Should the Ninth Circuit Be Broken Up?
Perhaps the most maligned court in the federal judiciary (among conservatives) is the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is viewed as a bastion of liberalism in an almost anything-goes legal free-for-all. But first, a little about the organization of the Circuit courts that may help explain where the problem begins. The United States is divided up into eleven circuit courts of appeal, | Read More »
Around the Circuits Again: Some Interesting Cases
Its time for another installment of interesting cases from the various Circuit Courts of Appeal that may wind their way before the Supreme Court eventually. Incidentally, they are called “circuits” because federal judges used to literally “ride the circuits” as in stagecoach circuits deciding cases. Just a little historical tidbit for your reading consumption. Starting in the 1st Circuit, that Court has ruled that Boston | Read More »
Can the President Refuse to Enforce or Defend a Law?
Obviously, this title is in reference to two fairly recent acts by Barack Obama: his decision not to defend DOMA in courts, and his decision not to enforce certain aspects of federal immigration law and policy. Both issues are discretely different and require a different analysis. The absolutist view is that which we learned in grade school civics class: the Legislative Branch passes the laws, | Read More »
The Fate of Proposition 8
This is the fourth and final in a series of articles regarding the gay marriage issue that will likely be taken up by the Supreme Court in the new term beginning in October. There have been some rather intense comments along the way. Obviously, beliefs and opinions run high on both sides of this issue. Should Section 3 of DOMA prevail, there is no doubt | Read More »
If DOMA Survives, Then What?
Working on the assumption that Section 3 of DOMA survives before the Supreme Court because the Court will determine it satisfies rational basis scrutiny, what then? Obviously, Section 3- the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman for federal purposes- is the framework as concerns the federal government that holds together the remainder of the law. As stated in previous entries, | Read More »
The Supreme Court Term in Review
The 2011-2012 US Supreme Court is now history and will forever be known for its ruling in the Obamacare cases. There is no shortage of analysis and punditry regarding this complicated case and there will be for some time. However, the Court decided over 70 cases again this term and some have wide-reaching effects on all Americans. If one thing stands out that distinguishes this | Read More »
Gay Marriage and Equal Protection
All legislation generally creates classifications that work to the advantage or the disadvantage of certain people. For example, 20-year olds can drive; 12-year-olds cannot. You can legally drink at 21, but not at 16. An indigent single parent is entitled to government financial aid, but millionaires are not. And so on. The Equal Protection Clause does not mean that government must treat everyone equally, only | Read More »
Gay Marriage: Coming to the Supreme Court Soon
As expected and first noted here, it appears that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases will be taken up by the Supreme Court before the California Proposition 8 case out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That case involves totally different issues than those at stake in the DOMA cases. To further add impetus and urgency to the case, a serious separation of | Read More »
Electoral Projections: The Senate
In a previous article, I described the methodology used for the Presidential election. Unfortunately, applying that system to Senate and House races is futile. For the Senate, since there are two per state, it is difficult to get an accurate view of long and short term electoral trends even when one looks at the actual seat in play. Obviously, with House elections, redistricting every ten | Read More »
Electoral Projections: Still No Changes, but Looking Up
Generally speaking, every time I write one of these entries, I get comments to the effect that polls at this time mean little, or that this state or that state is in play, or complaints about the accuracy of polls. Let me state right up front, as I do every time, that with a little over 4 months to the election, anything can change. We | Read More »