In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a
year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state.
But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
Benula Bensam, not having landed a summer job, decided to attend the Rajat Gupta trial. She felt that some of the judge's evidentiary rulings were incorrect, and so sent him three letters. The judge, Jed Rakoff, was not amused.
Following a jury finding that Google had not infiringed upon Oracles patents, a development described as a near disaster for the database company, Judge William Aslup has ruled that the Java APIs cannot be copyrighted. That leaves Oracle with only the 9 lines of rangeCheck code and a handfull of decompiled test files to show for the massivecourt case. CEO Larry Ellison remains confident, claiming that the aquisition of Java creator Sun has still paid for itself.
LBJ v. Coke Stevenson: Lawyering for Control of the Disputed Texas Democratic Party Senatorial Primary Election of 1948
This article explores the history, from the lawyers' perspective [PDF; 41 pages], of a high-profile litigation of sixty years ago, the whirlwind of state and federal litigation that attended the 1948 runoff election battle between Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and former Texas governor Coke Stevenson for the Texas Democratic Party nomination for the office of United States Senator. Johnson famously won this election by 87 votes [...] [more inside]
This morning marked day two of marathon proceedings in what's likely the most momentous and politically-charged Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore: the effort to strike down President Obama's landmark health care reform law. While yesterday was a sleepy affair of obscure technical debate, today's hearings targeted the heart of the law -- the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase insurance by 2014. With lower courts delivering a split decision before today, administration lawyers held some hope that at least one conservative justice could be persuaded to uphold the provision, which amortizes the risk that makes universal coverage possible. But after a day of deeply skeptical questioning by swing justice Anthony Kennedy and his fellow conservatives [transcript - audio], the mandate looks to be in grave trouble, with CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin going as far as calling the day "a train wreck" for the administration. But it's far from a done deal, with a third day of hearings tomorrow and a final decision not expected until June.
With the number of LSAT test takers in sharp decline, has the law school tuition bubble finally burst?
Tom Monaghan had a dream: To create a law school and surrounding community that would adhere strictly to Catholic values. Things have not gone according to plan. [more inside]
FBI General Counsel reveals that around 3,000 warrantless GPS trackers were removed after the ruling in U.S v. Jones clarified their illegality (judgement PDF) (previous FPP). The ruling that a mosaic of surveillance technologies may form an issue when considered individually and the FBI's view of likely future judgements on the matter is particularly interesting in the light of the forthcoming cert/standing findings regarding warrantless eavesdropping.
Kirby Ferguson's fourth and final installment of Everything is a Remix: System Failure has been released. (Also on YouTube.) It covers intellectual property rights, the derivative nature of creativity, patents and copyright. Transcript. [more inside]
MI6 intends to use the 1994 Intelligence Services Act to deny all application of UK law to extraordinary rendition. The case in question revolves around the forcible extradition of several Libyan dissidents back to Gaddafi's Libya and entirely predictable torture, including a pregnant woman. s.7 of the Act states that any intelligence agency action authorised on foreign soil by a Secretary of State is automatically exempt from legal action in any UK court. This could be said to conflict in some ways with the Human Rights Act 1998 and international law, especially since the HRA may be held to have implicitly repealed s.7 of the 1994 Act. [more inside]
David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
Two months after being kicked out by the NYPD in an early morning raid, the Occupy Wall Street protestors have returned to Zucotti/Liberty Plaza to meet new regulations that make protesting all but impossible. Meanwhile, OWS is looking for an accountant and NYC councilman Ydanis Rodriguez wants to donate his 5k stipend to the protestors. Yasha Levine of The Exiled writes about his arrangement hearing after being arrested during the Occupy LA raid and Political Cartoonist and Essayist Tim Kreider releases four essays he wrote during the first occupation of Zucotti/Liberty Plaza, "What OWS Wants" "Capitalism, A Bummer" "An Open Letter To The Tea Party." and "OWS: The Morning After." [more inside]
There has been an increasing outcry over the bleak job prospects facing law school graduates. Paul Campos, author of the "Inside The Law School Scam" blog, argues that continued high enrollment at law schools may be due to "lemming psychology".
Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
Want your new law school to get accredited by the American Bar Association? Be prepared to jump through some hoops.
Samir Zia Chowhan, sensing a prime opportunity in this down economy, set out to hire a secretary who could not only do the typing and filing, but could also engage in group sex with Chowhan and his law partner. The Illinois Supreme Court found that this is conduct unbecoming of an attorney and suspended Chowhan's law license.
