How Appealing

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

“As U.S. executions wane, Tennessee moves to put more inmates to death; Tennessee is planning a wave of executions; Inmates have raised concerns about lethal injection and asked for electrocution and firing squads instead”: Jon Schuppe of NBC News has this report.

Posted at 10:02 PM by Howard Bashman

“DOJ intensifies class action scrutiny with new appellate brief — but is case moot?” Alison Frankel’s “On the Case” from Thomson Reuters News & Insight has this post.

Posted at 9:12 PM by Howard Bashman

“Debtors’ prison debate lands in front of Missouri Supreme Court”: Jack Suntrup of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has this report.

Posted at 7:56 PM by Howard Bashman

A whole lotta dicta, and a “win” of sorts for Adam K. Mortara: Fifth Circuit Judge James C. Ho has some opinions on controversial issues of the day that he just can’t wait to share with the rest of us. Here’s today’s example.

The Fifth Circuit today decided a case in which the plaintiff claimed the defendant had failed to hire her in violation of Title VII. The district court ruled in favor of the defendant, holding that the plaintiff had failed to come forward with evidence necessary to establish that the plaintiff’s protected status under Title VII was the reason the defendant chose not to hire her.

Yet the district court first ruled, in a published opinion* no less, that the plaintiff’s transgender status was protected under Title VII. Today, the Fifth Circuit agreed with the district court that the plaintiff had failed to come forward with evidence necessary to establish that the plaintiff’s protected status under Title VII was the reason the defendant chose not to hire her and affirmed the district court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

It was thus technically unnecessary for the Fifth Circuit to address whether Title VII protects transgender individuals. Yet that court nevertheless decided to address that issue, holding that an earlier decision from that court, which issued in 1979, already held that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and thus presumably would not protect transgender people either.

In case you were curious about Judge Ho’s views on whether Title VII should be understood to apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status, he has provided a 14-page concurring opinion explaining in exquisite detail why he believes the answer should be “no.”

* Calling a district court’s opinion “published” doesn’t really mean anything, because published district court opinions are no more binding than unpublished district court opinions. Nevertheless, today’s Fifth Circuit opinion (also written by Judge Ho) doesn’t hesitate to note that the district court’s opinion was published in the Federal Supplement (3d ed.).

Posted at 7:50 PM by Howard Bashman

“At State of the Union, Chief Justice John Roberts sometimes wonders: ‘Why are we there?'” Adam Tamburin of The Tennessean has this report.

Posted at 7:25 PM by Howard Bashman

“Murkowski bucks GOP as Trump seizes party; The Alaska Republican has no qualms about bucking party leaders or the president”: Burgess Everett of Politico has an article that begins, “Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins chatted quietly on the Senate floor before one of the biggest votes of their lives. Too quietly, it turns out. As the pair prepared to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious nomination, Murkowski delivered the news that she would vote against the Supreme Court confirmation.”

Posted at 5:48 PM by Howard Bashman

“Informer 3838 began working for police while she was a law student”: Erin Pearson, Chris Vedelago, and Cameron Houston of The Age of Melbourne, Australia have this report. You can access related earlier articles via this link.

Posted at 5:27 PM by Howard Bashman

“Texas Supreme Court Subtly Provides Stronger Protections for Anonymous Speakers”: Sophia Cope and Aaron Mackey of Electronic Frontier Foundation have this post.

Posted at 5:07 PM by Howard Bashman

“Republican power grab for Iowa courts takes shape”: Laura Belin has this post at the “Bleeding Heartland” blog.

Posted at 4:54 PM by Howard Bashman

In Texas, apparently electing judges based on political party works well until it doesn’t: Lauren McGaughy of The Dallas Morning News has an article headlined “Should voters elect judges based on political party? Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice says no.”

And Emma Platoff and Jolie McCullough of The Texas Tribune have an article headlined “Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht calls for nonpartisan judicial elections, bail reform; In the wake of a midterm election that saw four major state appeals courts flip on partisan lines, Chief Justice Nathan Hecht called on lawmakers to consider changing Texas to a system of merit selection and retention elections.”

Posted at 3:14 PM by Howard Bashman

“Pa. Superior Court grants Jerry Sandusky new sentencing hearing”: Paula Reed Ward and Bill Schackner of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have this report.

Peter Hall of The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania reports that “Pennsylvania court orders new sentence for ex-Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.”

Steve Marroni of The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania reports that “Pa. Superior Court orders Jerry Sandusky be re-sentenced.”

Maddie Aiken of The Daily Collegian, the student newspaper of Penn State University, reports that “Jerry Sandusky to be re-sentenced, appeal for new trial denied.”

Mark Scolforo of The Associated Press reports that “Ex-Penn State assistant coach Sandusky gets new sentencing.”

And David DeKok of Reuters reports that “Sandusky to be resentenced on child sex conviction.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at this link.

Posted at 1:36 PM by Howard Bashman

“SJC upholds conviction of Michelle Carter in suicide-by-text case”: Laurel J. Sweet and Marie Szaniszlo of The Boston Herald have this report.

John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen of The Boston Globe report that “Mass. high court upholds Michelle Carter ruling.”

Dan Glaun of The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts reports that “Michelle Carter conviction upheld by Supreme Judicial Court in ‘texting suicide’ trial.”

Alanna Durkin Richer of The Associated Press reports that “Conviction upheld for woman who urged boyfriend’s suicide.”

And Nate Raymond of Reuters reports that “Massachusetts manslaughter conviction upheld in teen texting suicide case.”

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

Posted at 1:20 PM by Howard Bashman

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was seen in public Monday. Conspiracy theorists still insist she’s dead.” Eli Rosenberg and Abby Ohlheiser of The Washington Post have this report.

Posted at 1:02 PM by Howard Bashman

“Third Circuit Nixes Political Affiliation Rule for Judges”: Emilee Larkin of Courthouse News Service has an article that begins, “Striking down a century-old Delaware law, the Third Circuit called it unconstitutional Tuesday to require that judicial candidates align themselves with certain political parties.”

And at his “CA3blog,” Matthew Stiegler has a post titled “Third Circuit strikes down Delaware’s requirement that state judges be Democrats or Republicans.”

You can access yesterday’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit at this link.

Posted at 10:30 AM by Howard Bashman

Hoping to see you at the 2019 Justice Donald L. Corbin Appellate Symposium, taking place March 28 & 29, 2019 in Fayetteville, AR: You can register to attend via this link. I will be among the speakers — a group that includes many federal and state appellate judges and other legal luminaries. The full agenda is here.

Not only is Fayetteville, AR a lovely college town, but it is also within 200 miles of quite a few places, including Little Rock, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. Wichita, Kansas City, Mo., and Memphis are only a little farther away.

Posted at 10:15 AM by Howard Bashman

“Will the Right to Bear Arms Become a ‘Constitutional Orphan’?” Joyce Lee Malcolm has this post at the “Law & Liberty” blog.

Posted at 10:00 AM by Howard Bashman

Looking for a worthwhile law-related podcast to try? Let me recommend “Public Official A” from public radio station WBEZ 91.5 in Chicago, focusing on the rise and fall of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The first two episodes of the podcast are available online now.

Posted at 9:52 AM by Howard Bashman