How Appealing

Friday, January 9, 2009

“Supreme Court could change civil rights law; The justices agree to hear two cases, filed in Connecticut and Texas, that could end rules giving special protection to minorities in the voting booth and the workplace”: David G. Savage will have this article Saturday in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 10:58 PM by Howard Bashman

“Supreme Court to Weigh Ariz. Case on English-Language Learners”: Mark Walsh has this post today at “The School Law Blog” of Education Week.

Posted at 10:47 PM by Howard Bashman

“Gonzales writing book on years in Bush administration; Former attorney general says he wants to set record straight, head home to Texas”: This article appeared yesterday in The Austin American-Statesman.

Posted at 10:38 PM by Howard Bashman

“Federal judge’s trial delayed because of new charges”: Mary Flood of The Houston Chronicle has a news update that begins, “The trial of U.S. District Judge Sam Kent will be postponed several weeks, now that he faces the three new criminal charges added to his case this week. Kent was scheduled to go on trial before a federal jury on Jan. 26. U.S. Senior Judge Roger Vinson, based in Pensacola, Fla., is presiding over the case. The trial is now set to start on Feb. 23.”

And The Associated Press reports that “Sex crimes trial of federal judge delayed a month.”

Posted at 10:32 PM by Howard Bashman

Did Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris win or lose in today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of Illinois? News organizations appear somewhat divided in their early coverage.

The Chicago Tribune has a news update headlined “State court rebuffs Burris on Senate signature.”

By contrast, The Associated Press provides a report headlined “Ill. court: Official can’t block gov’s Senate pick.” And Reuters reports that “Court opens way for Burris to take Obama’s seat.”

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

Posted at 2:40 PM by Howard Bashman

“As a recent October 23, 2008, Wall Street Journal article by Amir Efrati points out, our federal legal system has lost its bearings on the subject of computer-based child pornography.” So begins a dissenting opinion that Senior Sixth Circuit Judge Gilbert S. Merritt issued today.

In complete first paragraph of Judge Merritt’s dissent reads:

As a recent October 23, 2008, Wall Street Journal article by Amir Efrati points out, our federal legal system has lost its bearings on the subject of computer-based child pornography. Our “social revulsion” against these “misfits” downloading these images is perhaps somewhat more rational than the thousands of witchcraft trials and burnings conducted in Europe and here from the Thirteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries, but it borders on the same thing. In 2008 alone the Department of Justice has brought 2,200 cases like this one in the federal courts. Some trial and appellate judges are sending these mentally ill defendants like Paull to federal prison for very long sentences. But the 17-1/2 year sentence for Paull may be the longest yet. He is a 65-year-old, psychologically disabled, former minister with Type 1 diabetes with many complications. How could this sentence be “not greater than necessary” to punish this crime?

The Wall Street Journal article published October 23, 2008 was headlined “Making Punishments Fit the Most Offensive Crimes: Societal Revulsion at Child-Pornography Consumers Has Led to Stiff Prison Sentences — and Caused Some Judges to Rebel.”

Posted at 11:48 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ala. grandmother at center of fight for equal pay”: Mark Sherman of The Associated Press has a report that begins, “Lilly Ledbetter is an Alabama grandmother who became a crusader for equal rights relatively late in life.”

Posted at 11:40 AM by Howard Bashman

“I do not select overweight people on the jury panel for reasons that, based on my reading and past experience, that heavy-set people tend to be very sympathetic toward any defendant.” Whether that explanation from a prosecutor — concerning why the only African-American juror was stricken from a state court jury pool — was sufficiently race-neutral is the issue that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit confronts in an opinion issued today.

Posted at 10:55 AM by Howard Bashman

D.C. Circuit rules that it lacks jurisdiction under the Detainee Treatment Act to review the determination by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that Guantanamo detainees are “enemy combatants”: The court holds that this outcome is compelled by the U.S. Supreme Court‘s ruling last year in Boumediene v. Bush, which declared unconstitutional the Detainee Treatment Act’s provision eliminating habeas corpus jurisdiction.

