Category Archives: Law: Everything Else

Chisom v. Jindal Update

Louisiana Governor Jindal will ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision in Chisom v. Jindal that I wrote about last week.

His office says his concern is purely jurisdictional, and has nothing to do with blocking the ascension of the first black Chief Justice in Louisiana. I suppose it might even be true; if one characterizes the issue as an interpretation of the state Constitution, it would be strange to have a federal court get the final say. But if one characterizes it as an interpretation of the federal consent decree, it doesn’t seem strange at all.

Posted in Law: Everything Else | 3 Comments

A Strange and Sad Dispute

Chisom v. Jindal is odd and sad. A federal district judge is required to adjudicate a dispute between Justices of the Supreme Court of Louisiana as to who has the most seniority. The most senior will become the next Chief Justice of that court.

At issue is the time-in-grade of Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson who, if all her years of service to the Louisiana Supreme Court are counted, will soon become Louisiana’s first black Chief Justice. Her first six years of service on the court were in a special seat created pursuant to a federal consent decree designed to remedy longstanding Louisiana racial gerrymandering of judicial electoral districts that had prevented black majority districts from electing a Justice of their choice.

The sad part comes not only from a state Supreme Court’s members being unable to settle this among themselves but from the fact that this dispute happened at all. At least from reading Judge Susie Morgan’s opinion in Chisom v. Jindal, this doesn’t even seem like a close case: the consent decree said that the new, temporary, seat that Justice Johnson occupied was to be “equal” to all the others and that she would “receive the same compensation, benefits, expenses, andemoluments of office as are now or as may hereafter beprovided by law for justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court.” Thus her seniority began there, and not when (after redistricting) Justice Johnson won further terms.

I don’t know what it means when state Supreme Court Justices are suing each, or choking each other (details here; further proceedings here), but it can’t be good.

Spotted via WSJ Law Blog.

Posted in Law: Everything Else | 6 Comments

A Very Cute Respose to Employer Demands for Facebook Passwords

I hereby (fictionally) resign is a great, if alas so far fictional, account of blowback from an employer’s demand for Facebook passwords.

Spotted via Emergent Chaos, Chaos Emerges from Demanding Facebook Passwords.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Law: Internet Law | Leave a comment

Judge Adalberto Jordan, UM JD ’87, Confirmed to 11th Circuit

That the Senate has bestirred itself from its gridlock and lethargy long enough to confirm Judge Jordan is really great news. Judge Jordan was not only an uncontroversial pick, he is an excellent pick and a great judge. It is not inconceivable he will be on lists of potential Supreme Court Justices some day.

U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jose Jordan, a Miami Law graduate, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to serve on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Judge Jordan graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1987, has been an adjunct professor since 1990, and is a member of the school’s visiting committee.

Nominated by President Barack Obama on Aug. 2, 2011, Judge Jordan is the first Cuban-American to sit on the 11th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The Senate vote was 94-5 in Jordan’s favor.

"Judge Adalberto José Jordan will bring an unwavering commitment to fairness and judicial integrity to the federal bench," President Obama said when he announced the nomination. "His impressive legal career is a testament to the kind of thoughtful and diligent judge he will be on the Eleventh Circuit. I am honored to nominate him today."

Miami Dean Patricia D. White called Judge Jordan’s elevation to the appeals bench "a magnificent appointment," and said the University of Miami "could not be prouder to have Judge Jordan as its alumnus and regular member of the adjunct faculty."

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who graduated from Miami Law in 1996, told the Daily Business Review in an article published Wednesday that Judge Jordan "has an extraordinary reputation in our community" and that he is "highly regarded for his intellect."

Judge Jordan has been a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida since 1999. He received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association and has a stellar judicial record. Prior to that, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was Chief of the Appellate Division and Counsel on Legal Policy from 1998-1999. In the late 1980s, after obtaining his law degree, he was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Before that, he had graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami with a B.A. in Politics and Public Affairs.

Miami Law Professor Mary Coombs had Judge Jordan as a student in her first class at the school. He later served as her summer intern. "I haven’t found any better since," she said. "I am absolutely fantastically delighted. He is the combination of brilliance and decency and kindness. He is just extraordinary."

Judge Jordan will be the commencement speaker for Miami Law at its graduation ceremonies on May 12.

University of Miami | School of Law – Judge Adalberto Jordan, JD '87, Confirmed To Appeals Court.

