How Appealing

Friday, May 11, 2007

“Precedent’s proper role”: In this post at “Balkinization,” Jack M. Balkin writes that he agrees with Justice Clarence Thomas: “Precedents that are not reasonable implementations of the original meaning of the constitutional text and its underlying principles deserve no special respect and should be discarded.”

Posted at 8:14 PM by Howard Bashman

“Should the Law Recognize Grandparents’ Changing Roles?” Solangel Maldonado has this post at “Concurring Opinions.”

Posted at 8:05 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justices OK 1925(b) Changes”: The Legal Intelligencer of Philadelphia provides this news update on a rule change of note to attorneys who handle appeals in Pennsylvania state courts.

You can access the rule as amended and advisory committee note at this link, while the order adopting the amended rule is here.

The pre-amendment Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1925(b) was the subject of two “Upon Further Review” columns that I wrote for The Legal Intelligencer. They were headlined “Pa. Supreme Court Rejects Opportunity To Relax Its Harsh Appellate Waiver Jurisprudence” and “Waiving Goodbye To Your Best Issues On Appeal.”

Posted at 5:57 PM by Howard Bashman

In Las Vegas state court, one judge bans another from the courthouse: The Las Vegas Review Journal today contains an article headlined “Judge Halverson banned from courthouse” that begins, “The District Court chief judge on Thursday banned District Judge Elizabeth Halverson from the county courthouse. In an administrative order, Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle said Halverson jeopardized security at the courthouse this week by bringing her own two bodyguards into the courthouse and allowing them to bypass security checks.”

You can access the online bio of the banned judge at this link.

Thanks to “Harmful Error” for the pointer.

Posted at 3:24 PM by Howard Bashman

“Fla. Judge Tosses Reporter Subpoenas”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A judge on Friday rejected a request from a death row inmate’s attorneys to force testimony and get notes from four journalists who covered a botched execution late last year. Circuit Judge Carven Angel ruled that the attorneys for death row inmate Ian Deco Lightbourne must first seek information from some of the 19 other people who witnessed the execution of Angel Diaz, whose death took 34 minutes – twice as long as normal.”

Posted at 3:04 PM by Howard Bashman

“Second Kates”: At National Review Online, Fred Thompson has an essay that begins, “If you care about constitutional law, and everybody should, the big news is that it looks as if the Supreme Court is going to hear a Second Amendment case some time next year.”

Posted at 2:45 PM by Howard Bashman

Available from Frances Kissling has an essay entitled “Why I won’t stay silent anymore: By upholding the ban on ‘partial-birth’ abortion, the Supreme Court has injected rigid Catholic teaching into law; That’s a crime against the Constitution and women.”

Joe Conason has an essay entitled “Poor, poor Gonzales: Republicans, many of whom seem too dense to comprehend the damage he’s inflicting on the Justice Department, express sympathy for the attorney general’s ordeal.”

Mark Benjamin and Walter Shapiro have an essay entitled “‘All roads lead to the White House’: As Alberto Gonzales returns to Capitol Hill to testify, the whodunit at the heart of the U.S. attorneys scandal remains.”

And Garrett Epps has an essay entitled “Karl Rove’s big election-fraud hoax: Republican manipulation of the polls long predates the U.S. attorneys plot — and the U.S. voting system needs an overhaul.”

Posted at 2:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“New Job for Mrs. Roberts”: At “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Tony Mauro has a post that begins, “Lawyer Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has a new job — and it’s not at a law firm.”

Posted at 11:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Cuba Accuses U.S. of Violating Treaties”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Cuba accused the U.S. government on Friday of violating international anti-terrorism treaties by allowing Luis Posada Carriles, a man Havana accuses of violent acts against the country, to walk free of all charges after an immigration indictment against him was dropped.”

Posted at 11:28 AM by Howard Bashman

“Finally, we find no merit to Thibodeau’s argument that because the presumption of death in civil statutes specify time periods, criminal statutes by implication must as well in order to satisfy due process.” So says a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today, in rejecting a state prisoner’s habeas corpus appeal challenging as unconstitutionally vague a New York State statute that allows a jury to presume a kidnapping victim dead if the victim hasn’t been heard from since the time of abduction. You can access the ruling at this link.

Posted at 11:18 AM by Howard Bashman

Perhaps former Senator Santorum was right after all? The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington yesterday published an article headlined “Jurors reject dog-sex claim” that begins, “Michael Patrick McPhail might be the first person ever charged under a state law making bestiality a felony, but he won’t be the first person convicted of it. A Pierce County jury acquitted McPhail on Wednesday of first-degree animal cruelty. Prosecutors had contended McPhail had sex with the family dog in October.” Earlier, the newspaper reported that “Jury selection starts in case of man accused of bestiality.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Jury acquits first man charged under bestiality law.”

Earlier entries in this blog’s recurring “man on dog” series can be accessed here, here, here, and here.

Posted at 9:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“The U.S. government vs. Posada Carriles: Federal judge had ample grounds to dismiss charges.” This editorial appears today in The Miami Herald.

