Rehnquist and the Role of Proper Reasoning in Arriving at Results

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 in Updates

John Jenkins’ recent biography of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist has engendered anger from the right and even embarrassment from some on the left. The biography is titled The Partisan, but one could be forgiven for believing the title refers to the author rather than the subject. According to Jenkins, Rehnquist’s judicial philosophy was “nihilistic,” and “dismissive of…institutions that did not comport with his black-and-white view of the world.”...

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Supreme Court Poised to Reduce American Involvement in Foreign Human Rights Cases?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Updates

Does a Founding-Era statute enable foreigners to sue other foreigners in federal court for conduct that took place overseas? That was the question facing the Supreme Court yesterday when it opened its latest term with arguments in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum. A 1789 statute, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) states, “[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a...

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A First Amendment Victory: Allowing Political Parties to Endorse Judicial Candidates

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Updates

In a victory for free speech in political campaigns earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit in Sanders County Republican Central Committee v. Bullock enjoined Montana from enforcing a Montana statute that prohibits political parties from endorsing judicial candidates. The court ruled that the law violates the First Amendment’s protection of speech. The Sanders County Republican Central Committee sought a preliminary injunction against the law, in order that the Committee be...

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Texas v. Holder and the Propriety of Voter ID Legislation

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Updates

In Texas v. Holder, the federal district court in Washington unanimously struck down a Texas voter ID law (henceforth “SB 14”) requiring that prospective voters present photo IDs before casting their ballots. Judge Tatel, writing for the three-judge panel, deemed SB 14 to be “retrogressive” and “the most stringent in the nation” — “far more burdensome” than similar laws in Indiana and Georgia, the former of which the...

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Jones, Redux

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Updates

The Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Jones, rendered last January, proved anticlimactic for those followers of technology and the Fourth Amendment jurisprudence expecting an embrace or rejection of the mosaic theory promulgated by the D.C. Circuit in Maynard. Though the Court voted unanimously, holding that the government’s placement of a GPS tracking device on a car without warrant constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, the Justices were...

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Protecting Property Left by the Homeless on the Sidewalk

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Updates

Does the Constitution protect the property of homeless people who leave such property in public areas while they perform tasks such as eating and showering? The answer is yes, according to the Ninth Circuit. Judge Wardlaw, writing for the court in Lavan v City of Los Angeles, ruled that the 4th and 14th Amendments protects property of the homeless left on the street from seizure and immediate destruction, despite the fact that a city ordinance prohibits individuals from...

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