SCOTUS granted cert yesterday to review Oklahoma’s execution cocktail

By: Saturday January 24, 2015 1:01 pm

I believe the most likely explanation for these inconsistent decisions is that it takes five votes to grant a stay of execution, but only four votes to grant cert. Apparently the four liberals voted for both the stay of execution and to grant cert and none of the conservative judges voted for either one.

 

South Dakota District Court Takes 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to School over Marriage Equality

By: Saturday January 17, 2015 10:19 am

It’s not often that a federal district court takes on an appellate court of a different circuit, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this week in South Dakota over state bans on marriage equality. Judge Karen E. Schreier of the South Dakota District Court ruled in Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard that South Dakota’s ban was unconstitutional, and in so doing, her opinion deftly took down the logic of the ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned a similar opinion in favor of marriage equality in DeBoer v Snyder coming out of Michigan.

It’s truly a thing of beauty.

Over Easy: SCOTUS: Officer’s Reasonable Mistake of Law Not a Fourth Amendment Violation

By: Wednesday December 17, 2014 5:02 am

On December 15, SCOTUS issued a ruling that says, “A police officer’s reasonable mistake of law gives rise to reasonable suspicion that justifies a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment.”

History in the Making in Missouri, But Not in Michigan

By: Saturday November 8, 2014 12:37 pm

Marriage equality continues its historic roll forward, with the Western District of Missouri being the latest federal court to weigh in on the issue. It came on the heels of a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding discrimination, however. Between the Missouri ruling and the dissent at the 6th Circuit, the majority opinion looks incredibly weak.

It is, as a local retired judge put it while conducting the first marriage of a same-sex couple, history in the making. And it’s about time.

How Crazy Is Too Crazy to Be Executed

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 3:08 pm

In her latest piece, Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones sheds light on the case of Scott Panetti—a death row prisoner who Texas wants to execute despite a decades-long history of severe mental illness and serious questions remaining about his competency to be executed.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Erwin Chemerinsky, The Case Against The Supreme Court

By: Sunday September 28, 2014 1:59 pm

So often in modern conversation you hear complaints about how out of touch and damaging the Supreme Court has become. Whether from Bush v. Gore, to Citizen’s United, to the more recently destructive Hobby Lobby decision, to name a bare few, the cries against SCOTUS are getting louder by the term. Yet far too often that hue and cry is by lay people and concerned activists, and the scholars and professors serve up a more nuanced take with pulled punches steeped in complicated case law and argument. Not Dean Chemerinsky. This is a full on broadside against what the court has become and, maybe, what it always has been once the romanticized veneer of reverence is stripped away.

The Case Against the Supreme Court – Book Salon Preview

By: Sunday September 28, 2014 11:00 am

Most Americans share the perception that the Supreme Court is objective, but Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the country’s leading constitutional lawyers, shows that this is nonsense and always has been. The Court is made up of fallible individuals who base decisions on their own biases. Today, the Roberts Court is promoting a conservative agenda under the guise of following a neutral methodology, but notorious decisions, such as Bush vs. Gore and United Citizens, are hardly recent exceptions. This devastating book details, case by case, how the Court has largely failed throughout American history at its most important tasks and at the most important times.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sheila Bapat, Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers, and the Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights

By: Saturday July 26, 2014 1:59 pm

My generation associates the regulation of domestic workers with Zoe Baird and “nannygate.” In 1993, newly elected President Bill Clinton submitted Baird’s name to the Senate as his choice for Attorney General. She would have been the first woman to hold the position. Instead, the nomination was withdrawn because she and her then-husband, Yale Law Professor Paul Gewirtz, had managed their high profile careers and family life by hiring an undocumented couple to help them and had not paid their social security taxes.

Are we any farther along today? Sheila Bapat’s book, Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights, suggests that the answer may be yes and no.

With Hobby Lobby Decision, SCOTUS Heads Back to the Gilded Age

By: Saturday July 5, 2014 9:30 am

The good times keep rolling for corporations at the Supreme Court. Four years ago, Citizens United​ gave corporations the right to spend as much money as they’d like on elections (money = speech, you know), and now Hobby Lobby​ gave corporations the right to claim their religious beliefs should exempt them from laws they deem objectionable on religious grounds.

But looking beneath the surface of the ​Hobby Lobby​ ruling reveals a grander gift to corporate owners . . .

Good News? Maybe. Supreme Court Says Cell Phone Searches Need Warrants

By: Monday June 30, 2014 2:32 pm

Does this matter when talking about the NSA’s and the FBI’s technological dragnet? Maybe. Some suggest that law enforcement will work around the new restrictions by seeking perfunctory, expedited warrants automatically for each arrest, or through the use of technologies such as Stingray, which can electronically gather cell conversations without warrant. Stingray can also be used to track a person’s movements without a warrant, negating the old-school GPS devices the Supreme Court declared require a warrant.

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