How Appealing

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

“The Supreme Court, 2006 Term”: The contents of the November 2007 issue of The Harvard Law Review can be accessed via this link. The issue contains a comment from Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III titled “The Seattle and Louisville School Cases: There is no Other Way.”

The “leading cases” discussion of last Term’s punitive damages ruling in Philip Morris USA v. Williams seemed just a bit overblown in its condemnation of the decision.

Posted at 10:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“This appeal presents the question of whether student speech that threatens a Columbine-style attack on a school is protected by the First Amendment.” So begins a decision that a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued today.

The Fifth Circuit’s opinion holds that “when a student threatens violence against a student body, his words are as much beyond the constitutional pale as yelling ‘fire’ in crowded theater, and such specific threatening speech to a school or its population is unprotected by the First Amendment. School administrators must be permitted to react quickly and decisively to address a threat of physical violence against their students, without worrying that they will have to face years of litigation second-guessing their judgment as to whether the threat posed a real risk of substantial disturbance.”

Posted at 10:14 PM by Howard Bashman

“Moussaoui Judge Questions Government”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “A federal judge expressed frustration Tuesday that the government provided incorrect information about evidence in the prosecution of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and raised the possibility of ordering a new trial in another high-profile terrorism case. At a post-trial hearing Tuesday for Ali al-Timimi, a Muslim cleric from Virginia sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for soliciting treason, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she can no longer trust the CIA and other government agencies on how they represent classified evidence in terror cases.”

Posted at 7:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“The Supreme Court’s Wrong Turn — And How to Fix It: After posing as moderates in their confirmation hearings, Justices Roberts and Alito have moved the Court radically to the right; Henceforth, we should compel nominees to state how they would have ruled on specific cases, and why.” U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) will have this essay in the December 2007 issue of The American Prospect.

Posted at 7:01 PM by Howard Bashman

“Author: Reform court nomination process; Princeton provost discusses Supreme Court appointments.” Today’s issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian contains an article that begins, “The Supreme Court has the constitutional right to declare the ‘supreme law of the land,’ so the appointment of justices is a crucial aspect of the American judicial system. However, according to Princeton provost Christopher Eisgruber, the current system is subpar and in dire need of reform. Eisgruber visited the Penn Bookstore yesterday to promote his new book, The Next Justice, in which he prescribes criteria for change by outlining four major points in the ‘broken’ appointment process that he says ought to be repaired quickly.”

Posted at 6:11 PM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Supreme Court won’t take Alamance County teen sex case”: This article appeared yesterday in The Burlington (N.C.) Times-News.

Posted at 6:08 PM by Howard Bashman

“Paterno’s salary is public, Supreme Court rules”: The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania provides a news update that begins, “The public has the right to know Joe Paterno’s salary, the state Supreme Court ruled today. The court, in a 4-2 decision, ruled that the State Employees’ Retirement System must release the salaries of Paterno and other Penn State University officials. This ruling stems from an open-records lawsuit filed by The Patriot-News that originated from a request for this information submitted in 2002 to the pension system.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Court says pay of Paterno, other PSU figures public.”

In response to the ruling, Penn State University has issued a press release entitled “Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules in favor of Patriot-News in state retirement system case.”

Today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania consists of a majority opinion and a dissenting opinion.

Posted at 6:03 PM by Howard Bashman

“Group asks Supreme Court to hear Ten Commandments case”: Geoffrey Fattah of The Deseret Morning News provides an update that begins, “A legal group based in Washington, D.C., announced Tuesday that it has filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision allowing a Utah religious group to erect its own monuments next to two displays of the Ten Commandments in Pleasant Grove and Duchesne cities.”

The American Center for Law and Justice has issued this press release in connection with the petition for writ of certiorari that it filed today.

My coverage of the Tenth Circuit‘s rulings (available online here and here) appeared at this link. And I covered the Tenth Circuit’s order denying rehearing en banc in a post you can access here.

Posted at 5:54 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justice Kennedy and the Second Amendment”: Orin Kerr, who recently clerked for Justice Kennedy, has this post at “The Volokh Conspiracy.”

Posted at 3:40 PM by Howard Bashman

What is the preemptive effect of the federal safety standards governing automobile glass? The preemptive effect of federal safety standards governing passenger restraints and airbags has been litigated extensively, but apparently today’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is the first to examine the preemptive effect of the federal safety standards governing automobile glass. It is unlikely that the automobile industry will view today’s ruling as a favorable development.

Posted at 3:28 PM by Howard Bashman

“May a Trial Court Force the Parties to Waive Appellate Review?” That was the title of the July 23, 2007 installment of my “On Appeal” column for

I orally argued the case that was the subject of that week’s column before a three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on October 2, 2007. Today, that panel issued a unanimous, precedential decision in my client’s favor.

