Owners of land with substantial oil and gas resources have begun using the “takings” concept of property law to challenge local bans on fracking.
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* And meet the two legal heavyweights who will be arguing the case before SCOTUS. [Politico via How Appealing]
* Meanwhile, another Supreme Court has put a stop to same-sex marriage down in Alabama — for now. [Buzzfeed]
* General David Petraeus reaches a plea deal, requiring him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a fine (but no prison sentence). [Washington Post]
* It’s not as sexy as Obamacare or marriage equality, but the collection of state sales tax on out-of-state purchases made online is a pretty important issue — and Justice Kennedy wants SCOTUS to revisit it. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* A jury of eight men and 10 women will start hearing arguments today in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defendant in the Boston Marathon bombing. [How Appealing (linkwrap)]
* Legal ethics guru Monroe Freedman, RIP. [ABA Journal]
The federal government can restrict access to public lands for oil and gas drilling purposes through a number of means.
Hydraulic fracturing and energy policy promise to be an interesting area to watch in 2015 as many competing political forces push to control the agenda.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) Office of Enforcement (Enforcement) recently released its annual report on enforcement activities for 2014. As is typical, Enforcement identified its primary concerns as detecting and deterring fraud and manipulation in its markets and ensuring the safety and reliability of the grid.
In the final days before the November election, the Republican (then minority) staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a report outlining the domestic economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing, entitled Setting the Record Straight: Hydraulic Fracturing and America’s Energy Revolution
The EPA’s inspector general, Arthur Elkins, Jr., has rejected Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) appeal for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to drop its review of the agency and the states’ ability to manage potential threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing. In his October 16th letter responding to Sen. Inhofe, Mr. Elkins noted that, while inspectors general (IG) report their findings to Congress and their agency heads, they do not take direction from either in deciding what to review. He added that the Inspector General Act does not require IGs to explain why they should be allowed to continue their work, and that, in his opinion, interference by Congress or the agency is contrary to the statute.
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* Justice Sotomayor would like to remind you that just because you’ve been to one Indian casino, that doesn’t mean all Native Americans are fantastically wealthy. [KGOU]
* Nor is every Native American cured by this news, but this is certainly a start — the Department of the Interior will sign a $554 million settlement in the breach of trust case brought by the Navajo nation. [Buckley Sandler LLP]
* A Peruvian woman has sued Disney for $250 million because she alleges that Frozen is a rip-off of her life story. Because she has magic ice powers? I guess. Actually, it looks like the only connection is that she lived in a cold place and had a sister. This reminds me of my lawsuit against Chuck Palahniuk for basing Fight Club on my life story. Not that I ran anarchic underground fight clubs, but because one-time at camp I made a bar of soap. [Bustle]
* Law professor goes after revenge porn and patent trolls because he’s trying to win the title of best person ever. [Brooklyn Paper]
* Harold Hamm, Continental Resources’ Chairman and CEO — and former energy adviser to Mitt Romney — is staring down the barrel of a massive divorce settlement. So he takes a page from Romney’s adversary. Hamm is arguing that his fortune… he didn’t build that! He was just the beneficiary of a good market rather than a contributing factor so he doesn’t have to share. [Upstream Online]
* The CAC launches a new series on the Roberts Court at 10. It’s hard to believe how long ago that was. When the Chief Justice took over we still thought the ending of Lost was going to make sense! [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Winston & Strawn lawyer turned famous LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya opened a new show in London. Sculptures made of thousands and thousands of hand-assembled bricks. Just in case you were wondering if there was a task more boring than document review. [Yahoo! Canada News]
* Paul Clement and Mike Carvin offer a SCOTUS preview. [Heritage Foundation]
* It’s not that Justice Kennedy cares more about gay rights than women’s rights, it’s that Justice Kennedy understands gay rights better than women’s rights. That’s a much less charitable but shorter read of this insightful piece by a former Kennedy clerk. [Dorf on Law]
* The judge caught making racist and sexist remarks about Charlize Theron’s adoption has been banned from the bench. He wants to be judged on more than this incident. To quote Dr. Hibbert: “And hillbillies want to be called ‘Sons of the Soil’, but it ain’t gonna happen.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News]
* Adam Carolla is keeping his fight against patent trolls alive. Ziggy socky ziggy socky hoy hoy hoy! [Mashable]
* Yesterday, the man who shot young Renisha McBride for knocking on his door was convicted of second-degree murder. Sadly, it was just one more in a string of cases where some idiot bought into the rhetoric of shooting first and asking questions later that gun lobbyists have pushed for years. [New York Times]
* Here’s something, a former law firm CIO wrote a novella called I Spy, You Spy, We All Spy (affiliate link) based on the allegedly true events of the “law firm spying on its own lawyers, employees and some of its employees’ family members.” Delightful. [Amazon]
* “Why Young Lawyers Shouldn’t Hate Hate Hate Baby Boomers Holding On to Jobs.” OK, I’ll go back to hating them for being the self-absorbed Me Generation that made Gordon Gekko a role model. [Law and More]
* At oral argument in the marriage equality cases, the lawyers and the Sixth Circuit exhibited… a lot of misconceptions. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* The battle over the EPA’s Carbon rules isn’t over yet. Gear up for a Supreme Court trip. [Breaking Energy]
* Do you need to know how to pronounce the SCOTUS case of Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk? There’s an app for that. [Law Technology News]
* For all you surprised by LeBron James, let me remind you: Cleveland is all about two non-consecutive stints. [Wikipedia]
* Speaking of basketball, Mitchell Epner takes his talents to CNBC to breakdown the 5 things he learned during the first week of the Donald Sterling trial. [CNBC]
* Who is the Litigator of the Week, per Litigation Daily? It’s Daniel Gitner of Lankler Siffert & Wohl because he became the first lawyer to beat the S.D.N.Y. U.S.A.O. in an insider trading case. Also because he’s awesome. Pardon me while I put on my LSW shirt. [The Litigation Daily (sub. req.)]
