Constitutional Law

This morning, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson declined to issue an injunction that would halt implementation of Pennsylvania’s new and controversial voter ID law. The law requires Pennsylvania voters to show a photo ID in order to vote. According to Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turazi, the new law will deliver the Pennsylvania election to Mitt Romney.

But that doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional. Judge Simpson determined that an injunction would be inappropriate, and decided to give everybody a lesson on the difference between facial challenges versus “as applied” challenges to boot. He ruled that the plaintiffs, which included the ACLU, didn’t establish that “disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable.”

The ACLU says it plans to appeal….

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* “There’s no future in working for Dewey & LeBoeuf,” but maybe if the firm’s few remaining employees can hold on for a little while longer, then perhaps they’ll be able to take home some bonus cash. [Am Law Daily]

* Doctors in Arizona are trying to block part of a new law that makes it a crime for physicians to perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Well, somebody wasn’t paying attention in Con Law. [Bloomberg]

* All it took was an investigation by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission to get this judge to change his tune and apologize for throwing a lawyer in jail for the crime of representing his client. [WZZM]

* What do recent law school grads think about Yale Law’s new Ph.D. program? Most aren’t willing to spend the time or money to “resolve [their] next career crisis by going back to school.” [U.S. News & World Report]

* Come on, you’re not the 99 percent. Clinic members from NYU Law and Fordham Law wrote a report criticizing the NYPD’s response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Wait, law schools are slow to adopt something that may benefit their students? What else is new? Corporate compliance classes are few and far between, even though they could get you a job. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Start spreading the fabulosity: Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has asked the Supreme Court to grant certiorari on a pair of cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. [BuzzFeed]

* Lawrence Lessig wants groups of 300 randomly selected people to craft a constitutional amendment in response to Citizens United. He clearly expects a bit too much of our population. [National Law Journal]

* In South Dakota, your abortion now comes with warnings about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide. Forget that medical certainty hooey, it’s not constitutionally misleading. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “We do not arrest people because of the color of their skin.” Oh, of course not, Sheriff Arpaio. We totally believe you. But you might stop them, question them, and detain them because of it, right? [New York Times]

* We’ve just got too much Dickinson up in here. And in other Penn State news, the school is now considering a move that may cause at least one of its two law school campuses to lose its accreditation. [Patriot-News]

* Lady Gaga was sued by MGA Entertainment, the maker of Bratz dolls, over her alleged failure to approve a line of dolls made in her image. This is not a company you want to start a bad romance with. [Bloomberg]

* And I am telling you, I’m not going — to grant you parole. William Balfour, the man convicted of murdering Jennifer Hudson’s relatives, was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole. [CNN]

Lance Armstrong

Yesterday, we brought you news of a rather lengthy lawsuit that was filed by professional cyclist Lance Armstrong against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The sports agency had accused Armstrong of doping during his time as a record-setting Tour de France champion, despite the fact that the athlete claimed to have been drug tested more than 500 times in his career, never once yielding a positive result.

Alas, it seems that Armstrong’s dreams of vilifying the USADA were quickly crushed, less than seven hours after his suit was filed. As we sarcastically noted in Morning Docket, perhaps we ought to look into judicial doping, because the suit was dismissed with a quickness we’ve never seen before. But in all seriousness, while a land speed record for benchslapping may have been achieved, it can only be attributed to Judge Sam Sparks’s incredibly quick wit and low tolerance for bullsh*t.

Let’s take a look at the Benchslap King’s Order in a case that managed to grab national media attention just as swiftly as Judge Sparks slapped it down….

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Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has done many regrettable things in his career as a professional cyclist (e.g., dumping Kate Hudson, breaking up with Sheryl Crow, hooking up with an Olsen twin), but he remains consistent in his claims that he has never used performance-enhancing drugs.

That’s why Armstrong was absolutely enraged when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) decided to formally charge him with doping at the end of June. If found guilty, the Livestrong legend could be stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles, forced to turn over all of the money he won from 1999-2005, and banned from Olympic sports for life.

In response, Armstrong took to Twitter to criticize the USADA by linking to an Above the Law story, revealing the identity of Calvin Clark Griffith, one of the formerly anonymous members of his Review Board. If you recall, Griffith was accused of exposing himself to a law student, and entered an Alford plea in mid-June.

