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Third Branch

It's been a busy week thus far in the national court system:

Supreme Court backs major businesses on credit notifications, limits reach of Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of two large insurers Monday, limiting the circumstances under which companies must tell customers that their credit ratings are affecting the amount they pay for premiums.

You know, honestly, David Lazarus of The San Francisco Chronicle has been on heavy doses of Xanax and Paxil since that ruling was handed down. Seriously, the guy as we speak probably is frothing at the mouth, beating his head against walls, screaming, gouging out his eyes, etc.

Those of you who live in the S.F. Bay Area will know what I'm talking about.

Supreme Court limits recovery of attorneys' fees from governments

The Supreme Court has made it harder to recover legal fees from governments, ruling against a woman who sued for the right to form a peace sign in the nude in a Florida park. The woman had obtained a preliminary injunction in her favor, but ultimately lost her case after trial.

I've heard of playing nude Twister. But nude peace signs?

Hmm.

Supreme Court reinstates man's death sentence, reverses 9th Circuit

The Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence of a man convicted of carjacking, rape and murder, who initially won a reprieve from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by arguing that a potential juror was wrongly excluded from his trial.

Who even knew we had the death penalty in this country?

On a serious note, one of the long-standing jokes in the legal community is the frequency with which 9th Circuit opinions ultimately get reversed by the SCOTUS.

I don't remember the exact figures, so don't quote me on this, but one time several years ago I read a report to the effect the SCOTUS reversed the 9th Circuit nearly 80 percent of the time -- often without bothering even to dignify the 9th's absurd rulings with full opinions of their own.

For obvious reasons, however, opinions by which liberal court rulings ultimately get reversed don't receive the same attention from local and national media outlets as do the reversed rulings themselves.

In any event, speaking of the death penalty:

Appeals Court Backs Missouri's Death Penalty Procedure

A federal appeals court opened the way for Missouri to resume executing inmates, ruling that the state's lethal injection procedure is not cruel and unusual punishment.


A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found 'no evidence to indicate that any of the last six inmates executed suffered any unnecessary pain'....

You want to know what truly is 'cruel and unusual' punishment?

Imagine being strapped to a chair with your eyes forced open -- like Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange" -- and made to watch a marathon "Meet the Press" roundtable discussion with the following panelists: Lou Dobbs, Eleanor Clift, Chris Matthews, Joe Klein, Paul Krugman, Joe Biden, Pat Buchanan, and Andrew Sullivan.

{shudder}

Hell, my first move after that sort of ordeal would be a visit to Dr. Kevorkian.

Last but not least:

Appeals Court Rejects Michigan Abortion Ban

A federal appeals court Monday rejected Michigan's attempt to ban a procedure pro-life advocates call partial-birth abortion, ruling the law unconstitutional because it could also prohibit terminations of second-trimester pregnancies.


A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said the Michigan Legislature would have been 'virtually guaranteed' a favorable result on appeal had it copied an Ohio law that the 6th Circuit already has upheld.

''It instead opted to use statutory language that pushed almost every boundary that the Supreme Court has imposed for these types of laws,' the appeals court judges said.

Hmm.

That should provide for an interesting SCOTUS case, no?

Especially since it's {gulp} a state law at issue. In that regard I suspect many of the Internet's more well-known 'states rights' activists {cough} suddenly will reverse course and begin screaming and frothing at the mouth if the SCOTUS were to reverse the 6th Circuit and to re-instate that Michigan statute.

Call it a hunch.

Note: AP articles edited where necessary to avoid mind-numbing bias.


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