Associated Press: U.S. Supreme Court lifts hold on order directing Yeshiva University to recognize LGBTQ+ student group.
The disagreement among the justices appears to be mostly about procedure, with the majority writing in a brief unsigned order that Yeshiva should return to state court to seek quick review and temporary relief while the case continues.
Courthouse News Service: Third Circuit hears appeal in malicious prosecution and civil rights case of physics professor falsely accused of being a spy.
A superconducting technology expert, (Xiaoxing) Xi’s life was turned upside down seven years ago by now-withdrawn espionage charges that accused him of relaying sensitive “pocket heater” technology belonging to the company Superconductor Technologies to Chinese researchers.
Reuters: Senate confirms sixth public defender to federal appeals courts.
The Atlantic: In hindsight, the peak for women in American Law was March 2, 2016.
At that moment, the country appeared inches away from leveraging the law to serve women’s dignity and equality interests on a massive scale. Back in that spring of 2016, we really thought we could see gender equality from our back porches.
And then it was gone.
WPR: California sues Amazon for alleged anticompetitive behavior.
Reuters: Bankruptcy judge reports harassment related to Johnson & Johnson talc case.
Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan in Trenton, New Jersey said at a hearing that he and his staff have been getting angry and menacing messages through phone calls, voicemails, emails and social media posts since his February decision not to dismiss the bankruptcy case of LTL Management LLC.
J&J created the subsidiary in October, assigned its talc liabilities to it and put it in bankruptcy a few days later, in an attempt to resolve approximately 38,000 lawsuits alleging that its Baby Powder and other talc products caused mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.
The Regulatory Review: The myriad administrative obstacles to decarceration.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Common Council committee recommends hiring private law firm to defend federal lawsuit.
Slate: Dahlia Lithwick on recent discussions of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan.
Roberts knows better than to suggest that the court’s problem this past term was simply a matter of “people disagreeing with a decision.” The court was handed to wealthy secret donors because of his own jurisprudence. And the court’s problem is now that it happened in plain sight. With all due respect, it is not that the public didn’t like the final score at the end of the term when the lights went out in June. The problem wasn’t just the losses; the problem was that his team moved the game to another field, then stole the ball and replaced it with a time bomb, then changed the rules, then lied about it, and then set the entire field ablaze. Now he wants everyone to shake hands and go home. The public is not so inclined. He is far too smart to believe we are all this stupid, which suggests to me that he knows we are right.
Bloomberg Law: Third Circuit nominee loses confirmation vote in Senate; reconsideration possible.
(Arianna) Freeman, aiming to become the first Black woman and first woman of color to serve on the Pennsylvania-based federal appellate court, received only 47 favorable votes to 50 against.
It appeared the failure to confirm Freeman was more about absent Democratic senators than opposition to her nomination.
Reuters: School that prohibits girls from wearing pants wants SCOTUS review of Fourth Circuit decision finding that dress code unconstitutional.
Health Affairs: Urgent action needed to protect those in custody from monkeypox.
Several cases of monkeypox have already been reported in jails nationwide. Yet, as we will detail in this article, there is no centralized tracking of the number of monkeypox cases in carceral facilities nor is there any guidance for prisons and jails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or state health departments.
Reason: Appellate court says confrontation clause rights outweighed health concerns in case involving COVID exposure.
M.W.'s possible exposure to COVID-19 without any symptoms of illness that prevents her from providing live, in-person testimony, does not satisfy any of the recognized circumstances rendering a witness unavailable. Therefore, she was available to provide live, in-person testimony. M.W. was willing to testify, she was physically and mentally able to testify, she was within the jurisdiction, and she remained in contact with the prosecutor.
APG Wisconsin: Attorney General Josh Kaul will refile abortion-law challenge if necessary.
Wisconsin Law Journal: Waukesha judge denies stay of decision blocking election clerks from filling in missing information on absentee ballots.
Politico: The provocative decisions of Trump's judges.
Vox: The case between Yeshiva University and an LGBTQ student group at the Supreme Court.
If the Pride Alliance merely sought access to meeting rooms or other Yeshiva University facilities, then they would have a stronger case under existing law. But the campus Pride Alliance seeks more. They seek the Orthodox Jewish university’s imprimatur as the “Yeshiva University Pride Alliance.” And that is probably more than the student group can demand from a religious institution. Yeshiva University raises a strong argument that requiring it to lend its name to an LGBTQ student group, even though a state court determined that New York anti-discrimination law requires it to do so, infringes on its right to make “internal management decisions” regarding its own interpretation of the Jewish faith.
