The Limit of its Logic: Ninth Circuit Blog

Friday, June 27, 2003

Rooker-Feldman Mania

Sick of Ninth Circuit opinions dealing with habeas appeals, immigration cases, and drug sentencings? This one is for all of you Rooker-Feldman afficionados out there.

End of the Road for Abortion Protestors

The Supreme Court denied cert. in Planned Parenthood v. Amer. Coalition of Life. In that case, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of physicians who had brought suit under the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act in order to have their names removed from wanted posters and websites advocating the killing of doctors in the name of a "pro-life" agenda. Judge Kozinski's dissent is, as always, entertaining: "The apparent thoroughness of the opinion, addressing a variety of issues that are not in serious dispute, masks the fact that the majority utterly fails to apply its own definition of a threat . . . ."

Bloomberg has a report here. Read the Solicitor General's brief arguing against grant of cert. here. That brief was filed by invitation of the Supreme Court.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Habeas: Watch What You Wish For

This opinion addresses a case where a man was convicted in Oregon state court of kidnapping and rape. He was sentenced to 360 months. A writ of habeas corpus was subsequently granted in federal court. The case was remanded for resentencing, where the man received a sentence of 900 months. He then filed a second habeas petition, which was also granted. At some point the 9th Circuit should skip the remand and sentence this man itself.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Thinking Twice About that Helicopter Trip

The EEOC has filed suit against Boeing in District Court in Phoenix. A female mechanic working on Apache helicopters was allegedly harassed at a Mesa facility. "The EEOC said much of the harassment was designed to make it difficult for Miles to do her job. Male co-workers took her tools and broke them, hid them or changed adjustments on them . . . ."

USDA in Contempt

The AP has this report that Forest Service employees are seeking to have the USDA Secretary held in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a settlement in a sexual harassment case. The hearing will be held in District Court in Oakland.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

A Portrait of a Schizophrenic Conservative

In this laughable "critique" of the decision in US v. Odom, the commentator states: "Conservative judges were kept out of the judiciary during the Clinton years, and the liberals used the judiciary to circumvent the will of the people, foisting their agenda upon the nation via the bench." In the same paragraph he opines: "Judges like Reinhardt, Goodwin, and Clifton do a disservice to the citizens of this country with their innovative interpretations."

Flying Late With the SaberCats

Judge Fogel, District Judge in San Jose, held a hearing yesterday on a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff, following the lead of Larry Ellison, wanted to force the City of San Jose to allow him to land his plane during the night curfew at Mineta Airport. Apparently, the plaintiff ferries the arena league SaberCats to and from games. The Mercury News has a report here.

Anti-SLAPP and ISP Immunity

This opinion issued today holds that a denial of an anti-SLAPP motion under California law is immediately appealable in federal court. The Court also addressed the issue of ISP immunity for defamation under federal law. Reuters has a report here.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Not All Latin Words End in "us"!

A recent How Appealing post pointed out the "scandalously incorrect" bastardization of the Latin phrase "de minimis" as "de minimus." Those unfamiliar with Latin must be of the opinion that "us" is the proper ending in all circumstances. This article in the San Jose Mercury News refers to a state court judge issuing a writ of "habeus corpus." Ouch. I have also noticed that incorrect variants of the contractual interpretation doctrine "contra proferentem" have become epidemic. (Ok, I admit this post is off-topic, but when I read that SJ Mercury News article this morning, I had to get it off my chest.)

Friday, June 20, 2003

Bar Exam Flashbacks

The Ninth Circuit issued three opinions today. Nothing too exciting, however, this one brought back some serious bar exam flashbacks due to the subject matter: California community property law.

Ninth Circuit takes Hawaii

Next week should be very slow in all courts within the Ninth Circuit because of the annual Judicial Conference. This year's venue: the Hyatt Regency Resort on Kaua'i. Nice work if you can get it. Check out the conference schedule here.

Man Let out of Prison Three Months Early

District Judge Lawrence Karlton, of the Eastern District of California, has granted the habeas petition of a Fairfield doctor who was convicted of sexual assault in state court. Apparently one of the jurors was a nurse who had formerly worked with the defendant but did not reveal this fact during voir dire. The defendant was scheduled to be released on parole in 3 and a half months. The Fairfield Daily Republic offers this report. The Fairfield Daily Republic is reporting that the Solano County DA will not retry the case due to the petitioner's "advanced age, health problems, and the fact he was scheduled to be released on parole soon anyway."

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Delta Smelt

A report about a settlement in a case from the district court in Fresno involving delta smelt.

"Sub-prime" Pitfalls

The LA Times has this article reporting a big jury verdict in a Santa Ana federal court. Lehman Brothers looks like it's on the hook for the misdeeds of a rogue lender that it financed.

Railroad Wins Fight over Safety Rules

The Sacramento Bee has this report on the Union Pacific v. CPUC case. The case involved California's attempt to implement regulations governing railroad track standards. The regs were adopted in response to train derailments within the state. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the regulations were preempted by federal laws.


