Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Federal Judge Roger Cebull Should Resign for Racist E-Mail

Federal Judge Roger Cebull emailed a disgusting race joke to his friends and then issued a half-hearted apology. He should resign.

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: MBZ v. Clinton, No. 10-699 (Political Question, Separation of Powers)

In 2002 Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem to American parents.  His parents applied to the State Department for a passport for him and requested that it show his place of birth as “Israel.”  The State Department instead listed his place of birth as "Jerusalem."  His parents brought this suit on his behalf requesting the courts to order the Justice Department to state on his passport that he was born in Israel.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Reichle v. Howards, No. 11-362 (First Amendment)

On June 16, 2006, Stephen Howards was arrested by the Secret Service after he said something to Vice-President Richard Cheney and touched or pushed his shoulder, and then lied to them about whether he had done that.  As a result Howards sued several of the Secret Service agents for violating his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: The Respondent's Attack on the Stolen Valor Act at Oral Argument in United States v. Alvarez

Yesterday's post described the government's presentation at oral argument in United States v. Alvarez, where the Solicitor General defended the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act.  Today's post summarizes the respondent's argument.  Here is a link to the transcript of the oral argument.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: The Government's Defense of the Stolen Valor Act at Oral Argument in United States v. Alvarez

The principal doctrinal division in this case is whether "false statements of fact" are a "historically unprotected category of speech.  The principal practical division arises from the attempt to identify the "harm" that the government is seeking to prevent by prohibiting people from lying about earning military honors.  Oral argument exposed those divisions.  Today I describe the first half of oral argument, the government's defense of the Stolen Valor Act.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Electoral Vote Maps for 2012

Here are links to three electoral maps for this year's presidential election: at NBC, Real Clear Politics, and 538 To Win.  NBC and RCP make predictions for 2012, while 538ToWin’s map is interactive and allows you to allocate states to Democrats, Republicans, and the “toss-up” category.

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Summary of United States v. Alvarez (The Stolen Valor Act case)

     This case involves the constitutionality of the “Stolen Valor Act,” 18 U.S.C. 704(b), the federal law that makes it a crime to falsely claim that one has been awarded military honors.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage: 85,600,000 and Growing

More than one-fourth of Americans now live in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage.  Within five years more than half of Americans may live in such jurisdictions.  But there are legal barriers.

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Court's Non-Decision in Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California

Pffft.  Two days ago the Supreme Court issued its decision in Douglas v. Independent Living Center, a case that promised to answer the undying question whether Article III standing may be premised on the Supremacy Clause - a case only a standing junkie could love.  But nooooo, the Supreme Court found technical reasons not to answer the technical question posed by the case.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DOMA Struck Down by District Court in Golinski Case

In a ruling issued yesterday, Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District for the State of California struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause.  Judge White did not find that the Constitution requires the states to recognize same-sex marriage.  Instead he simply ruled that the federal government may not refuse to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages that the states have chosen to recognize.  But his reasoning leaves little doubt that the states will be required to follow suit.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Armour v. Indianapolis, No. 11-161 (Equal Protection)

One of the constitutional cases that the Supreme Court is currently reviewing is Armour v. Indianapolis, a tax case brought under the Equal Protection Clause.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Research Plans

     I am working on three major research projects: one short-term, and two others longer term.

Department of Justice Will Not Defend Law Prohibiting Military Benefits to Same-Sex Couples

Attorney General Eric Holder released a letter to House Speaker John Boehner today informing him that the Department of Justice will not defend the constitutionality of a federal law denying benefits to members of the armed forces who are lawfully married to persons of the same sex.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rick Santorum's Call for "Moral Impact Statement" Is Present in the Prop 8 Case

In his book "It Takes a Family" Presidential candidate Rick Santorum advocates for the preparation of "moral impact statements" to evaluate changes in society, analogous to the requirement that there be an "environmental impact statement" before land use changes are undertaken.  I completely agree.