Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
SCOTUS Blog: Finally, Justice Thomas has the opinion in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, about an Arizona municipality’s outdoor sign regulations that were challenged on First Amendment grounds by a church seeking to promote its Sunday services.
Public Discourse: There are some problems in the reasoning of Justice Scalia’s opinion in the 1990 religious freedom case. But in its holding, and in its rejection of a quarter century of jurisprudence that could not be squared with the First Amendment, the judgment was correct.
USA Today: The future of same-sex marriage and President Obama’s health care law hang in the balance as the Supreme Court’s 2014 term draws rapidly to a close this month. But those aren’t the only big issues on the justices’ plate.
National Law Journal: Twenty-five years ago this week, a technician walked a floppy disk from one computer to another at the U.S. Supreme Court and, for the first time, transmitted an electronic version of a high court ruling to the outside world.
Above the Law: In the best and most benign of circumstances, the internet can be a dark and scary place full of bullies and hatred. So, I can only imagine the garbage that was spewed at Southern District of New York District Judge (and ex-Cravath partner) Katherine Forrest after she threw the book at Ross Ulbricht (despite pleas for leniency) for his role in Silk Road, the online black market that dabbled in all manner of illegalities.
Texas Lawyer: When a panel of three judges issued the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s most controversial decision of the year by upholding a Texas law that regulates—and potentially shuts down—seven abortion clinics on June 9, lawyers naturally wondered who wrote the decision.
National Review: On the Volokh Conspiracy, Randy Barnett presents what he calls a “defense of judicial equality”—which turns out to be his euphemism for the judicial-supremacist claim that the president and Congress must abide by a federal judicial determination that a federal law is unconstitutional.
National Review: Ramsey seems to argue that Lincoln’s actions in defiance of the Dred Scott ruling didn’t “truly challenge judicial supremacy as [Ramsey] would define it.”
National Review: The myth of judicial supremacy is logically incompatible with the supremacy of the written Constitution. According to the myth of judicial supremacy, the Constitution means whatever five Supreme Court justices claim it means and all other governmental actors are duty-bound to abide by that supposed meaning—even if it is in clear conflict with the actual meaning of the Constitution—until such time as five justices revise it or a constitutional amendment overrides it.
New York Law Journal: In my first months on the court, I was concerned about my rookie status. The more senior members were more than ready to calm me down. Chief Justice William Rehnquist was both wise and consistently fair. I recall telling him at lunch with a handful of our colleagues that I did not know how I fit in with them. In his characteristically blunt manner, he said: “Clarence, in your first five years you wonder how you got here. After that, you wonder how your colleagues got here.”
LA Times: In a potentially historic ruling, the court will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, culminating a two-decade legal and political fight for same-sex marriage.
National Law Journal: In the past five years the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed some of the nation’s most controversial issues, overturning acts of Congress by 5-4 majorities.
National Law Journal (Access via Google): Philip Alito, the son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr., has left Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to become a staff counsel to Republicans on a U.S. Senate investigative subcommittee.
National Law Journal (Access via Google): A new effort to limit the tenure of future U.S. Supreme Court justices launched Wednesday, with the aim of urging any would-be nominee to pledge to serve a single 18-year term.
Religion Clause: The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct last week issued a Public Admonition (full text) against Texas state trial court judge Carter Tinsley Schildknecht, finding in part that she: “manifested a religious and/or cultural bias by describing District Attorney Munk as a “New York Jew” and by criticizing a prosecutor’s beard because it made him look like a “Muslim.””
Public Discourse: Reading and understanding the Constitution is not an especially complicated intellectual exercise. It takes lawyers, judges, and law professors to turn it into something difficult and convoluted.
The New York Times: No one was sure if she was emphasizing her own beliefs or giving a hint to the outcome of the case the Supreme Court is considering whether to decide if same-sex marriage is constitutional.
National Law Journal (Subscription Required): As the Roberts Court enters the final stretch of its 10th term, the outcomes in a handful of cases could define that court for years to come.
National Law Journal (Subscription Required): As a number of state legislatures continue to push new restrictions on abortion clinics and providers, the U.S. Supreme Court soon will take a first look at two states’ efforts that failed in the lower courts.
The National Law Journal: A U.S. Supreme Court decision is forcing state bars to re-examine their operations to avoid potentially huge antitrust liability. At the same time, three public interest-consumer organizations are pressing the nation’s 50 state attorneys general to enforce the high court’s ruling.
New Jersey Law Journal (Subscription Required): U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was on friendly ground when he appeared to speak at a Federalist Society event in Morristown recently—both as a native of the state and a longtime supporter of the organization—but his remarks aimed at the legislative branch and others in Washington, D.C., were less chummy.
