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Religion Clause Blog: In Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Clary, (KY Cir. Ct., Sept. 23, 2013), a Kentucky trial court refused to apply the spousal privilege of Kentucky Rule of Evidence 504 to a couple who are parties to a Vermont civil union.
Boston Globe: Addressing long-term vacancies in federal courthouses in Massachusetts, the White House is set to nominate three lawyers for judgeships, including the nomination of Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni to a US District Court post in Springfield. The White House is also recommending attorney Indira Talwani to sit on the US District Court in Boston, and has tapped Harvard Law School professor David Jeremiah Barron for appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
National Review: Senator Ted Cruz knows that the Democratic Senate isn’t inclined to vote for a bill that will defund Obamacare, as he hopes, but he insists there is a way: a groundswell of pressure from constituents who don’t like the law.
NY Times: The nomination of a gay black Miami judge to the federal bench will not move forward after Senator Marco Rubio announced he was withdrawing his support over concerns about the judge’s actions in two criminal cases.
Washington Blade: The Senate voted 64 to 35 on Tuesday to confirm President Obama’s nomination of lesbian attorney Elaine D. Kaplan for a 15-year term on the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Cincinnati.com: A Clermont County state representative is so upset about a federal court decision that some argue recognized same-sex marriage he is calling for U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup to start impeachment proceedings against the jurist who wrote it.
Michael McConnell at First Things: The United States Supreme Court has two personalities. In the vast majority of cases on its docket, those involving criminal law, business regulation, statutory interpretation, freedom of speech, procedure, jurisdiction, and other technical but important legal questions, the Supreme Court acts like a court of law—a good one. The justices achieve a remarkable degree of consensus and craft opinions that are clear, persuasive, and well grounded in text, history, and precedent. This is true even in hard cases, where there are good arguments on both sides. No one will agree with every decision, but no fair-minded observer could doubt that decisions are based on conscientious legal reasoning.
NBC: By a unanimous vote, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nation’s first openly gay federal circuit judge. The vote was 98-0 to approve Todd Hughes, previously a Department of Justice lawyer, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit: Some 133 law clerks participated in the intensive two-day program, which was held September 18-19, 2013, at the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco.
David G. Savage at LA Times: The Supreme Court, in a new campaign funding case, may lift a lid on the total the wealthy can give to all candidates and parties.
The Guardian: Declassified Fisa rulings reveal a permissive approach to fourth amendment violations disturbingly at odds with supreme justices.’
Richard Wolf at USA Today: The annual glut of appeals that accumulates throughout the summer must be whittled down by the justices’ law clerks. Only the strongest cases survive . . . About 2,000 plaintiffs hope to get picked Sept. 30 when the Supreme Court meets privately for its first conference of the 2013 term. Less than 1% of them are likely to be rewarded.
Blog of the Legal Times: President Barack Obama has made another aggressive move this term to fill long-standing federal court vacancies, simultaneously nominating four people to the district court in Arizona, where Republicans stood in the way of confirmations last year.
Weekly Standard: In a new book about the history of Roe, Abuse of Discretion, lawyer Clarke Forsythe combs through the historical record of the Supreme Court’s decision, from case files to personal papers, to show exactly how pell-mell the verdict was. And in the course of all this he highlights how out-of-the-norm America’s abortion regime is.
Breitbart: Vince Sicari can tell all the lawyer jokes he wants — he just can’t play a judge in real life. The New Jersey municipal judge, who is also an established stand-up comedian and actor, resigned Thursday after the state Supreme Court ruled he can’t moonlight as an entertainer.
Oregon Live: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas rarely visits the West Coast. He made the journey to the University of Portland, where he spoke Thursday, because he made a promise to E. William Beauchamp, the Catholic school’s president.
LifeNews: The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved pro-abortion Cornelia Pillard, a law professor President Barack Obama selected for an appointment to the most important appeals court in the nation.
“The untold risks of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decisions” | Tom Goldstein at SCOTUS Blog
Tom Goldstein at SCOTUS Blog: But those positive rulings make it easy to miss signals that the Court is not yet ready to announce a constitutional right to same-sex marriage before the states fully consider the issue. Presented with the …
ABA Journal: Rooney used the position to start filling a gaping hole in the law–access for all to legal services–and created a program to train lawyers serving poor and moderate-income clients to become not just good advocates but smart businesspeople too. “We started a network where we had full-time staff to provide to graduates developing small and solo firms the kinds of services they’d get if they were at a large firm,” he says. “It was the beginning of a movement in the United States to support graduates.”
Wall Street Journal: Yes, there are fewer BigLaw jobs than there used to be. But the average starting salary for those junior lawyers in major markets remains $160,000 a year — enough, one would hope, for even the most debt-laden law graduate to eke out a living.
Eric J. Sinrod at DuaneMorris: Gone are the days of non-electronic, hard-copy communications, right? Not so fast! According to The Associated Press, the Justices of the United States Supreme Court are still very low-tech — almost to the point of being no-tech.
Houston Chronicle: A newly declassified opinion from the government’s secret surveillance court says no company that has received an order to turn over bulk telephone records has challenged the directive.
