June 2, 2010 |
These days our civic conversation is dominated by declarations rather than argument, by assertion as opposed to evidence. It is, for example, routinely asserted in some quarters that religion and its values are everywhere under siege and that believers are continually discriminated against in public life. In fact, we are, as a people, more God-besotted than at any time in our recent history. America is the only country in the developed world in which a large majority continues to profess belief in a supreme being; slightly more than half our people are formally affiliated with a church, which also is anomalous among advanced nations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- A retired appellate judge in Los Angeles has been tapped by federal courts to make the final decision on which and how many inmates to release from prison if California fails to meet a court-ordered limit on the state prison population. In naming Elwood Lui the compliance officer in the prison crowding case, federal judges also put much of his work out of public view, declaring that his communications with the courts are "confidential and privileged. " Lui did not immediately return calls to his office for comment.
April 8, 2009 |
When Brent Benjamin ran for chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court in 2004, the nation's fourth-largest coal company donated $3 million to his successful campaign -- more than all his other contributors combined. Two years later, the company, Massey Energy, came before Benjamin's court to appeal a $50-million judgment it had been ordered to pay. Benjamin cast the deciding vote in a 3-2 decision to overturn the award. Now the U.S.
December 21, 2011
Judging the judges Re "Gingrich might scrap certain judges, courts," Dec. 18 Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will surely put our country on a slippery slope, should he get elected president and carry out his threat to scrap certain federal judges and courts. The Supreme Court is supreme because we the people allow it to be; we recognize the need for a final arbiter. Should we allow someone, anyone, to circumvent the law, we will cease being a democracy. Very few Supreme Court decisions are unanimous, thereby telling us that even among carefully vetted jurists there is disagreement.
October 28, 2013 |
Supporters of photo ID requirements for voters are fond of noting that the Supreme Court upheld Indiana's ID law in a 2007 decision written by the then-dean of the court's liberal wing, Justice John Paul Stevens. Now critics of voter ID laws, who portray them as an attempt to suppress the votes of racial minorities and other Democratic-leaning groups, have a comeback. In a new book, the famously prolific Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago writes that “I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court)
January 20, 2013
Legal scholars long have struggled to determine the proper allocation of authority between judges and juries. But you don't have to be an expert to recognize that Allen Ryan Alleyne was treated unjustly by a federal court in Virginia. The jury that convicted Alleyne for his role in the armed robbery of a convenience store specifically looked at the question of whether a gun was "brandished" by Alleyne's accomplice, a factor that would trigger a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years for any participant in the crime.