Friday, December 31, 2004

Bad Marriage Ends Up in Jail

Some case names speak for themselves: United States v. Bad Marriage, No. 03-30404 (9th Cir. Dec. 30, 2004).

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Gmail Accounts to Give Away

Have 18 Gmail accounts to give away. If you are interested in one, e-mail me.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

He should have been a baseball player!

Skelly reports here at Arbitrary and Capricious on the arrest of a 20-year public defender in Cook County accused of driving drunk and, when Police searched the vehicle, they also found a small amount of cocaine (street value: $1,900.00). Looks as if his days as a PD are sort of over. Now, . . . if he had been a baseball player instead . . .

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

First Circuit Denies Petition for Rehearing En Banc in Puerto Rico Electoral Cases

As expected by most observers, the First Circuit has today denied in a short Order the Petition for Rehearing en Banc in the Puerto Rico Electoral Cases which was filed by the Rossello plaintiffs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Rossello-Gonzalez v. Calderon-Serra, No. 04-2610 (1st Cir. Dec. 15 2004)

Just received from the First Circuit the opinion in the Puerto Rico Electoral Cases taken on Mandamus to the Court of Appeals, Rossello-Gonzalez v. Calderon-Cerra, No. 04-2610 (1st Cir. Dec. 15, 2004). More on this once I read it.

Update: The opinion is a very well written. While the First Circuit denies issuance of the mandamus, the practical effect is the same, since it indicates that it expects the Court to remand the Manny Suarez case back to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico as the complaint in that case does not present a federal question. But do not confuse this for one second with the First Circuit saying the Supreme Court acted properly when it rushed to judgment, because the opinion states precisely the contrary. At n. 22, the First Circuit states:
We agree with the District Court that the Supreme Court's judgment was void. The governing statute provides that the filing of "a copy of the notice [of removal] with the clerk of [the] State court . . . effect[s] the removal and the State court shall proceed no further unless and until the case is remanded." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(d) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court received notice of the removal at 11:48 a.m. on November 20, 2004 but did not issue judgment until that evening. The judgment is thus, as the District Court found, a nullity.
(Underlining in original, bolding added). So it is hard to understand why Puerto Rico Associate Justice Jaime B. Fuster would be quoted as saying he was satisfied with the First Circuit's opinion, when it in fact states that the Supreme Court acted contrary to federal law in issuing its original decision and judgment. What the Supreme Court did speaks very badly for the respect that State and Federal Courts owe each other. It showed a majority of the Supreme Court willing to jump the gun acting along strict party lines, whereas the minority showed the restraint required -by federal law- at the time.

Beyond that, let the recount continue, and may the one who got the most legitimate votes win.

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Very Sobering Reminder

The New England Journal of Medicine has this photographic essay Caring for the Wounded in Iraq — A Photo Essay, by George E. Peoples, M.D., James R. Jezior, M.D., and Craig D. Shriver, M.D. It is a sobering reminder of what our soldiers are facing in Iraq.

No Assured Winner in Puerto Rico's Gubernatorial Race Regardless of Courts' Rulings

Every Tom, Dick and Harry -well, let's leave out Tom- seems to take for granted that without the questioned ballots being annulled by the Courts, pro-colonialist Anibal Acevedo-Vila wins the gubernatorial race. I have news for those of you who believe this: the recounts taking place at the Comisión Estatal de Elecciones are not showing this to be the case.

So, regardless of what the U.S. Court of Appeals and/or the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico may ultimately rule, pro-statehood candidate and former Governor Pedro Rossello may very well be the winner.

Boston Globe Editorial Urges Court of Appeals to Get Out of Puerto Rico Electoral Issue

The Boston Globe has an editorial today (Votes for Puerto Rico) in which it urges the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit "to instruct its colleagues on the San Juan bench that this Puerto Rican dispute is not a federal case."

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Update on Puerto Rico Electoral Cases before the First Circuit: Audio of Oral Argument to be Available

The First Circuit's website now indicates that a recording of the oral argument in the Puerto Rico electoral cases to be heard Monday, December 13th will be posted and available for download upon completion of the sitting.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Puerto Rico's Electoral Cases before the First Circuit & Comments on the Hipocrisy of Those Complaining against Hon. Daniel R. Domínguez

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has set up a page in its website here with links to all documents filed related to the Puerto Rico Electoral Cases.

Oral argument before the First Circuit is set for Monday, December 13, 2004 at 10 a.m. in the en banc courtroom on the 7 floor of the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts: Rossello-Gonzalez v. Calderon, No. 04-2610; Rossello-Gonzalez v. The Puerto Rico Electoral Commission, No. 04-2611; In Re:Gerardo A. Cruz, No. 04-2612; and In Re: Comision Estatal de Elecciones, No. 04-2613.

