"As the November 7 Election approaches, I decided to write a few lines to my fellow Americans about the state of our nation and the ugliness that may have to occur if the people who caused these problems are re-elected: They may have to be assassinated," he writes in his Oct. 27 screed.Emphasis added. Turner is obviously cracked, but I can't help but wonder which Supreme Court Justices have gotten his dander up. His list of complaints include campaign finance laws and the Kelo eminent domain ruling. I think that points to the liberal wing of the Court. But he also doesn't like the Patriot Act or the Military Commissions Act. Those would likely be heavily scrutinized by the liberals on the Court if either law came before them in a case. The "at least three members" thing is a little weird, though. Which three? I don't know. Maybe I'm trying too hard to analyze something that is obviously screwy.
Just so there can be no mistaking his intentions, Turner repeats his premise several times and even offers fairly detailed plans involving five-men strike forces to carry out their wet work in wiping out half the U.S. Congress and at least three members of the Supreme Court.
The Seventh Circuit Review is a semiannual, online journal dedicated to the analysis of recent opinions published by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Seventh Circuit Review seeks to keep the legal community abreast of developments and trends within the Seventh Circuit and their impact on contemporary jurisprudence. The articles appearing within the Seventh Circuit Review are written and edited by Chicago-Kent College of Law students enrolled in the Seventh Circuit Review Honors Seminar.The entire journal is student written and edited as part of their seminar duties. If I wasn't currently neck deep in my own seminar materials, I would take the time to read some of the articles. Unfortunately, I'm still slaying the dragon that is Sarbanes-Oxley. This draft has to be in by Tuesday, so by hell or high water, I'll be able to read a few of the Review's articles by then.
Suppose finally that the court is aware that the ruling will have at least some degree of relevance to voters. Should the court refuse to issue the opinion until after the election?Sunstein says that there are two possible ways that a court could go on this issue...
1. The court should issue an opinion whenever it is ready to do so. It does not matter whether an election is imminent. It is no more neutral to hold the opinion than to issue it immediately. If the court's decision is controversial, the voters deserve to know about it before they vote, not after. "Holding" an opinion is too strategic; it smacks of opportunistic behavior on the court's part, an effort to avoid electoral reprisal.Or...
2. It is appropriate and possibly the better practice for the court not to issue a controversial opinion in the period immediately preceding an election, simply because of the risk that the timing will give the opinion undue salience, in a way that will distort the process. Of course any particular event might have such a distorting effect, if it occurs immediately before an election. But if judges can control the timing of their intervention to avoid the risk of that distorting effect, they should do so.Sunstein then endorses option 2. He thinks 1 is reasonable, but is concerned that the timing will "distort the whole process by making one development especially salient."
A court should issue its opinion when it is ready. It should not manipulate the timing of the release for what are essentially political reasons. If courts followed approach #2, they would be tempted to act on the basis of partisan considerations. That, in my view, would be the worst of all possible outcomes.The courts should operate on their own schedule, not on a national election schedule. Our appeals courts are backed up enough (and understaffed in the judges department) to be screwing around with their calendars even more. I think that it's also unfair to withhold a decision, a decision based on a case brought by real people with real concerns at stake in the case, in order for some amorphous "greater good" of the political landscape. As I understand it, the decision also had to be released before the New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice retired this week. I can't believe that Sunstein would want the decision held back and force a reargument of the case with the new court. The opinions should be issued as they are completed.
The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. The essentials of a valid marriage are (1) parties legally capable of contracting to marry, (2) mutual consent of agreement, and (3) an actual contracting in the form prescribed by law.Of course, one must recognize that definitions can and do change. However, if the definition as quoted from Black's is the one that the people of Wisconsin agree with, what is wrong with that?
Ordinary legislation -- not constitutional amendments -- should express the community's view that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." To use the Constitution for prescriptions of policy is to shackle future generations that should have the same right as ours to enact policies of their own.The counter to that is that the constitution can be amended again. Depending on the political climate at that time, it may be very difficult or fairly easy. That's all just speculation on unknown future events. But make no mistake about it. Amending the constitution is a big deal and should not be done lightly.
"In my judgment that would be a very, very close vote on the court," said William Bablitch, a former Supreme Court justice who served on the court for two decades and took part in two key decisions relating to gay couples and families. "It could come out either way."That's not exactly comforting to people who don't want gay marriage or civil unions enacted by judicial fiat. Let's count votes...
