- Early reactions to Supreme Court’s blockbuster Citizens United ruling striking down ban on independent election advocacy [Point of Law, more, yet more]
- Vision Media Television Group continues its legal push against online critics, Section 230 or no [Consumer Law & Policy, earlier]
- Big FBI sting operation could leave firearms business “wounded”, some say [Point of Law]
- Runaway’s suit against McKeesport, Pa. school district dismissed on statute of limitations grounds [AP/Law.com]
- “Sandra Day O’Connor Backs Campaign to End Judicial Elections” [Schwartz, NY Times, my two cents]
- “Sheriff Joe’s Enabler” [Radley Balko on Maricopa County D.A. Andrew Peyton Thomas; earlier here, here, etc.]
- Why some D.C. lawyers make so much money year in, year out [Hill & Lat, Washingtonian, quotes Ted; Ribstein and more]
- “Hampshire woman jailed for false rape claim” [BBC]
- P.S. At this point, politically, Dems almost have to pass something labeled health care reform whether or not the resulting legislation makes any sense [my comment in National Journal blogger’s poll, more]
- Four California lawyers accused in what prosecutors say is giant insurance fraud ring employing staged or “paper” car wrecks, Mark Geragos is defending [Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Glendale News-Press via ABA Journal]
- “Civil Gideon law could overwhelm civil courts”, Ted is interviewed again [Legal NewsLine, earlier]
- “Is that a popularly-elected state judge in your pocket?” [What About Clients?, earlier]
- Audit Integrity, sued by Hertz over financial risk assessment, takes case to SEC [Felix Salmon, earlier]
- OSHA nominee David Michaels, SKAPP and the right to bear arms, continued [David Kopel/America’s First Freedom, earlier and more]
- NJ case raises knotty questions of press liability for reporting allegations in lawsuits [WSJ Law Blog]
- Washtenaw Jail Diary, which made splash on Twitter earlier this year, now reprinting at Ann Arbor Chronicle (earlier);
- “Not every country bubblewraps its kids” [Free-Range Kids on Germany] Background checks for senior-center pen pals and more school overprotectiveness [same]
- Expects to have to fight Obama on policy, wept anyway when he came to podium for victory speech [Jonathan Blanks] #
- Every self-respecting insider-trading ring should include an exotic dancer and a Croatian underwear seamstress [Bainbridge] #
- New panel discussion: why are schools so bureaucratized and what can we do about it? [NewTalk] # @sekimori “Bureaucracy is to protect the system from litigation.” Not cynical to think this is one big part of the problem. #
- @bschuelke: “Why is it so difficult to get clients’ medical records? Should be easy but is often the hardest part of the case.” #
- Primer on role of Delaware in corporate law [NY Times] #
- Ways to find good, underrated people [Ben Casnocha h/t Tyler Cowen] #
- Cluelessness alert: U.K. cabinet minister criticizes blogs for not “allowing new voices” [Massie] #
- Dems swept races for judge in Houston — unless their names were too unusual [Houston Chronicle] #
Alabama, Mississippi and Texas all host hotly fought races with a strong plaintiff-vs.-defendant dimension tomorrow: Democrat Deborah Bell Paseur vs. Republican Greg Shaw in Alabama, three challengers vs. three incumbents on the Mississippi Supreme Court, and Democratic challengers Jim Jordan, Linda Yanez and Sam Houston in races for the Texas Supreme Court. (Tom Baxter, Southern Political Report, Nov. 3).
- Sen. Obama’s “I voted for tort reform” talk: maybe not so serious;
- Assaults on arbitration and pre-emption are just the start of the Litigation Lobby’s big plans for next year;
- A new featured column by Richard Epstein on the peculiarly named Employee Free Choice Act;
- Manhattan Institute’s Trial Lawyers, Inc. project is out with a new report on West Virginia;
- U.S. Department of Commerce: foreign investors fear our litigation climate;
- Albany plaintiff’s firm Powers & Santola ladles out campaign money to judges it practices before;
- Through the wringer? Judge Posner is quite severe on a clothes-dryer class action.