Today, Armstrong continued his assault upon the USADA by suing in federal court, with claims of the Agency’s various violations of his constitutional rights. Let’s take a look at the allegations….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lance Armstrong Files Suit Against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ‘Kangaroo Court’”

* Who needs a Declaration of Internet Freedom when the government supports protesting citizens who go buckwild in the streets? The European Union voted against ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. [Associated Press]

* Kenneth Schneider, the former Debevoise & Plimpton associate serving a 15-year sentence for forcing a Russian teenager to be his sex slave, was suspended from practice pending further disciplinary proceedings. [New York Law Journal]

* Glenn Mulcaire, the investigator who intercepted voicemail messages on behalf of News of the World, lost a bid to remain silent about who commissioned his services. Rupert’s gonna be sooo pissed. [New York Times]

* Congratulations to the team from the University of Chicago Law School that won the United States Supreme Court Prediction Competition. They won $5K for betting on their Con Law nerd-dom. [SCOTUS Competition]

* Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. is expected to rule on George Zimmerman’s motion for bond today, and perhaps he won’t be so quick to forget that the defendant already lied to the court to get out of jail. [Orlando Sentinel]

* “You can’t just arbitrarily add anything you want to a sentence.” Well, it looks like you can, because in addition to jail time, a judge in South Carolina tacked on a Biblical book report to this woman’s sentence. [Daily Mail]

Ed. note: Your Above the Law editors are busy celebrating their freedom today (and we hope that you are, too). We will return to our regular publication schedule on Thursday, July 5.

* At this point, the Supreme Court’s dramatic deliberations on the Affordable Care Act are like a leaking sieve. Now we’ve got dueling narratives on Chief Justice Roberts’s behind-the-scenes flip-flopping. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Life, liberty, and the pursuit of fabulosity! The Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to grant cert on two DOMA cases, contending that Section 3 of the statute is unconstitutional. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* A famous fabulist: according to California’s State Bar, disgraced journalist Stephen Glass is a “pervasive and documented liar,” but that’s not stopping him from trying to get his license to practice law. [Los Angeles Times]

* Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue pilot who had an epic mid-flight nutty and started ranting about religion and terrorists, was found not guilty by reason of insanity by a federal judge during a bench trial. [New York Post]

* After a month of bizarre legal filings, Charles Carreon has dropped his lawsuit against Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. We’re hoping that there will be an awesome victory cartoon drawn up soon. [Digital Life / Today]

* Northwestern Law is the only American law school to have joined a 17-member global justice league geared toward legal teaching and research collaborations. But do they get cool costumes? [National Law Journal]

* UNC Law received two charitable gifts totaling $2.7M that will be used to fund tuition scholarships for current and future students. Maybe their students won’t have to create tuition donation sites anymore. [Herald-Sun]

* This law is for the birds (literally and figuratively). California’s ban on the sale of foie gras had only been in effect for one day before the first lawsuit was filed to overturn it as unconstitutional. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce recently announced that mermaids do not exist. Not to worry — it’s still legal to believe that Ariel is a babe. [New York Daily News]

Even Lance Armstrong reads ATL.

* As it’s told, the Supreme Court never leaks, but two sources who were close to the Affordable Care Act deliberations thought this tidbit was worth sharing with the public. Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts isn’t so noble after all, because he was originally batting for the conservatives. [CBS News]

* In fact, many are comparing Chief Justice Roberts to Chief Justice Marshall, but Professor John Yoo thinks he’s more comparable to Chief Justice Hughes, in that he “sacrificed the Constitution’s last remaining limits on federal power for very little.” Ohh, sick burn. [Wall Street Journal]

* The Department of Justice will not be filing a criminal contempt case against Attorney General Eric Holder, despite Congress’s seal of approval. Alas, if looks like you need to do a little bit more than piss off a few legislators to get prosecuted for a criminal offense. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Is fear of accidental spittle from a close talker enough to warrant slapping a Biglaw partner in the face? Yup, and it seems it’s even cause to file a lawsuit with allegations of slander and assault. [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]

* A judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new law that could have shut down the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. It’s refreshing to know the judicial system is willing to bring out the kid in you. [Washington Post]

* What do you do when the U.S Anti-Doping Agency has filed formal charges against you? Take to Twitter and link to an ATL post about one of the anonymous Review Board member’s pervy predilections. [ABC News]

* “It was an accident, it was an accident, it was an accident.” That may be the case, but much like your law school loan debt, you can’t take it back. Jason Bohn was arraigned for murder. [New York Post]

The individual mandate — er, tax — in the Affordable Care Act has been upheld. The President’s signature initiative survives. The reputation of the Court is untarnished. Chief Justice Roberts’s legacy as a steward of the Court’s institutional reputation is strengthened.

It’s a happy day for the Court, the President, and people who sometimes need health care. The opinion is bad news for Justice Kennedy (if Roberts will swing, who needs Kennedy?) and, I think, the belly dancers who were in front of the Court this morning (their political leanings aren’t as easy to discern as their midriffs).

But, of course, there was other action at the Court today. The Court affirmed a bedrock principle of our democracy — we have a right to lie. Sort of….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Affirms That America is the Land of Taxes and Lies”

Only two things are certain in life: death and taxes.

The Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Chief Justice John Roberts has upheld the individual mandate. But not under the Commerce Clause. Instead, Roberts has said that the law can proceed under Congress’s ability to tax.

It’s a tax. That thing that Democrats were trying so hard not to do so Republicans couldn’t call Obama a “tax and spend” Democrat is now called a tax by the Supreme Court. And now it’s a victory. Until the GOP starts saying that Obama “raised your taxes.”

I LOVE AMERICA. It’s so funny sometimes.

Oh, we’re going to have more coverage after the jump, including the vote breakdown (and other updates)….

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