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Category Archives: Courts

The Weakness of the Case for Cameras in the United States Supreme Court

Bruno, Jonathan, The Weakness of the Case for Cameras in the United States Supreme Court (January 5, 2015). Creighton Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 2, 2015. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2610831

“Many people regard it as obvious that Supreme Court proceedings should be open to video cameras, and should be broadcast live on television and online. After all, the activities of Congress and the President are routinely publicized in this way, as are the proceedings of many state and lower federal courts. The benefits of such broadcasting seem manifest, and by stubbornly resisting this trend the Supreme Court apparently runs afoul of the basic demands of democratic transparency. In this Article, I show that these familiar positions are very difficult to sustain. On close inspection, all of the common arguments for cameras in the Supreme Court fail to persuade, either because they rest on speculative empirical premises, or else because they extrapolate unconvincingly from generic propositions about government openness. Not only is video not required by our commitment to transparency, I argue, but there are no reasonable grounds for confidence that it would promote any of the goods claimed in its name, including public understanding, accountability, and legitimacy. In fact, there are affirmative reasons to doubt that video, at least as ordinarily experienced in our present social context, would improve the public’s understanding of the Court and its process. In short, the case for cameras in the Supreme Court turns out to be surprisingly weak. My analysis suggests that, at least for now, Congress should defer to the Court’s prudential judgment on this issue, and that the Justices are right to regard video skeptically. Nevertheless, I conclude by explaining why the Court may eventually find itself with compelling reasons to reverse that judgment, and to embrace cameras.”

Federal Judge Blocks Release of CIA Torture Report to ACLU

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AMERICAN  CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, et al. , Defendants. Civil Action No. 13 – 1870 (JEB) – May 20, 2015 MEMORANDUM OPINION [snipped]: “A lightning rod for controversy, the Central Intelligence Agency’s former detention and interrogation program has spawned aContinue Reading

NY State joining 14 other states in adopting Uniform Bar Examination

The National Jurist – “New York State will begin using the Uniform Bar Examination in 2016, making it the fifteenth, and by far largest, state to do so.  The state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said he expected the move to result in a “domino effect” with other states jumping on the UBE bandwagaon. More thanContinue Reading

Sunlight Foundation – Opening Criminal Justice Data

“As part of a new initiative, the Sunlight Foundation has begun amassing an inventory of public and privately-produced criminal justice data. The spreadsheet on this page is a work in progress but we’re publishing it now with hopes that people can use it for research or reporting and even contribute to it. Please go throughContinue Reading

US DOJ IG Report – Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders

FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders: Assessment of Progress in Implementing Recommendations and Examination of Use in 2007 through 2009, Oversight and Review Division Report 15-05. May 2015. Redacted. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of a public version of its most recent report examining theContinue Reading

Quantitative Analysis of Writing Style on the U.S. Supreme Court

Carlson, Keith and Livermore, Michael A. and Rockmore, Daniel, A Quantitative Analysis of Writing Style on the U.S. Supreme Court (March 11, 2015). Washington University Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 6, 2016; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 3. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2554516 “This paper presents the results of aContinue Reading

New Mexico Law Review Spring 2015 dedicated to intersection of critically acclaimed TV Breaking Bad and the law

Spring 2015, Vol. 45, No. 2 INTRODUCTION Professional Articles Breaking Bad in the Classroom Max Minzner 397 Why We Would Spare Walter White: Breaking Bad and the True Power of Mitigation Bidish J. Sarma 429 “Better Call Saul” If You Want Discoverable Communications: The Misrepresentation of the Attorney-Client Privilege on Breaking Bad Armen Adzhemyan &Continue Reading

Immigration Court Backlog Reaches Another New High

“The number of new cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts climbed to a new all-time high of 445,607 as of the end of April 2015, according to very timely government court data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The backlog has risen 9.2 percent since the start of FY 2015 and isContinue Reading

TRAC: Holding Federal Agencies Accountable for over 25 Years

“Syracuse University Magazine has just published an article celebrating TRAC’s 25th year as a unique university-based data research center focusing on the workings of federal agencies, federal district courts and immigration courts. We thought this well-written description of TRAC’s history, mission and offerings would be of interest to government officials, members of Congress, scholars, supporters,Continue Reading

EFF Case Analysis: Appeals Court Rules NSA Phone Records Dragnet is Illegal

Andrew Crocker – “We now have the first decision from a court of appeals on the NSA’s mass surveillance program involving bulk collection of telephone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and it’s a doozy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in ACLU v. Clapper holding thatContinue Reading

Book Review – Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges

New York Review of Books – Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges, Jed S. Rakoff, May 21, 2015 Issue. What Caused the Crime Decline? a report by Oliver Roeder, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, and Julia Bowling, with a foreword by Joseph E. Stiglitz and an executive summary by Inimai Chettiar Brennan Center for Justice, NYU Law School,Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down NSA Bulk Record Collection Program

EPIC – “The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the NSA’s telephone record collection program exceeds legal authority. The government claimed that it could collect all records under the Section 215 “relevance” standard. But the court rejected that argument and held that “such an expansive concept of ‘relevance’ is unprecedented and unwarranted.” TheContinue Reading