For his part, Bablitch guessed that in a hypothetical marriage law challenge, of the court's seven members, Justices Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley would likely vote to throw the current law out and Wilcox, appointed by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, and Justice Pat Roggensack would likely vote to uphold it.I agree with the analysis by Bablitch, but I think that Justice Butler is a solid vote to throw out the law. Of course, this analysis is based on the current composition of the court. There is no pending case, and any case would probably take a while to get through the circuit court and the appeals court (unless the appeals court punts it right up to the state supreme court, and they certainly can ask for that). As former Chief Justice Geske says in the article, a case could take two to three years to make it through the courts. Justice Wilcox, a solid vote to uphold the law, is retiring in July. His seat is likely to be filled by either Madison attorney Linda Clifford (a liberal) or Judge Annette Ziegler (a conservative). That possible shift in the court's composition would have an effect on any potential decision.
Justice Louis Butler Jr., an appointee of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, might vote to throw out the law as well, Bablitch said. That would be 3-2 in favor of ending the ban on gay marriage, leaving Justice N. Patrick Crooks and Justice David Prosser Jr., another Thompson appointee, to decide which side would prevail.
Mike Tate, campaign manager of anti-amendment group Fair Wisconsin, said he sees harmful consequences to the proposal and no strong chance that a Wisconsin court would approve gay marriage. "It's really highly unlikely that we'd see judges go against the grain of popular opinion."With all due respect to Mr. Tate, I have to disagree. This is the court that rewrote the rational basis test and struck down the statutory limits on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. This is the court that got rid of the individual causation requirement for tort liability for lead paint manufacturers. This is the court that claimed their supervisory authority over the court system lets them impose a new rule on law enforcement that all juvenile custodial interrogations be electronically recorded. The majority of this court will do whatever they want. They've demonstrated that time and time again. And because any decision that they make will be undoubtedly based on the Wisconsin constitution and not the federal Constitution, it cannot be appealed any further. It's the law.
This has lead to a kind of surreal campaign in which folks who believe in same sex marriage and who think that the current unavailability of marriage to same sex couples is unjust argue against the amendment by assuring us that what they see as an injustice will continue.If you want gay marriage in this state, then argue for it. It's a perfectly defensible position. Just don't say to one group of people that nothing will happen and then say to another group that Equal Protection demands gay marriage rights. It's underhanded.
On threats to an independent judiciary: Thomas said he believes that an independent judiciary is more at risk today. "Some of it is our own doing," he said. "We're drifting into areas people have strong feelings about ... We're getting into social issues where I don't think we should be making decisions." The abortion issue, Thomas suggested, "has changed the confirmation process and not for the better."This is a very different view about the causes of threats to the judiciary than we have heard lately from people like Justice O'Connor. Justice Thomas places some blame on judges treading into areas that they should leave alone. I agree with him. I think that the courts in general and the Court in particular have done nothing but hurt their credibility by diving into social issues. It makes the Court much, much more political than it should be. It also, as Thomas points out, reeks havoc on the confirmation process.
"I don't think we're better off," he said of what have become protracted confirmation hearings. "We don't have a better court. ... We are getting to be political footballs."
On cameras in the courtroom: "I'm not all that enthralled with that idea. I don't see how it helps us do our job. I think it may distract from us doing our job." And, he added, if 80 percent of the appellate process is wrapped up in the briefs, "How many of the people watching will know what the case is about if they haven't read the briefs?" The level of understanding, he suggested, would be "very shallow."This is a good point that I don't recall seeing before in the discussion of cameras in the Court. It reminded me of an incident at the beginning of the 2005 term of the Court. I read the transcript from one of the first cases argued before the new Chief Justice. I, like many others, was eager to see how he handled himself in oral arguments. I knew nothing about the case that I picked before starting to read the transcript. I hadn't read any of the briefs or even any blog posts about the case. I was totally lost, and I like to think that I have at least some grasp on legal issues. Without the proper background, it's pretty hard to follow some (maybe most) of the Court's cases. Try to follow an ERISA case. Your eyes will probably melt.
