Same Sex Marriage; The Battle Continues

July 13, 2015

GOP Texas Judge Will Only Marry Same-Sex Couples If They Sign a Form Saying He’d Rather Not is the headline from a short report by Caitlin Cruz for Talking Points Memo. Denton County Judge James DePiazza told a television station

It’s my personal belief that individuals who want to conduct a marriage ceremony understand my convictions. If it was me, I would prefer to have someone who was in agreement with me.

I’m suspect Judge DePiazza’s religious beliefs form the basis for his position. I’ll allow for the possibility that he just wants a defense against someone who runs to his Religious Right in the next election, claiming he’s a bad man for marrying “those people.” One way or another,

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The First Amendment (and Donald Trump)

July 6, 2015

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Today’s lesson involves “abridging the freedom of speech” and nothing else.

The text of the First Amendment only refers to Congress making no law. However, the Fourteenth Amendment bars states from making or enforcing “any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” and also precludes any deprivation of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Bottom line?

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It’s a Wrap at the U.S. Supreme Court

June 29, 2015

It’s a wrap! The U.S. Supreme Court issued its last three opinions for the 2014-15 Term this morning. (Links are to SCOTUSblog pages, which have links to the Court opinions and other material.)

In Glossip v. Gross, No. 14-7955, the lethal injection/cruel and unusual punishment case, a 5-4 majority ruled against death row inmates on a claim about the use of midazolam, a part of the three-drug protocol for lethal injections. The inmates claimed using midazolam—used because states cannot purchase other drugs,. because manufacturers will not sell them for use in the execution process—may cause them to suffer unreasonable harm when the other two drugs are administered. According to the majority, in an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito,

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Obergefell v. Hodges

June 27, 2015

In Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14-556, the U.S. Supreme Court held that

… the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them. … and the State laws challenged by Petitioners in these cases are now held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite sex couples.

The Court divided 5-4 along the

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More on King v. Burwell

June 25, 2015

Well, well, well! A fine day it’s been for Americans, what with the ruling in King v. Burwell, No. 14-114. (Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., No. 13-1371, the important housing/disparate impact case, also provided plenty to cheer about. Because its issues are more complicated, I’m sticking the King and the Affordable Care Act for now.)

At lunch today my old Wingnut friend started on a rant about Obamacare being forced through Congress with no opportunities for R input. I bit for a moment, and then a sense of calm passed over me and I uttered these words: “What the f*ck am I arguing about? Your side lost.” By the by,

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Supreme Court Update

June 25, 2015

Two decisions today. In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, No. 13-137, the Court upheld the right to bring disparate impact claims involving housing discrimination. MRW was wrong.

And in today’s Big Dog case, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, the Affordable Care Act/subsidies case, subsidies, and the ACA structure, survive, 6-3. MRW called it 6-3, although we had Justice Scalia in the majority. Roll up that net, fellas, for I’m not falling off the limb on the tree today.

Presently, MRW is 3-2 on predictions, with an asterick for the missed Scalia call.

More later

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Supreme Court Update

June 22, 2015

Here’s the Supreme Court update for Monday, June 22. Four opinions issued. First up was Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, No. 13-720, which is the Spiderman patent case. (Details from MRW are at Spiderman Goes to the Supreme Court.) We called this one 6-3 or 7-2 for Marvel, hoping for a ruling in favor of friends Steve Kimble and Bob Grabb. Unfortunately, Marvel prevailed 6-3.

The other three cases the Court decided were: City of Los Angeles v. Patel, No. 13-1175; Kingsley v. Hendrickson, No. 14-6368; and Horne v. Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275. In Patel the Court affirmed a Ninth Circuit decision, finding that a statute which required hoteliers to provide a registry without

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Supreme Court Update

June 18, 2015

Update from U.S. Supreme Court – What’s Left?: Decisions today in: (1) Reed v. Town of Gilbert, AZ, No. 13-502, the sign ordinance/church case; and (2) Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, No. 14-144, the Texas license plate case. In Reed the Court rejected the local sign ordinance unanimously, as MRW predicted. In Walker the Court upheld the state’s right to regulate messages on license plates. (MRW missed blew this one completely.)

The other four decisions—Ohio v. Clark, No. 13-1352; Davis v. Ayala, No. 13-1428; Brumfeld v. Cain, No. 13-1433; and McFadden v. U.S., No. 14-378—all involved criminal law matters. In Ohio v. Clark the state prevailed; in

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U.S. Supreme Court – What’s Left?

June 15, 2015

On June 15 the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in Baker Botts L.L.P. v. ASARCO, No. 14-103, Reyes Mata v. Lynch, No. 14-185, and Kerry v. Din, No. 13-1402. The cases dealt, respectively, with: (1) a law firm’s right to get fees from a reorganized debtor for work associated with defending a fee application (No Go); (2) a procedural issue in immigration law; and (3) a woman’s liberty interest in having her “civil servant in the Taliban regime” Afghani husband get priority immigrant status. “No go” on the last one, too, and Justice Scalia—writing for himself, the Chief Justice, and Justice Thomas—beat up on the dissent. (Justices Kennedy and Alito concurred, but did not agree with Justice

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Mark Rubin, Tucson Attorney

June 13, 2015

I thought I had a post which explained what I do as a Tucson attorney. Using an Attorney Effectively and Working (Mark Rubin) don’t quite nail the issue, and About Mark Rubin doesn’t either.

My practices falls within three broad areas. They are: (a) probate and fiduciary matters, and estate planning; (b) business and real estate, including advising, documenting transactions, and handling lawsuits; and (c) ethics, professionalism, and discipline.

In the probate and fiduciary world, there’s lots of paper and process. Probate involves the affairs of people who have died, as well as young people with money or no parents, or both, and older people who need help because of mental or physical infirmities. There’s paper and process because we

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