Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blame President Bush

There has been much publicity over the fact that the Fourth Circuit panel that will review the challenges to health care reform includes Judges Davis, Wynn, and Motz.

Judge Davis was nominated by President Obama after President Bush failed to fill the vacancy on the Fourth Circuit that resulted from the death of Judge Murnaghan, as reported here:

"Under President Bush, three other nominees were named to fill the vacancy, but each was stalled or rejected — in disputes with Democrats that sometimes involved the Maryland senators."

Judge Wynn was nominated by President Obama after President Bush failed to fill the vacancy on the Fourth Circuit that resulted from Judge Phillips taking senior status in 1994. Three times, President Bush nominated Terrence Boyle, who was never confirmed. In 2007, President Bush nominated Robert Conrad, who also was never confirmed.

Of Judge Motz, I once walked down the stairs with her and her husband the district court judge at my first Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, and they laughed that I was about to burst out of my skin with nervousness and excitement, and she told me she remembered well her first Judicial Conference - which made me a fan.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On the Planned Parenthood case in Indiana

Here is the much-publicized complaint filed by Planned Parenthood of Indiana over the new law in Indiana that prohibits the state from making any contracts with or appropriating any money for any entity that performs abortions or operates a facility where abortions are performed.

The claim is be based principally to the provision in the Constitution which bar the states from passing any law that impairs the obligation of contracts, the "Contract Clause" of Article 1, section 10. Planned Parenthood claims that it has existing contracts that would be impaired by the enforcement of the new law.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Virginia v. Virginia

In Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Stewart, the Supreme Court held that a Virginia state agency could sue Virginia officials in federal court.

Chief Justice Roberts dissented, because he thought there was something wrong with the idea that the Commonwealth can sue itself in federal court, despite the Eleventh Amendment and sovereign immunity. For one thing, the Chief Justice noted:

"Whatever the decision in the litigation, one thing is clear: The Commonwealth will win. And the Commonwealth will lose. Because of today’s holding, a federal judge will resolve which part of the Common-wealth will prevail."