Today in The Los Angeles Times, columnist Rosa Brooks has an op-ed entitled “The terrorist we tolerate: The administration’s botched handling of Luis Posada Carriles says a lot about Bush’s so-called war on terror.”

And in The Washington Post, columnist Eugene Robinson has an op-ed entitled “Free Ride for a Likely Killer.”

Posted at 9:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“$2.75 million award for damages”: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, “A San Francisco jury has awarded $2.75 million in damages to the family of a woman who died of lung cancer after smoking cigarettes for 26 years, an award less than one-seventh the amount of a previous verdict that was overturned on appeal.”

Posted at 9:12 AM by Howard Bashman

“Exits of two U.S. attorneys didn’t slow probes of GOP lawmakers, sources say; Carol Lam in San Diego and Debra Wong Yang in L.A. reportedly had no direct involvement in the investigations”: The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer today contains an article headlined “McKay: Attorney General Gonzales must go; 2 fired prosecutors talk of ‘dark cloud’ over Justice Dept.” In addition, columnist Joe Connelly has an op-ed entitled “Lapses in memory, sagging morale symptoms of what ails Justice.”

And The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that “Biskupic was late add-on to firing list; U.S. attorney had low rating, Wisconsin representative says.”

Posted at 9:08 AM by Howard Bashman

“Pentagon charges Bin Laden’s former driver; Salim Ahmed Hamdan is to be tried before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Today in The Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg reports that “Driver for bin Laden to face charges; The Pentagon renewed a terrorism case against Osama bin Laden’s driver, resurrecting the conspiracy charge that he challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

And in The New York Times, Clyde Haberman’s “NYC” column is headlined “In Defense of the Right to a Defense” (TimesSelect temporary pass-through link).

Posted at 9:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Attorney general frustrates Democrats; Gonzales deflects most questions about prosecutor resignations and firings in House testimony”: The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.

The Washington Times reports today that “Gonzales hearing long on theatrics.”

McClatchy Newspapers report that “White House sought investigations of voter fraud allegations before elections.”

And today in The Washington Post, Dana Milbank’s “Washington Sketch” column is headlined “Another Hearing, Another Chance to Say Nothing.”

Posted at 9:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Giuliani’s bumbling on right-to-die issue”: The St. Petersburg Times today contains an editorial that begins, “Forget abortion rights. The opinions Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has now expressed on the right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo make him look both unprincipled and out of touch. That’s a clumsy combination.”

And today in The Washington Post, columnist Charles Krauthammer has an op-ed entitled “Giuliani’s Abortion ‘Gaffe’” that begins, “Legalizing abortion by judicial fiat (Roe v. Wade) instead of by democratic means has its price. One is that the issue remains socially unsettled. People take to the streets when they have been deprived of resort to legislative action. The other effect is to render the very debate hopelessly muddled. Instead of discussing what a decent society owes women and what it owes soon-to-be-born infants, and trying to balance the two by politically hammering out regulations that a broad national consensus can support, we debate the constitutional niceties of a 35-year-old, appallingly crafted Supreme Court decision.”

Posted at 8:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Gun laws carry on despite reversal”: The Washington Times today contains an article that begins, “Significant gun laws dating back to the 1930s remain in the D.C. Code despite a recent federal court decision that overturned sections of the District’s 30-year-old ban on handguns. For example, even if the gun ban is overturned, it will continue to be against the law to carry a gun outside the home in the District. Machine guns and sawed-off shotguns will remain illegal, gun sales by anyone other than a licensed dealer will still be prohibited, drug addicts and convicted felons will continue to be barred from buying or possessing guns, and it will still be against the law for unlicensed gun owners to possess ammunition.”

Posted at 8:45 AM by Howard Bashman

“Landmark Case Loses 2nd Judge; Sullivan Joins Chief Justice In Bowing Out Of Hearing Debate On Same-Sex Marriage”: Today in The Hartford Courant, Lynne Tuohy has an article that begins, “Senior Justice William J. Sullivan has removed himself from the panel of justices scheduled to hear arguments Monday in Connecticut’s landmark same-sex marriage case.”

Posted at 8:42 AM by Howard Bashman

“Court rules sex through use of fraud is not rape”: The Boston Globe today contains an article that begins, “A Hampden County man who allegedly tricked his brother’s girlfriend into having sex with him by impersonating his sibling in the middle of the night cannot be convicted of rape, the state’s highest court ruled yesterday in a controversial decision that affirms the court’s long-held view that sex obtained through fraud is no crime.”

And The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts reports today that “Impersonator avoids rape rap.”

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

Posted at 8:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“Justice Kennedy takes significant spot in the center; He wields crucial tiebreaking vote in Supreme Court”: Joan Biskupic has this article today in USA Today.

Posted at 8:07 AM by Howard Bashman

“Angel Raich drops medical pot case”: Today in The Oakland Tribune, Josh Richman has an article that begins, “Oakland medical marijuana patient and activist Angel Raich dropped her lawsuit against the federal government Thursday, ending a five-year legal odyssey which had taken her all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

And today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko reports that “Medical pot advocates suffer court setbacks; One case dropped; ruling bars defense claim in second.”

Posted at 8:04 AM by Howard Bashman