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Her Majesty's High Court of Chivalry of England and Wales

In England coats of arms and other issues of heraldry are registered and administered by the College of Arms. But what if some base scoundrel displays your family's ancient and noble coat of arms without the right to do so? You sue them in the Court of Chivalry. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 27, 2014 - 21 comments

We hold that heightened scrutiny applies

Today, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the case of Smithkline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories, holding that lawyers cannot exclude a potential juror from service solely based on their sexual orientation, because sexual orientation is subject to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 21, 2014 - 34 comments

"Even to observe neutrality, you must have a strong government."

Court strikes down FCC's net neutrality rules
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 14, 2014 - 139 comments

It Can Wait

The Superior Court of New Jersey's Appellate Division ruled on August 27 that if, as you text someone, you have special reason to know that the intended recipient is driving and is likely to read the text message while driving, you as the texter have a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 8, 2013 - 66 comments

McCutcheon v. FEC

Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
posted by kliuless on Oct 7, 2013 - 101 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

No, this is not an Admiralty Court.

Canadian self-described "Freemen" in Alberta have recently attracted a great deal of public attention to themselves. The justice system generally takes a very dim view of their shenanigans, as laid out in one of the most comprehensively researched and bizarre judgment issued in recent memory. Here's a general overview and debunking of the arguments they use. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Sep 23, 2013 - 142 comments

Cocaine's A Hell Of A Drug

Sly Stone's history of drug addiction and eccentricity is well known. But, a recent California Court of Appeals ruling details how a series of ill advised business deals left Stone destitute. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jun 16, 2013 - 41 comments

The Court has announced its opinion in Maryland v. King

Full opinion (dissent at page 33): In what is arguably the most important criminal procedure case the Supreme Court has decided in decades, the Court today announced its 5-4 holding in Maryland v. King. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy, held that the 4th Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested (but not convicted) of serious crimes.
posted by eenagy on Jun 3, 2013 - 112 comments

“I thought that modern penology has abandoned that rehabilitation thing”

In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?
It’s not very often the concept of restorative justice gets much play outside scholarly publications or reformist criminal justice circles, so first, some credit for Max Fisher at The Atlantic for giving it an earnest look last week. In seeking to explain Norway’s seemingly measly twenty-one-year sentence for remorseless, mass-murdering white supremacist Anders Breivik—a sentence that is certain to be extended to last the rest of his life—Fisher casts a critical eye on the underlying philosophy that animates that country’s sentencing practices, finding it to be “radically different” from what we’re used to in the United States.
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: A Meta-Analysis [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 12, 2012 - 87 comments

British Columbia court legalizes assisted suicide

The British Columbia Supreme Court has struck down a ban on physician-assisted suicide, in a whopping 1415-paragraph decision. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea on Jun 15, 2012 - 57 comments

Money Unlimited

Money Unlimited How John Roberts Orchestrated the Citizens United decision. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on May 15, 2012 - 87 comments

We hold these vegetables to be self-evident

Tomato: fruit or vegetable? In 1893, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Nix v. Hedden that the tomato is legally a vegetable and not a fruit, botanical definitions be damned. In 2001, the European Union disagreed, saying that "tomatoes, the edible parts of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons are considered to be fruit". [more inside]
posted by davidjmcgee on Nov 17, 2011 - 91 comments

Australia's High Court Rules The "Malaysian Solution" Unconstitutional

Australia's High Court has handed down a 6-1 judgement against (PDF) the Commonwealth Government's deal with the Malaysian Government, to replace the so-called Pacific Solution, under which the two countries would have "swapped" asylum seekers.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Aug 31, 2011 - 56 comments

Addressing the Justice Gap

Several commentators are advocating the deregulation of the practice of law.
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2011 - 125 comments

Does digital writing leave fingerprints?

