Archive for the ‘Standing’ Category

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WHAT HAPPENED:  To help convey this generally procedural issue, let’s treat this like a professional wrestling event.

(Best Jim Ross Impersonation)

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!  IN THIS CORNER, PLAINTIFF LAROE!  A MAN WHO WANTS TO DEVELOP HIS PROPERTY AND IS BEING STYMED BY GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS!  WHAT AN UNDERDOG! THIS FANCIES TO BE A REAL SLOBBERKNOCKER!

AND IN THIS CORNER!  TOWN OF CHESTER!  A MUNICIPALITY THAT DOESN’T LIKE LAROE AND HAS PASSED ZONING REGULATIONS TO GET IN HIS WAY!  WHAT AN EVIL CHAMPION THAT LOOKS TO RETAIN ITS DOMINANCE OVER LAND USE!  THE CROWD REALLY HATES THEM!

THE MATCH HAS STARTED AND WE ARE READY TO……WHAT A MINUTE, WHATS THAT SOUND???  THAT’S LAROE ESTATE’S MUSIC!  WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?!?  LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A THREE-WAY BATTLE!

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  In legal speak, Laroe Estates wants to intervene in a lawsuit between the landowner and the township, which procedurally means you want to get involved in a case that is ongoing because you have an interest at stake.  Laroe was denied intervention because the Court held that Laroe lacked “standing”, which is the requirement that you are harmed in the underlying litigation and that the litigation will be able to solve that harm.  This is a weird ruling, because standing is usually presumed if you can meet the other requirements of intervention.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS:  Although one could argue that this case could help shape the requirements for intervention going forward, it seems more likely that the Court is just going to remand this decision back to the Lower Court so that they can come up with a clearer way to deny intervention that doesn’t require the Court to address a weird loophole in the rules.  Ultimately, this is not that common of a problem, as most people who meet the elements of intervention inherently have standing, so although this seems like a big deal, my guess is the Court will just be asking the Lower Court to use the elements to deny intervention, if denial is that important.

ROOT FOR TOWN OF CHESTER IF:  WE NEED TO SETTLE THIS CASE IN A STEEL CAGE, BROTHER!!

ROOT FOR LAROE ESTATES IF:  AND HERE COMES THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!  LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A ROYAL RUMBLE!!

PREDICTION:  Laroe Estates 7-1

 

 

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WHAT HAPPENED:  Appellant is a pastel-clad, humid municipality populated by hot women and Pitbull (or so I’m told). Appellee is a commercial full of less-aggressively good-looking suburbanites in their late twenties who are far too relaxed and self-aggrandizing during the process of buying a house (I watch too much TV).  The basis of Appellant’s claim is that Appellee caused gave predatory loans (OK) to minority homeowners (probably true) which caused the housing crisis (wait, what) and ruined Miami (arguable).

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  Even if we assume that all of the propositions in that last sentence are true, there are three big technical issues Appellant has to get by to bring this claim.  First, the Court has to determine whether or not Miami has standing to bring this claim under the Fair Housing Act, because even though Miami asserts elements of racial discrimination, it is not quite the focus of the claim like other lawsuits under the Fair Housing Act.  Second, the Court has to determine whether or not proximate cause is proven, meaning whether or not a bank giving bad loans could somehow be traced to the complete collapse of the housing market.  Third, the Court has to determine whether or not Miami can prove damages that are not just “infinity dollars”.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS –  By way of background, wild cases like this are not entirely uncommon in the legal profession.  Whether it is by the government or private parties, creative lawsuits can often move the law forward and bring about institutional or social change that the Court is commonly known for.  For example, Roe v. Wade was a fairly wild shot in the dark when it happened, and that is probably the most famous case of the last century.  That being said (and this gets forgotten about often), most of these cases lose.  This is a rough comparison, but the success of these cases are probably at the same rate of being on American Idol, where some contestants have perfect pitch and look like Carrie Underwood, and others are tone-deaf weirdos who somehow did not have a friend throw their body in front of the idea of auditioning in front of a live televised audience.  Following this analogy to its naturally ridiculous conclusion, this is the kind of case where Randy Jackson would say “Gee, I don’t know, dog.  I just don’t’ think it’s your time”, and then the lawsuit sadly goes back to the lobby and has to tell its disappointed family members that no, we are not going to Hollywood.