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Arizona Legislature Votes for Agressive Ignorance

It’s not enough to be a modern Nativist in Arizona, you have to be vigilant against facts and viewpoints that challenge your orthodoxy. University Professor of Law at Seattle University Richard Delgado and Research Professor of Law at Seattle University Jean Stefancic explain:

Last week, the Tucson Unified School District eliminated a popular Mexican American Studies program in local high schools that, in a short period of time, had done a lot of good. Established a few years ago pursuant to a desegregation decree and taught by charismatic teachers, the program had increased the graduation rate of Mexican-origin kids to 93 percent; nationally the rate is around 50. Since the Tucson school district is heavily Latino, that’s a lot of kids. Egged on by anti-immigrant groups, the Anglo-dominated administration decided that the program was un-American and divisive because it taught the kids about the War with Mexico, struggles for school desegregation, and Jim Crow laws under which people with brown skins had to sit in the balcony of movie theaters, take a back seat in restaurants, swim in public pools on one day of the week only, and work according to a dual wage scale, one for Anglos, the other for Mexicans.

When an outside audit gave the program a positive review, the district ended it anyway and, for good measure, ordered that teachers discontinue using texts like Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, Rodolfo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima, Rodolfo Acuna’s Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, Elizabeth Martinez’s 500 Years of Chicano History, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and a book by the two of us, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, in classes where they had found an eager readership of brown teenagers.

To make sure that everyone got the point, the authorities directed the staff to collect and box seven of the most offensive books during class time so that the students would see them being packed up and carried to trucks bound for a distant book depository.

— Academe Blog, Book Banning in Arizona, via Kaimipono D. Wenger in Concurring Opinions.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Law: Everything Else | Leave a comment

Do People Really Do This Stuff?

Two items from today’s news raise similar questions about whether people — even lawyers — really are ready to exercise their legal rights in socially awkward situations. (And if even lawyers are not, do those rights mean anything?)

First, this from the NYT “Haggler” column, the New York Times’s consumer meta-advocate. The column, Restaurant Bill Shock? Some Readers Say ‘Au Contraire’, is a followup to an earlier one about someone going to a very fancy restaurant, ordering the daily special — pasta with truffles, price not mentioned by waiter — and being shocked by the dish’s $275 price tag.

Readers wrote in with suggestions, including this one from Franklin Synder, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan:

“You might be interested in letting your readers know that a restaurant meal is a ‘sale of goods’ under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code,” he wrote. “The code provides that where the buyer and seller have agreed to a contract but have not agreed on the price, the price is not what the seller subsequently demands. It’s a reasonable price for the goods at issue. Thus a customer has no obligation to pay for anything more than the reasonable price of a pasta meal at a trendy restaurant.”

He continued: “In this circumstance, a customer should make a reasonable offer for the value of the meal, then walk out and wait to be sued for breach of contract. Be sure to leave the restaurant full contact information so they can’t claim that you’re trying to steal something.”

I confess I may know one or two people who might actually try this if sufficiently provoked, but I do not think I am part of that tiny minority.

Similarly, there is this piece of advice in today’s Miami Herald about what to do when boarding a cruise, offered by one Gabrielle D’Alemberte, who is identified a senior trial attorney at the Law Offices of Robert L. Parks, P.L., a Coral Gables-based plaintiff’s litigation firm:

For those of us in South Florida who travel outside the United States, it’s important to understand that many other countries in Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America have similar laws that make it difficult to file lawsuits in negligence-related cases. If the unthinkable occurs — a child’s drowning in a hotel pool, a crippling watercraft accident at a Caribbean resort or an outbreak of a dangerous virus on a cruise ship — the choice of forum makes a huge difference in the legal outcome.

Therefore, you have to be sure to read the fine print before signing your passenger ticket for a cruise. If you purchase your ticket through a travel agent, be sure you see the actual documents prior to departure — and send an email to the agent to document that request.

When you come to the choice of forum clause in your ticket, take out your pen and cross out a few words, such as “I agree to…” and hand the documents back to the boarding agent. While the agent has the right to deny you from boarding, most likely you will still be ushered aboard.

Likely? Likely? Let me tell you that if I were to persuade my wife to go on a cruise and then attempted to pull this stunt, I would probably be disowned. And if it resulted in our being denied boarding, I don’t even want to think of the consequences. Has Ms. D’Alemberte, or anyone in Parks firm actually tried this stunt? I’m dubious, even if she is Sandy D’Alemberte’s daughter. Admittedly it would be easier to recover from this stunt if you are sailing from a port where you live, since you can turn around and get home easily, but I think it might put a serious damper on your vacation, not to mention your relationship.

I’m not even certain whether the cruise line would be obligated to refund your money in these circumstances. I suppose it depends on at what point you are said to have accepted the language in the ticket – when they send it to you or when you hand it over to board. Is there a contracts lawyer in the house?

More generally, and more importantly, who lives like this? (And why should we have to?) No one I know does this, and I hang around lawyers all the time.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, Law: Practice | 5 Comments