Because that installment of my column generated a large volume of email from readers, I thought it might interest some to learn how the matter was resolved on appeal.

Posted at 2:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justices to rule on gun rights; The Supreme Court will determine whether the 2nd Amendment allows individuals to have a gun at home for self-defense”: David G. Savage of The Los Angeles Times provides this news update.

Posted at 2:23 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court agrees to rule on gun case”: Lyle Denniston has this post at “SCOTUSblog.”

Robert Barnes of The Washington Post has a news update headlined “High Court to Hear D.C. Gun Ban Case.”

The Associated Press provides reports headlined “Supreme Court Will Hear Guns Case“; “Court Takes Alabama Voting Rights Case“; and “Supreme Court to Rule on Union Law.”

Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News reports that “U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Rule on Constitutional Gun Rights.”

And Reuters reports that “High court to rule on D.C. handgun ban.”

You can access at this link today’s Order List of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The D.C. Circuit issued its Second Amendment ruling on March 9, 2007, and you can access the decision at this link. I wrote about the ruling in an installment of my “On Appeal” column headlined “State of the Second Amendment: Does It Apply in the District of Columbia?” You can access this blog’s earlier coverage of the D.C. Circuit’s ruling here, here, and here.

Posted at 1:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“California’s high court seeks death penalty fix; Justices propose to deal with the massive backlog by allowing case review to be transferred to lower courts”: Henry Weinstein has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports today that “State Supreme Court’s proposal would speed up Death Row appeals.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Court Seeks Altered Death Penalty Appeal.”

My earlier coverage appeared at this link.

Posted at 11:57 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ziegler allegations a ‘blip’; Other judges who were disciplined engaged in more egregious acts, appeals judge says”: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today contains an article that begins, “The conflict-of-interest allegations against state Supreme Court Justice Annette K. Ziegler hardly register as ‘a blip on the screen’ compared with other judicial ethics cases, one of the three judges reviewing Ziegler’s case said Monday.”

Today’s edition of The Wisconsin State Journal contains an article headlined “Attorney: Ziegler inadvertently violated ethics code.”

The Badger Herald reports that “State justice’s hearing commences.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Panel hears arguments in case of sitting Supreme Court justice.”

Posted at 11:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“U.S. Attorney for Minnesota to Leave Post; Paulose Was Facing Justice Dept. Probe”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The New York Times reports today that “Amid Turmoil, U.S. Attorney Will Shift to Headquarters.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that “Controversial U.S. attorney gets new post; The reassignment of Rachel Paulose, who clashed with career prosecutors in Minnesota, suggests the new attorney general seeks to quickly address Gonzales-era problems.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune contains articles headlined “Minnesota;s embattled U.S. attorney steps down; U.S. attorney was under fire from her staff and will take a post in D.C.“; “Now, focus is on getting office back on track; Paulose’s departure brought reactions from relief to silence from Minnesota’s delegation in Washington“; and “Politics could slow nomination of new Minnesota U.S. attorney; Paulose successor could easily serve out Bush term without confirmation.”

And The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that “Controversial U.S. prosecutor reassigned to D.C.; Tenure in Minnesota marred by complaints over management style, questions of cronyism.”

Posted at 10:20 AM by Howard Bashman

“Fundraising poses a challenge for UCI’s law school; Just as incoming Dean Erwin Chemerinsky finally gets his post locked in, a new obstacle awaits: raising millions of dollars to open the institution, without an alumni base.” The Los Angeles Times contains this article today.

Posted at 10:14 AM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme choice: Governor makes a great pick for high court.” The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner today contains an editorial that begins, “Congratulations to Fairbanksan Daniel E. Winfree, the newest Alaska Supreme Court justice. Gov. Sarah Palin named her first appointment to the court on Friday. Mr. Winfree is the 19th justice appointed to the state’s high court. For the first time in a decade, Fairbanks is home to a justice. The last Supreme Court justice from Fairbanks was Jay Rabinowitz, who retired 10 years ago due to the job’s age limit, which is 70.”

Posted at 8:28 AM by Howard Bashman

“Release Justice’s Secrets”: Today in The New York Times, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach and Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr. have an op-ed that begins, “Michael Mukasey has been confirmed as attorney general. But the profound moral, legal and constitutional issues raised at his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings are unresolved. Mr. Mukasey should open the door to their resolution by releasing the Justice Department’s long-secret legal opinions that have warped our fight against terrorism.”

Posted at 8:25 AM by Howard Bashman