How Appealing

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

“These consolidated appeals arise out of the violent collapse of the Texas A&M University bonfire stack on November 18, 1999, which killed 12 students and injured 27 others.” So begins an opinion that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued today.

And the opinion ends, “For these reasons, we conclude that defendants are entitled to qualified immunity from suit based on plaintiffs’ section 1983 claims, and we therefore AFFIRM the summary judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiffs’ complaints.”

Posted at 11:20 PM by Howard Bashman

In Wednesday’s edition of The Christian Science Monitor: Warren Richey will report that “US Supreme Court reviews limits on political ads; Campaign-finance and free-speech issues are involved, and the case could reveal dynamics at the high court.”

And Gail Russell Chaddock will have an article headlined “Bush, Congress reach for war’s reins; The showdown this week between President Bush and Congress on war funding is a constitutional issue over who controls the military.”

Posted at 8:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“Analysis: Limits on Bush’s Loyalty?” The AP provides a news analysis that begins, “Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has fewer and fewer supporters in Washington, but he’s got the one who counts. The question is: Why does President Bush back him so strongly when so many other Republicans think Gonzales should quit?”

Posted at 5:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Preliminary Analysis of Oral Argument in Beck ERISA Fiduciary Case”: Paul M. Secunda has this post at “Workplace Prof Blog.”

Posted at 5:25 PM by Howard Bashman

Establishment Clause challenge to Bible monument located on the grounds of the Harris County Civil Courthouse is moot, en banc Fifth Circuit rules: You can access today’s en banc ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit at this link. Three judges dissent from the en banc court’s mootness holding, while two judges dissent from the en banc court’s refusal to vacate the federal district court’s judgment.

According to that second dissent, “Properly framed, the question is whether vacatur is appropriate when voluntary action taken by an appellant moots a case, but the action taken is completely unrelated to the litigation. The question should be answered in the affirmative. Admittedly, the few vacatur rules given to us by the Supreme Court do not directly answer the question, and our Court has not yet squarely addressed it. However, every other circuit court to address the issue has determined that vacatur is appropriate under such circumstances.”

I wrote about this case in the September 5, 2006 installment of my weekly “On Appeal” column for, headlined “Monument at Houston Courthouse Tests the Limits of Ten Commandments Rulings.”

Posted at 3:00 PM by Howard Bashman

In opposing the ADA claims of proposed local package delivery van drivers who are hard of hearing, UPS obtains rehearing en banc from Ninth Circuit: Back on October 11, 2006, Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle had an article headlined “Deaf drivers due a chance at UPS jobs, court says; Some may be as safe as rivals with normal hearing, ruling holds.” The article begins, “Deaf people who are qualified to drive in every state should have a chance to drive small delivery trucks for United Parcel Service if they show they are as safe behind the wheel as employees with normal hearing, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a federal judge’s ruling two years ago that UPS, the world’s largest private package carrier, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by refusing to allow deaf employees to compete for jobs driving its smaller trucks, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less.”

Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon issued that ruling on behalf of a unanimous three-judge Ninth Circuit panel. Yet Judge Berzon was the only active Ninth Circuit judge on that panel, and apparently some of her colleagues on that court were less than enthusiastic about the ruling, as today the Ninth Circuit issued an order granting rehearing en banc in the case.

Posted at 2:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Thomas Recusal Mystery Solved”: At “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Tony Mauro has a post that begins, “For the last two years, Justice Clarence Thomas has consistently recused himself in cases in which Wachovia Bank is a party — most notably the landmark decision last week in Watters v. Wachovia Bank, a win for federal regulation of national bank subsidiaries.”

Posted at 2:23 PM by Howard Bashman

“High Court Weighs Tax Immunity Question”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Supreme Court justices cast a skeptical eye Tuesday on claims that U.N. diplomats should not pay property taxes to New York City, despite a lawyer’s warning that a ruling for the city could mean higher bills for U.S. sites around the world.”

Posted at 2:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Anti-affirmative action ballot issue proposed; Measure could be the hot-button issue of ’08 election cycle”: The Rocky Mountain News contains this article today.