ROOT FOR CITY OF MIAMI IF:  you’re down with creditors getting taken down a peg, even if the implications of said peg are completely unknown.

ROOT FOR WELLS FARGO IF:  you didn’t own a house in the late 2000s.

PREDICTION:  Wells Fargo 6-2

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WHAT HAPPENED:  Plaintiffs were detained at Guantanamo Bay following the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Plaintiffs assert that they were detained illegally and without sufficient evidence warranting their detention, and are suing the government officials they believe are responsible for their detention.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  Well, for starters, the detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay was a clusterfuck from the beginning.  In the years that followed 2001, George Bush and friends were routinely in front of the Supreme Court trying to justify detaining suspected terrorists without Due Process.  In every case, the Supreme Court found in favor of the detainees, stating that the foreign terrorists are not entitled to the full Due Process protections entitled to citizens, but they are entitled to something.  This case takes a different angle than those cases, as these Plaintiffs are not seeking criminal constitutional rights, but are instead looking for civil damages as a result of those actions, as the Plaintiffs argue that the government officials in question knew what they were doing was wrong and detained the Plaintiffs anyway.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS – Suing the government is tough sledding, because the deck is stacked against you in the form of qualified and sovereign immunity.  In all cases, the government cannot be sued unless it consents to be sued, and as you can imagine, the government does not like to be sued that often.  For these defendants to be found civilly liable for their actions, the Plaintiffs have to prove a fairly high burden of showing that the Defendants knowingly violated their Constitutional rights and that the general rules relating to false arrest and imprisonment should apply to this fairly unique situation.  Should the Plaintiffs’ claims succeed, it could open the door for similar lawsuits against high government officials related to the War on Terror, or HYPOTHETICALLY, a certain order by the President that knowingly bent Constitutional rights and inconvenienced a large group of foreign citizens in the name of protecting Americans from terrorists.

ROOT FOR ASHCROFT IF:  you’re down with early 2000s nostalgia, like Brittany Spears, foam mesh trucker hats, and widespread paranoia about Middle East terrorism.

ROOT FOR ABASI IF:  you watched that one episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver about Guantanamo Bay and now you feel like an expert.

PREDICTION:  Ashcroft 4-2 (Kagan and Sotomayor are recused)

Digitally Divided Courtrooms

Posted: January 17, 2017 by Nazim in Free Speech, Standing, Technology

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Many courtrooms, including the Supreme Court of the United States, do not allow patrons to bring their digital devices into it, unless a specific exception is made for a particular piece of evidence in trial, or a judge simply doesn’t care. Often, this is a decision of the judge or judges that run that particular show, but sometimes, this prohibition has been implemented into law. One Michigander (Michigoose? Michigame? Michigonian? If you know, please let me know…) decided to take the matter to the US Supreme Court.

Despite the fact that I mainly use my internet connection to view pictures of cats, the devices, I’m told, have an immense utility for people trying to actually get shit done.  Further, the prohibition is not only a literal limitation of free speech, but it also has a chilling effect: the fact that it’s allowed in some courts and not others makes one liable to be fined if one wanders into the wrong courtroom with a cell phone in yo pocket. It has an easily verifiable chilling effect: I always wonder what to do with my cell phone before heading into a courthouse that I’m not familiar with.

The motivation for the prohibition is, in part, to insure that there are no distractions. They really don’t want you to be listening to our podcast or checking our facebook feed during trial, you criminals, you. But there’s also an element of old-timey thinking at play here: Some judges just don’t want your fancy talking picture boxes on their lawn. Honestly, I’ve occasionally persuaded a judge to allow me to use a digital device when it would help the case move along, but it’s a pretty rare thing, when the rule is enforced.