One open question is whether the Court will confine its ruling to similar disputes between religious universities and campus groups, or whether it will hand down a more expansive victory for religious conservatives. In other words, will this Court take this case, in which a conservative religious organization raises a fairly strong legal claim, and use it to make deeper-than-necessary cuts against anti-discrimination efforts on campus?
ACLU: Criminal justice reform advances notwithstanding backlash.
But the national headlines don’t tell the full story: On the contrary, criminal legal reform continues to win in many parts of the country. The number of people incarcerated is down 22.4 percent (or 1,588,400 fewer persons) since 2010, much of it due to the hundreds of laws passed to reform the criminal legal system and the election of policymakers committed to smart reforms. On the local and state levels, voters and lawmakers have kept up this trend.
Center for Biological Diversity: Organization sues Environmental Protection Agency to force smog-reduction plans in five states.
U.S. News & World Report: Recent filings in the Mar-a-Lago search case.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission sees almost complete turnover in two years.
Reuters: For new term, U.S. Supreme Court will open in-person arguments to public once again.
The Hill: Questioned sentence Justice Samuel Alito wrote eight years ago was just used to deny insurance coverage for HIV drugs.
I’ve focused at length on what Alito wrote in Hobby Lobby because O’Connor’s decision shows that it was a time bomb, one now in the process of exploding. It is available in any case where any obligation could imaginably be fulfilled by the government.
U.S. Department of Justice: DOJ files discrimination lawsuit against Milwaukee landlord and property manager.
Forbes: U.S. Bureau of Prisons interprets First Step Act narrowly, denying possible credits.
The effect will be that those prisoners with short sentences will get no reduction in their sentence, something that clearly goes against the BOP’s own experts on FSA.
Inquest: Will juries acquit in abortion prosecutions notwithstanding the facts?
Yet in prosecutions brought under this harsh new crop of abortion laws, we think nullification may have a larger role to play. Consider first that nullification only requires one juror to hold out. Criminal convictions must be unanimous, as the Supreme Court recently held in Ramos v. Louisiana. Thus, if even a single juror refuses to convict because they believe the law — as applied in the case before them — is unjust, nullification has occurred.
CBS: Federal judge dismisses Donald Trump's lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.
Judge Donald Middlebrooks wrote in his ruling Thursday the court was "not the appropriate forum" for Trump's complaints about his rivals and others. The lawsuit accused Democrats and others of a "conspiracy" to link Trump to Russia during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
"At its core, the problem with [Trump's] complaint is that [Trump] is not attempting to seek redress for any legal harm," wrote Middlebrooks, who serves the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Lowering the Bar: Judge dismisses case against Nirvana brought by man who was the baby on an album cover.
WBAY: Daniel Kelly now in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Legislature passes plan for $31 million opioid settlement state received.
The Republican plan still included about 85% of the Department of Health Services proposals. Those include:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Federal judge says Enbridge can continue operating Line 5 pipeline through Bad River Band land until the line is rerouted.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Waukesha judge says clerks can't fill in missing info on absentee ballot envelopes.
WXOW (Associated Press): Judge issues gag order for man charged with requesting others' absentee ballots.
Reuters: Senate confirms John Lee for Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The New York Times: Highlighting disparities in voter fraud cases.
The high-decibel political rhetoric behind fraud prosecutions drowns out how infrequent — and sometimes how unfair — those prosecutions are, said Richard L. Hasen, an expert on election law and democracy issues at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.
“It’s hard to see felons in Gainesville getting jail terms, and then look at people in The Villages getting no time at all, and see this as a rational system,” he said.
Slate: Federal judge allows employers to exclude HIV prevention drugs from insurance.
If the higher courts accept (U.S. District Judge Reed) O’Connor’s invitation to destroy these agencies, here’s a partial list of the preventive care that insurers will no longer be required to cover: genetic testing for women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer; medication to reduce risk of breast cancer; breast cancer screening; breastfeeding support; cervical cancer screenings; STI screening; colorectal cancer screening; HIV tests; domestic violence screening; medication for heart disease; a vast range of screenings for children and pregnant women; and, of course, PrEP.
KIRO 7: Report shows more than half of prisoners are serving sentences of 10+ years.
“That’s a big growth compared to if you look at the year 2000,” said Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a senior research analyst at the Sentencing Project. “When we invest a lot of our public resources into very long sentences, we’re not doing the more important things that we know are more effective at preventing crime in the first place.”
