Friday, June 30, 2006

[Posible SPAM] big decision today

Legal Blog Watch


Hamdan: The Court's Big Decision Today
Earlier today, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited decision in U.S. v. Hamdan, which addressed the legality of the Bush admistration's policy of ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees. As summarized by the SCOTUS Blog, in a 5-3 the Court held that President Bush did not have authority to set up the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the commissions illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva conventions. But several of the justices suggested that Bush could return to Congress to seek the authorization that the Court found lacking. Other notable tidbits from the case:  Justice Thomas, who dissented, read his opinion from the bench, the first time he's done so in 15 years on the court.  And Justice Roberts recused himself; it was his D.C. Circuit ruling in Hamdan that the Supreme Court reversed.

Reviews and summaries of the decision are coming in all over the online media and blogosphere. Summaries of the ruling can be found here (Gina Holland, Associated Press) and here (John O'Neil and Scott Shane at New York Times). Blogger Orin Kerr remarks preliminarily that Justice Kennedy's concurrence reflects a belief that "Congress'  views are supreme," and Peter Lattman at WSJ Law Blog profiles Neal Kaytal, the Georgetown Law professor whose argument for Hamdan was his maiden voyage at the Supreme Court. SCOTUS blog features guest commentary from Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation, who begins  his post with his opinion that "I'd be surprised if any of the holdings in today's Hamdan decision end up having large practical significance." And also at SCOTUS is this post from Lyle Deniston, who writes that Hamdan is notable for what it did not decide, including the question of whether or not there actually exists a "presidential 'inherent power' of the kind that President Bush claims under his commander-in-chief powers."

The Hamdan discussion continues in the blogosphere. For more related posts, just visit this Technorati link.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 29, 2006 at 04:03 PM | Permalink

Competitors Sue Craigslist for Discrimination
Craigslist, an online classified ad Web site that doesn't charge to place or post ads, defied conventional wisdom that advertising needs to cost money. But now, per this here post by Craig Williams of  May It Please the Court, looks like Craigslist is breaking new ground for another reason: it's been sued for violations of housing discrimination laws, not by victims of discrimination or special-interest groups but by its "for fee" competitors:  newspapers. 

Williams' post explains that newspapers are required to comply with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements on nondiscriminatory housing ads, whereas Craigslist does not. Forcing Craigslist to monitor ads to ensure compliance with housing law and other nondiscrimination laws would increase costs for Craigslist and, perhaps, force it to charge for postig ads. Williams points out that Craigslist should not be treated the same as newspapers because "ads on CraigsList are free and posted by individuals. Ads in newspapers cost, and they are posted by newspaper staff." But ultimately, Judge Amy St. Eve in Chicago will decide if that distinction will save Craigslist. In addition, Craigslist has friends in high places, like Google, AOL and eBay, which filed an amicus curiae brief, arguing that Craigslist is protected from liability for HUD violations in the same way the phone companies and Internet providers are protected from liability for violations of the law occurring over their wires. 

Williams comments:

It didn't help that CraigsList has taken a lot of housing ads away from newspapers, which may be the real genesis for the lawsuit. Especially when the ads are free.  That's a lot of lost revenue, and the HUD claim is a creative attempt to stopgap that lost revenue stream.

I'd be interested in knowing, as a practical matter, how many of Craigslist's ads actually violate housing discrimination laws. Do newspapers have standing to bring these claims at all? They may argue they're disadvantaged by compliance with discrimination laws, but they're not the parties that the laws were intended to protect. Seems that the court should at least wait until a truly injured party complains to rule on these issues.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 29


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Legal Blog Watch


The Alito Effect
The Supreme Court issued three opinions today, upholding a Republican-engineered Congressional redistricting plan in Texas (League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry), upholding a Pennsylvania ban on newspapers and magazines for prison inmates (Beard v. Banks) and  ruling that states may bar foreign nationals from raising treaty rights not raised at trial (Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon). Lyle Denniston has more at SCOTUSblog.

The Pennsylvania case is one in which Justice Alito, as a member of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was the lone dissenter voting to uphold the ban. He did not participate in today's ruling. Yesterday, Tom Goldstein posted his thoughts on the effect of Alito on the Court, noting:

"This timing of Justice O'Connor's retirement provides an unusual opportunity to isolate the effect of the appointment of Justice Alito on the Court's jurisprudence."

For the three cases reargued after O'Connor's departure, Goldstein offers "a very educated guess" on whether Alito's appointment changed their outcomes. In two of the three, he says, the answer is yes.