Monday, October 30th
Mr. Mike Tate
Campaign Manager for Fair Wisconsin
Dr. Scott Moss
Professor of Law, Marquette University
Dr. Christopher Wolfe
Professor of political science, Marquette University
Member of Wisconsin Coalition for Traditional Marriage
Dr. Rick Esenberg
Professor of Law, Marquette University
Consider also the matter of judicial nominees. This has been the very best part of the Bush Administration. Judicial appointments are the one legacy of an administration that lasts long after it has faded into history. The Supreme Court Justices who were appointed by Bush may stay on the High Court for 30 years. Justice John Paul Stevens was appointed by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975. He shows no sign of retiring and is in excellent health. It is not only the Supreme Court Justices who are important. President Bush's nominees to the Courts of Appeals have been superb. More than 98% of Federal appeals are decided at that level. Well under 100 cases are adjudicated by the Supreme Court. If the Democrats take control of the Senate they have pledged to filibuster Bush's judicial nominees. Even State Auditor Robert Casey, Jr., the Democratic nominee against Senator Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania, who says he is pro-life, also says he would support the filibuster of Bush nominees. James H. Webb, Jr., the Reagan Republican turned Democrat to run against Virginia's Senator George Allen, also has indicated he would oppose Bush nominees. Those are the most conservative Democrats running. The other candidates who could win are in Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Rhode Island and are strong liberals. There is no question that they would oppose Bush nominees.Emphasis added. This is an important point. Appeals court judges decide a huge amount of the important federal cases in the system. The Supreme Court, while incredibly important, hears very few cases. I am firmly behind George W. Bush and the Republicans who put Michael McConnell, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, Neil Gorsuch, etc. on the federal appellate bench. I'm not always firmly behind the legislative agenda, but you take the good with the bad.
When I was at the swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., at the White House, Justice Clarence Thomas pulled me aside and he said, "If the other party had controlled the Senate, Alito would not have even gotten out of the Judiciary Committee."Emphasis added yet again. I think that Justice Thomas is absolutely correct. Alito would've been sunk if the Democrats had the votes. It was obvious that they didn't and that the whole filibuster thing was just Kerry and other 2008 presidential hopefuls trying to out-Kos each other. Remember what happened to the moderate Senate Democrats that backed Thomas. They were sent packing. On the judges issue, there are fewer and fewer Democrats that can get away with backing conservative nominees, no matter how qualified they are.
Thomas himself survived the Judiciary Committee despite Anita F. Hill's accusations, but only because there were some moderate Democrats on the Committee then. There is none now. In fact, there is only one real conservative Democrat left in the Senate, Ben Nelson of Nebraska. There are a couple of liberals who will vote with the President on occasion, such as energy policy, but there is none other. And the Judiciary Committee is the most ideological of all the committees. The Senate Democratic Leadership has made sure that only leftists serve on that Committee.
Public polls consistently show that an overwhelming majority of Americans--regardless of age, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status--favor voter ID laws. And nearly half of the nation's states have passed them. Yet a string of recent court decisions has blocked their implementation in some places, thus siding with Democrats and liberal special interest groups who would rather turn a blind eye to voter fraud.The focus then shifts to the Missouri situation...
The state passed its new voting requirements in May in response to problems at the polls in 2000 and 2004, and the IDs were made available at no charge. The law was to be implemented over a two-year period, and people who lacked proper identification would be permitted to cast a provisional vote next month.The State Supreme Court then struck down the law on a 6-1 decision. The lone dissenter, Justice Stephen Limbaugh Jr. said that the majority failed to take into account the existence of voter fraud...
Despite these good faith efforts to ensure legitimate ballot access, however, opponents charge that photo ID requirements are overly burdensome and tantamount to a poll tax. The Missouri Democratic Party, which challenged the law, said that while the ID itself is free, the underlying documents--such as a birth certificate--required to obtain the necessary identification cost money. And state judges were sympathetic to the argument.
"Although the majority agrees that there is some evidence of voter fraud at the voter registration stage, they discount that evidence as if it had no connection with fraud at the polling place," wrote Judge Limbaugh. "But why else does voter registration fraud occur if not to vote persons fraudulently registered?"That is the logical result of someone registering fraudulently. They're going to vote with that fraudulent name. And once that name is on the rolls, it's hard to figure out that it's not supposed to be there without sufficient legal protections.
Showing ID is an incidental cost of voting, like having to buy a postage stamp for an absentee ballot, or feed the parking meter when you go to the polling booth. Poll taxes, by contrast, required a person to pay a fee every time he voted and were adopted for racially discriminatory purposes.There are incidental costs to voting, including everything from the gas you burn to get to the polling place or the time you spend in line (45 minutes for me in the 2004 presidential election). Hell, even the pen you use to fill out your absentee ballot costs money.
Mrs. Clinton has raised nearly $50 million and spent about $35 million; both the infrastructure she has built and whatever money is left at the end can be transferred into a presidential race if she decides to run.Ayres then makes this astute observation...