We have read a report of some sort of judicial complaint filed against Judge Domínguez by a non-party to any of the cases, alleging that he should not be hearing the electoral cases because the son of one of the candidates -former Governor Rossello- was a law clerk for Judge Domínguez. Funny that none of the parties have requested recusal. I wonder if this "concerned" citizen went to Puerta de Tierra and filed a similar complaint regarding Supreme Court Chief Justice Federico Hernández-Denton, for whom the other candidate, Anibal Acevedo-Vila, clerked at one time. I doubt the concerned citizen did any such thing, but I mention it because I am seeing and hearing too many persons who should know better, make cheap attacks against a highly regarded and impartial federal judge. There are good legal arguments on all sides, and we do not need to wreck our institutions for short term political agendas. Shame on that "concerned" citizen for being such a hypocrite!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

IBM's PC Business

Although I only purchased two products from IBM - my first computer (with a 30 MB hard drive PS2 Model 30) and a printer (an IBM Quietwriter II) - and swore never to buy any IBM products again because of the lousy experience and a feeling that I had paid a lot more than these products were worth, it is still somewhat saddening to read of IBM selling its PC business to a Chinese company. I mean, any copy of PC Magazine years back touted Big Blue as the standard. They pretty much invented the PC as we know it. And, on its way there, gave Microsoft the greatest opportunity it ever had: putting together IBM PC-DOS, but allowing Microsoft to license MS-DOS for all those IBM clones. The rest is history.

With my first computer and printer I also bought WordPerfect 4.2 and a book to learn WordPerfect from Que Corporation. I recall sitting all weekend at home reading and practicing until I could write a half decent looking letter, prepare envelopes, and prepare a motion that looked presentable. Once I could do that, I felt more in control and the rest was just fun learning. I have stayed with WordPerfect, probably because of its Reveal Codes more than any other aspect of it, and probably because I feel sufficiently at home with it not to want to really learn Word, which I have never liked much (at least from my few attempts at using it).

Anyhow, getting back to IBM's PC business, hats off to the folks at Boca Raton who gave birth to the PC. Those were magical days, and they revolutionized the world.

For a more sober look at IBM's sale see John C. Dvorak's Column at PC Magazine.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Kelo v. City of New London, No. 04-108

Kelo v. City of New London, No. 04-108, which we reported on here, is one of the more interesting cases before the Supreme Court this Term. The Petitioners' Merits Brief in Kelo has now been filed. As we indicated in our previous post as to Kelo:
It involves "whether a Connecticut city can take away a person's home to clear the way for upscale development." In seriousness, it is not only for upscale development, but also whether the eminent domain power can be exercised to take someone's home or other property for "economic development" that will place the property in the hands of private developers, thereby creating jobs and resulting in more taxes being paid to the government's coffers. Is this exercise of the power of eminent domain for public use?
The Supreme Court in Kelo will likely reassess the viability of Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, 467 U.S. 229 (1984), a case decided by an 8-0 vote, with Justice Marshall not participating. The Hawaii Housing Authority opinion was written by Justice O'Connor.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Wall Street Journal: Don't Count the Triple-X Ballots

Today The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) weighs in on Puerto Rico's on going electoral dispute in a column titled Puerto Rico's Florida and sides with the idea that the triple-X ballots - or "pivazos" as they have been locally termed - should be discarded. The column concludes by stating:
We don't know who's the winner here -- preliminary results show Mr. Acevedo Vila ahead by a hair -- but it seems obvious that the triple-X ballots deserve to be discarded as confusing and possibly fraudulent. Then do a recount and declare a victor -- before January 2, the date the current governor's term ends. If not, there's a nasty political crisis in the offing that could be worse than Florida.
It compares the situation with Bush v. Gore stating that "[i]f all this sounds a lot like Bush v. Gore and the 2000 Florida recount, that's because it is. And it's not just the palm trees in the background. The principle at stake is the same: Election laws ought to mean something; you can't change the rules after votes have been cast." And it then takes a swipe at what the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico did:
There is another parallel with Florida 2000 -- an activist state Supreme Court, which first grabbed the case from a lower court and then ordered that the mixed ballots be counted. The rule, however, is that federal courts decide who has jurisdiction in these cases, and a federal judge has ordered that the triple-X ballots be set aside until he can determine whether they are valid.
Hmm, . . . who would have ever thought of our Supreme Court as an activist one. A Court that takes forever to hand down decisions, practically at flash speed resolved that all was okay with the triple-X ballots and -by the way- without having any evidence whatsoever before it or anything that could be called a record from the lower court to look at. This one The Wall Street Journal got right.