Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Walmart Victorious

Earlier I wrote about Maryland's Anti-Walmart law. Well, it turns out that a federal judge ruled in favor of the Retail Industry Leader's Association, the group that brought suit on behalf of Walmart.

I was unable to find any links to the opinion or basis thereupon, but I would guess it was preemption based upon the federal ERISA laws, rather than Equal Protection, which I think was also a problem. Keep an eye out for the news story. I will likely be too busy in the final Bar Exam push to blog any more until then. Best to my colleagues taking it in Minnesota.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Valerie Plame & Joe Wilson Sue all the President's Men

In the civil suit (complaint here) filed recently in Federal District Court, attorneys for Plame and Wilson argue that a bevy of constitutional rights have been violated by Cheney, Rove, and Scooter Libby. It seems that even if every factual allegation is true, there are likely no legally-cognizable theories of relief.

Two thoughts that I have from my quick read are thus:
1) Does a CIA Agent have a Fifth Amendment property right in her classified status not being revealed for public consumption? This seemed like Plame's weakest claim.
2) Do political officials not have the right to rebut directed charges against their veracity and political objectives by discrediting the credibility of their attackers? This seems like Rove/Cheney/et al's best defense. Namely when Wilson hit the "Meet the Press circuit" blasting Bush, could not Bush's people respond by placing Wilson's experience in "context"? Playing other than nice does not equal constitutional right violation. (I should also that Cheney may have official immunity for any of his acts. This would naturally be his best defense.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bar Review Point of View

Was the provocation of Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final adequate to evade a red-card? Apparently not. Will he avoid the sanction of FIFA's executive committee by being stripped of his best player award? Likely so.

How about some of the other items with which the authors of the blog are becoming quite familiar?

Per common law definition--
Murder: provocation adequate to arouse a sudden and intense passion in the mind of an ordinary person, absent a sufficient cooling off period = involuntary manslaughter.

Slander (defamation) per se as a civil remedy = comments impugning the chastity of a female member of one's family, or accusing one having a loathsome disease.

So what Materazzi said must have been pretty serious . . .

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Justices Afffirm State Choice on Insanity Defense

Essential to any bar preparation is the recognition that the insanity defense in criminal trials is a matter of state concern. The Constitution requires no specific insanity defense, nor does it mandate that states must even make available such a defense. The Supreme Court affirmed this principle 6-3 last week in the case of Clark v. Arizona.

Arizona had adopted part of the M'Naghten Rule for which Defendant must lack the ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his action. The Defendant in Clark was a paranoid schizophrenic who killed a police officer. Interestingly (troubling) enough was the fact that Justice Kennedy joined Stevens and Ginsburg finding that the Arizona version of insanity defense was irrational. However, the majority for state choice, championed by Justice Souter, announced that there was no "baseline for due process in the area."