I am doing some coverage at CNN but, in addition to the predictable rejection of the lethal injection challenge, the Court handed down two major decisions. In Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the Court ruled 5-4 that states could effectively take away redistricting decisions from state legislatures — a key move to try to end the scourge of gerrymandering. In Michigan v. EPA, the Court again split 5-4 in ruling that the EPA must consider the costs to industry in setting environmental limitations — in the case involving arsenic emissions — under the Clean Air Act.
I am still doing commentary on today’s history ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. It was a remarkable day for all of us outside of the Court. As many of us quickly read through the opinions, hundreds of people broke out into song: singing our national anthem. It never sounded so beautiful or so meaningful. As I went live with Jake Tapper on CNN, I noticed a familiar reference however. The Chief Justice cited to the Sister Wives litigation now pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. I am lead counsel for the Brown family, which prevailed in striking down the criminalization of cohabitation in Utah. The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets also discussed our case.
I spent most of the day opining in front of the Supreme Court and in studies on the 6-3 ruling in favor of the Obama Administration in King v. Burwell. I will not subject you to more of that analysis. I have previously indicated that I found the opposing view of the Halbig decision against the Administration to be compelling, though I have always viewed this to be a difficult question upon which people of good-faith could disagree. Yet, in both my prior congressional testimony and my columns, I have never accused the Administration of “jiggery-pokery” — largely because I was not sure what jiggery-pokery is. However, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has written a stinging dissent to King that contains the memorable accusation that the majority was engaging in “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling permitting the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) to designate a number of open positions within its prison system that are available solely for female candidates.
The Court held that the DOC articulated a well-founded and researched interest in designating a specific number of female only positions to address issues related to privacy interests of women inmates and to reduce the number of sexual improprieties involving male employees, especially within the state’s prison facility for women located in Washington. The state also articulated successfully the need to employ female only positions for the normal and regular operation of its women’s prisons.
Kentucky Judge Steven D. Combs in Pike County has been temporarily suspended after an array of charges of bizarre comments and actions, including calling officials such names as “Fishface,” “cokehead,” and “Dumbo.” Worst yet, he threatened to put a “bullet in the head” of the next police officer who pulled him over. A temporary suspension until resolution of the 10 charges seems quite modest punishment but his counsel, Stephen Ryan, still conveyed Combs’ “disappointment” with the action taken by the Judicial Conduct Commission.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court reaffirmed yesterday that it rejects the most fundamental notions of due process, free speech, freedom of religion, and the free press. It was able to do all of that in one case — perfectly capturing the inherently abusive elements of Sharia law and religiously based legal systems.
LawDragon has released the results of its increasingly popular survey of the top lawyers in America. I was fortunate to again make the list this year. This year is the 10th anniversary of the annual report which has become very popular in the profession. I have been honored to be on the list in prior years and it is always gladdening to see so many friends and GW graduates on the list.