Mercury News: With the legal war over same-sex marriage continuing to unfold in courts around the country, a San Francisco federal appeals court is about to tackle another simmering gay rights issue — whether gays and lesbians can be excluded from juries simply because of their sexual orientation.
The GW Hatchet: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reminded the hundreds of people packed into Lisner Auditorium on Monday that the nation’s 227-year founding document does not hold all the answers to some of it’s biggest moral questions.
Politico: Even as the tea party-targeting scandal dies down, the staffers at the center of the mess are turning to some of the city’s top lawyers to defend themselves against ongoing investigations and congressional inquiries.
Blog of the Legal Times: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday urged everyone to celebrate the birthday of the U.S. Constitution tomorrow — except those who think the document is an “empty body” whose meaning can be filled in by activist judges. In that case, Scalia said in his best New York accent, “Fugget about the Constitution!”
ABQ Journal: A southern New Mexico county clerk who is facing a challenge for his decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses has garnered close to $30,000 in donations, the clerk announced last week. Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins has pulled in 556 donations totaling nearly $28,400 from a website, the Las Cruces News-Sun reported.
MyRecordJournal.com: Justice Carmen Espinosa stands in a conference room for a photograph at the Supreme Court in Hartford, Sept. 12, 2013. Espinosa, of Southington, is the newest justice on the Connecticut Supreme Court taking her seat on the bench in March.
The American Prospect: But it is Ronald Reagan’s ghost that haunts the chief justice’s chambers, much as Franklin Roosevelt’s haunted the chambers of Justices Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter for decades after his death. Roosevelt and Reagan are the only two 20th-century presidents who consciously pursued a judicial revolution at the Court. Roosevelt’s legal philosophy was based on government as the agent of freedom, equality, and opportunity; Reagan famously declared that “government is the problem,” but he tempered his motto with a willingness to govern, to compromise with political adversaries, and to tax and spend when necessary.
LifeNews: The United States Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this week on President Obama’s nomination of Cornelia Pillard to the court that many consider the second-most powerful and important in the land, the Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit. Of President Obama’s judicial nominees who have exhibited hostility towards unborn children, perhaps none is as flagrant, or as out-of-touch, as Cornelia Pillard.
USA Today: Limits on federal election campaign contributions that have stood for nearly 40 years appear ready to fall unless Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts rescues them, as he did President Obama’s health care law.
KPHO.com: The bill co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Justin Pierce of Mesa increased the minimum number of nominees for each appellate court vacancy to five from the current constitutional requirement of three. | Dobson v. State of Arizona
Politico: In the latest effort from the judiciary branch to protect its budget, the Judicial Conference of the United States—presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts Supreme Court—sent a letter to the president pleading for a FY 2014 budget that will allow the courts to carry out their functions.
Blog of the Legal Times: By the time Robert Wilkins had his confirmation hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill, even the senators had grown weary of the political fight over President Barack Obama’s three simultaneous nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Star Telegram: Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht was named new chief of the state’s highest civil court Tuesday, pleasing conservative leaders but troubling a watchdog group that has criticized the Republican over his record and alleged ethics violations.
Religion Clause Blog: A group of 15 Evangelical and 14 Catholic law professors have just published a paper that has been 8 years in the making titled Evangelicals and Catholics Together On the Law: The Lord of Heaven and Earth. (Full text in Summer 2013 Journal of Christian Legal Thought). Heavy on theology, the 9-page joint statement begins with this explanation of purpose . . .
Southern District of Florida Blog: Georgia’s Republican U.S. senators have cut a deal with state Democrats that, if approved by the White House, would fill six judgeships on Atlanta’s federal appeals and district court benches, Georgia lawyers familiar with the nomination process have told the Daily Report.
Blog of the Legal Times: Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee moved forward Wednesday, over the objection of Democrats, on a bill aimed at reducing “frivolous” lawsuits.
PennLive on Tuesday sat down with Chester County attorney William Lamb, a former state Supreme Court justice who last week was appointed to defend the state in the federal lawsuit challenging the state’s marriage law.
LifeNews: President Barack Obama is pushing the nomination of Nina Pillard to the second most powerful court in the nation, the .S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Pillard is an abortion backer whose nomination will likely face opposition from conservative Republicans in the Senate.
Appellate Daily Blog: Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare: A Conservative Critique of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling does not hide its political leanings. The title tells the story. Lee, a former Howrey partner, writes that Roberts had “distinguished himself as a fair-minded jurist and a true constitutional scholar—a man seemingly committed to the rule of law and to core constitutional principles.” This “hard-earned distinction was turned on its head” after healthcare, according to Lee.
Ed Whalen at NRO: Adding new judges would be one way to relieve the caseload. But, given our country’s long-term fiscal problems, I’d suggest that a better way is to reduce the number of cases in the federal system by eliminating federal causes of action (especially those that are duplicative of state causes of action) and possibly by restricting jurisdiction.