Imagine that a presidential candidate wants to allow people to contribute more to her campaign than is currently allowed under Federal campaign law. She could sign up to run in the off year election for the House and the Senate (and maybe have her relatives run for House and Senate in the same state). Supporters of the presidential campaign make maximum contributions to the House and Senate campaigns. To be extreme, imagine that these are sham candidacies and that she and her relatives spend almost none of the money contributed so as to maximize the amount that can be transfered post defeat to the real presidential campaign. The supporters who maxed out in making contributions to the sham campaigns can also max out in giving to the presidential campaign. And voila you have neat/scary way to end run the contribution limits.Sure, this seems like an extreme way to avoid contribution limits, but I'm sure that there are more than a few people who would go to extreme measures to get into the White House.
...that the Senate shouldn't take as long as it does to confirm members of the Supreme Court. "I certainly think they're too long, four or five days," he reportedly told the students who had assembled to watch the Boy Wonder preside over a "moot court" competition at the school... "It does wear on you a little bit," the Chief Justice added.Now Cohen gets really judgmental. "Shame on the Chief Justice," he says. He's ready to place some blame about the sorry state of judicial confirmation hearings too...
[T]he most direct reason why judicial confirmation hearings often take way longer than they ought to, is because the candidates themselves simple aren't willing to be candid in any way about their political and legal leanings. John Roberts' performance last September was stunning-- mostly because he mastered the art of saying absolutely nothing in 743 different ways. That's nobody's fault but his own. Had he been candid with the Committee, had he answered questions directly and without hiding behind the "I can't talk about this because one day I might have to decide it," Roberts' confirmation could have been only slightly longer than that of Kennedy-appointee Byron "Whizzer" White, who stayed before the Committee just long enough for a cup of coffee in 1962.Personally, I think this is a crock. Given an ample record based on a judicial and/or legal career, it isn't hard to figure out the legal leanings of a nominee. I don't know how anyone could look at Roberts' career (clerkship for Justice Rehnquist, special assistant to the Attorney General in the Reagan administration, associate counsel to the president again in the Reagan administration, judicial nominations and eventually an appointment under both Bush administrations) and not see that he's a conservative.
Part of the problem, as I've written before, is the inability of Committee members to pay attention long enough to bore in on a particular topic and actually listen to what the nominee says when answering a question. All too often, the Senators speak to themselves, or to their constuents, as if there is no one else in the room, much less a Supreme Court-nominee who is more or less held captive until the process is over.Very few Senators engage in anything that comes close to a real examination of legal issues. They ask stand alone questions, usually with no follow up, that have obviously been written by some staffer or law professor. Some Senators (Biden, I'm looking in your direction) give long winded speeches, proclaiming their views on the Constitution and policy issues. Meanwhile, the nominee sits quietly, hands folded, waiting for some question, ANY question.
The election procedures implemented to effect Proposition 200 do not necessarily result in the turning away of qualified, registered voters by election officials for lack of proper identification. A voter who arrives at the polls on election day without identification may cast a conditional provisional ballot. For that ballot to be counted, the voter is allowed five business days to return to a designated site and present proper identification. In addition any voter who knows he or she cannot secure identification within five business days of the election has the option to vote before election day during the early voting period.The Court then examines the applicable election law precedent, reaffirming that states have a compelling interest in maintaining the integrity of their elections...
Confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.The Court quotes the language from Reynolds v Sims that voting rights can be denied by dilution (in this case, dilution by fraudulent votes). The Court makes it clear that they are not looking at the merits of the case...
As we have noted, the facts in these cases are hotly contested, and "[n]o bright line separates permissible election-related regulation from unconstitutional infringements." [citation omitted]. Given the imminence of the election and the inadequate time to resolve the factual disputes, our action today shall of necessity allow the election to proceed without an injunction suspending the voter identification rules.Justice Stevens' short concurring opinion is incredibly interesting. He says that there are important factual issues about the effects of the law that are unknown. The only way to actually know what problems (if any) the law will cause is to see it in effect. Stevens also says that this issue is so important that the Court should be making its judgment based on facts, not speculation. This strikes me as sort of odd. It seems like Stevens is saying that it's okay for the Arizona election to be an experiment. I don't know how the people of Arizona would view that... A commenter on Volokh thinks that this is Stevens telling political activists to keep the election clean. By doing that, they would minimize the amount of fraud (or maybe even the threat of fraud) in relation to the chilling effect of the ID requirement keeping people away from the polls. Intriguing, but I don't know if Stevens is that Machiavellian.