The Michiganese … the Michigander … the petitioner from Michigan argues (pdf warning) argues that the blanket rules, which often cover not just the courtroom, but the entire courthouse, run afoul of the First, Fifth and Fourtteenth Amendments. Astutely, he also points out that hearing the matter would resolve a split between different circuits. Some have acknowledged that this might be a true chill of free speech, while others point out that the restriction is not serious enough to cause actual harm, since people are free to take notes and sometimes record audio (which can be then put to video). As if I would ever take notes…

If You Really Have To Kill Someone…

Posted: September 5, 2016 by Nazim in Legislation, Standing

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Well, Yellowstone National Park has a corner for all you wanna-be murderers (or any other federal would-be felons, for that matter), at least according to Professor Brian C. Kalt’s article in the Georgetown Law Journal. While the park stretches over portions of Montana and Idaho, it’s all in the federal jurisdiction of the District Court of Wyoming, which has a courthouse in the park (bottom of page). That District Court is the only one that covers more than one state. But, under the Sixth Amendment’s Vicinage Clause (which I’d never heard of either), defendants are entitled to a jury “of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,” and only federal law deals with felonies in national parks. So, if you’re choking a congressman to death in the tiny part of Yellowstone that’s in Montana or Idaho, you can’t constitutionally be tried.

If you’re a congressman and reading this alarms you, you should know that the good professor actually warned Congress before publishing the article in 2005, expecting them to take care of the problem. But, well, I guess you guys had more important things to do.

Thanks to listener David for passing us more detail at Vice.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Plaintiff is suing a credit report website for publishing incorrect information about his credit. Plaintiff’s claim is based in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which affords citizens the right to bring a lawsuit against credit agencies for negligent reporting.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT?

This is before the Supreme Court because the Plaintiff has not, and likely cannot, prove damages as part of his claim. This can go in a few different directions, as the Court must decide whether (1) the statute does not require damages, i.e. the Plaintiff wins, (2) the statute requires damages and Plaintiff has proven damages, i.e. the Plaintiff wins, or (3) the statute requires damages and the Plaintiff has not proven damages, i.e. the Defendant wins.

WHAT IS THE RULING

This case is not yet decided.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION?

This case is like a cornucopia of things that annoy the Citizen’s Guide to the Supreme Court. On one hand you have poor statute writing, as the Fair Credit Reporting Act should have answered this question on their own. On another, you have the threat of voluminous lawsuits based on principal instead of actual legal damages. And finally, you have Credit Reports which are basically a great fraud committed upon the American Public. So if it is somehow possible that everyone would lose, like when the Redskins play the Cowboys, that would be excellent.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR SPOKEO IF YOU

Would like to see the money that goes into all those Free Credit Report ads go to people who had false stuff published about them on the internet. You also think that anything published incorrectly about you on the internet entitles you to money, you wimp.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE ROBBINS IF YOU:

Feel as though kids these days aren’t tough enough, and people should expect false information being published about them on the internet. In my day, you had to really damage someone on the internet to get damages, and these damn millennials are ruining it for everyone. Disclosure –If you are rooting for Robbins, this is what you sound like.


 

Legalization of Marijuana

Posted: January 18, 2015 by Nazim in Federalism, Jury Duty, Public Health, Standing

This week’s episode cover topics that include; but are not limited to, jury duty, learning when you hate your job, why cigarettes are awesome, federalism, standing, Bush v. Gore, and ultimately the legalization of marijuana.  Brett and Nazim talk about the legal issues surrounding this topic and how the decision could find itself before the Supreme Court in the next few years. Libsyn link

Free weed! Marijuana joint giveaway for those 21+ on the Pearl Street Mall today. Seriously.

Source: front page of a Boulder newspaper early 2014.