In his recent detailed article published in The New Republic, “The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia,” Judge Richard Posner has taken United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s theory of textual originalism to task. Yes, this article presents an extended series of technical legal analyses, but it is written in a way that many lay readers can appreciate. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand the repeated protestations by Justice Scalia that when he rules on case, he is doing so by rigorously paying attention to the actual words of enacted laws. [More . . . ]
Join EFF and the Public Participation Project in calling on Congress to support the PETITION Act, strong federal anti-SLAPP legislation. The concept is simple: when a blogger faces a legal threat for legitimate online content, she can file a motion to get the case dismissed quickly. If the case is found to be frivolous in court, she won’t have to pay the legal fees.”
Here is discussion of a meritless suit against Matthew Inman that illustrates the need for such a law.
More than 180,000 Missouri Citizens signed petitions to allow Missourians to vote to put a cap (of 36%) on payday loans and other small consumer loans this coming November. Here is some background information on the ballot initiative. But then the predatory loan industry lawyered up, bringing multiple suits to throw out all of the signatures in an attempt to destroy this ballot initiative.
Today, John Campbell and I traveled to Jefferson City to participate in an afternoon of oral arguments before the packed courtroom of the Missouri Supreme Court. John and I (we both work with The Simon Law Firm in St. Louis) also helped to write an appellate brief on behalf of those who seek to allow Missouri voters to decide this critically important issue this November. There was lively argument before an attentive court on numerous contentious issues drummed up by the predatory loan industry. We expect a ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court within the next month on this issue. It is our hope that the Court will rule that Missouri citizens will have the final say on whether loans that currently run from 300% – 500% will be capped at no more than 36%. This is critically important because these loans are currently dangerous products that trap consumers in long-term debt, and drive many people into foreclosures and bankruptcy. For many decades, Missouri did fine without loan-shark rate interest rates, and it’s time to make things right. Stay tuned.
If you want more detail, all of the appellate briefs can be read at the site of the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Chamber of Commerce can do no wrong before the United States Supreme Court this term, as reported by the Constitutional Accountability Center:
With today’s decision in Southern Union Company v. United States, the Chamber has declared victory in all seven of its cases that have reached a clear outcome (two are additionally classified as “other” because the Court avoided addressing the issue at stake on procedural grounds, and in one the Chamber filed on behalf of neither party).
Federal judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York provided a tremendous, though rare, victory for those who believe in basic civil liberties, which have taken a massive beating in the context of the alleged “war on terror.” Amy Goodman and her guests (Chris Hedges, a journalist who filed the suit challenging the NDAA along with six others, and Bruce Afran, the group’s attorney) offer insight into the ruling:
In a rare move, a federal judge has struck down part of a controversial law signed by President Obama that gave the government the power to indefinitely detain anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial — including U.S. citizens. Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York ruled the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act likely violates the First and Fifth Amendments of U.S. citizens. . . . “This is another window into … the steady assault against civil liberties,” Hedges says. “What makes [the ruling] so monumental is that, finally, we have a federal judge who stands up for the rule of law.”
The New Yorker offers a detailed behind the scenes look of the final decision of Citizens United. In this article, Jeffrey Toobin credits Chief Justice John Roberts with the way the Court analyzed and ruled on the case:
Citizens United is a distinctive product of the Roberts Court. The decision followed a lengthy and bitter behind-the-scenes struggle among the Justices that produced both secret unpublished opinions and a rare reargument of a case. The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberts Court. It was once liberals who were associated with using the courts to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government, but the current Court has matched contempt for Congress with a disdain for many of the Court’s own precedents. When the Court announced its final ruling on Citizens United, on January 21, 2010, the vote was five to four and the majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy. Above all, though, the result represented a triumph for Chief Justice Roberts. Even without writing the opinion, Roberts, more than anyone, shaped what the Court did. As American politics assumes its new form in the post-Citizens United era, the credit or the blame goes mostly to him.