• November 18, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    On the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, Janai Nelson and Amy Howe consider the new Affordable Care Act challenge and how Justice Scalia could be the deciding factor.

    Leslie Griffin writes at Hamilton & Griffin on Rights on how the recent opinion of Judge Cornelia Pillard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Priests for Life v. HHS explains why women’s equality is not a radical idea.

    Reuben Guttman writes in the International Business Times that the U.S. midterm elections were all about money but had very little substance.

    In The Washington Post, Andrea Peterson looks at the right of citizens to record the police.

    Geoffrey R. Stone argues in the Huffington Post that Senate should approve the USA Freedom Act in order to address the issues raised by the NSA’s surveillance program.

  • November 17, 2014
    Guest Post

    by Reuben A. Guttman, Director, Grant & Eisenhofer; Member, ACS Board of Directors

    *This post originally appeared on The Global Legal Post.

    The United States Chamber of Commerce, a few academics and some media pundits have their lists of cases arguably supporting the proposition that people will sue over anything and hence the need for tort reform to prevent so called 'frivolous litigation.' Out of the countless number of cases filed each year in United States federal and state courts, the tort reformers love to harp on the suit brought by the woman against McDonalds for serving hot coffee and the class action now pending against Subway for allegedly misrepresenting the size of its advertised foot-long sandwiches.    

    Golden oldies

    Since the tort reformers seem to keep dwelling on the same few cases, it might be worth mentioning a few oldies but goodies which have eluded their attention. First, there is the “classroom kick case” where an elementary school child was sued for kicking another student on the knee.  This heinous event occurred in a classroom. The court allowed the case to go forward, holding that if the offending kicker had made his offensive contact on the playground, the kick might have been permissible.

    Then there is the “falling scale case” involving a man on a railroad platform; running to jump on a train, he was pulled on board by a conductor.  Struggling to board the moving rail car, the man dropped a package containing fireworks; the fireworks exploded, knocking a scale down at the end of the platform.  The scale fell on another man who sued the railroad!

  • November 17, 2014

    by Caroline Cox

    Ken Armstrong writes for The Marshall Project about how poor lawyering and inflexible law  lead to lost appeals for condemned men.

    At ACSblog, Jeremy Leaming discusses King v. Burwell, and characterizes it as “another tiremsome, political act.”

    At the blog for the Constitution Center, Doug Kendall and Brianne Gorod consider the opinion of Judge Jeffrey Sutton, the first federal appellate judge to uphold a state ban on same-sex marriage, and how it conflicts with Loving v. Virginia.

    Eric Segall argues in Slate that the justices of the Supreme Court should be considered politicians, not judges.

  • November 14, 2014

    by Jeremy Leaming

    First, the attack on Obamacare found in King v. Burwell is one the Supreme Court did not need to hear, as put well in a recent piece by Linda Greenhouse, a contributing columnist for The New York Times. Second the argument being advanced against the Affordable Care Act is one that only the high court’s seemingly unmovable conservatives could or would buy into. It’s a politically driven case, of course, like the other attempts by the right-wing political movement to destroy health-care reform. The right-wing movement instead calls for coddling the privileged and works to make life exceedingly difficult for the vast majority of Americans. If we really need another example of the Supreme Court acting in the worst interests of the nation, we have one – in its decision to hear King v. Burwell. If you need more examples of the high court acting against the interests of the nation time and again, see Erwin Chemerinsky’s new book, The Case Against The Supreme Court.

    On King v. Burwell, see the following spot-on pieces on why the legal argument against a few words regarding tax credits in the ACA ultimately fails (the tax breaks help many low-income Americans afford health care coverage, a serious intent of the law.):

    Greenhouse’s “Law in the Raw,” from The New York Times’ opinion pages, where she writes that it “would take an agenda-driven act of judicial will” for the court to ignore long-held precedent – Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council, Inc. – to uphold the argument in King v. Burwell.

    E.J. Dionne Jr.’s “Will Obamacare separate Scalia from his principles?” from The Washington Post, where he notes even “many neutral legal analysts” were stunned that four justices would even “take up an absurd legal challenge to the health-care law,” and especially before seeing if a circuit split would stand.

    Timothy S. Jost's "The Truth and Myth Behind Latest Challenge to Health Care Law" from ACSblog, where the Washington and Lee University School of Law professor writes that Supreme Court justices might ignore congressional intent, but "cannot ignore the text" of Obamacare.

    And Yale Law School professor Abbe R. Gluck’s piece at SCOTUSblog, “The grant in King – Obamacare subsidies as textualism’s big test.”

  • November 14, 2014

    by Rebekah DeHaven

    The Senate returned this week following the midterm elections and its first order of business was to consider two district court nominations. On November 12, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on Randolph Moss (nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) and Leigh Martin May (nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia). Senator Reid (D-Nev.) also filed cloture on Eleanor Ross, Mark Cohen, and Leslie Abrams, all nominated to the Northern District of Georgia. On November 13, the Senate voted to confirm Moss, 54-45, and May, 99-0.

    Also on November 12, President Obama made four new judicial nominations: Dale Drozd to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, LaShann Moutique DeArcy Hall to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Luis Felipe Restrepo to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Kara Farnandez Stoll to the Federal Circuit. 

    On November 13, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Joan Marie Azrack (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York), Loretta Copeland Biggs (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina), and Elizabeth K. Dillon (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia). The Senate Judiciary Committee was also scheduled to vote on nine nominees, but they were held over at the request of Senator Grassley (R-Iowa).