By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)
At this year’s bar convention, I took the opportunity to thank Senior Judge Irma Raker for something she did 12 years ago. When I lost the first Court of Appeals case that I argued, Judge Raker wrote a short solo dissent. It meant a lot to me as a young associate, having entered argument feeling like I would win, to know I’d convinced at least one judge.
There are a many different reasons why appellate judges write dissents or refrain from writing them. From a private practitioner’s standpoint, I tell judges that dissents are a powerful way to improve attorney-client relationships. Read More…
Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, attorney discipline, and the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals – Attorney Grievance Commission v. Clevenger
Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server to conduct business as Secretary of State has been the primary focus, or at least an aspect, of various investigations, including ones by the FBI, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and the House Oversight Committee. Add the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission, Bar Counsel, and Court of Appeals to the list of authorities who have now touched some aspect of that controversy. After a Texas lawyer persuaded a circuit court judge to order the Commission and Bar Counsel to investigate three lawyers for actions they allegedly took while representing Clinton, the Court of Appeals held that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over the Texas lawyer’s request.
One of the fundamental tenets of the United States Constitution is the freedom of speech, which includes the ability to air our grievances about government activities. Fane Lozman did just that in the City of Riviera Beach, Florida. During the public participation portion of a meeting held by the City Council, Mr. Lozman began to discuss the recent arrest of a former county official. After several requests to cease his remarks, the Council asked for the assistance of a police officer. When Mr. Lozman continued to refuse to cooperate, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Although later released, the posture of the case as it reached the Court required analysis of the principles related to lawful arrests in the context of the First Amendment prohibition against government retaliation when a person exercises his right to free speech. The decision issued by the Court in June in Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida, 585 U.S. ___ (2018), focused less on the public forum aspects of the case than on the probable cause for arrest and the possible retaliation of the Council.
By a large majority, Americans favor term limits for Supreme Court justices. As Professor Orin Kerr has observed on Twitter: “Reminder: It is incredibly weird that how many Supreme Court picks a President gets depends on who decides to retire or who dies. 18-year terms would make so much more sense than life tenure. Every Prez would get two picks.” I agree with this idea. The devil, however, is in the details.
A constitutional amendment is necessary, and the mere perception of partisan advantage is likely to prevent ratification by the necessary 38 out of 50 states. A delayed effective date could help, even if it may not be enough for an amendment to get traction.
Still, I think it is worth at least starting a conversation on what a term-limits amendment might look like. Read More…