In Garcetti v. Ceballos, Goldstein notes that Justice Souter ended up writing no majority opinions from the Court's October sitting, while Justice Kennedy ended up writing two, of which Garcetti was one.

"Because there were only 8 cases argued in October, no Justice should have ended up writing the opinions for the Court in two cases. ... So it is fair to conclude that Justice Souter had the majority before Justice O'Connor's retirement, then lost it when Justice Alito joined the Court."

Hudson v. Michigan suggests a similar scenario, Goldstein writes. While the eventual opinion was authored by Justice Scalia and the principal dissent was by Justice Breyer, the fact that Scalia ended up with two opinions from the January sitting and Breyer had none means "it is fair to conclude that Justice Breyer had the majority before Justice O'Connor's retirement, then lost it when Justice Alito joined the Court."

In the third reargument, Kansas v. Marsh, O'Connor's retirement appears not to have made a difference, Goldstein says.

"Justice Thomas ended up with no opinion from the December sitting, indicating that Marsh was the opinion he would have authored for that sitting had it not been reargued. Justice Souter wrote a majority opinion for that sitting, indicating he did not lose a majority from that sitting."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 28, 2006 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

Rebranding the Plaintiffs' Bar
From the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog comes a pointer to the WSJ's Washington Wire reporting that a name change may be in the offing for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Washington Wire's John Harwood reports that ATLA plans to take a vote at its annual meeting in July "on a new moniker that ATLA leaders hope will better communicate trial lawyers' mission in the face of criticism by business interests and Republican officials." ATLA's communications director Chris Mather told Harwood that the new name is undecided, but is likely to include the word "justice."

Meanwhile, back at the WSJ's Law Blog, Peter Lattman is kicking off a contest inviting suggestions for ATLA's new name. He doesn't promise a prize, but given the WSJ's big-business bent, I suspect the winning entry is unlikely to pass muster with the plaintiffs lawyers of ATLA.

My suggestion: Justice League of America. Or is that already taken?

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 28, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

Task Codes for E-Mail Overload
E-mail can overwhelm a lawyer. For those of you with overstuffed inboxes, TechnoLawyer Blog highlights one lawyer's "clever method for quickly delegating items in his e-mail inbox." The reference is to a recent article published in ALI-ABA's The Practical Lawyer, Delegating the Deluge: Action Codes for Forwarding Email." The author, Joshua Stein, a real estate and finance partner at Latham & Watkins in New York, describes the system he devised of "e-mail action codes" to use when forwarding e-mails to his assistant.

At some point after e-mail began to overwhelm him, Stein writes, he realized he could delegate to his assistant messages that required straightforward and definable tasks. This created its own problem, because each task needed his explanation, and providing it sometimes took longer than the task itself. So Stein came up with his series of task codes:

"Now, whenever I receive an email message that requires one of these actions, I click on 'forward,' move the cursor to the end of the subject matter line of the email message, type the abbreviated action code right there, and send the message to my assistant for further processing. My assistant then handles that particular piece of my email deluge, so I can spend more time doing legal work and less time doing data entry, file manipulation, and processing."

Stein's article sets out his series of codes and invites others to use them. Of course, there is one drawback to Stein's system -- it requires that you have an assistant.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 28, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

California's Traps for Unwary Employers
California's employment laws bear a deceptive resemblance to their federal counterparts. But their seeming similarity can lull unsuspecting, out-of-state employers into a false sense of comfort. So say Anthony J. Zaller and Brian F. Van Vleck of Carlton, DiSante & Freudenberger in a guest post today at InhouseBlog. The two provide their top 10 list of the costliest problems that out-of-state employers need to know about in California.

Topping the list: meal and rest period penalties. They explain:

"This is the current favorite claim of plaintiff's class action attorneys in California. A 2001 statute imposes substantial penalties on employers who do not comply with very technical regulations concerning the timing and duration of employee lunch and rest breaks. ... The aggregate liability that can result over time was aptly demonstrated by a 2005 jury verdict in a meal and rest break class action against Wal-Mart that awarded over $192 million in penalties and punitive damages."

If $192 million in penalties grabs your attention, then visit InhouseBlog for the rest of the list.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 28, 2006 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

And U.K. Law Firm of the Year Is ...
(Drum roll please.) Clifford Chance. It was honored last night as U.K. law firm of the year during "a sparkling event" hosted by the U.K. magazine The Lawyer. The magazine reports:

"Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the other big winner of the night, picking up prizes for Banking/Restructuring Team of the Year, M&A Team of the Year and Pro Bono Team of the Year."

The Lawyer named DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary as Global Law Firm of the Year and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as U.S. Firm of the Year.