National Law Journal: Where is the legal star power on this year’s law school commencement circuit? It seems the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will sit out the 2015 graduation grind.
New Jersey Law Journal: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has nominated four lawyers for initial seven-year terms on the Superior Court bench and eight sitting trial judges for tenure.
New York Law Journal: Richard Bartlett, whose six-decade legal career included serving as the first state chief administrative judge in a nascent unified New York court system, has died. He was 89.
WIBW (AP): Gardner disclosed in documents to the Senate that she taught and studied at seminars organized by the conservative law group Alliance Defending Freedom. She is also a member of the Christian Legal Society.
National Review: “Judicial-identity disorder,” or “judicial dysphoria,” is my proposed label to describe judges who experience significant discontent with the role they were assigned when they took office. JID typically manifests itself in judicial decisions that are inconsistent with the judicial role and in behavior that reflects a severe and pervasive discomfort with neutrally applying the law. Unfortunately, no effective treatment for the condition is currently available.
The Wall Street Journal (Accessible via Google): The Supreme Court on Wednesday handed business a narrow victory in a labor case, ruling that courts have the power to review how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles discrimination complaints before it decides to sue an employer.
Listen to the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges (the same-sex marriage case at the Supreme Court)
The two questions are as follows: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
The Atlantic: If the Supreme Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans, it may well do so on the grounds that they violate the dignity of gay couples. And although proponents of marriage equality may cheer a decision along these lines when it is delivered, the expansion of the constitutional right to dignity may produce far-reaching consequences that they will later have cause to regret.
National Law Journal (Accessible via Google): On the morning of the historic same-sex marriage arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court, Michigan special assistant attorney general John Bursch, who is defending his state’s marriage ban, will don his trademark bow tie, walk into the ground level of the court building and rub the toe of the bronze statue of Chief Justice John Marshall for luck.
The New York Times: ON Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, the same-sex marriage case. But the proceeding won’t be broadcast on radio or television or live-streamed on the Internet. (Or photographed.)
First Things: Like many social conservatives, especially Christian ones, I spend a lot of my time reading and writing about religious freedom, particularly on how it might be affected by the legalization of same-sex marriage and the campaign for “gay rights” more generally. Yet at the same time, I harbor doubts about the position we are staking out.
The Hill: As the Supreme Court is gearing up to hear arguments Tuesday in what could be the nation’s most influential case on gay marriage, Democratic lawmakers are calling on the high court to adopt a code of ethics for justices.
The New York Times: After one of the nation’s most protracted cabinet-level confirmation delays, the Senate Thursday approved Loretta E. Lynch to be attorney general. She is the first African-American woman to hold the position.
The Washington Post: Law schools across the country are facing their lowest enrollment numbers in years, causing some to slash their budgets and revamp their programs in an effort to attract students worried about finding a job in a diminished legal industry.
National Law Journal (Subscription Required): A leading group that opposes same-sex marriage is urging U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the landmark cases that could decide whether such marriages must be permitted under the Constitution.
SCOTUS Blog: When the Court convenes on April 28 to hear oral arguments in the challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage, many of the reporters covering the hearing will be at the Court for the first time. This guide to covering the Court is intended for those reporters.
National Law Journal: A federal judge in Alaska on Wednesday awarded $127,000 to the solo practitioners and small-firm attorneys who successfully challenged the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The amount was more than $100,000 less than the lawyers requested.
National Law Journal (Subscription Required): U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Thursday blamed outside factors, not the justices themselves, for the public perception that the high court has become a political institution. Speaking at the New York Public Library, Sotomayor said, “The world around us has politicized what we’ve done.”
The National Law Journal: The private-practice lawyer who will defend Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court is working independently from his firm, Warner Norcross & Judd, which declined to get involved in the litigation.
The National Law Journal: A San Diego law professor did not defame the plaintiff in a disability-benefits lawsuit when he blogged about her case in 2012, a California appellate court has ruled.
The New York Times: The world will be watching when the Supreme Courthears arguments this month about same-sex marriage. But will the court be watching the world?
National Law Journal (Subscription Required): With Monday’s release of orders, the U.S. Supreme Court now shifts gear into the calm before the storm of its annual push to hear a final round of arguments and issue its most controversial opinions before the end of June.
National Law Journal (subscription required): Forcing lawyers to write shorter briefs is not the solution to the problems federal appeals court judges have with outsized filings, an advisory panel was told on Wednesday.
