How Appealing

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

“Paterson Criticizes Panel for Its Judicial Selections”: Thursday’s edition of The New York Times will contain an article that begins, “Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday blasted the state commission that recommends candidates for chief judge, saying it was an outrage and an injustice that not one of the seven people presented to him was a woman.”

Posted at 11:07 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justices Look Anew at Case in Which Oregon Court Has Twice Rebuffed Them”: Adam Liptak will have this article Thursday in The New York Times.

Thursday in The Washington Post, Robert Barnes will have an article headlined “Court May Decide What Size Award Violates Rights; At Issue: Punitive Damages, Due Process.”

Thursday in The Christian Science Monitor, Warren Richey will have an article headlined “US Supreme Court takes up tobacco case for third time; The case involves an ongoing tug of war between the high court and the highest court in Oregon.”

And The Oregonian provides a news update headlined “Supreme Court hears Oregon tobacco case – again.”

Posted at 11:04 PM by Howard Bashman

“Justices’ irritation with lower court could save tobacco giant millions”: Michael Doyle of McClatchy Newspapers has this report.

Posted at 10:55 PM by Howard Bashman

“7th Circuit’s Boim decision”: A “How Appealing” reader emails:

Thanks to your post, I spent two hours this afternoon reading the fascinating majority and dissenting opinions in the Boim case. There is always much to be learned from a Judge Posner opinion.

I’m writing because I know you occasionally enjoy tweaking courts for minor errors in their opinions. On Page 27 of his opinion, Judge Posner makes clear that in most instances a doctor could not be held liable merely for providing medical assistance to an injured member of a terrorist group. He states, “But the doctor is not himself a criminal unless, besides treating the criminal, he conceals him from the police (like Dr. Samuel Mudd, hanged for trying to help John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, elude capture) . . .” As any amateur Civil War historian knows, Dr. Mudd was not hanged, but rather served several years imprisonment.

Of course, this reader is correct. As Wikipedia reports, “Mudd escaped the death penalty by one vote and was sentenced to life imprisonment.” And fewer than four years later, “Mudd was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.” Wikipedia further reports that “Dr. Mudd was just 49 years old when he died of pneumonia on January 10, 1883,” nearly fourteen years after the presidential pardon. Much more information about Dr. Samuel A. Mudd can be accessed via this link.

Thanks much to the author of this email for sending it along.

And in additional coverage of today’s ruling, Bloomberg News reports that “Holy Land Foundation Terrorism Case Reinstated.”

Posted at 10:21 PM by Howard Bashman

“Third and Long for Philip Morris?” ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg has this post at her “Legalities” blog.

Posted at 3:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Ahmed Ressam sentenced to 22 years for LAX millennium bomb plot; Convicted millennium terrorist Ahmed Ressam was resentenced this morning to 22 years in federal prison despite telling a judge that he had recanted everything he has told the federal government”: The Seattle Times provides this news update.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a news update headlined “Ressam gets same sentence after recanting terrorism information.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Judge gives millennium terrorist same 22-year term.”

Posted at 3:02 PM by Howard Bashman

En banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reinstates $156 million judgment awarded to parents of teenager randomly shot to death in Israel by gunmen believed to be acting on behalf of the terrorist organization Hamas: Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner wrote the majority opinion on behalf of the en banc court.

Back in December 2007, a divided three-judge Seventh Circuit panel set aside the judgment via an opinion you can access here. My coverage of that ruling appeared here, here, and here.

The Seventh Circuit has made the audio of the en banc reargument available for download via this link (13.2MB mp3 audio file).

In early coverage of today’s en banc decision, The Associated Press reports that “Court upholds $156M Palestinian terror verdict.”

Posted at 2:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“Smoker’s widow seeks $79.5M award at high court”: Mark Sherman of The Associated Press has a report that begins, “A cigarette maker and a smoker’s widow squared off at the Supreme Court on Wednesday for the third time over a $79.5 million punitive damages award, but the real battle was between the justices and their counterparts on Oregon’s high court.”

And at “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has a post titled “New briefing on tobacco case? Maybe.”

Posted at 12:20 PM by Howard Bashman

Access online the video of yesterday’s oral argument before the Supreme Court of Florida in a case presenting the question of when, if ever, should an appellate judge face discipline for what his or her written judicial opinion says? The oral argument video can be accessed in both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player formats.

Also available online is a somewhat confusing real-time transcript compiled from the closed-captioning of the oral argument proceeding.

My most recent earlier posts pertaining to yesterday’s oral argument of this case can be accessed here, here, and here.

Posted at 12:14 PM by Howard Bashman

“Ex-congresswoman ‘disgusted’ by A.G. pick; The ex-wife of Joe Waldholtz says Holder investigated her excessively”: This article appears today in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Posted at 11:52 AM by Howard Bashman

“D.C. Circuit Panel Bars Live Sketching, Then Fumes at Art”: This morning at “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Mike Scarcella has a post that begins, “There was neither a published nor unpublished opinion–no formal judgment at all–for this federal appeals court decision: A sketch artist was barred from capturing oral argument in a high-profile Guantanamo detainee case.”

