge panel divided 2-1 over the Confrontation Clause issue.

On the Confrontation Clause point, Circuit Judge Jerry E. Smith wrote the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King joined.

Circuit Judge Fortunato P. Benavides — who wrote the balance of the lengthy majority opinion rejecting the remainder of the defendant’s challenges to the conviction and sentence — dissented on the Confrontation Clause issue, writing: “I would find that the Confrontation Clause applies to capital sentencing as it is structured under the FDPA and remand this case for resentencing.”

This is a very lengthy and, at first glance, quite interesting decision.

Posted at 10:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“US detainee tribunals notch wins, raise concerns: Successes include David Hicks’s guilty plea this week. But experts say the process is riddled with problems.” Warren Richey will have this article Friday in The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted at 6:03 PM by Howard Bashman

On certified question from the Second Circuit, New York State’s highest court holds that statements made by an employer on a National Association of Securities Dealers employee termination notice are subject to an absolute privilege in a defamation lawsuit: You can access today’s ruling of the Court of Appeals of New York, that State’s highest court, at this link.

The Second Circuit’s decision certifying this issue to the Court of Appeals of New York can be accessed here.

Posted at 3:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Appeals Court Upholds NWA Strike Ban”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld an injunction barring a strike by flight attendants at Northwest Airlines Corp., which is operating under bankruptcy court protection.”

You can access today’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit at this link.

Posted at 3:05 PM by Howard Bashman

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issues decisions involving child-sex tourism and nude pictures of women: In a decision issued today, the Ninth Circuit examines whether a U.S. citizen who began living in Cambodia in 2002, and who in late June 2003 had sex with underage boys there, could be convicted of violating a federal law enacted on April 30, 2003 intended to punish any U.S. citizen “who travels in foreign commerce, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person.” The Ninth Circuit affirms the dismissal of the indictment, holding that the statute “only proscribes the conduct of an individual ‘who travels in foreign commerce’ after the enactment of the statute. Because [the defendant’s] travel had ended by April 30, 2003, he is not covered by the provision.”

And in a separate decision issued today, the Ninth Circuit decides whether defendants sued by Perfect 10, which publishes an adult magazine and operates a subscription-only website, are protected from copyright infringement claims under the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Posted at 1:30 PM by Howard Bashman

View live, online, this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?–Part III.” The hearing, featuring D. Kyle Sampson, former Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of the United States, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. eastern time.

You can watch live, online, via either the committee’s own webcast feed (RealPlayer required) or via C-SPAN3 (using either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player).

As I noted here last night, the prepared text of Sampson’s opening statement can be accessed at this link.

Posted at 9:52 AM by Howard Bashman

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice has reportedly refused invitation to attend event at Duquesne University School of Law honoring Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. because one law professor there has been a harsh critic of decision upholding Pennsylvania’s judicial pay raise: The Philadelphia Inquirer today contains an article headlined “Supreme rebuke for lawyer who took on Pa. high court.”

The Harrisburg Patriot-News reports today that “Justice threatened sanctions, courts critic says.”

And The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today that “Law professor keeping heat on Supreme Court.”

I previously mentioned Justice Alito’s forthcoming visit to Duquesne in this post.

Posted at 9:35 AM by Howard Bashman

“Did Nominee Super-Seal Case? Possible Role In Secret Litigation Questioned.” Today in The Hartford Courant, Lynne Tuohy has an article that begins, “The judicial branch is taking unusual measures to expedite release of information on whether chief justice nominee Chase T. Rogers ‘super-sealed’ one of two court cases involving the same parties in January 2000.”

Posted at 9:28 AM by Howard Bashman

“A man and his protest sign — key in case involving police car at anti-war rally; Only demonstrator charged in incident says he was a ‘scapegoat'”: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, “Gabriel Meyers and his Styrofoam sign will probably end up as footnotes in the story of Josh Wolf, another formerly anonymous political dissident who has become the longest-ever imprisoned journalist in the United States. But Meyers has paid his own price for his brush with history.”

Posted at 9:20 AM by Howard Bashman

“D.A.s can be sued over jailhouse informants, court finds; Ruling in the case of a man wrongly convicted in slaying, U.S. 9th Circuit finds that district attorneys aren’t immune from claims for failing to establish policies and procedures on such witnesses”: Today in The Los Angeles Times, Henry Weinstein has this article reporting on a ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued yesterday.

Posted at 9:12 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ex-Aide to Say Others at Justice Knew of Firings; Department Apologizes to Hill For Any ‘Inaccurate’ Information”: This article appears today in The Washington Post. In addition, Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt have an op-ed entitled “The Myth Of Voter Fraud.”

Today in The Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage reports that “Gonzales feels heat from GOP senators.” The newspaper also reports that “Former Justice official defends firings; The attorney general’s former chief of staff testifies today before Congress about the role of politics in dismissals.” An editorial is entitled “Sacrificial Lam: Firing U.S. attorneys over politics is bad; Firing them over immigration politics, as may have happened to Carol Lam, is even worse.” And Joseph D. Rich has an op-ed entitled “Bush’s long history of tilting Justice: The administration began skewing federal law enforcement before the current U.S. attorney scandal.”

In The Boston Globe, Charlie Savage has articles headlined “AG’s top aide expected to back firings; To testify today in D.C. probe” and “Insider’s sudden downfall in prosecutors’ case familiar to D.C.” The newspaper also contains an article headlined “Kennedy: Justice firings are keyed to ’08 vote.” And Stanley I. Kutler has an op-ed entitled “The ‘executive privilege’ dodge.”

USA Today reports that “February letter shows Justice Dept. misled investigators.”

And The Washington Times contains articles headlined “Ex-Gonzales aide to testify today” and “Gonzales receives mixed Hispanic support.”

Posted at 8:55 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Right to Sue Vs. Suing Too Easily; Supreme Court Considers Limits To Investors’ Complaints of Fraud”: Robert Barnes and Carrie Johnson have this article today in The Washington Post.

Posted at 8:45 AM by Howard Bashman

“Prosecutors’ Slip Keeps Money in Limbo; Court Refuses Restitution Order for Mogul, Says Plea Deal Cites Incorrect Law”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

Posted at 8:44 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ousted Judge in Pakistan Urges Musharraf to ‘Respect’ Judiciary”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “In his first public appearance since he was suspended as chief justice nearly three weeks ago, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry insisted Wednesday that the government ‘respect and observe the independence of judiciary.'”

And The Washington Post reports today that “Ousted Chief Justice Speaks Out in Pakistan; Protesting Lawyers Hail Judge as Hero, Call on President Musharraf to Resign.”

Posted at 7:44 AM by Howard Bashman

“Colleagues Help S.D. Judge Stay on Bench”: The Associated Press provides a report from South Dakota that begins, “Supreme Court watchers often speculate about aging justices holding off retirement until the election of a president who will pick an ideologically similar replacement. But some Washington conservatives are questioning whether a federal district judge here is doing the same thing – and getting help from two colleagues who have added some of his cases to their own already heavy caseloads.”

Posted at 7:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ex-her might be him, but alimony same”: The St. Petersburg Times today contains an article that begins, “In a mixed ruling for Florida’s transgendered community, a state circuit judge Wednesday dismissed a Seminole man’s request to halt alimony payments because his ex-wife had a sex change. Judge Jack R. St. Arnold knocked down both of Lawrence Roach’s arguments: that he shouldn’t have to pay alimony because his ex-wife is now a man and therefore legally dead and the argument that it is illegal for a man to pay alimony to a man because Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage.”

Posted at 6:38 AM by Howard Bashman