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teamputvedev:

Battle of the Robes: the Supreme Courts of the US, the UK, and Canada

Canadians: extras from The Santa Clause 3.

British: one snitch away from a Triwizard Tournament.

Americans: ready to lay down some law.

This is dense:

"As public opinion has changed, it begins to look more like bias and less reasonable to simply categorically remove same-sex couples" from marriage, said Jane Schacter, a professor of constitutional law at Stanford University. "I don’t think the court checks the polls. It’s more how the court weighs the arguments. As ideas become more familiar, they seem less foreign and radical and odd.”

Emphasis mine.

I’m pretty sure the swing votes on the Supreme Court are acutely aware of poll findings. Especially since public opinion is discussed in written arguments, not to mention whatever’s in all those amicus briefs, not to mention whatever comes up during the hurly-burly of oral argument.

And while we’re at the water cooler, what’s an election but a verified poll taken during a prearranged time?

It’s one thing for elected officials to say the Supreme Court isn’t influenced by political concerns, but it’s sort of insulting for an expert on statutory interpretation to say it to a reporter with a straight face.

You kind of suck, Professor Schacter.

Jeffrey Toobin, NPR:

Something sad is going on with Justice Scalia right now. 
If you look at all nine justices on the Court in terms of their historical importance, I think Justice Scalia probably ranks number one because he has really revolutionized constitutional law through his theory of originalism, that the Constitution should be interpreted as the framers intended. And, you know, whether you agree or disagree with that, it’s been a major intellectual contribution to this country, and he has been a formidable conservative intellectual. 
But in the past couple of years he’s turning into a right wing crank who sounds more like a talk radio host than a Supreme Court justice. It was embarrassingly true in the Arizona immigration case last year. I think these sort of really silly intemperate political judgments from the bench in the Voting Rights Act are also indicative of it, and I think he’s really starting to embarrass himself and the Court with really ugly sentiments that don’t do justice to the rest of his career.

Jeffrey Toobin, NPR:

Something sad is going on with Justice Scalia right now.

If you look at all nine justices on the Court in terms of their historical importance, I think Justice Scalia probably ranks number one because he has really revolutionized constitutional law through his theory of originalism, that the Constitution should be interpreted as the framers intended. And, you know, whether you agree or disagree with that, it’s been a major intellectual contribution to this country, and he has been a formidable conservative intellectual.

But in the past couple of years he’s turning into a right wing crank who sounds more like a talk radio host than a Supreme Court justice. It was embarrassingly true in the Arizona immigration case last year. I think these sort of really silly intemperate political judgments from the bench in the Voting Rights Act are also indicative of it, and I think he’s really starting to embarrass himself and the Court with really ugly sentiments that don’t do justice to the rest of his career.

The Most Important Legal Philosopher of Our Time Is Dead at 81

“We have an institution that calls some issues from the battleground of power politics to the forum of principle. It holds out the promise that the deepest, most fundamental conflicts between individual and society will once, someplace, finally, become questions of justice. I do not call that religion or prophesy. I call it law.”
 -Ronald Dworkin

The Most Important Legal Philosopher of Our Time Is Dead at 81

“We have an institution that calls some issues from the battleground of power politics to the forum of principle. It holds out the promise that the deepest, most fundamental conflicts between individual and society will once, someplace, finally, become questions of justice. I do not call that religion or prophesy. I call it law.”

 -Ronald Dworkin

I wish I could’ve shown this clip to so, so many aspiring actresses.

bremser:

Oscar Grant’s photograph of  Johannes Mehserle
Oscar Grant’s photograph of transit police officer Johannes Mehserle is rare: a portrait of the photographer’s killer. Unlike the  recent photograph that a politician captured in the Philippines, Grant’s photograph, taken moments before Mehserle shot him in the back, was intentional.
Much of the media attention given to the Oscar Grant case focused on a handful of videos made by other passengers on the BART train, some of which show Grant being shot. While being detained by BART police, Grant called his ex-girlfriend Sophina Mesa twice from the platform. During this time he also took the photo of Mehserle and sent it to Mesa. Grant’s photograph of Mehserle did not get as much coverage as the videos, as it wasn’t released until the trial began.
Grant’s photograph raises an important issue that faces every American: the right to photograph, videotape and document while being  detained or arrested by the police. Many of us assume we have this right, but with existing  wiretapping laws, you can still be arrested and your camera confiscated. Radley Balko’s Reason.com article “The War on Cameras” is essential reading on this subject.
Demian Bulwa is a reporter and editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, who has covered the Oscar Grant case since the shooting, through the entire Mehserle trial. I asked him a few questions over the phone about this photograph.
How did the prosecution and defense use this photograph as evidence in the trial?
Both sides used flat screen TVs, multimedia, everything was timed and choreographed. It seemed they felt they might lose credibility if they weren’t sharp with multimedia. At times the arguments felt like PowerPoint presentations. There were photos, quotes, videos, video of the Taser training.
It was used by prosecution to show two things: 1. that he [Mehserle] knew his Taser from his gun, that he had actually taken out his Taser twice, that he knew full well between the two weapons. 2. That Oscar was being abused and was concerned about it.
It was one of many pieces of evidence. It’s part of the puzzle, and hard to tell which ones stuck with the jury.
What facts were presented about the photograph, when it was taken? Did he take it while face down, turning around?
Grant was sitting on the ground. The guys were sitting on the edge of the platform for a while. He wouldn’t have had the opportunity in the last moments, the officers were on top of him, with his arms behind him.
Was there any suggestion by either side that taking this photograph provoked Mehserle, or was some form of resisting arrest?
I don’t recall.
Based on the evidence in the trial, and your own speculation, why do you think Oscar Grant took this photograph?
Most likely he was documenting unfair treatment. He said something to his girlfriend [during the phone call], like “I’m getting beat up here.” It was a way of documenting that, and putting Mehserle on notice. If you take a picture of someone you are saying: I’m watching your behavior. You’re accountable. You are expressing your concern and putting them on notice.