1. The court notes important voter interests on both sides of the voter i.d. debate (echoing what Judge Posner said in 7th Circuit oral arguments on the Indiana voter i.d. law earlier this week).The Court is at the very least recognizing the balancing of interests that Judge Posner discussed a few days ago. There aren't any clues about their views on the merits of the case, though. We can't really extrapolate what they would do if this case was before them based on this short opinion. The second point seems to be a procedural warning shot fired across the bow of the appeals courts. Some courts, the Ninth in particular, don't seem to give the lower District Courts enough deference in factual matters. The judges on the Ninth Circuit seemingly ignored the factual findings of the District Court and offered no justification for their order. The Court is also saying that appeals courts need to be wary that their decisions can result in confusion, causing more voters to stay away from the polls.
2. The Court seems to be signaling an argument against last minute court interventions in the machinery of running elections unless really necessary.
The 2000 law, known as Measure 3, raised the bar, requiring police to get a criminal conviction before they could pursue a forfeiture. It also tightened the rules on what is subject to forfeiture, effectively slashing the amounts police could claim and cutting off a major source of funding for narcotics investigations.The Lincoln County Interagency Narcotics Team sued to have the law overturned. They won at the appellate court level, but the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the law in a 4-3 decision. Many are celebrating...
David Fidanque of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon called Thursday's ruling "great news" and a big step toward protecting people from unjustified seizures of their property.Others are not...
"This ensures that as we try to take the profit out of crime that we only seize property from criminals," Fidanque said. "Prior to Measure 3, the complete burden was on the property owner to prove their innocence."
But a law enforcement official, Rob Bovett, lawyer for the Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team, called the ruling a disappointment and said Measure 3 has hurt the fight against Oregon's methamphetamine problem.Personally, I'm on the side of the ACLU on this one. I'd like to know that the seized assets belonged to actual criminals. Otherwise, the threat for abuse is quite high.
Measure 3 "has helped to dismantle or cripple many Oregon drug task forces at the most critical time in our meth epidemic," he said, and it has "let convicted meth dealers keep much of their ill-gotten gains."
Judge Posner said that the test is not whether this is a narrowly tailored law. There are voting rights on both sides of the case. The fraud dilutes the voting rights of those who vote legitimately. Challengers say the fraud problem is small, and state says burden is small. I think he is likely, though not certain, to vote to uphold the law, given what he sees as a lack of evidence on either side of either a great benefit or burden. Doubt goes to the state. It was unclear to me how the other judges were leaning.I think Hasen is right, and Posner is leaning towards upholding the law. He made a big deal about the fact that the amount of people truly affected by this law is very small. Judge Evans seems more concerned about the time frame involved and the difficulty that people will have in obtaining their materials. This is especially true for people who were born out of state and need their birth certificate. I think he's likely to strike down the law. Judge Sykes is harder to read, mostly because she asked the fewest questions. My gut says that she would side with Posner, but my gut is infamously stupid.
Naturally, people who think they know best how other people should use their property are up in arms over the initiatives. The Washington Post characterizes property rights advocates as "trying to harness anger over the [Kelo] ruling in an effort to pass state initiatives in the West and federal legislation that could unravel a long-standing fabric of state and local land-use regulations. Among other things, the rules control growth, limit sprawl, ensure open space and protect the environment." Unmentioned by the Post is that the rules do all those good things without paying people who own the affected farms, ranches, forests and homes a dime for the lost value of their land.There has always been a tension between property owners and interest groups about who gets to do what and where. Bailey seems to be saying that the restrictions are fine, but the land owners should be compensated. Interest groups, especially environmental groups, are against this.
The puzzle at the heart of the environmentalists' reluctance to compensate landowners for zoning restrictions comes into focus when you consider their attitudes toward conservation easements. A conservation easement is a voluntary legal arrangement in which a landowner agrees to protect the conservation values of a piece of land by permanently limiting its present and future uses. Landowners then donate the easement to qualified conservation organizations that make sure the land is managed in line with the restrictions established by the easement. For this land owners get substantial federal and state income tax breaks.Conservation easements are increasingly popular. There was a presentation about them at this year's State Bar Environmental Law CLE. The philosophical, pro-environment effects coupled with the significant tax breaks make them very attractive to many people. Bailey shows just how attractive that they are...
