March 19, 2010
SCOTUS Website: New & Improved
Just in time for Spring, the Supreme Court of the United States has a new, improved, better-looking, and more user-friendly website.
March 18, 2010
Health Care and Education Affordability Act of 2010
The text of the proposed Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 is available here.
The text, “Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to HR 4872, As Reported,” is downloadable as a 152 page pdf. Also available are the two volumes of the Budget Committee Reports. A good reprisal in a few pages is the section-by-section analysis. The Senate Health Bill (at almost 2500 pages) is also here.
March 17, 2010
Wash U. Colloquium on Equal Justice
Washington University Law School is hosting its 10th Annual Access to Equal Justice Colloquium on Friday, March 19. The Colloquium, "Challenging Structural Impediments to Substantive Justice," will dedicate its morning session to a keynote by Professor Martin Guggenheim (NYU) titled Exploring the Right to Counsel: Separation of Powers and Fact-Finding Capture and to an exploration of "a new theory for right to counsel in a variety of civil matters," or Civil Gideon.
March 16, 2010
Conferences: SALT Teaching, Fordham Democracy, and CUNY Kinship and Community
A few of the exciting conferences scheduled for the remainder of March include:
SALT (Society of American Law Teachers) Conference, "Vulnerable Populations and Economic Realities: an interdisciplinary approach to law teaching" on March 19-20, 2010 at Golden Gate University. Gilbert Paul Carrasco, Willamette University School of Law (pictured left) and Michelle Wilde Anderson, (pictured right) Berkeley Law, University of California will be speaking on "Teaching the Frontier: Class Issues in Constitutional Law and Spatial Discrimination." A few of my CUNY colleagues will also be speaking. Registration and program information here.
Fordham Law (NYC) will sponsor the Fourth Law and Information Society Symposium with the topic "Hate Versus Democracy on the Internet" on March 26, 2010. The program is a good mix of law professors and practitioners. Of special interest to ConLawProfs teaching first amendment courses is the late morning panel, "Distinguishing Hate Speech from Legitimate Political Expression on the Internet." The panel is moderated by Ann Bartow, University of South Carolina (and Feminist Law Professors Blog), and features David E. Bernstein of George Mason, Steven J. Heyman of Chicago-Kent, and Kenneth Lasson of U Baltimore, as well as Nicole Wong of Google, Inc. Registration and program information here.
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York will be hosting "All in the Family?: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Kinship & Community" on March 25–26, 2010. This conference should be of interest to those ConLawProfs working at the intersection of constitutional law, family law, and law and literature. The final performance will include a poetry reading by Kimiko Hahn (conversant in "Translating Equality") and a performance by myself interweaving constitutional law doctrine, theory, and colonialism. Preliminary program available here.
March 15, 2010
Within Three Years: Justice Stevens' Contemplates Retirement
“You can say I will retire within the next three years. I’m sure of that.” That's the prediction of Justice John Paul Stevens according to the just published profile in the New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin's article joins a recent profile by Adam Liptak in the NYT and an extended profile by Jeffrey Rosen in the NYT Magazine in 2007.
March 14, 2010
Justice Thomas' Wife and Tea Party Activism
Virginia (Ginni) Thomas (pictured), the spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, says she is energized by Obama's "hard-left agenda" and has launched LibertyCentral to "serve the big tent of the conservative movement."
As the LATimes notes:
The move by Virginia Thomas, 52, into the front lines of politics stands in marked contrast to the rarefied culture of the nation's highest court, which normally prizes the appearance of nonpartisanship and a distance from the fisticuffs of the politics of the day.
Justice Thomas, 61, recently expressed sensitivity to such concerns, telling law students in Florida that he doesn't attend the State of the Union because it is "so partisan."
Although Virginia Thomas has long been associated with conservative causes, including working at the Heritage Foundation, this launch of "a tea-party-linked group" is one that "could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court."
It could also test our notions of what judicial spouses should - - - and shouldn't - - - be doing politically and professionally.
Daylight Savings Time as Unconstitutional?
With all the current discussions of states' rights and federal power, the federally mandated change to "daylight savings time" at 2am this Sunday morning may require a constitutional discussion.
Under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, states may exempt themselves from daylight savings time, however federal law preempts state choice regarding different dates of changing from daylight savings time:
(b) State laws superseded
It is hereby declared that it is the express intent of Congress by this section to supersede any and all laws of the States or political subdivisions thereof insofar as they may now or hereafter provide for advances in time or changeover dates different from those specified in this section.
Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and lengthened daylight savings time in section 110 (amending the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by striking "first Sunday of April'' and inserting "second Sunday of March''; and by striking "last Sunday of October'' and inserting "first Sunday of November").
However, because of the express preemption and the Supremacy Clause, states that had been perfectly happy with the previous routine of April/November had little recourse but to change to March/October.
John K Wilson has an amusing and provocative column over at Daily Kos on the constitutionality of Daylight Savings time ("It’s a typical Big Government program: steal an hour from us in March, give back our hour to us in November, and expect us to be grateful for getting back our own property").