bremser:

Oscar Grant’s photograph of Johannes Mehserle

Oscar Grant’s photograph of transit police officer Johannes Mehserle is rare: a portrait of the photographer’s killer. Unlike the recent photograph that a politician captured in the Philippines, Grant’s photograph, taken moments before Mehserle shot him in the back, was intentional.

Much of the media attention given to the Oscar Grant case focused on a handful of videos made by other passengers on the BART train, some of which show Grant being shot. While being detained by BART police, Grant called his ex-girlfriend Sophina Mesa twice from the platform. During this time he also took the photo of Mehserle and sent it to Mesa. Grant’s photograph of Mehserle did not get as much coverage as the videos, as it wasn’t released until the trial began.

Grant’s photograph raises an important issue that faces every American: the right to photograph, videotape and document while being detained or arrested by the police. Many of us assume we have this right, but with existing wiretapping laws, you can still be arrested and your camera confiscated. Radley Balko’s Reason.com article “The War on Cameras” is essential reading on this subject.

Demian Bulwa is a reporter and editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, who has covered the Oscar Grant case since the shooting, through the entire Mehserle trial. I asked him a few questions over the phone about this photograph.

How did the prosecution and defense use this photograph as evidence in the trial?

Both sides used flat screen TVs, multimedia, everything was timed and choreographed. It seemed they felt they might lose credibility if they weren’t sharp with multimedia. At times the arguments felt like PowerPoint presentations. There were photos, quotes, videos, video of the Taser training.

It was used by prosecution to show two things: 1. that he [Mehserle] knew his Taser from his gun, that he had actually taken out his Taser twice, that he knew full well between the two weapons. 2. That Oscar was being abused and was concerned about it.

It was one of many pieces of evidence. It’s part of the puzzle, and hard to tell which ones stuck with the jury.

What facts were presented about the photograph, when it was taken? Did he take it while face down, turning around?

Grant was sitting on the ground. The guys were sitting on the edge of the platform for a while. He wouldn’t have had the opportunity in the last moments, the officers were on top of him, with his arms behind him.

Was there any suggestion by either side that taking this photograph provoked Mehserle, or was some form of resisting arrest?

I don’t recall.

Based on the evidence in the trial, and your own speculation, why do you think Oscar Grant took this photograph?

Most likely he was documenting unfair treatment. He said something to his girlfriend [during the phone call], like “I’m getting beat up here.” It was a way of documenting that, and putting Mehserle on notice. If you take a picture of someone you are saying: I’m watching your behavior. You’re accountable. You are expressing your concern and putting them on notice.

We’re locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing you know they’ve got 10 years — they’ve got mandatory sentences and these judges, they throw up their hand and say “What can we do? It’s mandatory sentences.” We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes, and that’s one of ‘em. I mean, I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong. But I just believe criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of just a few ounces of pot, and that kind of thing, I mean it’s costing us a fortune, and it’s ruining young people. The young people go into prisons, they go in as youths, and they come out as hardened criminals, and it’s not a good thing.

Want to go on record agreeing with this point. Having trouble coming to terms with my newfound identity as a rapist.

Want to go on record agreeing with this point. Having trouble coming to terms with my newfound identity as a rapist.

The Snitch:

Paul Shin Devine, a former Apple global supply manager accused of masterminding a scheme in which he leaked company secrets to Asian suppliers in return for hefty kickbacks.  Devine is being held without bail by the Feds …
Poring through the painstakingly detailed, 47-page suit against him, it appears Apple is coming after its former employee in a manner that makes its treatment of the Gizmodo boys look like a trip to the nail salon.

The Snitch:

Paul Shin Devine, a former Apple global supply manager accused of masterminding a scheme in which he leaked company secrets to Asian suppliers in return for hefty kickbacks. Devine is being held without bail by the Feds …

Poring through the painstakingly detailed, 47-page suit against him, it appears Apple is coming after its former employee in a manner that makes its treatment of the Gizmodo boys look like a trip to the nail salon.

To paraphrase a great leader:
There is no substitute for having one of your own at the table.

To paraphrase a great leader:

There is no substitute for having one of your own at the table.