Posts Tagged ‘same-sex marriage’

September 12 roundup

WSJ op-ed on same-sex marriage and religious exemptions

I’ve got an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal on New York’s vote last Friday to legally recognize same-sex marriage. I also applaud the inclusion of protections for religious institutions (and would have favored strengthening the protections beyond the current level). The WSJ frames the discussion as “Two Views from the Right,” and they’ve got Maggie Gallagher giving the opposite side.

Federalist Society videos online

The Federalist Society has posted numerous videos from its recent National Lawyers’ Convention, including sessions on the aggressive regulatory stance of today’s Environmental Protection Agency, the constitutionality of Obamacare, anonymity and the First Amendment in media and campaign-regulation law, NYU’s Richard Epstein debating Yale’s Bill Eskridge on the court battle over California’s Prop 8, recusal and campaign rules for judges, Dodd-Frank, and the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez case on accreditation of student groups, among other topics. And civil procedure/Iqbal-Twombly buffs may be interested in a luncheon panel held just yesterday in D.C. (I was in the audience) in which four law professors (Don Elliott of Yale, Martin Redish and Ronald Allen of Northwestern, and Rick Esenberg of Marquette) outlined ideas for reforming the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to reduce discovery costs and improve screening of cases in the earliest stages of filing.

The video above is of the Society’s 10th annual Barbara Olson Memorial Lecture, in which Second Circuit Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs provocatively criticizes legal academia and other precincts of influential legal thinking for misunderstanding the role of the military and its relation to the law.

Law firms that represent anti-gay causes

The Human Rights Campaign has issued a report rating major law firms (among other large employers) on how well they address LGBT issues. It takes off points for law firms that have represented anti-gay clients, such as Foley & Lardner, which has represented opponents of gay marriage in litigation in the District of Columbia.

Many nonlawyers will not see anything unusual in this. The thing is, it’s a passionately held tenet of N.Y. Times-reader legal liberalism — sometimes, at least — that law firms must not be publicly shamed for electing to represent “bad” clients in important legal matters. After all, representing those clients does not necessarily mean they share the clients’ objectives or viewpoints. For example, former Bush administration defense official Cully Stimson was widely excoriated after he suggested that it was to the discredit of leading law firms that they had thrown a tremendous effort into the pro bono defense of Guantanamo detainees.

Elie Mystal at Above the Law and John Steele at Legal Ethics Forum are among those to raise the question whether there is any real consistency to all this. And does it make a difference whether the “bad” client is being represented pro bono, or is paying handsomely, as with Sen. Kristen Gillibrand’s repping of Big Tobacco as a young lawyer?

January 30 roundup

  • Attention journalists: a trademark opposition and a trademark lawsuit are two different things [Legal Satyricon]
  • I explain (slightly rudely) why I think the Citizens United decision will probably help the Dems this cycle [National Journal blogger poll] Plus: no big effect on campaigns? [Ann Althouse] And it’s not as if Chuck Schumer has made up his mind or anything: he’s titled his hearing on Citizens United next week “Corporate America vs. the Voter” [PoL, yet more here and here]
  • Olson and Boies should realize these are not the days of the Warren Court [Dale Carpenter, Independent Gay Forum]
  • Motorists beware Tenaha, Texas: the legal sequel [WSJ Law Blog, earlier here, etc.]
  • “Detroit Lawyer Fined For Chasing Buffalo Air Crash Victims” [Turkewitz]
  • Symbolic venue? Administration chooses to unveil new press-lenders-to-serve-minorities campaign at Jesse Jackson event [N.Y.Times]
  • Remembering pinball prohibition [Popular Mechanics back in August, Radley Balko]
  • Judge cuts “shocking”, “monstrous” $2 million award to $54,000 in Jammie Thomas-Rasset music-download suit [AmLaw Litigation Daily, earlier] Naughty librarians: “Offline Book ‘Lending’ Costs US Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion” [Eric Hellman]

Discovery overreach in Prop 8 battle?

According to LawDork, proponents of California’s Proposition 8 are planning to engage in some seriously broad discovery [PDF, see pages numbered 11-12] in their defense of the law against constitutional challenge:

We plan to develop evidence that many gay and lesbian individuals desire to have biological rather than adopted or foster children, and that many satisfy these desires with the assistance of technology or by other means. We will seek discovery of the names of Californians in registered domestic partnerships with the parents listed on birth records from the Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records (which maintains birth records) and the Secretary of State’s Office (which maintains domestic partnership records). We may also seek discovery from companies and organizations that offer assisted reproductive technology and services to develop evidence on this issue.

Translated, this seems to mean they will make public records officials cough up the information needed to cross-check California birth against domestic-partnership records to “catch” people whose names appear in both data sets and thus appear likely to be gay parents. In case that doesn’t do the trick, they want to force assisted-reproduction clinics to disclose information about their clientele. Wow.

P.S. In answer to several questions, no, Ted Olson and I are not related.

May 7 roundup

Daily Roundup 2008-12-31

Due to work and family commitments today and tomorrow, this may be my final post at Overlawyered.  Walter Olson will be returning shortly.

  • Eight Los Angeles police officers may face suit from an unwilling Jamie Lynn Spears decoy. Why does the LAPD provide any officers at all to protect B-list celebrities?
  • What slippery slope? New Jersey Civil Rights Division finds discrimination in case of Methodist ministry which refused to rent a pavilion for civil union of two lesbians, but otherwise rented the pavilion for marriage without regard for sectarian concerns.  Perhaps this makes sense if sexual orientation is protected under New Jersey civil rights law, but I’m pretty sure New Jersey still gets it wrong on the First Amendment;
  • Revolutionary breathrough in cellular anti-aging, or journalistic malpractice?
  • “But the majority voted not to disbar since they saw a distinction between an attempt to have sex with the minor and actually doing it.”  Like Eric Turkewitz, I’m astonished;
  • In building a law firm, perhaps Craigslist is not the best substitute for traditional recruiting practices;
  • Great news for British authors of Popeye fan fiction.  American fans are still out of luck;
  • Talk show hosts whose entertainment relies on “zinging” stupid guests, with the support of an even more stupid audience, should never invite Christopher Hitchens to appear on their shows;
  • Thoughts on whether it’s deceptive, or just lame, to call a solo law practice “the Law Offices of John Smith” or “John Smith and Associates” from sole practitioner Scott Greenfield.

In the event that this is my final piece here, I’ve enjoyed my stint guest-blogging, and commend Walter on the hard work he’s done through the years to make this a great site, as well as to build an unusually good commenting audience.  Happy new year!

California Attorney General Weighs in on Proposition 8

Not surprisingly, given that the office is occupied by former “Governor Moonbeam” Jerry Brown, he feels that the amendment barring same sex marriage should be invalidated.  Also not surprisingly, given that it’s Governor Moonbeam, he takes a novel approach to the argument, one that libertarians may like: that same sex marriage is an inalienable right which cannot be taken away even by constitutional amendment.  (The fighting Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not appear to be cited, as it’s a matter of state law).

Kip Esquire, who is a libertarian and who strongly favors same sex marriage rights, has given Brown’s arguments a thorough review, and seems unimpressed.  Key criticism:

If I were Kenneth Starr (in the sense of, “if I were as insolent and snarky as Kenneth Starr is”), then I would simply respond with something like this: “What the Attorney General is apparently suggesting is that the California Constitution — is unconstitutional. That simply cannot be right.”

More analysis of the Brown brief may be found at Mr. Esquire’s site.