ACLU Files Motion To Hold Kentucky Clerk In Contempt

Kim Davis is the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk (an elected position) who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because she says doing so offends her religious beliefs.  On August 12, 2015, a federal court granted certain plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction ordering Davis to comply with the law of the land and issue licenses to such couples.  She continues to argue that she has the right to flout the law because of her religious beliefs.

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The Lawyer Is A Champ Is Here!


Eleven years in the making, The Lawyer Is A Tramp Champ is Dan’s second album, following not-so-close on the heels of his 2004 CD, The Billable Hour Blues. Dan’s new album contains 13 new musical parodies (and one rocking instrumental) that help us lawyers remember not to take ourselves too seriously.  Most importantly, 100% of the proceeds from sales through December 31, 2015 will be donated to Connecticut legal aid organizations. Songs include:

  • Rule 56
  • Jailhouse Lawyer Blues
  • You Make Me Feel (Like An Appellate Lawyer)
  • Blackberry
  • Graduation’s Near (Law School Debt I Fear)
  • Uncollectible
  • The Lady Is A Tramp Champ
  • I’ve Got The Judge On A String (Wrapped Around My Finger)
  • They All Laughed
  • Sue Me
  • The Commerce Clause! (Part One)
  • The FOI! (The Freedom Of Information Song)
  • Get A Life Wes Horton
  • TGIF! (Instrumental)

Click here to listen to audio clips of each song and to buy the album (only $13.99) or individual songs (for only $1.29 each).

Linda Greenhouse And Connecticut’s Death Penalty Decision

This will may be my last post concerning the Connecticut Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision last week in State v. Santiago abolishing the death penalty entirely.  As a death penalty opponent, I should be pleased with the result.  As a lawyer who cares deeply about the rule of law, I have very serious doubts about the reasoning behind the majority’s decision.

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A Death Penalty Hypothetical For The Connecticut Supreme Court

Appellate judges are famous for asking hypothetical questions.  They are a very important part of the oral argument process, as they help the judges understand how their decisions in particular cases may apply to future cases.

Advocates rarely get to ask judges hypothetical questions, but I’m going to ask one anyway. It is directed to the esteemed justices of the Connecticut Supreme Court who last week, in a 4-3 decision, abolished the death penalty. (I don’t expect an answer of course. This is just a thought experiment.) The Supreme Court held that a statute the General Assembly passed in 2012, which repealed the death penalty prospectively only–an essential element of the legislative compromise required to get the votes to support any repeal–had the unintended effect of rendering the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment, and thus violative of the Connecticut Constitution, for the 11 men already on death row.  That is, according to the Supreme Court, the repeal statute accomplished precisely what it was not intended to do–abolish the death penalty entirely.

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Discussing The Death Penalty On WNPR

Many thanks to John Dankosky and Colin McEnroe for having me on The Wheelhouse, WNPR’s weekly news roundtable, to discuss the Connecticut Supreme Court’s recent decision abolishing the death penalty.  Along with David McGuire, Legislative and Policy Director for the ACLU of Connecticut, we had a rousing discussion about the decision.  And special thanks to John for plugging my soon-to-be-released CD, The Lawyer Is A Tramp Champ!

Click here to watch video of our discussion (courtesy of CT-N), or here for the audio track.

“The Lawyer Is A Champ” Is Almost Here!


It is hard to believe that 11 years have passed since I released “The Billable Hour Blues,” my first CD of musical parodies about the trials and tribulations of the practice of law.  (Many thanks to my friend Vince Valvo, former publisher of the Connecticut Law Tribune, who produced the CD.)  Now, after a decade of further effort, I’m about to release my follow-up CD, “The Lawyer Is A Tramp Champ“–14 new songs that poke fun at the law and help us lawyers remember not to take ourselves too seriously.  The CD will be released next month and 100% of the proceeds of the first 30 days of sales [through December 31, 2015] will go to legal aid organizations in Connecticut, all worthy causes.  Keep you eyes (and ears) open for the announcement of the official release date.  And thanks in advance for listening!

Judges, Dictionaries, And The Meaning Of Statutes

Arrgggghhhh.   If I read one more judicial opinion in which a judge or panel of appellate judges resolves a dispute over the interpretation of a statute by resort to a dictionary. . . .  As Justice Robert Jackson wrote, dictionaries “are the last resort of the baffled judge.”  Jordon v. DeGeorge, 341 U.S. 223, 234 (Jackson, J. dissenting).

It is unfortunate that judges turns to dictionaries for comfort in hard cases.  An interesting article, “The Dictionary Is Not A Fortress: Definitional Fallacies and a Corpus-Based Approach to Plain Meaning,” explains why such comfort is poorly placed.

Get Your “Deflategate” Pleadings Here!

I hope to write more in the coming week about the legal issues in the Deflategate federal court case in the Southern District of New York.  For the moment, however, I thought readers might be interested in reviewing the docket sheet and several key pleadings filed in the case so far.  Some of them, particularly the docket sheet, are quite amusing.  I was especially amused by an order the judge entered on July 30 (docket no. 11):

Based upon the record herein, the Court directs as follows: 1− While this litigation is ongoing, it is appropriate (and helpful) for all counsel and all parties in this case to tone down their rhetoric.

Here is a list of key pleadings:

NFL’s Complaint

Answer and Counterclaim

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Confirm Arbitration Award

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award

UPDATE: 9/3/15  The judge issued his much anticipated ruling today; He vacated the arbitration award entirely, thereby revoking Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension.  I hear folks are dancing in the streets in Boston.

Please Support CT News Junkie!

Dear Readers,

It is no secret that the “best of times” for traditional print media continues to recede in the rear view mirror.  The business model that long supported newspapers and magazines–print advertising revenue–barely works anymore.  However, entrepreneurs who understand the critical importance of an informed citizenry to a well-functioning democracy continue to invest in new ways to get the news out.  Its called public service journalism.

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Sandra Bland And The “Lawful Order” Conundrum

Writing in connection with the Sandra Bland controversy, Orin Kerr has this interesting post over at The Volokh Conspiracy about a citizen’s obligation to comply with a police officer’s orders, for example during a traffic stop.  A citizen must comply with a lawful order but not an unlawful one.  The conundrum? How the heck does a citizen know whether an order is lawful or not?

UPDATE: (7/24/15) Orin Kerr has a follow-up post on this issue.


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