At 11am Eastern time, President Obama will nominate Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to the Supreme Court. Judge Garland is a centrist who was previously considered by the President for SCOTUS nomination in 2010, during the selection process which gave us Justice Sotomayor. He is reportedly "well known, well respected, and tremendously well liked in Washington legal circles; even Republicans have nice things to say about him." [more inside]
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]
Small Print, Big Problem (part I)
Imagine you’ve clicked on your computer screen to accept a contract to purchase a good or service—a contract, you only realize later, that’s straight out of Kafka. The widget you’ve bought turns out to be a nightmare. You take to Yelp.com to complain about your experience—but lo, according to the contract you have given up your free speech rights to criticize the product. Let’s also say, in a fit of responsibility, (a bit fantastic, I know) you happened to have printed out this contract before you “signed” it, though you certainly hadn’t read through the thing, which is written, literally, on a “twenty-seventh grade” reading level. Well, you read it now (perhaps with the help of a friend who’s completed the twenty-seventh grade). And you see that there was nothing in the contract limiting your right to free speech at the moment you signed it. That part was added later. Your friend with the twenty-seventh-grade education points to the clause in the contract in which you’ve granted this vendor-from-hell the right to modify the terms of the contract, unilaterally, at any time into the vast limitless future.[more inside]
Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games
In 2004, Texas Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games. Unbeknownst to him, she filmed the whole thing. Seven years later, fed up with the continued harassment and abuse from her father, she uploaded it to YouTube (warning: graphic language and violence, NSFW). Less than 24 hours after hitting Reddit, the video is all over the news. Hillary Adams says on Twitter that she hopes her father will receive help, not condemnation.
With a ruling scheduled today on Prop 8 — the California ballot measure that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples — Dave Fleischer has an in-depth analysis of all of the polling data on Prop 8, and his findings include some counter-intuitive numbers, like that the confusing wording actually ended up helping the No vote more than the Yes.
Judge William Wayne Justice. 1920 -2009. Appointed to the federal bench in 1968, Judge Justice spent his career as a progressive jurist working to insure the rights of minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised. His rulings forced the State of Texas to desegregate public schools, reform its prison system and provide education to undocumented immigrants.
Hooker raped & robbed by justice system. Apparently, if you're a prostitute and you're gang-raped at gunpoint, that's not actually rape, but "theft of services". In Philadelphia, judge Teresa Carr Deni ruled exactly that in a case where a woman posted a Craigslist ad offering sex for money -- but when she met with her John, instead of the agreed upon exhange, he pulled a gun on her, raped her, then invited four other men to rape her as well. As if this weren't sad enough, a near-identical case -- with the same defendant -- came up four days later, and the prosecutor decided not to even try it as to not put the woman through the misery of being so resoundly denied justice. Devolution is real, spuds.
The Evan Parker Scott case bears more than a passing resemblance to the Baby Richard case of several years ago. Once more, a toddler who barely knows what's going on is being confiscated by the parent who gave him up in the first place. Is the domestic adoption system broken?
A funny thing happened on the way to District Court. More mandatory minimum madness. See related story to the case here. More guidelines are being passed everyday. This Massachusetts judge has had enough. Are we destroying judges' ability to mete out justice or should the people decide justice through legislation? NYTimes coverage here.
God's Justice and Ours. Justice Antonin Scalia writes on capital punishment in First Things: "In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. This is a predictable (though I believe erroneous and regrettable) reaction to modern, democratic self–government."