Awkward Reunion: Judge Recognizes High School Friend . . . During His Bond Hearing

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 6.01.23 PMIn an obviously awkward and (for one) emotional reunion, Judge Mindy Glazer recognized a former high school acquaintance standing before her awaiting his bond decision. Arthur Booth is accused of burglary and broke into tears after Glazer identified him. Glazer clearly did not view the prior relationship (which was clearly long ended) a basis for recusal.

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Supreme Court Below is my column today in the Washington Post on the ruling in Obergefell on the basis for the Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Due to limitations on space, I could not go into great depth in the opinion which primarily dealt with the notion of the “right to dignity.” The Court did not pursue an equal protection analysis beyond the following highly generalized statement:

The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always coextensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. In any particular case one Clause may be thought to capture the essence of the right in a more accurate and comprehensive way,even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right.

Since the Court did not substantially address whether homosexuals are a protected class or the other Equal Protection line of cases, the opinion appears to craft a right around the inherent right of self-expression and dignity in intimate affairs. That is very appealing to many in the expansion of due process concepts, but the column explores what it portends for future rights.

Here is the Sunday column:

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Good Day For Election Reformists; Bad Day For Environmentalists

Supreme CourtI 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.

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Sister Wives Case Cited In Supreme Court’s Historic Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

240px-sister_wives_tv_series_logo220px-File-Official_roberts_CJ_croppedI 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.

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Obamacare Spared Through “Jiggery-Pokery”?

scaliaSupreme CourtI 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.”

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Ninth Circuit Allows Department Of Corrections To Designate “Women Only” Job Categories

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Washington Department of Corrections Shoulder PatchThe 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.

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Kentucky Judge Suspended After Allegedly Threatening to Put “Bullet In the Head” Of Police and Name Calling

8087047_GKentucky 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.

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