The Denver Post reports today that “Race, sex emphasis in Colo. targeted; Vote eyed to quash affirmative action.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that “Affirmative action may be bound for ballots.”

And The Washington Times reports that “Colorado takes aim at race, sex preferences.”

Posted at 12:05 PM by Howard Bashman

“In a hole, still digging: Embattled attorney general did himself no favors with evasive, contradictory testimony to Senate panel.” This editorial appears today in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Chicago Tribune today contains an editorial entitled “The man who was not there.” In addition, Law Professor Douglas W. Kmiec has an op-ed entitled “Gonzales case merely a footnote.”

And in The Boston Globe, columnist Peter S. Canellos has an essay entitled “Support of Gonzales affirms power play.”

Posted at 10:54 AM by Howard Bashman

“SJC sends tobacco-money dispute to arbitration panel; State says it is owed $60 million”: The Boston Globe today contains an article that begins, “The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that a dispute over whether two major tobacco companies have shortchanged Massachusetts by some $60 million in settlement payments over the past two years must be resolved by an arbitration panel, rather than by a state judge.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts at this link.

Posted at 10:24 AM by Howard Bashman

“Vote could end Mexico’s abortion subculture; If lawmakers decide this week to legalize the procedure, it could signal the demise of a thriving herbal, medicinal and surgical black market”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:42 AM by Howard Bashman

“Case against University of Phoenix stands; The Supreme Court refuses to throw out a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging loan fraud”: Henry Weinstein has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:41 AM by Howard Bashman

“Are passengers ‘seized’ during a police stop? Supreme Court to decide; Justices to decide search rights of passengers when a driver is pulled over.” David G. Savage has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“Reliability of execution drugs is in question; The faulty administration of two of the three chemicals leaves some inmates suffocating and conscious, a report says”: The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.

Posted at 8:37 AM by Howard Bashman

“Miers weighed Yang’s firing according to Sen. Feinstein”: This article appears today in The Hill.

The Los Angeles Times today contains articles headlined “Bush endorses attorney general’s testimony on firings; Gonzales ‘increased my confidence in his ability to do the job,’ president says; But others wonder if the White House fears Rove could be targeted” and “Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry; The Office of Special Counsel will investigate U.S. attorney firings and other political activities led by Karl Rove.”

The Washington Times reports that “Gonzales vows to stay in attorney general job.”

Bloomberg News reports that “Bush’s ‘Confidence’ May Not Equal Job Security for Gonzales.”

And today’s installment of Dana Milbank’s “Washington Sketch” column in The Washington Post is headlined “Identity Theft? Gonzales Might Know Something About That.” The newspaper also contains an editorial entitled “Hearing Problem: What will it take for the president to lose faith in Alberto Gonzales?

Posted at 8:25 AM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Denounced in Medical Journal”: Bloomberg News provides a report that begins, “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was an intrusion by government into the practice of medicine, said doctors writing for the New England Journal of Medicine.”

Reuters provides a report headlined “Supreme Court abortion rule chills doctors: journal.”

And The Washington Post today contains an article headlined “Va. Law to Be Reconsidered In Wake of High Court Ruling; State’s Ban on Procedure Overturned in 2005” that begins, “The Supreme Court decision upholding the federal ban on a controversial abortion procedure started playing out in Virginia yesterday, as the justices ordered a Richmond-based appellate court to reconsider the state law it struck down barring the procedure.”

Posted at 8:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Countries Seek Immunity From NYC Lawsuit”: The Associated Press reports here that “The Supreme Court was to hear arguments Tuesday from lawyers representing India and Mongolia, which are fighting New York’s effort to collect property taxes from nations that operate diplomatic offices and house their employees in the same buildings.”

Posted at 8:12 AM by Howard Bashman

“At Trial, Pain Has a Witness”: Today in The New York Times, John Tierney has an article that begins, “William E. Hurwitz, the prominent doctor on trial here for drug trafficking, spent more than two days on the witness stand last week telling a jury why he had prescribed painkillers to patients who turned out to be drug dealers and addicts. But the clearest explanation of his actions — and of the problem facing patients who are in pain — came earlier in the trial.”

Posted at 8:07 AM by Howard Bashman