"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Aug 2, 2011 - 13 comments

Literal Wisconsin Supreme Court battle

Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 [video] to reinstate the controversial anti-union Budget Repair Bill, which a district judge had declared void due to a law requiring 24 hours' public notice of meetings. The Supreme Court's deliberations were heated. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley now says that after she asked conservative Justice David Prosser to leave her office, he put his hands around her neck in a choke-hold. Justice Prosser denies the allegation. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 26, 2011 - 160 comments

Supreme Court: Suppressing fruit since 1920

Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal term used to describe illegally gained evidence. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence is tainted, then anything gained from it is as well.

For the uninitiated, such terms used as described make for odd introductions to supreme court arguments (PDF warning) [more inside]
posted by AndrewKemendo on Apr 13, 2011 - 26 comments

Muzzle the Defense

The chances that a powerful person will make an error are much greater than those of a weak person. Scott Horton translates Benjamin Constant, references Robespierre, and offers insight on modern efforts to preclude meaningful trials in federal court. [more inside]
posted by fartknocker on Apr 2, 2011 - 20 comments

Conviction

Betty Anne Waters's brother Kenny was sent to prison for first degree murder and armed robbery in 1982. Over the next 16 years, Betty Anne got her GED, college degree, and law degree, all in an effort to prove Kenny was innocent. With the assistance of the Innocence Project, Betty Anne was able to use DNA evidence to show Kenny was innocent. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Mar 24, 2011 - 28 comments

"If you feel stupid, it's not because I'm making you feel that way."

What is a photocopier? Ten pages of Ohio Supreme Court testimony where a Cuyahoga County, Ohio, office worker deliberately tries to muddy the waters in a deposition. Hilarity ensues. "If you don't know what that means in an office setting, please tell the court you don't know what it means in an office setting to have a photocopying machine."
posted by Cool Papa Bell on Mar 18, 2011 - 85 comments

Jury nullification advocate accused of jury tampering

Scott Horton at Harpers.org writes about Julian P. Heicklen, a 78-year-old retired chemistry professor from New Jersey, now faces federal criminal charges for informing people entering the federal courthouse about the doctrine of jury nullification. Scott Horton's post is a response to the New York Times column on Mr. Heicklen. [more inside]
posted by fartknocker on Mar 1, 2011 - 102 comments

The most exciting C-Span proceedings… ever?

C-SPAN airs Prop 8 appellate trial live. Prop 8 was the ballot measure that removed the right to marry from same-sex couples. Covered previously, previously, ZOMG PREVIOUSLY. Expect fun arguments about standing!
posted by klangklangston on Dec 6, 2010 - 139 comments

Plaintiff Paul Hupp's Petition for Rehearing

Plaintiff has news for these slime ball, piece of shit, ass clown judges. (pdf)
posted by Avenger50 on Oct 29, 2010 - 35 comments

Judgement Day 2010

Today, June 28, 2010, marks the last day of the 2009-10 session of the Supreme Court of the United States. This day will mark a number of historical events, not only in terms of the cases to be handed down. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Jun 28, 2010 - 193 comments

Worst. Divorce. Ever.

A lawyer and her husband decide to get a divorce. Then, the lawyer loses her mind.
posted by reenum on Jun 10, 2010 - 131 comments

“There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

Elena Kagan will be officially nominated to replace John Paul Stevens today, ending weeks of speculation and controversy as to who would replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice. Significant criticism has hounded Kagan throughout the nomination process, as she has never tried a case in court (much like Earl Warren). Many worry that her notable statements and writings do not provide a clear progressive record; some go so far as to claim she is Obama's Harriet Miers.
posted by mek on May 9, 2010 - 186 comments

Not a prophet in his own land

Baltasar Garzón is a Spanish judge known for his cases on human right abuses by south american dictatorships under international law, specially the case against Augusto Pinochet. Now, after admitting a case against abuses during Franco's Era, he is facing accusations by extreme right groups of deliberately ignoring the Amnesty Law of 1977, possibly questionable under the same universal jurisdiction that gained him international renown. In a controversial decision, the case has been admitted by the Spanish Supreme Court, and so Garzón is facing the possibility of up to 20 years of suspension. [more inside]
posted by valdesm on Apr 14, 2010 - 14 comments

Jurors have a power so secret even they may not know about it.