KOB.com: Albuquerque attorney Paul Becht will represent the seven Republican lawmakers who filed the suit. They are suing Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins for issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Above the Law: Over the last two decades, a dedicated Supreme Court bar has gained prominence, focusing on arguing the increasingly few cases before the justices each term. These lawyers face fierce competition in persuading clients to hire them, participating in a not-so-glamorous competition known in the industry as a “beauty contest.”
National Review: The Supreme Court’s term doesn’t officially begin until the first Monday in October, but in the New York Times last week Linda Greenhouse gave her opening argument to Justice Anthony Kennedy in Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, a case challenging Oklahoma’s regulation of the abortion drug mifepristone, or RU-486.
Carson Holloway at Public Discourse: The president and Congressional supporters of attacking Syria suggest by their actions a strong disregard for public opinion and self-government.
Religion Clause Blog: Scalia argued: [I]n order for capitalism to work — in order for it to produce a good and a stable society — the traditional Christian virtues are essential…..
San Francisco Chronicle: When Theodore Olson and David Boies, two prominent corporate lawyers, challenged California’s ban on same-sex marriage in federal court more than four years ago, many gay-rights advocates thought it was the wrong case in the wrong court, at the wrong time, and could set the movement back seriously.
Ed Whalen at NRO: In Sunday’s Washington Post, Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman contends that President Obama “was dead wrong last month in suggesting that law school educations should be only two years.”
Blog of the Legal Times: U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins sailed through his Senate judicial confirmation process in 2010. Almost three years later, he’ll be back testifying on Capitol Hill next week as a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Kansas.com: The morning after the Kansas Senate approved Gov. Sam Brownback’s office attorney Caleb Stegall for a seat on the state Court of Appeals, a Washington-based conservative group ran a full-page ad in the Topeka newspaper thanking and congratulating all three.
The Patriot News: William H. Lamb, who was nominated to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by former Gov. Mark Schweiker and approved by the Senate during the Rendell Administration, will be part of the state’s defense team in the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s marriage law.
Heritage Foundation: The Framers of the Constitution designed a federal republic in which a central government with strictly limited powers was balanced by state governments with plenary powers. The past 100 years have seen an exponential growth in the size and power of the central government.
WGNO: There’s a new law firm in New Orleans, and it’s not your traditional law firm. It’s the first private law firm to focus on the legal needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered community.
NJ.com: State Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens may have been in line for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but it wouldn’t have been a fair one leading to her reappointment, Gov. Chris Christie said today.
AbovetheLaw: Crain’s New York Business has a story about the new two-year program at New York Law School. NYLS is offering a two-year program that will charge (wait for it) two years’ worth of tuition to complete . . .
Ed Whelan at NRO: He [Ted Cruz] then asked Pillard whether “you were arguing that if a State decides to teach abstinence-only, that that decision by State and local officials in your judgment may well be unconstitutional and it is an appropriate role for a Federal court to strike down a State or local government’s decision to teach abstinence-only” (58:5-10). Pillard’s flat—and brazenly false—answer: “No, Senator Cruz.” (58:11)
TaxProf Blog: The sky is falling on legal education say the pundits, and preparing “practice ready” graduates is the best strategy for surviving the fallout. This is a millennialist version of the argument for clinical legal education that dominated discussion in the law schools in the 1960s and 1970s.
Will Baude at the Volokh Conspiracy: Last week I asked whether Presidents have a stronger obligation to obey domestic law than they do to obey international law, and suggested at least one argument for that view.
California Lawyer: But rather than take the case to a conventional lawyer, Gallucci decided instead to work with Stanford Law School, which had just started a first-of-its-kind Religious Liberty Clinic.
Adam Liptak at NY Times: The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus sang “Give ’Em Hope” for a revered and in some ways surprising guest who shared a California stage with them last month: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
AP: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is performing a same-sex wedding this weekend in what is believed to be a first for a member of the nation’s highest court.
Volokh Conspiracy: At the Originalism Blog, Prof. Michael Ramsey, a leading academic expert on constitutional war powers, has an excellent post on the implications of the original meaning for the constitutionality of an attack on Syria without congressional authorization (quoting, in part, from a 2011 post he wrote during the debate over the Libya conflict) . . .
The Hill: President Obama’s frequently rocky relationship with the judicial branch has emerged as a major obstacle to his second term goals.
WTOP.com: A federal judge has ordered the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors to pay a woman’s legal fees in her battle over prayers at public meetings.
Omaha.com: One of three finalists for the Iowa Court of Appeals faced an unusual — critics say inappropriate — question during a public interview: Had she violated marriage vows made to her husband, former State Auditor David Vaudt?
NewsObserver.com: State appeals court Judge Sam Ervin IV – who fought an extremely expensive but unsuccessful campaign against incumbent N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby last year – announced Tuesday his candidacy for another seat on the Supreme Court.
Allied Attorney Bill Becker appeared on Dr.James Dobson’s Family Talk Radio: You may not see them, but every day there are people on the front lines defending the rights of Christians in the public square. Hear from an attorney who is dedicated to fighting for religious liberty in the courts. Be encouraged by his quest to uphold America’s foundational freedoms and learn how to defend your family’s rights!