Without bothering to go through the calculations here, one tax advisor notes that the combination of federal income and estate tax benefits can equal or exceed the cost of the easement itself, up to as much 146 percent of the cost of easement. In other words, voluntary land restrictions are compensated-sometimes very well compensated-through the tax code.Very attractive.
Marquette Philosophy graduate student Stuart Ditsler posted a quote from Dave Barry on his door. It said:God forbid anyone criticize the behemoth that is the federal government.
"As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government."
What kind of response did that get? A e-mail from department chair James South (although the secretary in the Philosophy Department refused to confirm the source) saying the following:
I had several complaints today about a quotation that was on the door of CH 132F. I've taken the quotation down. While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I'm afraid that hallways and office doors are not "free-speech zones." If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note.
Offensive to whom? Surely not to any of the usual identity groups, ethnic or religious or sexual-orientation or gender or whatever. Nor does it use the four-letter words that might be inappropriate for a public space. Perhaps it's offensive to employees of the federal government, or to those who have a great deal of respect and admiration for the federal government. But one would think that at a university it falls within the parameters of debate. And while Dave Barry writes more effectively and memorably than most philosophers, his statement still qualifies as humor or political commentary or both.The statement was not vulgar or profane. It contained no racial or ethnic slurs. It simply stated an opinion in a fairly humorous way. I see nothing wrong with it. Of course, that's probably because I agree with it.
I dunno about you, but I actually think the most offensive thing in the whole situation is the department chair's quisling claim to being "a strong supporter of academic freedom."Isn't it funny when someone makes a claim, then takes an action that directly contradicts that claim?
Marquette is a private university and is thus free under the First Amendment to regulate speech as it chooses. But if libertarian jests are "patently offensive" and subject to censorship at Marquette, it might want to note that in a new paragraph of its academic freedom guidelines and perhaps in the catalog provided to prospective students.Marquette is certainly within its rights to restrict speech in this manner. However, that doesn't make it a smart policy. Once again, the school looks foolish nationally.
According to the indictment, Snipes, 44, conspired with Eddie Ray Kahn and former certified public accountant Douglas Rosile in the tax scam. Kahn is the founder of a Florida company (now known as Guiding Light of God Ministries) that, investigators allege, "promoted and sold fraudulent tax schemes" to clients like Snipes. Kahn has claimed that U.S. citizens could only be taxed on income earned from certain foreign-based activities (and not on money made in this country). This claim--known as the "861 argument" for the section of the tax code to which it refers--has been flatly rejected by the Internal Revenue Service. As part of the alleged Snipes scheme, the actor filed amended tax returns seeking $12 million in refunds on taxes he paid in 1996 and 1997.TSG also has a copy of the indictment, in case you've never seen one and want to read it for yourself.
The government also says that Snipes tried to pay some of his income taxes between 2000 and 2002 by sending bogus checks totaling $14 million to the U.S. Treasury.Wesley, Wesley, Wesley... what are you doing? All of these separate federal charges add up too. Snipes faces more than 16 years in prison. Maybe Snipes and Woody Harrelson can devise a basketball hustling scheme to get Snipes out of this.
Tom Kunkel, dean of the University of Maryland's journalism school, calls Greenhouse's remarks "ill-advised," saying that while she can "still report objectively on contentious issues before the Supreme Court, the average person can reasonably ask, how can that not color her stories?" But former Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent says it is impossible "to find any trace of her views in her work."That's news to me. Greenhouse hasn't been shy about her views in the past. Ramesh Ponnuru provides a memory refresher...
In the spring of 1989, as the Supreme Court considered the Webster case. . . supporters of abortion rights staged a big march in Washington, D.C. Many reporters were there, of course. But not all of them were there to cover it. Several journalists from prominent newspapers were there as marchers. Linda Greenhouse, who has long covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times, was one of them.I want to focus on the last paragraph, since I think the first two speak for themselves. Calling Casey tightly reasoned is a little puzzling to me. Any opinion that talks about "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life"” seems to have its head a bit too far in the clouds for my tastes. Also, I would love to get a copy of this article. I wonder if Greenhouse described the fourth dissenter, Justice Byron White, as part of "the Court's far right." If not, I wonder if she considered White, the Kennedy appointee and lifelong Democrat, to be as outside of the mainstream as Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas.
