Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Civil litigation in federal court increased in 2008

A report by Law360 cited here and elsewhere says that federal court litigation was on the rise in 2008, including more employment law and products liability cases, along with more antitrust claims, more corporate bankruptcies, and more class actions.

Worth reading

From December, the Lynchburg paper reports on the retirement of Circuit Court Judge Samuel Johnston.

In Buckingham County, someone has sued the Hook for defamation.

In Tazewell County, Judge Vanover upheld the immunity of the County and the School Board in a case over the death of a student.

The long-running Fairfax County case over Episcopal church property is described again here.

The Norfolk paper investigates here why it is that does not collect Virginia sales tax.

On Fourth Circuit vacancies

Jonathan Adler says here the Democrats should do like was done with Judge Gregory and renominate and confirm Peter Keisler to the D.C. Circuit, citing this article by Quin Hillyer, which is also cited in this post on the Committee for Justice Blog.

Here the NRO editors suggest the same idea as to any of Bush nominees to the Fourth Circuit, including Judge Robert Conrad, Rod Rosenstein, Steve Matthews, and Judge Glen Conrad of the W.D. Va.

Somewhat more traditionally, posts here and here speculate on North Carolina Democrats who might be appointed to the long-vacant N.C. seats on the Fourth Circuit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What are the First Amendment rights of donors in support of referenda?

In California, they say that the opponents of the recently-passed referendum to re-outlaw same-sex marriage are tracking down those that gave money to advocacy groups in support of the measure and trying to make them regret their position.

So, this lawsuit has been filed, claiming that the California law requiring disclosure of such contributions is a violation of the First Amendment rights of the donors, particularly because none of the rationale for intruding on the speech rights of donors in the usual campaign setting applies when there are no candidates to be corrupted by the cash.

I can understand that aspect, although I think the outcome of the suit depends on whether the issue comes down to standard of review - is this an incursion on First Amendment rights which must be narrowly-tailored or merely something that requires a rational basis. This I wonder.

Supreme Court history

Via John Q. Barrett, here are the proceedings of a conference of former Supreme Court clerks, discussing the 1950-1951 term, and including therein some general background of the Justices and their work.

Among the tales told is this one, about Justice William O. Douglas:

"On the thirteenth anniversary of his joining the Court, he had a little cocktail party in chambers just for those of us who were on staff. He made martinis the way he used to make them for FDR and told us about how times were back in the ‘30s in Washington where he’d been working. He remembered I’d grown up in Kansas City, Missouri, and so he recalled that he had a speaking engagement there one time and took his dog Frosty with him and was going to stay at the best hotel in town. When he got there, the hotel refused to admit him because he had his dog. So the two of them ended up in a motel. When the Chamber of Commerce found out, they were so embarrassed they sent a case of dog food to Frosty. Douglas said that thereafter, Frosty would never eat any other kind of dog food."

Lynn Dougherty's son - from Gallaudet to David Letterman

This story about the deaf son of a Bristol lawyer from the Tennessee side is really cool.

Monday, January 12, 2009

On blogging in 2009

There will be some, sooner or later.

Last week, I took off for a federal court hearing in Beckley, turned around when I heard it was cancelled, then found out it was rescheduled for the next day, turned around again and headed back up there.

That's just one adventure of many, already in 2009, but not much of it fit for this blog.