How Appealing

Monday, January 5, 2009

“Obama’s Justice nominees signal end of Bush terror tactics”: Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers has an article that begins, “In filling four senior Justice Department positions Monday, President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he intends to roll back Bush administration counter-terrorism policies authorizing harsh interrogation techniques, warrantless spying and indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects. The most startling shift was Obama’s pick of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to take charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit that’s churned out the legal opinions that provided a foundation for expanding President George W. Bush’s national security powers.”

Posted at 8:30 PM by Howard Bashman

“California Supreme Court says breakaway parish can’t take national church’s property; The ruling comes after a Newport Beach parish split from the U.S. Episcopal church over the ordination of a gay bishop; Other denominations could be affected”: Maura Dolan and Duke Helfand of The Los Angeles Times have this news update.

The Orange County Register has a news update headlined “Ruling: Church that split off over gays can’t keep property; California Supreme Court rules that St. James Anglican Church, 3 other parishes that broke with diocese don’t control their houses of worship.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Calif. court sides with Episcopals over property.”

You can access today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of California at this link.

Posted at 8:15 PM by Howard Bashman

Unanimous three-judge Seventh Circuit panel rejects due process challenge to Chicago’s system of enforcing traffic violations captured by red light cameras: Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook delivered the opinion of the court. The plaintiffs had claimed that Chicago’s method of enforcement was unconstitutional because the owner of an automobile is fined even though someone else was driving the car at the time of the violation.

The Federal Highway Administration provides information about red light cameras here and here.

Posted at 1:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“The Counties cite no case, federal or state, that recognizes a cause of action available to a government entity to recover against pharmaceutical manufacturers for the legal sale of products containing pseudoephedrine based on the subsequent use of the product in the manufacture of methamphetamine.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has today issued a decision that affirms the dismissal of a lawsuit that twenty counties in Arkansas brought against various pharmaceutical manufacturers of products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to recoup the costs expended by the counties in dealing with the societal effects of the methamphetamine epidemic in Arkansas.

Posted at 12:18 PM by Howard Bashman

Another month, and another Freedom of Information Act loss for The Associated Press before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit: On December 1, 2008, as I noted in this post from that morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that The AP has no right to access John Walker Lindh’s petitions filed with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Pardon Attorney seeking a reduction in his twenty-year prison sentence. You can access that decision at this link.

And today, the Second Circuit has reversed the ruling of a New York City-based federal district court that had ordered the Department of Defense to disclose identifying
information of Guantanamo Bay detainees contained in DOD records documenting allegations of abuse by military personnel and by other detainees, and identifying information of family members contained in personal letters sent to two detainees and submitted by those detainees to Administrative Review Boards. You can access today’s ruling at this link.

In early news coverage of today’s ruling, The AP has a report headlined “US appeals court: Detainee IDs can be secret.”

Posted at 12:00 PM by Howard Bashman

“Fair Pay for Judges: Congress should give the federal judiciary the bump-up legislators are getting.” This editorial appeared yesterday in The Washington Post.

Posted at 11:45 AM by Howard Bashman

President-elect Obama announces he will nominate Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General of the United States: The text of the announcement appears here at “Talking Points Memo.”

And via this post at “SCOTUSblog,” you can access the text of an email that Dean Kagan has circulated today to the Harvard Law community.

Additional coverage is available from The Associated Press, The Washington Post,, and NBC News correspondent Pete Williams.

Posted at 11:35 AM by Howard Bashman

“Justices ready for Candlestick pat-down case”: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, “The California Supreme Court could set new ground rules for the clash between privacy and security in a case from an unusual setting – Candlestick Park, where 49ers fans are subjected to pat-down searches before entering the stadium. The court hears arguments Tuesday in an appeal by a Danville couple whose lawsuit challenging the pat-downs was tossed out on the grounds that they consented to be searched when they bought season tickets. Their lawyers say any consent was coerced and that a company could give the same rationale for conducting body searches at work or wiretapping customers’ phones, as long as it announced its intentions ahead of time.”

I agree that the lower court’s consent rationale is unpersuasive.

Posted at 8:32 AM by Howard Bashman

“Disabled man’s crusade a bane to business owners; If your counters are too high or parking spaces too narrow, beware of disabled activist Thomas Mundy; He and others like him say lawsuits are the only way to enforce ADA compliance”: Today in The Los Angeles Times, Carol J. Williams has this front page article.

Posted at 8:22 AM by Howard Bashman

“What to Do About the Torturers?” David Cole has this review in the January 15, 2009 issue of The New York Review of Books.

Posted at 8:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power”: Today in The New York Times, John R. Bolton and John Yoo have an op-ed that begins, “The Constitution’s Treaty Clause has long been seen, rightly, as a bulwark against presidential inclinations to lock the United States into unwise foreign commitments.”

Posted at 8:04 AM by Howard Bashman

“A new seating order on the bench”: The Providence (R.I.) Journal today contains an article that begins, “The sunlight streams in, reflecting off the polished wood paneling where portraits of former Rhode Island Supreme Court justices hang. This is the room behind the bench where the justices hear appeals, behind the curtain that leads to the bench.”

Posted at 7:47 AM by Howard Bashman

“The California Attorney General’s Brief in the California Supreme Court Case Challenging Proposition 8: The Questions It Raised, and Why It Surprised Many Observers.” Vikram David Amar and Alan Brownstein have this essay online at FindLaw.

Posted at 7:42 AM by Howard Bashman

“2008 decline in U.S. executions has states reflecting on capital punishment”: The Kansas City Star contains this article today.

Posted at 7:40 AM by Howard Bashman