After almost 30 years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Philadelphia prosecutors have abandoned attempts to impose the death penalty on Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing police office Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. Background, previously.
High school student Emma Sullivan posted a tweet disparaging Kansas Governor Sam Brownback while on a field trip to the State Capitol. Brownback's staff called Sullivan's principal and complained. This has not resulted in postive PR for Brownback.
Professor Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt University explores whether a law degree is a good investment today. (SSRN link) [more inside]
"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue." -- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless, explaining that the surge in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1, 2, 3, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ / Photo Gallery / Video. [more inside]
Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
There are an increasing number of homeless military vets living in Los Angeles. The VA in Los Angeles has a 400 acre parcel of land meant to house vets. Slight problem: the VA has decided to lease the property to various area businesses instead of using the land for its intended purpose.
Over the past couple of months, there have been a series of scandals that have rocked the legal education community. First, there were tandem lawsuits against Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and New York Law School for misrepresenting jobs data. Then, Villanova University and the University of Illinois were found to be fudging their employment numbers. A legal team is now preparing to sue 15 different law schools because of misrepresentations made to students regarding job and salary data.
Hartwick College, a small school in New York's Catskills, is the beneficiary of a trust that “could ultimately shatter the nation’s financial structure.”
The job market is saturated and graduates are unable to get hired anywhere to get proper training. Law professors Richard Rhee and Bradley Borden have a solution: law schools should open their own law firms.
An anonymous, tenured, mid-career faculty member at a Tier One law school shares his/her observations on the state of contemporary American legal education.
Solaris, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English. The current print version, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker, was always scathing of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston 'The Definitive Solaris' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves.
In-sourcing the legal business: America's biggest law firms are "creating a second tier of workers, stripping pay and prestige from one of the most coveted jobs in the business world." [more inside]
Homeowners are using a little known loophole in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
The Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has voted to stop signing marriage licenses until gay marriage is legalized by the state.
Matt and Jamie Danielson, with the aid of their bankruptcy attorney, were able to use a little known loophole in the Iowa law to void their mortgage and own their house outright after making just one payment. However, further investigation has uncovered some unsavory events in the couple's past.
With the crackdown on smoking and higher cigarette taxes in New York City, people who sell individual cigarettes, also known as loosies, are rapidly gaining new customers.
As Amazon and the RIAA go head to head over the Amazon Cloud Player (esentially Dropbox with streaming) it seems like a good time to recap the turbulent history of the humble MP3, upender of the music industry business model.
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]
Over the years, he's become so well versed in restaurant labor law that his attorneys don't even charge him for filing lawsuits anymore. 'They take them on spec,' he boasts. 'By now, they know that if I file something, it's legit.' Eddie Santana, restaurant rebel, has filed 30 lawsuits against companies — nearly all restaurants and bars — for everything from illegal tip pools to excessive uniform costs. He's netted $144,924.79 after attorney fees from 20 separate settlements. And from the nine suits still pending, he hopes to make another $100,000, if not more.
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."
"Yesterday, I went to court. I was there for the sentencing of the man who spent this summer stalking me." [more inside]
Philly Homeowner Declares He's 'Foreclosed' on Wells Fargo, and how he has their full attention. [more inside]
Cheating, Incorporated: The Infidelity Economy. "Looking to sneak around on your spouse? Got a little cash to spend? The CEO of Ashley Madison, a website whose own backers don't even want to be associated with, is happy to take your money." (Previously on MeFi) [more inside]
South Dakota Rep. Hal Wick (R-Sioux Falls), is sponsoring a bill [text] which would require all citizens to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide for their ordinary self-defense” within six months of turning age 21. Rep. Wick said he is introducing the bill to prove a point that the federal health care reform mandate passed last year is unconstitutional. [previously] [more inside]
Seeing this article today about a defendant in a drug trafficking trial who if deaf, mute and without any language skills reminded me of this question from 5 years ago. One of the answers to that question linked to the Straight Dope which had this question and answer. [more inside]
Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
Jonathan Blattmachr, one of the country's leading estates and trusts experts, feels that helping his clients reduce their tax liability helps the IRS close loopholes that he and his colleagues use. As with most attorneys, there are some clients who weren't happy with his work, but Mr. Blattmachr pushes on with his efforts.
Is Batman a State Actor? Could you pass a Mutant Registation Act? Law And The Multiverse considers legal matters in a world of capes, supes, and alternate dimensions. (via Mefiprojects)