August 28, 2013
In the midst of a federal investigation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has taken a welcome but potentially insufficient step to restore confidence in the judiciary by prohibiting appellate judicial aides from moonlighting as lawyers. The new rule should be seen as a resounding rejection of Lise Rapaport's practice of accepting fees for referring clients to law firms while serving as chief aide to her husband, Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery. Some of the eight firms that paid Rapaport have been involved in cases before McCaffery, though there is no evidence that he has ruled on the specific cases for which they paid fees to his wife.
August 22, 2013
Gov. Christie's latest Supreme Court nomination makes it clear that his destructive feud with Senate Democrats over the court's composition continues. For the second time, Christie broke with long-standing tradition by refusing to reappoint a sitting justice in good standing. Justice Helen Hoens' service will therefore come to the same undeserved end as that of John E. Wallace Jr. in 2010. Christie last week tapped Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina to take Hoens' place when her term expires in October.
August 14, 2013 |
A divorced Burlington County woman has to prove that it is in the best interest of her children before she can legally change their names, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday. In doing so, the high court quoted ancient Roman doctrine saying a name is "one of the most permanent of possessions; it remains when everything else is lost. ... When one dies it is the only part that lives on in the world. " "Without a name a person is nothing," the Supreme Court noted in quoting the maxim.
August 9, 2013 |
It might be the most important legislative contest you have never heard of. State legislative races typically are obscure events tracked mostly by political diehards and insiders - people who make their living off politics or follow elections as a kind of entertainment. Why anyone would, when television has rich offerings like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad , is an enduring enigma. But that's an issue for another day. There is one race, or group of races, that has the potential to smash this stereotype, and the results could resonate for years.
July 24, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - A former policy director for Pennsylvania's Department of State defended the state's tough voter identification law yesterday as a reasonable compromise that followed intense negotiations, even though it omits changes that the department proposed to ease some of the requirements. Lawyers for plaintiffs seeking to overturn the mandatory photo ID requirement yesterday questioned the official, Rebecca Oyler, about memos and emails describing negotiations over the legislation in late 2011.
July 20, 2013 |
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued a temporary injunction halting the closure of state health centers across Pennsylvania. A union representing 160 nurses at most of the 60 health centers sued after learning that the Corbett administration was planning to eliminate 26 positions and close nearly half the centers that serve populations in rural areas of the state. The union, SEIU Healthcare PA, along with several Democratic lawmakers, appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling in April denying their injunction request.
July 20, 2013 |
TRENTON - In a precedent-setting decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police seeking to locate a criminal suspect by tracking cellphone calls must first obtain a warrant. The unanimous 40-page decision written by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said use of cellphone tracking technology had the potential to violate a person's privacy rights and must be subject to judicial review. "Using a cellphone to determine the location of its owner can be far more revealing than acquiring toll billing, bank, or Internet subscriber records," Rabner wrote.
July 17, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court is refusing to order the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court issued an order yesterday denying the request by backers of the state's same-sex marriage ban for an emergency order that would have required the state to keep enforcing a voter-approved prohibition on same-sex marriages. The U.S. Supreme Court last month cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in the nation's most populous state by dismissing the backer's appeal of a lower-court ruling that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
July 12, 2013
Nominee grilled on Benghazi WASHINGTON - President Obama's choice for assistant secretary of state for Europe defended her role in the talking points created after last year's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing Thursday. Victoria Nuland refused to blame former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, for whom she served as spokeswoman when Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission last Sept.
July 7, 2013 |
TRENTON - New Jersey's top court said Friday it will issue its opinion Monday on whether homeowners should be compensated for losing ocean views when dunes are built. The high court's decision will come in the widely watched case of a Long Beach Island couple who sued and won a jury verdict for $375,000 to make up for the view they lost when their town built a dune in 2010. The town, Harvey Cedars, appealed, saying that a house protected from a flood is more valuable than one that is not. The house at the center of the case, belonging to Harvey and Phyllis Karan, survived Sandy in October.