The final paragraph of today’s ruling, issued by a unanimous three-judge panel, states:

In sum, we are confident the Congress would not have enacted DTA sec. 1005(e)(2) in the absence of the statutory provision banning the courts from exercising jurisdiction over a detainee’s habeas petition. Because the latter provision has been held unconstitutional, the former must also fall. Accordingly, we hold this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the detainees’ petitions for review of their status determinations by a CSRT. The petitions are, therefore, Dismissed.

Interestingly, in this appeal it was the federal government that was arguing for dismissal of the cases, while it was the detainees who were hoping to obtain D.C. Circuit review in accordance with a system that the detainees had already successfully invalidated before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Update: At “SCOTUSblog,” Lyle Denniston has a post titled “One challenge route closed to detainees.”

Posted at 10:30 AM by Howard Bashman

“Patients off hook in emergency room fee dispute”: Today in The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko has an article that begins, “Emergency room doctors who think a patient’s HMO has underpaid them can’t bill the patient for the difference and must seek whatever redress they can from the health plan, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a big-money dispute in the medical industry.”

The Los Angeles Times reports today that “Ruling removes billing headache from emergency room visits; Patients can’t be billed when their HMOs fail to pay, the California Supreme Court says; Doctors say they’re being squeezed.”

And The Sacramento Bee reports that “State Supreme Court backs ER patients over billing.”

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

Posted at 9:10 AM by Howard Bashman

“SJC rules for Mass. in pair of tax cases; Companies argued against levy on out-of-state profits”: The Boston Globe today contains an article that begins, “Massachusetts has won a pair of closely watched tax cases against two companies that had argued the state could not tax profits from their out-of-state operations, even if those units had done millions of dollars in business here.”

You can access here and here yesterday’s rulings of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Posted at 9:02 AM by Howard Bashman

“Ruling Says Deportation Cases May Not Be Appealed Over Lawyer Errors”: The New York Times contains this article today.

At “The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times,” Joe Palazzolo has a post titled “Mukasey: Aliens Have No Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel.” The blog has posted the ruling at this link.

And in somewhat related news, The Los Angeles Times reports today that “U.S. to collect DNA samples of arrested immigrants; The Justice Department defends the new policy as an important crime-fighting tool; Activists see it as a violation of privacy.”

Posted at 8:50 AM by Howard Bashman

“Eric Holder pushed for controversial clemency; As deputy attorney general in 1999, Holder — now attorney general nominee — pressed subordinates to drop objections to clemency for 16 members of violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations”: This article appears today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:45 AM by Howard Bashman

“New video-on-demand service may hinge on Supreme Court ruling; Networks and studios oppose Cablevision’s plan to offer rebroadcasts of programs without commercials and without a fee paid to producers”: David G. Savage has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

Posted at 8:42 AM by Howard Bashman

“Suit Seeks Early Counsel for Defendants; Md. High Court to Weigh Representation at Initial Hearings”: This article appears today in The Washington Post.

Posted at 8:36 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Chief Justice on the Spot”: Today in The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse has an op-ed that begins, “A case sitting quietly in the Supreme Court’s in-basket promises to tell us more than almost any other about John G. Roberts Jr. and his evolution from spear carrier in the Reagan revolution to chief justice of the United States — and in the process set the direction of the debate over race and politics for years to come.”

Posted at 8:14 AM by Howard Bashman

“The Damaged Institution of the Presidency, How the Obama Administration Intends to Restore It, And What We Can Expect from New OLC Head Dawn Johnsen”: John W. Dean has this essay online today at FindLaw.

Posted at 8:05 AM by Howard Bashman

“Skakel Lawyers Say They’ve Uncovered Secret Evidence”: The Hartford Courant today contains an article that begins, “Convicted celebrity murderer Michael C. Skakel says he has uncovered secret evidence suggesting his innocence and is using it to support an unusual effort in federal court to obtain release from prison while his appeals proceed through a variety of courts.”

Posted at 8:00 AM by Howard Bashman