Three opinions were issued today. Of note, USA v. Britt addresses the question of whether the government can impose certain occupational restrictions as a term of supervised release. The restrictions in question had required Britt to inform his "credit repair" clients of his prior criminal convictions. The Court vacated the occupational restrictions as not being sufficiently related to the crime for which defendant was convicted.

Downward Departure Opponents

The Billings Gazette has this report of a scuffle outside of the federal courthouse in Billings which erupted after the resentencing of a man convicted of "shooting part of his cousin's head off in the aftermath of a night of drinking and smoking marijuana." The defendant received 78 months in prison.

More Ninth Circuit Bashing

The National Review has this sky-is-falling article about the Doe v. Tenet opinion. Pambianco fails to include this portion of the opinion: "We acknowledge at the outset that it could very well turn out, after further district court proceedings, that the Does will still be left without redress even if everything they allege is true. When the government asserts that the interests of individuals otherwise subject to legal redress must give way to national security interests for the larger public good, the result can end in a balance tipped toward the greater good, with resulting unfairness to the individual litigants as the acknowledged corollary."

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Opinions and Orders

The Ninth Circuit issued 6 opinions and orders today. Most notably, a panel consisting of Judges Reinhardt, Pregerson, and Browning ruled in favor of an immigration petitioner seeking to avoid removal by invoking the UN Convention Against Torture. Reuters has a report here.

In Taniguchi v. Schultz, the panel voted to deny a rehearing. However, Judge Pregerson joined by Judge Reinhardt dissented. They argued that the immigration statute in question, which treated illegal aliens more favorably than legal permanent residents, did not pass muster under the rational basis test. It seems to me that if slots on boats can be taxed at a different rate than slots at racetracks, then all bets are off as far as that argument goes.

Time for Summary Judgment, Plan B

Guidant Corp. manufactured a medical device called the ANCURE ENDOGRAFT system. Many plaintiffs have filed suit against Guidant alleging products liability. In a motion involving several related cases pending in San Jose before District Judge Jeremy Fogel, Guidant argued that federal law preempts all state law tort claims. Its preemption argument focused on the fact that the FDA had approved the device. Guidant subsequently pled guilty to misleading the FDA during the approval process and has since withdrawn its summary judgment motion. The Mercury News has a report here.

Freedom Solstice Parade?

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has this report of a man seeking federal imprimatur to bare it all at an upcoming parade. District Judge Robert Lasnik denied the request.

When you Subpoena an "Activist" . . .

The Santa Cruz Sentinel has this story about Lindsay Parme. She is an animal rights activist who refused to answer a subpoena ordering her to appear before a grand jury in New Jersey. Not surprisingly, she was arrested for contempt, sparking protests at the federal courthouse in San Jose. The San Jose Mercury News account is more informative, but perhaps less entertaining.

Filed Where?

The Long Beach Press-Telegram has this report on the discrimination suit filed against Abercrombie & Fitch. The article cryptically informs the reader that the case was filed in "the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco."

Monday, June 16, 2003

Tax "Protester" Introduced to Article I, Section 8 and the 16th Amendment

District Judge Lloyd D. George has issued an injunction against the distribution of Irwin Schiff's "book" The Federal Mafia. The book essentially claims that the federal income tax is "voluntary." You can access the AP report here. Judge George is a Senior District Judge serving the District of Nevada in Las Vegas.

The Eve of Unocal

There were no opinions issued today. Big day tomorrow as oral argument is held in the Doe. v. Unocal case before an en banc Court. This case is getting a lot of press; most recently, this Reuters article.

Civil Disobedience, Hawaiian Style

This article in West Hawaii Today describes how a man is engaging in civil disobedience by checking in to a beach-front Hilton and not paying. His beef stems from a decades-long litigation related to 1.75 acres of submerged, coastal property which the State should have held in trust for the people.

Discrimination by Make-up

Reuters has this report that a plaintiff is appealing a Nevada District Court decision dismissing her case. Darlene Jespersen alleged a violation of Title VII where her employer, Harrah's Casino, forced her to wear make-up while she tended bar. Apparently, this requirement is only placed on women.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Blog Changes

I have come to the realization that the previous scope of my blog was too broad. I am going to experiment with restricting its scope to legal issues and news pertaining to the Ninth Circuit; so as of today this blog is The Limit of its Logic: Ninth Circuit Blog .

Friday, June 13, 2003

Ninth Circuit Acronym Minutiae

In a recent Ninth Circuit opinion dealing with the Truth in Lending Act, Judge Noonan ascribed the acronym “TiLA” to the Act. I have always seen this act referred to as “TILA.” I know that in Green Tree Financial v. Randolph, Chief Justice Rehnquist invoked the latter.

Perhaps Judge Noonan is of the opinion that because the preposition “in” is not afforded the dignity of a capital letter in the full title of the Act, it likewise should remain lower case in the acronym. I personally do not share this view. To me, the lower case “i” implies that it signifies the second letter in a word starting with a “T.”

Noonan’s acronym would be perfectly suited to the Timid Lending Act (regulating risk-adverse lenders), the Tired Lending Act (protecting weary consumers), or the Tidal Lending Act (regulating loans on beach-front property), but not the Truth in Lending Act.

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