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NEWS
March 1, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
In what experts are calling an extraordinary legal gambit, Philadelphia lawyer Richard A. Sprague is asking the state Supreme Court to yank a case from the hands of three lower-court judges for taking too long to rule. Using language usually reserved for an opposing lawyer in a hotly contested trial, Sprague's motion says "inexcusable" delay by the three-judge Superior Court panel in a defamation case "reflects a deliberate indifference to their judicial duties. " His motion also asks the state's highest court to direct its watchdog agency, the Board of Judicial Conduct, to begin an inquiry into the conduct of the panel, composed of President Judge Susan Peikes Gantman and Judges Mary Jane Bowes and Judith F. Olson of Superior Court.
NEWS
January 19, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina was sworn in Friday as the only Hispanic member of New Jersey's highest court - and the first Supreme Court appointee Democrats have approved in two years amid an impasse with Gov. Christie. Fernandez-Vina, 61, who prefers the childhood nickname "Fuzzy," won unanimous Senate approval Nov. 18 for the seven-member court. On Friday, he laid his hand on a Bible held by his father and took the oath as an associate justice during a ceremony at Rutgers-Camden.
NEWS
January 14, 2014
Historic setting Inquirer coverage of Philadelphia's plans for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service glossed over the irony that many events on Monday will be taking place at Girard College. In 1954, the year the Supreme Court issued its Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Philadelphia's city solicitor started proceedings to break a discriminatory clause in Stephen Girard's will that had excluded black boys from Girard College. It took 14 years of protracted litigation (three lawsuits went all the way to the Supreme Court)
BUSINESS
January 12, 2014 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a New York technology company can grab over-the-air broadcast-TV signals and stream the network content to subscribers without paying fees. The nation's highest court agreed Friday to hear the case brought by TV broadcast companies against Aereo Inc., which has raised almost $100 million in funding and launched in about a dozen TV markets, though not Philadelphia. ABC, Fox, CBS, and NBC (the last owned by Philadelphia's Comcast Corp.)
NEWS
January 5, 2014 | By Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer
In his latest surprise judicial appointment move, Gov. Christie plans to nominate the embattled chief of the Delaware River Port Authority to serve as a judge. He also appears to be throwing in the towel on getting Robert Hanna, one of his state Supreme Court nominees, confirmed and instead plans to nominate him as a lower court judge. Christie filed a required pre-nomination notice Thursday with the state Senate for Hanna, as well as DRPA chief executive John J. Matheussen and five others.
NEWS
December 31, 2013 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
DISTRICT ATTORNEY Seth Williams is taking an appeals-court ruling to the state Supreme Court in attempt to keep Monsignor William Lynn behind bars. But Lynn - whose felony child-endangerment conviction was overturned in state Superior Court last week - could walk free any day this week by posting 10 percent of $250,000 bail, which was granted yesterday by Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina. "We can say with great confidence that the way the Superior Court read this law is not how this law is supposed to work," Williams said during a news conference yesterday.
NEWS
December 21, 2013 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday struck down provisions of the state's Oil and Gas Act that stripped municipalities of the power to determine where natural gas drilling activity could occur within their boundaries. The long-awaited decision is a blow to a 2012 law known as Act 13 that was promoted by Gov. Corbett and the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry as a means to create a uniform statewide standard for gas development. By a 4-2 vote, the court ruled that the zoning provisions in the law were unconstitutional, though the court disagreed on the grounds for striking down the law. "The bottom line is that the majority of the court agreed that Act 13 is unconstitutional, and that local governments can zone oil and gas drilling like they do other activities," said Jordan B. Yeager, a Doylestown environmental lawyer who argued the case on behalf of several municipalities.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania officials were trying to make sense Tuesday of a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down key pieces of the state's Megan's Law. On its face, the high court's decision, released late Monday afternoon, appeared ominous for landmark legislation passed in 2004 that established stricter registering and reporting guidelines for sex offenders. But attorneys for the legislature, as well as law enforcement officials, said Megan's Law will remain in effect even in the face of the court's decision.
NEWS
December 5, 2013
A MASSACHUSETTS law that says that "no person" may enter or remain in the 35-foot buffer zones established outside abortion clinics in the state has set off a controversial legal battle about the proper balance between the rights of speakers and the rights of those who must listen to them. Although several federal courts have upheld the law over the past few years, the Supreme Court has now agreed to review it. The high court should uphold it as well. The petitioners, including a grandmother in her 70s who stands outside abortion clinics hoping to talk to women on their way in, claim that the law is an impermissible infringement on their right to express their opinion.
NEWS
November 20, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina of Camden County won unanimous approval Monday from the New Jersey Senate to serve on the state Supreme Court. The Superior Court assignment judge is to be sworn in Tuesday and will participate in oral arguments later in the morning, court officials said. Fernandez-Vina, who the Christie administration said is a Republican, replaces Republican Helen Hoens on the seven-member court, which has two vacancies. In August, Gov. Christie announced that he would not renominate Hoens amid a battle with the Legislature's majority Democrats over the court's partisan balance, and nominated Fernandez-Vina.
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