How Appealing

Friday, December 7, 2007

“Americans Held in Iraq Draw Justices’ Attention”: In Saturday’s edition of The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse will have an article that begins, “The Supreme Court, expanding its inquiry into the role of federal courts at a time of armed conflict, today accepted two cases testing whether federal judges have authority to prevent military officials in Iraq from turning United States citizens over to the Iraqis for criminal prosecution or punishment.”

Posted at 11:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Detention Retention: Think the Guantanamo detainees are all innocent? Think again.” Benjamin Wittes has this essay online at The New Republic.

Posted at 9:15 PM by Howard Bashman

“Is Breyer floating a Guantanamo solution? Supreme Court justice muses about ‘preventive detention.'” Tom Curry, national affairs writer for MSNBC, provides this written report.

Posted at 9:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Bush Does Not Recall Learning of Destroyed Tapes; Senate’s Second-Ranking Democrat Calls for Justice Dept. Probe”: The Washington Post provides this news update.

The New York Times provides a news update headlined “Democrats Call for Inquiry in Destruction of Tapes by C.I.A.

Time magazine’s web site contains articles headlined “CIA Tapes Furor: A Legacy of Mistrust” and “The Destroyed Tapes: A Boon for Conspiracy Theorists.”

This evening’s broadcast of NPR’s “All Things Considered” contained audio segments entitled “Congress Calls for Hearings About CIA Tapes“; “Fallout Grows from Destroyed CIA Tapes“; and “A View from Inside the CIA” (RealPlayer required).

And at the blog “Balkinization,” Marty Lederman has posts titled “Why’d They Do What They Did?“; “The Questions that Beg to Be Answered“; and “Where’s Rose Mary Woods When You Need Her?

Posted at 8:57 PM by Howard Bashman

“Kennedy’s Turn Signals”: At her “Legalities” blog, ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg has a post that begins, “Throughout [Wednesday’s] argument in the Guantanamo detainee cases, all eyes were focused, of course, on Justice Kennedy. With the Court presumably divided 4-4 along ideological lines, Kennedy once again is at the wheel, deciding where he’s going to take the car.”

Posted at 8:37 PM by Howard Bashman

“Suspect Detained in Paris Office Bombing”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “Police detained a suspect in an overnight raid in connection with the deadly explosion of a parcel bomb at a Paris law firm, and they have ruled out terrorism, officials said Friday.”

And in earlier coverage, today’s edition of The New York Times reports that “Package Bomb Kills 1 in Paris.”

Posted at 5:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“Rush to judgment on Limbaugh”: In this post at “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Tony Mauro confirms via an interview with Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh that he would resign from the federal judiciary if his son were confirmed to that same court.

The father’s federal judicial center biography reveals that he holds one of those unusual appointments where he serves as a U.S. District Judge on both the Eastern District of Missouri and the Western District of Missouri. If only there were some way to retire as a Judge only from the Eastern District, then the father could stay on in the Western District.

Posted at 3:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Alleged ‘shakedown’ defended as valid tactic”: Today’s edition of The San Antonio Express-News contains an article that begins, “Four married men who paid thousands of dollars to keep a lid on their sexual romps with lawyer Mary S. Roberts saw her husband’s creative response to her infidelity as a ‘shakedown.’ But an accomplished fellow attorney Thursday characterized Ted H. Roberts’ demands for money as a standard part of civil litigation.”

Yesterday’s newspaper, meanwhile, contained an article headlined “Men testify how they were duped by Roberts, husband.”

Posted at 2:50 PM by Howard Bashman

Anti-nepotism, and why a judge on a state’s highest court might resign to accept a federal district court judgeship: A reader who follows these matters closely emails:

The current administration has followed a policy of not making judicial appointments in violation of the anti-nepotism statute. (Thus it has chosen to leave aside any potential constitutional objections to the statute.) The statute addresses appointments, however, and not nominations.

I can’t say what we should expect to see with respect to Judge Limbaugh’s father should he be confirmed, but I might look to the recent example of the retirement (not senior status) of the esteemed Judge William Osteen, Sr., upon the confirmation of his son to his seat on the Middle District of North Carolina. After the Fletcher kerfuffle on CA9, by the way, Congress amended the statute to take away the option of the relative’s taking senior status.

And as for why a judge on Missouri’s Supreme Court would accept a nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, a different reader emails:

(1) Even with their July 2007 pay raise (the first in some time), Missouri Supreme Court judges are paid substantially less than US district court judges ($133,043 v. $165,200).

(2) Judge Limbaugh has always commuted from his home in Cape Girardeau; the district court judgeship will allow him to sit at least part of the time in his home town – in a courthouse that bears the name of his grandfather, Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr.

Judge Limbaugh, if confirmed, would not be the first Missouri Supreme Court judge to move to the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri; Judge George F. Gunn, Jr. did so in 1985.

And if Judge Limbaugh fails to attain confirmation to the federal district court post, he’ll then share that unfortunate distinction with now-former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie L. White (access the U.S. Senate‘s roll call vote at this link).

