The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will have a completed record for its review of the lower court’s stay of the Trump immigration executive order this afternoon. While much has been made of the court declined to issue an immediate stay of the lower court under the earlier emergency motion, the decision was very predictable. The Court instead ordered for an expedited response from the states of Washington and Minnesota. That argument is complete today. What remains is a relatively rare procedural process in seeking to review a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the issuance of a written opinion, let alone a permanent injunction.
For those brave reformers who have struggled to introduce the semblance of a true judiciary and the rule of law in China, the recent interview of Chief Justice Zhou Qiang must have been devastating. Zhou told lawyers and judges that they needed to avoid the temptation of the West in wanting an independent judiciary that follows the rule of law. With that, Zhou placed himself in history as a voice for injustice — a lawyer who committed his life to fighting against the law.
By Mike Appleton, Weekend Contributor
“Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”
-Ambrose Bierce, “The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary”
I have frequently criticized media coverage of legal issues. For example, news reports often attribute significance to orders on routine procedural motions that is wholly unwarranted. And even reporters with legal backgrounds are not clear and understandable in their explanation of court rulings to laypersons. So when I came across reports that Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin’s bank had filed a mortgage foreclosure action against a 90 year old Florida widow over 27 cents, I was skeptical.
But the story interested me because the subject of the suit resides in Polk County, only an hour’s drive from where I live. In addition, with the advent of electronic filing in court proceedings, I knew that I could access the court files online and review the actual record in the case. I have now done so and have concluded that the stories have been misleading, but not for the reasons one might expect. What has happened to Ms. Ossie Lofton of Lakeland, Florida is worse than what has been reported.
This year passed a milestone for law schools. For the first time, women make up a majority of law students with just over 50 percent of the seats at accredited law schools in the United States. It is a particularly poignant moment for those of us at George Washington Law School where Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood graduated and ultimately became not only one of the very first female lawyers in the United States but the first woman admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. The incoming class owes a debt of gratitude to pioneers like Lockwood who bravely fought entrenched discrimination and ignorance to reach this incredible moment in history.
In Columbia, South Carolina, Nathan Martinez, 37, fulfills the stereotype of a man who represents himself and has a fool for a client. Martinez was accused of a myriad of crimes, including rape, burglary, and kidnapping. He insisted on representing himself and secure convictions on all counts and a sentence of life in prison plus 30 years.
There is an interesting lawsuit out of Texas where a white Austin lawyer has sued to strike down a law that imposes a race and gender quote for the governing board of the State Bar. The law requires that four of the positions be filled by women and racial or ethnic minorities. Family law attorney, Greg Gegenheimer, 38, has challenged the law under the U.S. Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws. The Project on Fair Representation provided the lawyers assisting Gegenheimer. The Project was involved in Fisher case challenging the admission policies at the University of Texas before the Supreme Court.
Today I have the honor to serving as the keynote speaker for the Federal Bar Association Orlando Chapter’s conference. I will be speaking at noon at the U.S Courthouse on the Supreme Court’s history and current controversies. This will obviously include the long standing vacancy of the seat once held by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.