National Law Journal (Access via Google): The U.S. Supreme Court rarely offers practice pointers to the advocates who appear before it. But it did just that on March 23, when it admonished members of the Supreme Court bar to use “plain terms” when they write briefs.
National Law Journal: Lawyers often push for as much time as they can get to argue an appeal. When the red light flashes, signaling time is up, some lawyers keep going — until a judge tells them to stop.
The National Law Journal: The demographic groups most underrepresented on law faculties include white Christians and Republicans, according to research by Northwestern University School of Law professor James Lindgren.
Yahoo News (AP): In a dispute over a proposed Confederate battle flag license plate, the Supreme Court struggled Monday to balance worries about government censorship and concerns that offensive messages could, at worst, incite violence.
National Law Journal (Access via Google): Prosecutors offered this deal to a group of protesters who demonstrated inside the U.S. Senate gallery in November: stay out of trouble, and we’ll drop the case.
SCOTUS Blog: If the Supreme Court agrees to plans made by lawyers involved in the same-sex marriage cases, seven attorneys will take turns at the lectern for the two-and-a-half-hour hearing on April 28. Both sides in the four cases sent in their proposals on Tuesday, responding to the Court’s request for them to coordinate.
Public Discourse: The US Supreme Court has set a precedent upholding the right of states to define marriage as the union of husband and wife. All federal and state judges—including those in Alabama—are bound by that precedent.
The Legal Intelligencer: The majority of Am Law 200 firms have revamped their websites in the last couple of years, with one consultant putting a price range on those projects of anywhere from $25,000 to $1 million. But regardless of the cost, many of the sites, consultants say, look largely the same.
Religion Clause: A fascinating decision handed down by an Idaho federal district court last week shows the complexity faced by prisons in attempting to applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s January RLUIPA decision in Holt v. Hobbs.
Detroit Free Press: With the U.S. Supreme Court set to decide the legality of same-sex marriage in Michigan and elsewhere this year, dozens of legal briefs representing hundreds of thousands of parties calling for the laws to be overturned flowed into the court ahead of a filing deadline today.
Religion Clause: Plaintiff not only seeks an injunction against displaying the inscription, but also an injunction against the court’s continued distribution of an allegedly misleading publication that describes the quote’s history and Lord Coke’s relationship with Rhode Island’s founder Roger Williams.
The Christian Post: “Consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision, which said that ‘states have the essential authority to define the marital relation,’ the 6th Circuit rightly concluded that the Constitution does not demand that a new view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone,” ADF Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks said in a statement at the time. “We are hopeful the Supreme Court will uphold the freedom of the people to affirm marriage.”
The Week: Yesterday’s oral arguments for King vs. Burwell, the latest legal challenge to ObamaCare before the Supreme Court, confirmed one thing: The law, as written, is a complete mess.
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court on Thursday released the calendar of oral arguments for the final sitting of the Term, beginning April 20, and listing the four cases on same-sex marriage for hearing on Tuesday, April 28.
The Daily Signal: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the highly anticipated case King v. Burwell.
SCOTUS Blog: The audio recording of the Supreme Court’s April 28 hearing on the same-sex marriage cases will be released soon after that hearing is completed, the Court announced on Thursday. Both the audiotape and the written transcript should be available by no later than 2 p.m., the Court said.
Time: When the Supreme Court last considered the Affordable Care Act, the argument was easy to follow: Does the federal government have the power to force people to buy health insurance?
SCOTUS Blog: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who seemed decidedly more sympathetic to the government than might have been expected, worried over a constitutional blow against the states. But even the two Justices most openly sympathetic to the challengers — Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Antonin Scalia — seemed to concede the dire consequences that could follow, by suggesting ways to alleviate it. Alito said the Court could delay its ruling to allow time to adjust, and Scalia said Congress could be counted on to fix it.
The Daily Signal: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the case of King v. Burwell—a challenge to an IRS rule under Obamacare that provides the payment of premium subsidies to individuals enrolled in the federal exchange. Obamacare’s advocates have made various claims about the harm that would supposedly occur if the court were to find for the plaintiffs (King) in this case. While it is not surprising that those claims have attracted attention, it’s important to remember the harm being caused by Obamacare.
CATO Institute: This week, the Supreme Court considers King v. Burwell. At issue is whether the IRS exceeded its authority under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by issuing a final IRS rule that expanded the application of the Act’s subsidies and mandates beyond the limits imposed by the statute. King v. Burwell is not a constitutional challenge. It challenges an IRS rule as being inconsistent with the Act it purports to implement. The case is a straightforward question of statutory interpretation.
Red State: With abortion at stake, Arizona acknowledges that the legislature’s words matter.