The Marshall Project: Determining how much of ARPA funding went to policing.
Local police agencies have used ARPA funds on law enforcement equipment and capital expenses — from tasers and rifles to cars and shooting ranges. The Marshall Project found five municipalities used funding to purchase armored vehicles. At least 38 governments across the country used ARPA funds for police tasers. Nine spent ARPA funds on police drones.
WPR: WJI and state defendants argue crime-victims' constitutional amendment case before Wisconsin Supreme Court.
During arguments Tuesday, Wisconsin Justice Initiative attorney Dennis Grzezinski told justices the case was about the integrity of the process of amending the constitution.
"In order for the voters to have the information that they need, the ballot question needs to be accurate," Grzezinski said. "It needs to be not misleading or ambiguous and needs to inform the voters."
Courthouse News Service: More on the SCOW oral argument in WJI's case challenging the crime victims' constitutional amendment.
Spectrum News 1: Juul settles case with 33 states; Wisconsin will receive $14.4 million as part of settlement.
The settlement also requires Juul to adhere to terms that will “severely” limit marketing and sales practices. Juul will be limited as to where they can display their product and where it can be accessed in stores. Both online and retail sales will be limited. There will be new retail protocols in place and consumers age must be verified on all sales.
Lake Geneva Regional News: Wisconsin Elections Commission approves guidance for election clerks on voters with disabilities receiving help to deliver absentee ballots.
The Washington Post: Document discussing foreign government's nuclear capabilities was found in Mar-a-Lago search.
Slate: What to do about runaway Trump judges.
Legal analysts lit up social media on Monday in response to the broad and potentially devastating order by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Donald Trump appointee to the Southern District of Florida, temporarily halting the criminal investigation of the former president and his alleged pilfering of classified documents. Her order further authorized a special master to identify and return the small fraction of materials seized in last month’s court-approved search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence that may belong to him. One analyst after another meticulously detailed the failings of Cannon’s reasoning: It was “untethered to the law,” “a political conclusion in search of a legal rationale,” “deeply problematic,” “laughably bad.” At some point, one truly runs out of euphemisms for lawless partisan hackery.
The Conversation: How Justice Samuel Alito's selective history in the Dobbs decision ignores legal history from the female perspective.
Alito argued in the opinion that abortion has always been a serious crime, but there were no laws about abortion at all in Colonial America. Beginning in the 19th century, most states barred it only after “quickening,” when a pregnant woman can first feel the fetus move, typically around the fourth to sixth month of pregnancy.
Abortion is indeed deeply rooted in the American experience and law. American women have always tried to personally determine the size of their families. Enslaved Black women used contraception and abortion as specific strategies of resistance against their physical and reproductive bondage. . . .
Instead of examining abortion through the lens of past cases of gender law, however, Alito instead refers to the opinions of 17th-century male legal theorists, who believed in witches and the right of husbands to rape their wives. He also cites as evidence the passage of 19th-century state abortion laws by all-male legislatures, which criminalized abortion and birth control.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Reviewing a profile of former Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.
Reuters: Update on Bayer's Roundup litigation.
Wisconsin Supreme Court: Listen in to SCOW oral argument in WJI's case challenging the April 2020 constitutional amendment today at 9:45 a.m.
Above the Law: Federal court in the Southern District of Florida bars attorneys from bringing in phones and computers, telling them to pay the lingerie shop next door to hold them.
The Trace: Suggesting the idea of gun insurance paid for by gun owners just as automobile insurance is paid for by drivers and car owners.
A 2017 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimated that the U.S. spends $2.8 billion per year on medical treatments for gun violence survivors. Many survivors find themselves struggling with co-pays and deductibles if they are insured, and with mountainous medical bills if they are not. An insured person who has been shot can easily find that they are responsible for $20,000 of a $100,000 bill. Only 12 percent are able to pay their medical bills in full, per the study. In any case, Americans subsidize the gun industry and gun owners by picking up these unpaid bills through our taxes or increased insurance premiums.
This approach to the medical needs of gun violence survivors is cruel, irrational, and unjust. A saner, fairer model for paying such costs is staring us in the face: automobile insurance.
Balls and Strikes: Originalists' use of corpus linguistics is concerning.