Jury nullification, a situation in which jurors acquit in a criminal trial even if the facts favor conviction (often because the jurors disagree with the law), is of ancient provenance in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Courts are ambivalent towards it, regarding it both as quasi-illegal (they'll remove jurors if they catch them during the attempt) and as something that they cannot overturn once it happens. Nullification has furthered many causes, from anti-death-penalty to pro-southern-lynchings. Lawyers can't mention it in court on pain of contempt, but some hope to educate people in other ways.
posted by shivohum on Jan 22, 2010 - 79 comments

Has the Supreme Court Become Too Catholic

Has the Supreme Court become too Catholic?
posted by jefficator on Dec 10, 2009 - 123 comments

Law, Loneliness, Accomplishment and Courage

Maira Kalman, illustrator, author, artist, and designer, visited the United States Supreme Court. She recounts her experience and shares her reflections in this wonderfully illustrated blog.
posted by New Frontier on Apr 26, 2009 - 9 comments

The Jade Calendar

A Visitor's Guide to Hell - A translation of the Chinese version of what happens to the human soul after death [with some illustrations]. [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Feb 26, 2009 - 34 comments

Life and death of a black and white

Texas executes Mexican national who was denied consul visit. [more inside]
posted by mrducts on Aug 6, 2008 - 121 comments

Pretty Good Pornography

A Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court in Vermont has ruled that a man allegedly caught with child pornography on his laptop need not reveal his PGP password (yes, authorities shut down the laptop and now can't get at the alleged porn) pursuant to the Fifth Amendment's protections against self incrimination. The decision is here[PDF]. A decent write-up (from CNET of all places) is here. This appears to be the first decision ever to directly address this issue, and many commentators had thought it would come out differently. The major question is whether revealing one's PGP key is "testimonial" or not. According to the Supreme Court, giving up fingerprints or blood samples isn't, nor is standing for a lineup, nor is handing over the key to a safe, but if it's combination safe, well maybe that's different. Never let it be said that your Fifth Amendment rights are easy.
posted by The Bellman on Dec 15, 2007 - 57 comments

Mandatory Binding Arbitration

NOTICE OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENT: [more inside]
posted by bigmusic on Nov 27, 2007 - 101 comments

No Pay for Lost Pants

A very big day for the District of Columbia Superior Court. In Pearson v. Soo Chung (pdf of opinion), Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled that Custom Cleaners is not liable to Roy L. Pearson for "various calculations of damages that go as high as $67 million" over "a pair of allegedly missing pants." The other shoe is yet to drop. Judge Bartnoff ruled that Pearson must pay the defendants' court costs and will consider forcing Pearson to pay the defendants' attorneys' fees. ( previously.)
posted by Slap Factory on Jun 25, 2007 - 55 comments

New Supreme Court Opinions

A very big day for the Supreme Court. In Morse v. Fredrick, the Court ruled that a school could suspend a child for holding up a "Bong HiTs for Jesus" banner. (Previous post here). In Hein v. Freedom from Religion, the Court held that taxpayers lacked standing to challenged Faith Based Initiatives (previous discussions). In Wilke v. Robbins, the Court held that land owners do not have Bivens claims if the federal government harasses landowners for easements. In FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the Court held that the portion of the campaign finance law which had blackout periods before elections on issue advocacy advertising was an unconstitutional restriction of speech (other). This Thursday, the Justices will deliver their last opinions of the term, including a death penalty case and the school assignment cases. (Opinions are .pdfs)
posted by dios on Jun 25, 2007 - 224 comments

His object all sublime / He will achieve in time

Court Decision, re: Fisher v. Lowe, Feb. 1999. Car ends up in man's yard. Man sues driver. Judge administers poetic justice. [via]
posted by Smart Dalek on Jan 30, 2007 - 40 comments

Best. Judicial. Ruling. EVER.

Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp., Inc. (147 F.Supp.2d 668) "Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact--complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words--to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions. With Big Chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor's edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins."
posted by Kat Allison on Jul 14, 2006 - 28 comments

...respecting and defending the life and dignity of every human being...