Posted at 2:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“High Court to Hear Airport Terror Case”: The Associated Press provides a report that begins, “The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider reinstating part of the conviction of would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam, a case the government says will greatly affect terrorism prosecutions.”

Posted at 2:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Court grants six new cases”: Lyle Denniston has this post at “SCOTUSblog.”

And Pete Yost of The Associated Press reports that “Court to Hear U.S. Citizens Held in Iraq.”

You can access today’s Order List at this link.

Among the other cases granted review, that of the so-called Millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam. This blog’s earlier coverage of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in that case can be accessed here and here. And I covered that court’s denial of rehearing en banc over the dissent of six judges in this post.

Posted at 1:48 PM by Howard Bashman

Another reader chimes in on anti-nepotism in the federal judiciary: A reader emails, in response to this post from earlier this morning:

Blatant contravention of 28 U.S.C. 458 notwithstanding, perhaps one of your readers could explain how Sec. 458 is enforceable if the government chooses to ignore it? It seems to me that the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on standing and causes of action make Sec. 458 a good idea which is nonetheless a dead letter.

Along those same lines, I seem to recall that there is also a persuasive separation of powers argument that could be raised against the statute’s enforcement. No doubt the U.S. Senate has the power not to confirm someone whose nomination would run afoul of the statute in question. It is thus interesting to ponder whether a recess appointment in violation of the anti-nepotism provision found in 28 U.S.C. sec. 458 would be valid?

Posted at 11:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Slate’s Supreme Court watchers Dahlia Lithwick and Emily Bazelon discuss one of this term’s biggest cases: the request by six Guantanamo detainees to have their day in court.” Dahlia and Emily go on camera to talk about law, and you can watch by clicking here.

Posted at 10:45 AM by Howard Bashman

Anti-nepotism and yesterday’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri: A law professor emails:

Dear Howard: Perhaps I’m missing something, but wouldn’t the appointment of the younger Limbaugh to the same U.S. District Court as his father violate the so-called anti-nepotism statute for such appointments, found in 28 U.S.C. sec. 458 (as amended in 1998)? Further discussion of this statute is found in the article, “Nepotism in the Federal Judiciary,” 71 University of Cincinnati Law Review 563 (2002).

My earlier coverage of yesterday’s federal judicial nominations appears here and here.

Posted at 10:42 AM by Howard Bashman

D.C. Circuit holds that it cannot review agency “inaction” of the Federal Communications Commission, even when that inaction has the effect of granting a telephone company’s forbearance petition: You can access today’s ruling at this link. According to the opinion, “We also recognize that because a deadlocked vote is unreviewable, we lack jurisdiction in what may be the hardest cases — cases in which the forbearance petition raises such difficult issues that it produces an equally divided vote among the Commissioners. Be that as it may, the statute is clear. Section 160(c) directs that a petition is deemed granted if the Commission ‘does not deny’ it.”

Posted at 10:17 AM by Howard Bashman

“War crimes case laid out against bin Laden driver; A U.S. Army officer testified that Osama bin Laden’s driver was captured alone in a car that had surface-to-air missiles in its hatch”: Carol Rosenberg has this article today in The Miami Herald.

Today in The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams reports that “Hamdan is called more than driver; He helped Bin Laden and had two missiles, according to testimony; A U.S. military judge is to rule on his status.”

And The New York Times reports today that “Detainee’s Loyalty to bin Laden Is at Issue in Hearing.”

Posted at 8:38 AM by Howard Bashman

“Bush selects Smith for U.S. appeals court”: The Providence (R.I.) Journal today contains an article that begins, “President Bush yesterday nominated U.S. District Judge William E. Smith, of East Greenwich, to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to succeed Judge Bruce M. Selya, who left full-time bench duty in December 2006 when he assumed senior status.”

And The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports today that “Bush nominates Limbaugh Jr. for court.”

My earlier coverage of yesterday’s federal judicial nominations appears at this link.

Posted at 8:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Biologist fired for beliefs, suit says; Woods Hole states creationist stance at odds with work”: This article appears today in The Boston Globe.

Posted at 8:25 AM by Howard Bashman

“$3.1M in Fees Awarded in Holocaust Case”: Today in The New York Sun, Joseph Goldstein has an article that begins, “An unusually bitter dispute over legal fees finally came to a close yesterday, when a law professor was awarded $3.1 million for his role in a lawsuit brought by Holocaust survivors against several Swiss banks.”

And the New York Law Journal reports today that “Court Approves $3.1 Million Fee for Attorney in Holocaust Case.”

Posted at 8:14 AM by Howard Bashman

“Lawmakers Back Limits on Interrogation Tactics”: The New York Times today contains an article that begins, “In a sharp rebuke to White House counterterrorism policy, a Congressional conference committee has voted to outlaw the harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency against suspected high-level terrorists.”

Posted at 7:50 AM by Howard Bashman