Here is the full list of winners of The Lawyer Awards 2006.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 28, 2006


Wednesday, June 21, 2006



Washington -- La Oficina de Programas de Información Internacional del
Departamento de Estado anuncia la publicación de un nuevo número del
periódico electrónico en español Agenda de la Política Exterior de Estados
Unidos, que se titula "Acontecimientos importantes en las relaciones
exteriores de Estados Unidos (1900-2001)" y que está disponible en la web

Este número presenta al público internacional de estudiantes de secundaria
y universidad, así como a otros interesados, importantes acontecimientos
del siglo XX que configuración las relaciones exteriores de Estados Unidos.

El periódico electrónico contiene artículos de importantes historiadores
diplomáticos y politólogos, fotografías de archivo y segmentos de vídeo,
una extensa bibliografía y un listado de recursos electrónicos.

Para consultar anteriores periódicos electrónicos, visite:

(El Servicio Noticioso desde Washington es un producto de la Oficina de
Programas de Información Internacional del Departamento de Estado de
Estados Unidos. Sitio en la Web:
        La Oficina de Programas de Información Internacional del
         Departamento de Estados Unidos distribuye WF-Noticias.
Puede encontrar información adicional en

Saludos Rodrigo González fernández, consultajuridica.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 11, 2006

legal blogs to visit

LEGAL BLOGS TO VISIT. Rodrigo González Fernández Consultajuridica.blogspot.com; Derechovirtual.blogspot.com Legal Blog Watch How Appealing Legal Sanity May It Please The Court Leadership for Lawyers Adam Smith, Esq. Blawg Review Crime & Federalism My Shingle I/P Updates The Common Scold Silicon Valley Media Blog Insurance Scrawl Jottings by an Employer's Lawyer Robert Ambrogi's LawSites Law Department Management Prism Legal InhouseBlog The Wired GC Blawg Review Future Lawyer Human Law The Professional Marketing Blog

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Declaración de Derechos Fundamentales, en Libertad Digital

No podemos que estar de acuerdo con Enrique Dans:

Mi columna de esta semana en Libertad Digital se titula "Declaración de Derechos Fundamentales", y postula la necesidad de una declaración de ese tipo, a modo de Bill of Rights de la Constitución Americana o de Declaración de los Derechos Humanos, que proteja a los ciudadanos de la red de los excesos de legisladores trasnochados, lobbies empresariales de oscuros y turbios intereses, y pretensiones de limitar cosas tan básicas y tan importantes como la neutralidad de la red.

La red es joven, y son muchos los intereses en pervertir o dominar su funcionamiento para situarse así en una situación de ventaja. El simple hecho de que la discusión sobre la neutralidad de la red, que postula la creación de una Internet completamente diferente a la actual, en la que "unos bits serían más iguales que otros" y podrían circular a más velocidad, llegue a ser discutida en el Parlamento de los Estados unidos es una ofensa total al sentido común, una verdadera barbaridad conceptual. Pretender que las compañías de telecomunicaciones pasen de ser un mero canal proveedor de infraestructura a ser capaces de examinar los contenidos que circulan y, en función de los acuerdos e intereses que tenga, decidan acerca de la velocidad con la que circulan es una idea contra la que es preciso que los internautas tengamos algún tipo de protección, una declaración de derechos que pueda ser esgrimida en esos casos, y que convierta al país que no la cumpla en un apestado, en un sospechoso, en alguien que no respeta lo más fundamental. La red va necesitando una declaración así.

Technorati tags: Internet, net, neutrality, billofrights, LibertadDigital


Tuesday, June 06, 2006


There are many ways you can restrict your creative energy: For instance:

  • You feed your body with unhealthy junk food
  • Accumulated toxins block your body's physical energy
  • You don't feed your body with enough needed nutrients like vitamins and minerals
  • You don't exercise enough
  • You have some hormone imbalance due to age or other reasons
  • Your immune system needs better care
  • Your life energy is electrically, magnetically, chemically or otherwise perturbed
  • You use poor stress management techniques
  • Your energy is blocked by automatic reactions to old painful emotions
  • Your Belief System brings conflicting and unwanted results
  • Your values need to be clarified
  • You still need fixing some addiction problem
  • Your energy is not focused on worthy rewarding goals
  • Your Self Talk is usually negative
  • Your Self Image needs minor or even major adjustments
  • You mismanage close relationships
  • You stopped learning and discovering the world to stay in your comfort zone
  • You do not make full use of your unique gifts and talents to create and give
  • Your spiritual life is inexistent or weak
  • You have no plans for your health, love life, career, wealth or any things you really want