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Category Archives: Courts

Polarized Justice? Changing Patterns of Decision-Making in the Federal Courts

Kritzer, Herbert M., Polarized Justice? Changing Patterns of Decision-Making in the Federal Courts (May 5, 2018). University of Minnesota Law School, Working Papers, May 5, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3187627
“This article examines the question of whether there has been a pattern of increasing partisan polarization in decisions by federal judges. After an initial section briefly discussing the general issue of partisan polarization in American politics, the analysis draws on several extant data sources to present evidence of concerning polarization for each of the three levels of the federal courts. That analysis shows increasing, and quite significant, polarization in the behavior of the justices of the Supreme Court, although that is not true for decisions dealing with economics issues and regulation. Much of the change reflects who presidents have been appointing to the Court. For the Court of Appeals and the federal district courts, there is also evidence of increasing differentiation between appointees of the two parties’ presidents. Given the more routine nature of cases below the Supreme Court, the gaps and the change at the lower levels are much less. Again, the nature of the changes varies with the types of cases and those changes significantly reflect who is being appointed to the courts.”

Google Translate not enough to grant consent, finds US judge

Quartz: “Imagine you’re driving in a foreign country and a police officer stops you on the road. You don’t speak the cop’s language and they don’t speak yours, so a halting exchange ensues using a laptop and Google Translate. You’re not always sure what the officer is asking, and you end up agreeing to something… Continue Reading

Nothing New Under the Sun: The Law-Politics Dynamic in Supreme Court Decision Making

Feldman, Stephen Matthew, Nothing New Under the Sun: The Law-Politics Dynamic in Supreme Court Decision Making (May 18, 2018). Pepperdine Law Review, Vol. 44, No. p 43, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3180736 “Recent events have seemed to inject politics into American judicial institutions. As a result, many observers worry that the Supreme Court, in particular,… Continue Reading

AT&T can buy Time Warner everyone else can buy everything else

Recode: “Verizon? Go right ahead. Charter? You too. Amazon and other tech companies with billions to burn? Go for it. That’s the message from a federal judge, who has ruled today that AT&T can buy Time Warner — and, crucially, didn’t apply any restrictions to his decision. That clears the way for other “vertical” mergers,… Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s conservative justices uphold Ohio’s voter purge system

Vox: “The US Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s system for purging voters from the rolls. The Court split 5-4 along partisan lines, with the five conservative-leaning justices, in a majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, upholding the system and the four liberal-leaning justices opposing it. The ruling focused in large part on technical interpretations… Continue Reading

DOJ Defending Trump’s Ability To Profit From Foreign Officials Staying At His Hotel

BuzzFeed: “The Justice Department argued Monday that President Donald Trump could continue to profit from foreign governments patronizing his hotel in Washington, DC, without violating the US Constitution, as long as he didn’t explicitly provide something in return. The fact that foreign officials were quoted in media reports saying they would spend money at the… Continue Reading

Lessig – Congress’ Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguide

Lawrence Lessig – Wired [Lawrence Lessig (@lessig) is the Roy L. Furman professor of law and leadership at Harvard University and founder of Equal Citizens. He was lead counsel in Eldred v. Ashcroft (2002)]: “Almost exactly 20 years ago, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended the term of existing copyrights… Continue Reading

Immigration Court Backlog Jumps While Case Processing Slows

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “The Immigration Court’s backlog keeps rising. As of the end of May 2018, the number of cases waiting decision reached an all-time high of 714,067. This compares with a court backlog of 542,411 cases at the end of January 2017 when President Trump assumed office. During his term the backlog has… Continue Reading

For first time in 87 years a California judge was recalled from the bench

Washington Post: Voters remove judge who sentenced Brock Turner to six months in Stanford sexual assault case – “The California judge who evoked national outrage after sentencing Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail after his conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman was ousted from office Tuesday night following a tempestuous… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – You’re Bad at Legal Research, and Your Judge Knows It.

Via LLRX – You’re Bad at Legal Research, and Your Judge Knows It. – Jack Heller reviews recent research conducted by Casetext identifying a major concern on the part of judges concerning the rigor and accuracy of current legal research by litigators. Judges believe attorneys miss important cases often, and when they do, it has… Continue Reading

Criminal Prosecutions Jump 60% for Illegal Border Crossers

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “Federal criminal prosecutions of individuals apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along the southwest border with Mexico jumped 30 percent in April 2018 over March figures. Since January, criminal prosecutions were up 60 percent, rising from 5,191 in January to 8,298 in April. This increase followed rising border apprehensions and… Continue Reading

CRS – Legal Sidebar Sidewalks, Streets, and Tweets: Is Twitter a Public Forum?

CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Legal Sidebar. Sidewalks, Streets, and Tweets: Is Twitter a Public Forum? Valerie C. Brannon, Legislative Attorney. May 30, 2018. “On May 23, 2018, a federal district court in New York in Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump held that the Free Speech Clause of the… Continue Reading