September 11, 2014 |
An attorney for a Philadelphia charter school urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule that the School Reform Commission overstepped its authority when it suspended parts of the state school code to cap charter-school enrollment. Robert W. O'Donnell, the lawyer, also argued that the 1998 law that led to the takeover of city schools violates the state constitution because it allows the SRC to suspend parts of the code "at will" without providing any standards to guide the suspensions.
August 20, 2014 |
PHILLY-BORN rapper Meek Mill, aided by three lawyers and a courtroom full of supporters, yesterday failed to persuade a judge to release him from jail early. That means the summertime blues will continue for the "Amen" rapper, who was sentenced July 11 to serve three to six months in jail for violating terms of his probation, which stems from a 2008 drug-and-gun conviction. Not only did Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley reject every argument proffered on behalf of the rapper born Robert Williams, she and his lead attorney got into a testy exchange over the lawyer's belief that the judge was being disrespectful and rushing him along so that she could officiate at a wedding.
July 27, 2014 |
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld lower-court decisions that a murder-suicide in a home does not create a material defect and therefore does not need to be legally disclosed by a seller to a potential buyer. The Supreme Court considered an appeal, argued in November, of a Delaware County Court decision, upheld by Superior Court, that had dismissed a complaint in 2008 by Janet Milliken of Thornbury against the sellers and the listing agent of a house she bought for $610,000 in 2007.
July 25, 2014 |
For decades, irate prosecutors have pursued corruption in Philadelphia Traffic Court and won significant convictions - only to have ticket-fixing become standard practice once again. But this time around, even with Wednesday's mixed verdict in the latest Traffic Court trial, reform may be too advanced to stop. Of course, it helps that Traffic Court no longer exists. "The reforms have been implemented and are in practice as we speak," said Deputy District Attorney Laurie Malone, who oversees a new team of city prosecutors handling ticket cases.
July 15, 2014 |
THOUGH it may not have made national headlines, last week a Senate committee voted on a resolution that could have major ramifications for our democracy. From where I sit, our democracy could certainly use some support. It seems to me that it's getting harder and harder for real people to vote, and easier and easier for corporations to buy elections. One of the main offenders pushing us in this direction has been the Supreme Court. From their 2010 Citizens United decision, which opened the door to unlimited corporate political spending, to their Shelby ruling last year, which gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, to their McCutcheon decision in April, which said yes, the super-rich can put even more money directly into political campaigns, the Supreme Court's conservative majority doesn't exactly seem to be on the side of "We, the People.
July 3, 2014
ISSUE | N.J. SUICIDE LAW Aging society need Regarding legalizing assisted suicide, a recent letter writer describes a difficult situation in which assisted suicide may be considered but may not be the proper action ("Think twice about dying in New Jersey," June 29). Unfortunately, for every example like that, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of terminally sick people in hospice care every day for whom there is no hope for recovery. It is these people (and their families)
July 2, 2014 |
THAT "THUD" you just heard was the sound of progressives, secularists and freebie-seekers thumping their foreheads in anguish. Or perhaps it was the rumble as millions of religious folk fell to their knees in gratitude that the Supreme Court had, for once in a blue moon, gotten the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment right. Or it possibly could have been the clamor of bricks from that imaginary Wall Between Church and State, crumbling to the ground in a felicitous heap.
July 2, 2014 |
The U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Monday to a lawsuit by victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the government of Saudi Arabia, alleging it indirectly financed al-Qaeda in the years before the hijackings. The justices declined to hear an appeal by the Saudi government of a lower-court ruling that the lawsuit could go forward. The high court also declined to hear a separate appeal by 9/11 victims of a lower-court decision preventing them from suing dozens of banks and individuals that allegedly provided financial assistance to the hijackers.
June 28, 2014 |
In what the Philadelphia teachers' union hailed as a major victory, the state Supreme Court said Thursday that it would not get involved in whether the School Reform Commission has the authority to bypass seniority and impose other work rule changes. In the spring, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it had the power under the state takeover law to impose the changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs and recalls. The 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers opposed the SRC's moves.
June 27, 2014
Before lawmakers congratulate themselves on proposals to trim one of the most bloated legislatures in the nation, they need to scrap companion cuts slated for the state appellate courts. No question, there's room for spirited debate on the merits of shrinking the state House by 25 percent, from 203 to 153 members, and reducing the state Senate from 50 to 45 members. But the suggestion that the state's busiest appellate court could sacrifice four of its 15 judges, with another pair lopped off the state's seven-member Supreme Court, hasn't been tested.