May 18, 2011 |
Democrats and the White House are preparing for perhaps the most divisive fight yet with Republicans over an Obama administration judicial nominee. The Senate will conduct a procedural vote Thursday on the long-stalled nomination of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The motion to cut off debate needs 60 votes to pass, which means at least seven Republicans would have to cross party lines in order for Liu to receive a simple up-or-down vote on the floor.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2011 |
Supreme Court justices are people too, and they make mistakes like any other mortals. That was the conclusion of a high-powered gathering of legal scholars who on Friday examined the high court's "Supreme Mistakes" — five decisions widely considered the worst in the court's history. The high court Hall of Shame has taken its toll on American society but also provided cautionary tales about trading principle for society's fickle approval, the experts said. "One of the worst aspects of American history is that at times of crisis we compromise our most basic constitutional rights, and only in hindsight do we recognize that it didn't make us safer," Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine's law school, said of Korematsu vs. United States, the 1944 high court ruling upholding the evacuation order against Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
February 10, 2011 |
For nearly two years, the "tea party" movement with its call for limited government has made inroads in the political arena, but a Florida judge's ruling last week declaring the health insurance mandate unconstitutional may be remembered as its moment of arrival in the courts. Another judge in Virginia had made a similar ruling, but U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson's decision gave voice to the tea party's rallying cry that the Constitution put strict limits on the national government.
January 26, 2011 |
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday named a leading consumer advocate to serve on the California Public Utilities Commission, one of the state's most powerful regulatory bodies. Michael Florio, a senior attorney for the Utility Reform Network, known as TURN, was appointed to serve a five-year term. Brown also named Catherine Sandoval, a Santa Clara University law professor, telecommunications expert and former Rhodes scholar, to the five-member, constitutionally independent panel. The utilities commission oversees companies supplying electricity, natural gas, telephone and cable television service to millions of homes and businesses.
January 24, 2011 |
Justice Antonin Scalia's appearance at a meeting organized by the House Tea Party caucus and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Monday provoked new cries from liberals and some academics that conservative justices are shedding the appearance of impartiality. The session, part of what Bachmann calls a series of constitutional seminars, was closed to the media. Lawmakers said Scalia advised them to read the Federalist Papers and to follow the Constitution as it was written. University of Texas law professor Lucas A. Powe, a historian of the liberal Warren Court, said Scalia's appearance made the court look partisan.
December 24, 2010
In the Senate's spurt of end-of-session activity, one might think that two long-languishing judicial nominees from California would finally get up-or-down votes. But it looks as if UC law professor Goodwin Liu and federal magistrate Edward Chen will remain in limbo for the rest of the lame-duck session. President Obama ? and the nominees ? will then face a decision about whether their nominations should be resubmitted to the next, more Republican, Senate. It's a choice that shouldn't be necessary.
November 10, 2010 |
A lawyer for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo was blocked Tuesday from leaving Beijing in what appeared to be an attempt by the Chinese government to put a damper on festivities at the Nobel awards dinner next month in Oslo. Mo Shaoping, whose Beijing law firm represents Liu, and Hong Kong University law professor He Weifang were detained at Beijing's airport as they were preparing to board a British Airways flight to London, where they were invited to attend a legal conference.
October 31, 2010 |
When a Supreme Court seat first came open last year, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe offered some candid advice to one of his former students ? President Obama. Tribe was enthusiastic about Elena Kagan, but not the other front-runner, then- Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Her impact within the court "would be negative," Tribe told Obama in a letter on May 4, 2009. "Bluntly put, she's not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the court," Tribe wrote, referring to four conservative justices.
September 18, 2010 |
Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, appointed Friday to launch the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, likely won't be the agency's first official director, but she will have a major say in who gets the powerful job. Warren also will have a broader portfolio of duties, advising President Obama on "policies and programs that are designed to protect the financial interests of middle-class families," the White House said. Obama on Friday described Warren as "a janitor's daughter who's become one of the country's fiercest advocates for the middle class" and said she would have direct access to him from her senior White House position.
August 1, 2010
Born: June 22, 1949, Oklahoma City. Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Houston, 1970; law degree, Rutgers School of Law, 1976. Career: Law professor, Harvard, 1995-present; law professor, University of Pennsylvania, 1987-95; law professor, fellow and research associate, University of Texas, 1983-87; associate law professor and associate dean for academic affairs, University of Houston, 1978-83. Government work: Chairwoman, Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, 2008-present; chief advisor to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, 1995-97.