* Hey! Take a second to take our latest law firm survey. We really want your feedback on your perception. [Above the Law]
* “5 Reasons the Sleeping Yankees Fan’s Lawyer Should Be Disbarred.” Fair enough. [Internet on Trial]
* Will the EPA’s latest carbon rule survive judicial challenge? I would have said “no” but after Homer City… [Breaking Energy]
* Do blondes make more money? I guess that’s the trade-off with being the focus of revenge porn. [The Careerist / American Lawyer]
* Aereo is back. Sort of. [Comm Law Blog]
* A former Patton partner lost his new job at Pillsbury over the Chevron case. Could anybody have suffered more over this case? Oh, right, all the Ecuadorians. [Legal Times]
* While you weren’t looking, even fewer people took the LSAT. Obviously. [LSAC]
* Mitchell Epner breaks down the Donald Sterling trial, which kicked off today. Or “tipped off” today. [CNBC]
* Judge Kopf reviews Keith Lee’s The Marble and the Sculptor. Keith can take heart that His Honor didn’t tell him to STFU. [Hercules and the Umpire]
* MoloLamken offers its comprehensive review of the Supreme Court’s recently concluded adventures from the perspective of businesses. Spoiler alert: businesses did really, really well. [MoloLamken]
* Former seminary dean lied about his religious background and then tried to sue the guy who called him out on it. Benchslapping ensued in a fee decision: “Plaintiff’s sparse trickle of written argument gave way at the hearing to an overflow of objectively unreasonable claims…. Plaintiff either cast unsupported aspersions or asserted boldfaced contradictions, adopting whatever narrative best served him at the time.” In fairness, those sound like they might be assets in organized religion. [Religion Posts]
* If you want to know what’s up in the energy sector, Breaking Energy now has a “Law Firms Perspective” feed. [Breaking Energy]
* Discretion is the better part of valor: gamblers turned down around $1.5 million payout to sue casino for illegal detention… and then lost. [ATL Redline]
* I’ve said before that I find the concept of legal tattoos fascinating. This one is incredibly meta….
* Abraham Lincoln was a harder working lawyer than you are. [Abraham Lincoln’s Almanac Trial]
* Quentin Tarantino has given up the ghost and dropped his suit against Gawker over The Hateful Eight. [The Escapist]
* The people who made stupid toe shoes have settled a big class action. [Deadspin]
* Judge Posner and Justice Scalia haven’t had a public fight in a while. So this lawyer is trying to stir one up. Thanks, buddy! [Legal Times]
* Colorado’s energy industry is suing municipalities creating a patchwork of fracking regulation. As the author notes, “for a state that has boldly snubbed federal law on marijuana policy, such arguments sound a bit hollow.” [Breaking Energy]
* Stop calling on Justice Ginsburg to retire… it’s probably too late for Obama to nominate a replacement anyway. [New Republic]
* Lawyer writes threatening letter to customer who wrote a negative review on Amazon. [Ars Technica]
* Our tipster put it best, “New Show on Bravo: ‘Lowering the NJ Bar.’” [The Star-Ledger]
* A young solicitor known as Mr. Kelly was inspired to release a rap album about how much he hated his training job at a top 10 global firm. His video after the jump…. [Legal Cheek]
* People are shocked — shocked! — to learn that L.A. Clippers owner and Southwestern Law grad Donald Sterling may just be racist. Where were all you people the last 30 years he’s been in the limelight? I guess this is what happens when the Lakers stop being good. At least they’re in good company, the NAACP didn’t seem to pay attention to the red flags either. [Business Insider]
* Bringing “blame the victim” to sickening new levels. A playwright is suing actress Valerie Harper for $2 million for having the audacity not to mention her cancer. [NY Daily News]
* Oh, no, wait. This is bringing “blame the victim” to sickening new levels. [Huffington Post]
* Liquid Natural Gas exports are tied down in the FERC approval process. Pesky lawyers. [Breaking Energy]
* Louis Althusser’s On The Reproduction Of Capitalism argues that “all law is by essence, in the last instance, inegalitarian and bourgeois.” And he doesn’t even know about the cruise ship we rented out for a partner meeting to discuss our offices in that “country” of Africa [Critical-Theory]
* Keeping your cool is a lot easier from your computer than out in the field. [Katz Justice]
* The Supreme Court may have decided not to rule on whether juries can be non-unanimous, but they will spend their time figuring out if fish are “informational items.” Good job. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]