The journalists' participation in the rally became controversial. The editors of the Times said that Greenhouse should not have marched. Other reporters tut-tutted her for bringing her objectivity into question. The dispute was somewhat otherworldly. No well-informed observer has ever thought that Greenhouse, or the Times, was unbiased, before or since the march. Conservatives even coined the phrase "the Greenhouse effect" to refer to the possibility that Supreme Court justices move left to get better coverage from her and like-minded scribes.
Greenhouse spent the second half of 1992 praising Casey in the Times as a "tightly reasoned" decision by "centrist" justices. She has described the dissenters-Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist-as "the Court's far right." She has written that Roe has "taken on a life of its own, evolving into something . . . in tune with the ideals of the American mainstream." And she has written an admiring biography of Harry Blackmun.
I called on the student to analyze whether certain arguments for restricting marriage to heterosexual couples was "irrational," as held by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The student declined to answer, claiming that he did not hear the question because he was typing on his computer; that he had no opinion on the matter; and that he could not develop any opinion because he had not been listening closely enough to the discussion and did not bring his book to class. This was not the first time he was unprepared.For those of you who are unfamiliar with the law school classroom environment, this is basically what happens. Students are assigned reading, they do it (hopefully), the professor lectures a little about the day's topic, then the professor calls on students to talk about the cases.
In a typical class setting, the professor asks a question and calls on a student who may or may not have volunteered an answer. The professor either then continues to ask the student questions or moves on to another student.It's such a blast. It's also very obvious when a student tries to answer the questions when they are unprepared (not always though, some people are just bad at talking in class).
These subsequent questions can take a few forms. Sometimes they seek to challenge the assumptions upon which the student based the previous answer until it breaks. Further questions can also be designed to move a student toward greater specificity, either in understanding a rule of law or a particular case. Finally professors use the Socratic method to allow students to come to legal principles on their own through carefully worded questions that spur a particular train of thought.
I called on someone else and plan to call on the lazy student every day for the rest of the semester (or at least a suitably lengthy period short of the whole semester) plus decrease his grade one step for poor class participation, but I suspect such treatment is not nearly severe enough (plus it wastes the time of other members of the class). Have some of you ejected students from the class for such inexcusable behavior? If so, do you let them return for the next class? What happens if they don't leave? What other means are appropriate and effective?I was a little taken aback by this. Maybe that's because I have never seen anything this bad happen in one of my classes. Sure, I've seen people unprepared. It happens. Usually, being embarrassed in front of the class is enough to get that person back in line and reading the material.
In my 1L year, I always did all of the reading prior to class, and attended every session. And I quickly came to realize one thing - listening to other law students talk is about the worst thing one can do. When the profs were talking, I would be attentive, taking notes where necessary. But when students were talking, I would instantly alt-tab to my web browser, and tune their words out. If I am capable of learning the material on my own, what can I possibly gain from listening to someone recite their (almost certainly incorrect) interpretation of the court's opinion?This is very true. There are some people who just like to talk in class. They like to talk whether they are right or wrong. They like to talk whether they are adding anything substantive to the discussion or not. They poison the classroom environment with erroneous information and waste valuable class time.
During the 1980's, Robert Eckhardt occasionally worked for the Teamsters Union Local 390 in south Florida. Eckhardt was not a full union member and he worked only when called. Eckhardt's relationship with the union deteriorated and he began making threatening calls to its office. In 1994, he pled guilty to making threatening phone calls to the union in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(b).For those of you playing along at home who aren't familiar with the federal criminal code, 18 USC § 875(b) criminalizes interstate threats of violence (as well as other things). Unfortunately, Eckhardt couldn't quit his phone shenanigans and he kept calling the union...
During that year and a half period, Eckhardt made approximately 200 calls to a voicemail extension belonging to Local 769 office worker Sue Ann Creech. Although Ms. Creech never met Eckhardt, he called her number up to 30 times per week between March 28 and June 8, 1999.If you're like me, you're wondering what Eckhardt said. If you're like me, you're happy that the judges put the transcripts in the footnotes. Avert your eyes, children. Here's the first one...
Hey Sue! Why don't you take one of them fuckin' school buses or one of them fuckin' passenger buses and use it like a vibrator up your cunt. When your mother and father died, did they put the casket in a bus? Did they? And if they're not dead, when they do die, I hope they stick it in a bus. Say hello to Tony. Capiche? Remember, use them buses and them fuckin' garbage trucks like a fuckin' dildo and stick 'em up your cunt. Good bye.Pretty salty, huh? There's more...