Roe v. Wade, 33 years old today. With abortion back in the news due to the Supreme Court nomination of Alito, will the Ideological Rumble over the issue ever be settled or are we doomed to see questionable declarations like today's recognition of "National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2006"? ...creating a society where every life has meaning...-- every life? Really?
posted by amberglow on Jan 22, 2006 - 200 comments

WTF!?

Kiss your son's belly button Spend six months in jail.
posted by delmoi on Jul 27, 2005 - 68 comments

Supreme Court Round-up for 6/27/05

The Supreme Court's Big Day

The court chose not to review the controversy surrounding "reporter's privilege" in withholding the names of confidential sources; meaning reporters may continue to be jailed or fined for refusing to name sources in court.
 
In Brand-X, the Court decided 6-3 that cable providers did not have to allow competitors to access their lines (the way DSL companies do). FCC opponents had been hopeful the Court would find the other way, opening new markets for competition and service options.

The Court ruled one of two Ten Commandment displays are unconstitutional. The decalogue display on a courthouse wall in Kentucky was found 5-4 to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because it was serving a religious purpose. However, the Ten Commandments display on the grounds of Texas' state capitol were found to be constitutional.

The Court finally decided the MGM v Grokster case. The Court found unanimously that the file sharing service can be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users.
posted by falconred on Jun 27, 2005 - 56 comments

An online history of jurisprudence, and lack thereof

Sacco and Vanzetti et al. The amazing Famous Trials website, compiled as a labor of love by University of Missouri law professor Douglas Linder, is a motherlode of information on historically significant trails, ranging from Galileo to the Amistad to Lenny Bruce. It features not only official transcripts, but also equally intriguing details such as a map of the railroad cars in the Scottsboro Boys trial, Klan documents from the Mississippi Burning case, and opinion polls related to the My Lai courts martial.
posted by foxy_hedgehog on Nov 30, 2004 - 8 comments

Taking the Long View

Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job. History isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back and we move forward, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
posted by Sidhedevil on Nov 4, 2004 - 190 comments

Zacarias Moussaoui's brief to the Fourth Circuit

Zacarias Moussaoui's legal brief to the Fourth Circuit regarding his right to question witnesses and the United States' reply. [warning: PDF]
posted by mhaw on Jun 4, 2003 - 4 comments

Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie

Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie. "The attorneys for Fox . . . argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves." And they won. Learn about the alleged deception (regarding BGH in milk). Read the appellate court's opinion which essentially says that there's no law against lying.
posted by vraxoin on Mar 7, 2003 - 32 comments

You have got to be kidding me series ...

Is forcing a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute cruel and unusual punishment? (NYT link) A federal appeals court ruled that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute. The problem is that the American Medical Association's ethical guidelines prohibits precisely that. To make the case more surreal, a representative of the Arkansas attorney general's office who argued for the state later said: "The ethical decisions involving doctors are difficult ones, but they are not ones for the courts". Does this mean that COs -Correction Officers- are to figure out for themselves which medication to administer? Do they also call the shots when deciding if the "waiting" patient is sane enough???
posted by magullo on Feb 11, 2003 - 58 comments

This is some scary stuff. Life in prison for malicious hacking? We can't keep rapists and murderers away from society for very long but now hackers & crackers could be jailed for life? And on top of that the FBI can monitor internet packets without a warrant? If you enjoy your freedom from gov't surveillance, it looks like it's time to start using PGP.
posted by mathowie on Jul 16, 2002 - 21 comments

Lawmakers blast pledge ruling...

Lawmakers blast pledge ruling... Yes I know this thread was started yesterday but at over 130 posts and given the recent news from lawmakers stating they would push for a constitutional amendment authorising the words "under God" if the Supreme Court did not smack down the 9th circuit courts decision I felt compelled to post again on this subject. Smack me down if you like...
posted by gloege on Jun 27, 2002 - 155 comments

Nike Can't Just Say It, Court Rules

Nike Can't Just Say It, Court Rules Law: Firms can be found liable for deceptive public statements, justices decide. Critics call the decision a blow to free speech. You've got to love it.
posted by onegoodmove on May 5, 2002 - 15 comments

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