But of course, we wouldn’t be talking about corpus linguistics if there weren’t serious problems with judges cosplaying as linguists. Defenders of legal corpus linguistics argue that using a database prevents a lawyer from cherry-picking historical sources or dictionaries to get the result they want. But some databases are so limited in scope that the cherry-picking is baked in to the process: For example, one analysis of COHA (Corpus of Historical American English) found that “the vast majority” of its identifiable authors are men, and that men outnumber women by “several orders of magnitude.” Another found that a whopping 30 percent of COFEA (Corpus of Founding-Era American English) was written by six people: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Woman personally impacted by juvenile-court scandal in Pennsylvania urges vigilance to protect youth from the justice system.
People are so shocked by the dollar amounts involved that they neglect the awkward truth: (Mark) Ciavarella’s court practices were unethical long before he began accepting money. It is much easier for many people to accept that the judges who took advantage of a vulnerable population were unique exceptions instead of questioning the system that allowed for them to thrive. This willful ignorance is an unfortunate reflection of the attitudes our nation has toward the rights of children.
JDSupra: Failure to provide deaf person qualified ASL interpreter during criminal proceedings was disability discrimination, says Fifth Circuit.
Star Tribune: Federal case underway over Minnesota's ban on gun permits for those under 21 years old.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission considering policy on timeframe for release of bodycam footage of officer-related deaths.
The Milwaukee Police Department does not have a standard operating procedure for voluntarily releasing such information after a death or a severe injury occurs with police involved.
Its internal practice is to release what the department calls “community briefings” – videos that include limited and redacted footage with narration from police officials – within 45 days of the incident, even with the ensuing investigation still active. The department has not always met that goal.
Mediaite: WJI's May 2022 speaker Mark Joseph Stern is the focus of Josh Hawley's and other conservatives' unwarranted Twitter attacks.
No good deed goes unpunished, the saying goes, and a Slate reporter learned that the hard way when he shared information he got from a Supreme Court email list and faced wild accusations — amplified by a U.S. Senator — that he was connected to whomever leaked the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
NBC: Brett Favre involved in investigation of misused Mississippi welfare funds, accepted $1 million for speeches he never gave.
Favre has repaid the fees, although not the $228,000 in interest the auditor also demanded. But the revelation by the auditor that $70 million in TANF welfare funds was doled out to a multimillionaire athlete, a professional wrestler, a horse farm and a volleyball complex are at the heart of a scandal that has rocked the nation’s poorest state, sparking parallel state and federal criminal investigations that have led to charges and guilty pleas involving some of the key players.
Favre hasn’t been accused of a crime or charged, and he declined an interview. His lawyer, Bud Holmes, said he did nothing wrong and never understood he was paid with money intended to help poor children. Holmes acknowledged that the FBI had questioned Favre in the case, a fact that hasn’t previously been reported.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Racine County man charged with election fraud for requesting government officials' absentee ballots.
Election Law Blog: Georgia federal court again says Lindsay Graham must testify to grand jury about possible election interference
"As such, Senator Graham may be questioned about any alleged efforts to encourage Secretary Raffensperger or others to throw out ballots or otherwise alter Georgia’s election practices and procedures. Likewise, the grand jury may inquire into Senator Graham’s alleged communications and coordination with the Trump Campaign and its post-election efforts in Georgia, as well as into Senator Graham’s public statements related to Georgia’s 2020 elections."
The Marshall Project: Expect more prosecution of women for drug use during pregnancy.
More than 50 women have been prosecuted for child neglect or manslaughter in the United States since 1999 because they tested positive for drug use after a miscarriage or stillbirth, according to an investigation by The Marshall Project, The Frontier and AL.com that was co-edited and published in partnership with The Washington Post.
The medical community calls this legal approach harmful and counterproductive. But it’s a strategy many legal experts say is likely to become more common now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, making it easier for states to pass laws that give fetuses and embryos the same rights as children or their mothers.
The Indiana Lawyer: Two losses for LGBTQ employees regarding claims of discrimination at Catholic schools.
NBC: Federal judge says federal law allows assistance for disabled voters in returning absentee ballots, notwithstanding Wisconsin Supreme Court decision banning such assistance under state law.
“Voters shouldn’t have to choose between exercising their federal rights and complying with state law,” (U.S. District Judge James D.) Peterson wrote in the final ruling in a lawsuit filed by four people in Wisconsin with disabilities.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Group files ethics complaints against attorneys involved in Wisconsin litigation to overturn the 2020 election results.