Hey! You sent that little greasy bitch here uh? And take that little guinea fuckin' cunt with that pimple face fuckin' bitch from fuckin' Fort Lauderdale? Or some of them kids from fuckin' Florida. You listen to this. I said no over the road, I'm stayin' right where I'm at. And you fuck up, here's your threat pal, have me locked up. This way I can fuckin' wet my balls off. Fuck you! How does that sound? Fuck you! No garbage, no over the road, no nothin' Fuck you. There's your threat, have me locked up. Go ahead. Take your conventions and everything else and stick 'em up your mother's cunt. (laughs)What, no "good bye" this time? That's not very polite. I know what you're asking yourself: how does one "wet" his balls off? Good question. The judges explain in the footnote that Eckhardt actually said "rat" but the record was incorrect and Eckhardt didn't object.
Eckhardt was tried and convicted of anonymously making "annoying, abusive, harassing, or threatening" telephone calls in violation of 47 U.S.C. § 223(a)(1)(C). Eckhardt asserts that § 223(a)(1)(C) is overbroad because it potentially criminalizes protected speech and vague because it failed to give him notice that his conduct was forbidden. The Sixth Circuit rejected an identical challenge to § 223 in United States v. Bowker (citations omitted).I don't think that the Supreme Court will be sympathetic to Eckhardt, so he better get used to the idea of federal prison.
Eckhardt called his victim approximately 200 times during a year and a half period. Although Eckhardt claims for the first time on appeal that the calls addressed matters of public concern (i.e. alleged corruption), his calls rarely addressed anything that could be construed in that manner. The overarching purpose of Eckhardt's sexually laced calls was to harass and frighten Ms. Creech. "This type of speech is not constitutionally protected."
An adult bookstore employee in El Paso, Texas, sued the state after his arrest for showing two undercover officers a device shaped like a penis and telling the female officer the device would arouse and gratify her.I'm upset that the Court didn't hear this case. I'm not upset because I care about the issue itself. I'm upset because of the lost comedic opportunities. Some of the Justices are... lets say, sheltered. I'm reminded of the oral argument in Lawrence v Texas (which dealt with the right to gay sodomy) as described in Mark Tushnet's A Court Divided...
The employee, Ignacio Sergio Acosta, says a Texas law outlawing the manufacture, marketing or dissemination of an "obscene device" including those shaped like sex organs is unconstitutional because it prevents individuals from using such devices, violating their right to sexual privacy.
Spectators laughed as well when Justice Breyer asked Rosenthal for a "straight answer" to one of his questions. (Later Breyer expressed puzzlement about why people had laughed).We are missing out on oral argument comedy gold because the Court is not hearing this case.
In 1999, for example, the court declared "virtual" child pornography a "right." "The First Amendment," it said, "prohibits Congress from enacting a statute that makes criminal the generation of fictitious children engaged in imaginary but explicit sexual conduct."The piece goes on to explain the facts of the Musladin case, which are quite interesting. Here is where things got really interesting though. Enter Judge Stephen Reinhardt, official whipping boy of Eminent Domain...
Last October, however, the court took a far more cramped view of free speech. The murder conviction of Mathew Musladin must be thrown out, it ruled, because the victim's family sat in the front row of the trial, wearing buttons depicting nothing more than the victim's photograph. This mute expression, the judges ruled, may have prejudiced the jury and thus violated Musladin's right to a fair trial. In October, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal.
One wonders how the 9th Circuit might have ruled had the victim's family worn "virtual" child pornography, instead of a photo of their slain loved one.
The problem for Musladin is that the Supreme Court has never "clearly established" or even hinted that something worn by courtroom spectators could deny a defendant a fair trial. Accordingly, the state appeals court let Musladin's conviction stand. A federal district court declined to overrule the state court, and Musladin's appeal arrived in the 9th Circuit.I have no idea what the Court is going to do here. This will be another case to watch Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito closely. It will tell us a lot about how the Roberts Court views Free Expression issues.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee, wrote that court's opinion overturning Musladin's conviction. This is the same Judge Reinhardt who has voted over the years for 9th Circuit opinions that claimed doctor-assisted suicide was a constitutional right and -- in another take on the freedom of expression -- that it is unconstitutional for children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.
Lacking a Supreme Court precedent to back up his decision that the Studers' buttons made Musladin's conviction unconstitutional, Judge Reinhardt ignored the letter of the law and used a 1990 opinion by the 9th Circuit itself as his justification. That opinion threw out a rape conviction because a few women had attended the trial in question wearing buttons that read, "Women Against Rape."