Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Supreme Court decided three cases today, and I was going to read and blog about them, but the pdf format crashed my computer. This computer is a PII, much stronger than the older machines I used to use, but one thing they've had in common is crashing when confronted with pdf's. So I try never to link to those without a warning, and get really annoyed at - it's mostly government agencies - those who insist on this proprietary format. It has a few genuine uses, for printer formatting, but it's a bad way to try to present info online.

The three cases were unanimous reversals. Maybe the court is trying to get some work out the way before O'Connor leaves. One was a reversal of the 9th circuit - nuff said.
One, Ayote, was a decision to not entirely block disputed abortion regulations, but to use a narrower remedy that only blocks the disputed cases, not the whole regulation. Seems reasonable.

The third case was hard to sort out procedurally. Customs agents seized her computer, putting her out of business - when they gave it back, all her files were gone.
Moral: back up your files. She sued under bivens, a direct constitutional suit. The government claimed it was immune under some wrinkle in the tort claims act; the supreme court disagreed, so she can now proceed to sue. I don't think that you get legal fees under Bivens, and it's hard to see how she'll get enough money to justify the expense of a supreme court lawsuit, but I wish her well. Here, courtesy of Howard, is an AP article which probably explains it better. Ah, clearer now- the government can still raise its defense, but only at a later time, once the suit has been through trial. So they have years of expensive litigation still ahead and may still win nothing. Meanwhile taxpayers fund the lawyers for the bad guys, the customs agents who stole her computer, putting her out of business.

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