Longtime readers may recall (Oct. 24-25, 2001) what we described as the “unusually bare-knuckled” tactics, “even by Philadelphia standards”, of the Philly political machine when a business-oriented advocacy group called Pennsylvania Law Watch organized with a plan to issue ratings of judges statewide. We quoted the Philadelphia Daily News at the time:
“State Sen. Vincent Fumo prompted some controversy last month when he told the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce that anyone who helped [Republican judge/candidate Michael] Eakin by donating to Pennsylvania Law Watch ’should expect to be arrested,’ according to a witness at the chamber meeting, who also said Fumo mentioned Richard Sprague as a member of a team of attorneys ready for action.”
Although no one was literally arrested, three local Democratic politicians proceeded to file a suit against Pennsylvania Law Watch seeking “a freeze on Law Watch’s assets, the right to go through its books, an injunction against its activities, and more.” Almost before the episode got any national attention, the case settled, “with Law Watch agreeing with Pennsylvania Democrats that ‘it would not attempt to influence the statewide judicial elections through advertising, ‘push polling’ or any other kind of communication with the public'”.
Now, six years later, and with no direct relation to the above, longtime powerbroker and State Sen. Fumo is going to trial in federal court “on charges he used $3.5 million in what he called ‘OPM’ _ other people’s money _ to keep his political machine well-oiled and fund a high life that included three vacation homes and heated sidewalks outside his mansion. Jury selection is expected to last a week, and the trial three months.” [AP/Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, AP/York Daily Record, Philadelphia Daily News, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review].
I’ve got a lengthy new post up at Point of Law on this topic. Excerpt:
… some of our friends in the business community have lately been taking up as one of their big causes the direct voter election of state court judges. They argue in a populist vein that the common people ought to exert control over the judiciary and that methods such as gubernatorial appointment or “Missouri Plan” merit-screening panels are too open to influence behind the scenes from bar insiders, politicians, and trial lawyers. They also appear to believe that litigation outcomes will be fairer and more predictable from a business person’s point of view when judges hold their offices by election than when they are appointed. … I must say that I find it really odd that business groups have gone off on this kick….
- Sure enough, former Milberg lawyers sue the convicted ex-Milberg lawyers for breach of fiduciary duty. I was wondering when that was going to happen. [WSJ Law Blog; NYLJ/law.com; earlier]
- Why file grievance against a fellow attorney who’s only stolen $200,000 from clients? Colleagues wonder [Las Vegas Review-Journal via ABA]
- Judge: No evidence of wrongdoing by Kenneth Pasternak. Too bad he can’t get his three years back. Meanwhile SEC keeps bringing enforcement cases on same repeatedly rejected theory of liability. [WSJ; Law Blog]
- “What the AP and The New York Times’ Hansell don’t seem to realize is how hostile an act it is to send lawyer letters to individuals.” [Jarvis via Patterico]
- “When judges act like politicians, the judicial selection process – elected or appointed – becomes increasingly political. Action and reaction. The politicization of the court led to the politicization of the elections for justices. … When justices arrogate political policymaking to themselves, they should not be surprised when they are held to the same standards as politicians.” [Wisconsin Policy Research Institute via American Courthouse; I said that, too]
- Even Susan Estrich finds the Alex Kozinski web site mini-to-do as evidence of media bias. [Estrich; Patterico link roundup]
- Senator McCaskill shows her ignorance on the Anheuser-Busch merger and corporate officer duties. [Hodak]
- A clever attorney will already have a fill-in-the-blanks product liability complaint drafted against Lego. [Childs]
- Hugo Chavez expropriates wealth to consolidate dictatorship. American lawyer helps. Somehow I don’t think we’ll see an Alien Tort Claims Act suit against his law firm. [AmLaw Daily]
A new must-read for those interested in reform, Dan Pero is blogging at “American Courthouse” about judicial elections.