Monthly Archives: May 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Use of Docket Numbers

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There are innumerable details about the U.S. Supreme Court that many, including practitioners, simply do not think about; mostly, because it just doesn’t come up that often. About twice a year, I will receive a call from an attorney who is planning to file for certiorari, but who is waiting on the Court to rule on their motion for [...]

The founders and the primacy of liberty

Prof. Samuelson has a thorough response to my post about John Adams and individual liberty. While it’s true I’m not a great admirer of Adams (I’m much fonder of his son), my point was not biographical or historical, but philosophical: democracy is an instrumental good, one that is valuable only insofar as it protects the [...]
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Should we ask permission for our rights?

At the Liberty Law Blog, Prof. Richard Samuelson argues that John Adams’ defense of religious liberty offers a model for our own day. Adams refused to write Article III of the Massachusetts Constitution—which provided for an established church—because it was inconsistent with his belief in religious freedom. Instead, Samuelson writes, “Adams punted,” and left others [...]
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Asset Forfeiture and the Right to Counsel: An Inmate’s Petition and Reply

Alvin Thomas is a federal inmate incarcerated in Kentucky, sentenced to 20-years imprisonment for cocaine distribution and possession. During the course of the prosecution, government lawyers initiated asset forfeiture proceedings against his property. Mr. Thomas asserts that because those efforts prevented him from using his assets to hire an attorney of his choice, the government [...]

Does Tasering a Pregnant Woman Over a Speeding Ticket Violate the Fourth Amendment?

Adam Liptak at the New York Times has this great piece about a petition for certiorari asking the Court to grant a case involving some Seattle police officers, who tasered a pregnant woman because she refused to sign a speeding ticket. The police officers won on qualified immunity grounds in a divided en banc decision from the [...]

Rosen: pay no attention to the Constitution behind the curtain!

In an article for The New Republic, Jeffrey Rosen writes that the recent decision in the Hettinga case has “unmasked” the continuing machinations of Rosen’s “Constitution in Exile” conspiracy. I say his conspiracy because in Rosen’s eyes, the widening circle of lawyers, judges, and law professors who are drawing attention to the many shortcomings of the [...]
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Seventh Circuit Throws Out Ban On Audio Recording Police Officers

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Illinois has one of the strictest laws in the country when it comes to people audio recording police officers in public. But then again, Illinois is also known for a long history of police corruption, and maybe the State thought it could prevent a few civil rights settlements by banning people from recording their interactions with police. Whatever the motivation behind the law, it doesn’t [...]

New CockleBur Blogger

This is Shon using Mathew Planalp’s user profile. Mathew recently joined Cockle Printing as a document analyst, and he is now joining the CockleBur. Mathew has a J.D. from Creighton University Law School, and he has quickly become a valuable member of the Cockle Printing staff. Please give Mathew a warm CockleBur welcome.

Predictions for the NBA Playoffs

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Now that Rose is out for the remainder of the playoffs, the Bulls are mere mortals in a pool of mostly mortal teams. They were able to get by through the season without the reigning MVP from last year by playing outstanding defense, allowing everyone to get involved in the offense, and playing each game [...]
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The California Bar Wants to Force Law Schools to Provide Practical Skills

The California Bar Association is considering a proposal that would require bar applicants to have taken a practical skills course during law school in order to be admitted to the bar. The Bar Association, however, has received some pushback from two prominent law school deans. Stanford Law Dean Larry Kramer urged caution. And UC Irvine Dean [...]