Posted at 9:25 AM by Howard Bashman

“Government as cyber-bully: The tactic that won a conviction in the tragic MySpace suicide case is a misuse of Internet regulations.” This editorial appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

And today’s edition of USA Today contains an editorial entitled “MySpace case bends the law: Missouri mom deserves reproach, but prosecution raises concerns” and an op-ed in response by Nick Akerman entitled “The law fits the crime: Fraud and Abuse Act addresses harassment; concerns lack merit.”

Posted at 9:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Another Obstacle for Affirmative Action, And Congress Is Prepared to Fight”: In today’s edition of The Washington Post, “Federal Diary” columnist Joe Davidson has an essay that begins, “On Nov. 4, amid all the excitement surrounding Barack Obama’s election, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck down a Pentagon program that included a 5 percent set-aside for companies run by African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.”

The ruling, of course, didn’t elude anyone’s attention here at “How Appealing,” as I had this post about the ruling just moments after it issued.

Posted at 9:00 AM by Howard Bashman

“Republican Chambliss Wins Georgia Runoff; Emphatic Victory Leaves Democrats Without Filibuster-Proof Majority in Senate”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today that “Chambliss wins one for the party; Win means no supermajority for Democrats.”

In The Chicago Tribune, James Oliphant and Richard Fausset report that “Chambliss win in Georgia a blow to Democrats; Senate Republican ‘firewall’ holds seat in runoff triumph.”

USA Today reports that “GOP’s Chambliss easily wins Senate runoff; Ga. race thwarts Dems’ hopes for a filibuster-proof majority.”

And The Wall Street Journal reports that “Chambliss Secures Georgia Win; Republican’s Senate Runoff Victory Dashes Democratic Hopes for a Super-Majority.”

Posted at 8:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“D.C. Council Supports Gun Control Revisions”: The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, “The D.C. Council voted unanimously yesterday to give preliminary approval to legislation that would require gun owners to renew their registrations every three years and to notify police annually whether they still own guns. The Fire Arms Registration Amendment, which would also ban assault weapons, was described as building on legislation passed by the council in September to adhere to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the city’s 32-year handgun ban.”

Posted at 8:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“Federal Prosecutor Is Making Inquiries in the Investigation of the Dismissal of U.S. Attorneys”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

Posted at 8:44 AM by Howard Bashman

“Panel Rules Jail Stabbing Constituted Terrorism”: Today’s edition of The New York Times contains an article that begins, “A reputed former leader of Al Qaeda who is serving 32 years in prison for stabbing a jail guard in 2000 must be resentenced, a federal appeals panel in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday, because a judge wrongly concluded that the man’s crime did not meet the legal standard for terrorism.”

The New York Daily News reports today that “Bin Laden thug could get more jail.”

And Reuters reports that “Accused Qaeda aide to be resentenced for stabbing.”

My earlier coverage of yesterday’s Second Circuit ruling appears at this link.

Posted at 8:35 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Dread Lock decision: SJC backs Rastafari.” This article appears today in The Boston Herald.

The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts reports today that “Court rules grooming policy suit can proceed.”

The Boston Globe reports that “SJC rules religious rights top company’s.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Rastafarian can sue over employer hair policy.”

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

Posted at 8:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“Lawyers grilled in judge’s ethics case”: Today’s edition of The Pensacola News Journal contains an article that begins, “Five Florida Supreme Court justices Tuesday gave a lively grilling to lawyers arguing ethics charges against an appellate judge. In August, 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Michael E. Allen appealed the Judicial Qualification Commission’s recommendation that he be publicly reprimanded for a 2006 opinion in which he questioned the actions of fellow Judge Charles Kahn.”

Last night, I had this post linking to additional coverage of yesterday’s oral argument.

Posted at 8:12 AM by Howard Bashman

“Former Pa. Justice Departs Cozen O’Connor”: Online at, Gina Passarella of The Legal Intelligencer has an article that begins, “After nearly two years at the firm, former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman will leave Cozen O’Connor over what she said were significant conflicts that made it difficult to grow her book of business. Newman denied rumors that her departure had anything to do with the size of her book or a recent public outcry over an inflammatory political e-mail she signed during the presidential campaign.”

Posted at 8:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Courthouses unfit, U.S. 9th Circuit chief judge tells Inland attorneys”: The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California today contains an article that begins, “The U.S. 9th Circuit Court needs buildings and members of the federal bar associations can help support efforts to get them funded, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski told the Inland Empire Bar Association on Tuesday at the Mission Inn in Riverside.”

Posted at 8:00 AM by Howard Bashman