The 65 Project filed the complaints Wednesday with the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation against Michael D. Dean of Brookfield and Daniel J. Eastman of Mequon.
The group, named after the number of lawsuits filed by supporters of former President Donald Trump in the wake of his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, also filed complaints about lawyers licensed in five other states, several of whom helped file cases in Wisconsin.
Slate: Has Donald Trump run out of arguments regarding his possession of classified documents?
The old law school aphorism holds that “if the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
With Tuesday night’s Justice Department filing in response to the search of Mar-a-Lago for classified stolen documents, it’s safe to assume we are quickly achieving peak table pounding.
Politico: Hurdles remain for prosecuting Donald Trump regarding his possession of classified documents.
Of course, one unknown ultimately looms large over all the other machinations: Does Garland view Trump’s cavalier and even defiant approach to the national security secrets at Mar-a-Lago as something of sufficient magnitude to bring the first criminal case against a former president in U.S. history?
Politico: Michigan board blocks ballot measure on abortion rights.
Governing (ProPublica): How the ghost-gun industry gets around ghost-gun laws.
The vast majority of ghost guns recovered by law enforcement nationwide are built from parts made by Polymer80, which has managed to evade laws forbidding the manufacture of unserialized gun parts.
Reuters: Conservative think tank sues Starbucks over its efforts to promote diversity.
In a complaint filed on Tuesday, the National Center for Public Policy Research objected to Starbucks' setting hiring goals for Blacks and other people of color, awarding contracts to "diverse" suppliers and advertisers, and tying executive pay to diversity.
Reuters: Former coaches oppose arbitration in their racial discrimination case against the National Football league.
According to a brief submitted on behalf of (Brian) Flores, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton, the NFL's arbitration procedure bears no resemblance to a neutral judicial forum and fails to comport with basic principles of fairness.
Madison.com: Wisconsin legislative committee discusses ways to increase job opportunities post-incarceration.
The committee chair, Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, said Wisconsin had hit a crisis point between overcrowding in prisons and the need for employees outside them. She called for creating a pathway that would allow more people to put their mistakes behind them and forge new opportunities for themselves and their families.
Associated Press: Department of Justice filing provides more details on search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Though it contains significant new details on the investigation, the Justice Department filing does not resolve a core question that has driven public fascination with the investigation — why Trump held onto the documents after he left the White House and why he and his team resisted repeated efforts to give them back. In fact, it suggests officials may not have received an answer.
Politico: Why possession of classified documents should be easier to prove than other possible charges against Donald Trump.
White-collar crimes like fraud or obstruction usually turn on the defendant’s intent. There is usually no question that the defendant filed his tax returns. But did he do so with the intent to defraud the IRS? . . .
Most of the statutes at issue in the Mar-a-Lago documents case are more similar to a narcotics case than a complicated bank fraud or obstruction of justice case. Top Secret classified documents are a lot like narcotics from a criminal law perspective. You really don’t want to possess them if you are not authorized to do so. If you take Top Secret classified documents from a government facility and store them at your home, you’re guilty.
United Press International: Biden Administration and government of American Samoa ask Supreme Court to decline review of case about citizenship in territories.
Fitisemanu vs. United States stemmed from a challenge by John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tula -- who were all born in American Samoa -- to a federal law that denies them the right to vote because, technically, they are not considered U.S. citizens.
Slate: Judge orders Georgia governor to testify before grand jury investigating 2020 election tampering by Donald Trump.
The Baynet: Maryland appeals court vacates man's conviction because bailiffs wore masks with thin-blue-line insignia during trial.
The Court noted that “the thin blue line, among other things, can be viewed as expressing general support for law enforcement, or expressing the belief that police stand between civilized society and criminals, or expressing support for white supremacy. Although these messages range from benign to malevolent, none of them should be conveyed to the jury in a criminal trial.”
Courthouse News Service: Seventh Circuit appeals court affirms dismissal of case seeking life insurance payment for show horse.
Horse owner Julie Greenback first brought the case at hand against Great American Assurance Company in 2018; she says she should have been allowed to euthanize her $500,000 show horse Thomas, aka Awesome At This, after he sustained career-ending injuries.
Great American, Thomas’ insurer, prevented her from doing so. Citing an element of the horse’s insurance policy that allows the company to take control of Thomas’ medical care, it instead brought him to two veterinarians in 2018 who helped treat his injuries, including chest abscesses and a right leg tear. Thomas is still alive thanks to those veterinarians’ work, but his days as a show horse are over.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin