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Category Archives: Courts

Zoom Court Is Changing How Justice Is Served

The Atlantic – “Last spring, as COVID‑19 infections surged for the first time, many American courts curtailed their operations. As case backlogs swelled, courts moved online, at a speed that has amazed—and sometimes alarmed—judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. In the past year, U.S. courts have conducted millions of hearings, depositions, arraignments, settlement conferences, and even trials—nearly entirely in civil cases or for minor criminal offenses—over Zoom and other meeting platforms. As of late February, Texas, the state that’s moved online most aggressively, had held 1.1 million remote proceedings. “Virtual justice” (the preferred, if unsettling, term) is an emergency response to a dire situation. But it is also a vision some judicial innovators had long tried to realize. One leading booster, Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, told me that going online can make courts not only safer but “more transparent, more accessible, and more convenient.” Witnesses, jurors, and litigants no longer need to miss hours of work and fight traffic. Attorneys with cases in multiple courts can jump from one to another by swiping on their phones. In July the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators jointly endorsed a set of “Guiding Principles for Post-pandemic Court Technology” with a blunt message: The legal system should “move as many court processes as possible online,” and keep them there after the risk of infection passes. The pandemic, they wrote, “is not the disruption courts wanted, but it is the disruption that courts needed.”…

 

Tax Evasion at the Top of the Income Distribution – Theory and Evidence

NBER Paper – “This paper studies tax evasion at the top of the U.S. income distribution using IRS micro-data from (i) random audits, (ii) targeted enforcement activities, and (iii) operational audits. Drawing on this unique combination of data, we demonstrate empirically that random audits underestimate tax evasion at the top of the income distribution. Specifically,… Continue Reading

Academic Feeder Judges: Are Clerkships the Key to Academia?

Wasserman, Howard, Academic Feeder Judges: Are Clerkships the Key to Academia? (April 19, 2021). Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-02, Howard M. Wasserman, Academic Feeder Judges: Are clerkships the key to academia?, 105 Judicature 1 (2021)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3526903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526903 “This paper identifies “academic feeder judges”—the federal judges (especially from… Continue Reading

Supreme Court will hear a major Second Amendment case that could gut US gun laws

Vox: “The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will hear New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett, a case that could transform the judiciary’s understanding of the Second Amendment and lay waste to many of the nation’s gun laws. The case involves New York state’s handgun licensing law — a law… Continue Reading

A Courts-Focused Research Agenda for the DOJ

Brennan Center – Recommendations for the Justice Depart. research agenda “to shed more light on how to improve our nation’s vast system of local, state, and federal courts. Millions of individuals interact with the U.S. criminal and civil legal system every year. Many of them look to the courts to defend their rights and ensure… Continue Reading

Investigation and prosecution of Capitol Attack will likely be one of the largest in American history

Case 1:21-cr-00303-ABJ Filed 04/22/21 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs MICHAEL JOSEPH RUSYN, Defendant “…The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol Attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of… Continue Reading

Axios – Chauvin trial prosecution worked with strategic communications firm

Axios: “For most of the past year, a strategic communications firm with deep Washington ties has played an integral role for the prosecution in the State of Minnesota v. Derek Chauvin — operating without pay and so under-the-radar that most of its own staff had no idea. The big picture: Finsbury Glover Hering — formerly… Continue Reading

Tips for Researching International Human Rights Case Law

Via Lyonette Louis-Jacques From the Reference Desk: Tips for Researching International Human Rights Case Law By Jonathan Pratter -“In the universe of international human rights documentation, case law has a special place. Human rights case law is human rights in action. It confronts general norms with concrete facts and requires a decision about whether or not… Continue Reading

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Characterizations of the Press: An Empirical Study

Andersen Jones, RonNell and West, Sonja, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Characterizations of the Press: An Empirical Study (February 17, 2021). University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming, University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 419, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3787709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3787709 “The erosion of constitutional norms in the United… Continue Reading

Domestic Terrorism Cases on the Rise in February Following January 6 Breach of Capitol

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse  – “In February 2021, according to federal internal case-by-case records on prosecutions obtained after successful court litigation by TRAC, there were 57 prosecutions of domestic terrorism filed in the federal district courts. The majority of these prosecutions—54—were filed in the District of Columbia following the storming of the Capitol on January… Continue Reading

Race-ing Roe: Reproductive Justice, Racial Justice, and the Battle for Roe v. Wade

134 Harv. L. Rev. 2025 Apr 12, 2021 Race-ing Roe: Reproductive Justice, Racial Justice, and the Battle for Roe v. Wade – Article by Melissa Murray – “Amidst a raft of major Supreme Court decisions, a relatively quiet concurrence has planted the seeds for what may precipitate a major transformation in American constitutional law. Writing for… Continue Reading

Sorry, judges, encrypted chat is not like a private thought

Engadget: “A state judge recently ruled that two of the men who plotted to kidnap Michigan’s governor did not make terrorist threats because they used an encrypted chat app to do so. Since federal agencies and lawmakers have been trying to get encrypted comms backdoored by arguing that they are the tool of choice for… Continue Reading