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Another California Federal Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 26, 2012

Two days ago Judge Claudia Wilken of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a decision in Dragovich v. Geithner striking down DOMA as unconstitutional. This is the third federal district court to come to the same conclusion.

In the last two years two other federal district courts have ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. In 2010 Judge Joseph Tauro struck down DOMA in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F.Supp.2d 374 (D.Mass. 2010). The First Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in Gill on April 4, 2012. On February 22, 2012, Judge Jeffrey S. White reached the same result in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management (N.D. Cal. 2012). Golinski has been scheduled for oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September, 2012. My earlier posting on the Golinski case may be accessed here.

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2011-2012 Supreme Court Term: Court's Decision in Astrue v. Capato (Equal Protection)

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 22, 2012

The Supreme Court issued a decision yesterday in the case of Astrue v. Capato, No. 11-159. The case mainly involved a question of statutory interpretation, but the outcome was influenced by a constitutional consideration.

Robert and Karen Capato were married in 1999. Robert was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and concerned that the treatment would leave him sterile he had his sperm frozen. When his health improved, he and Karen conceived a child naturally. But his health then deteriorated, and Robert died in March 2002. Several months later Karen underwent in vitro fertilization, and bore twins eighteen months after Robert's death. See Bill Mears, CNN, Justices deny benefits for child conceived after death of parent (May 21, 2012)

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Catholic Institutions and Private Business File Lawsuits Over Birth Control Mandate

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 21, 2012

Dozens of Roman Catholic institutions in eight different states filed suit against the federal government today challenging the constitutionality of the requirement that employers provide birth control coverage to their employees. In this they joined by a private employer who filed a similar suit in a Missouri two months ago. The plaintiffs all contend that the the federal mandate violates their right to religious freedom. Furthermore, the Missouri legislature has reportedly enacted a statute authorizing employers not to cover contraception or sterilization services.

Here are links to some of the news stories reporting this development:

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Whale Hunting Continues

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 20, 2012

The Japanese continue to flout the international ban on whale hunting under the guise of "scientific research." See World Society for the Protection of Animals, After the ban, whaling continues.

On March 6 of this year it was reported that the anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had brought whale hunting to a close for 2012. Nick Perry of 3 News (New Zealand) quoted Paul Watson, the President of Sea Shepherd, to the effect that they had found the Japanese "factory ship" and had disrupted hunting using laser beams and flares fired from the Sea Shepherd ship the Bob Barker. Sea Shepherd claims 2012 Japanese whale hunt over.

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Strategy of Creating Racial Backlash Against Marriage Equality Backfires: NAACP Board Endorses Same-

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 19, 2012

Six weeks ago it was revealed that in 2009 the National Organization for Marriage had developed a detailed secret plan to "exploit" racial tensions in the United States in order to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks." See Wilson Huhn, NOM's "National Strategy for Winning the Marriage Battle" Appeals to Racial, Ethnic, Religious, and Political Divisions (March 27, 2012). Today the Board of Directors of the NAACP voted to officially support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. See ABC News, NAACP Backs Same-Sex Marriage as Civil Right (May 20, 2012); Charlie Joughlin, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Board Endorses Marriage Equality (May 19, 2012); Steve Kilar, Baltimore Sun, NAACP Votes to Support Same-Sex Marriage (May 19, 2012).

Our entire society is in transition on this issue. It is not only the President whose views have "evolved" on this question. Mine have, as have the views of the majority of the American people. We are gradually becoming more tolerant - more accepting - more willing to celebrate the unique potential of every human being.

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Are Boards Implicated When Traders Lose $[3] Billion? (Part 2)

By Prof. Padfield Published: May 19, 2012

You can find my promised response to Prof. Bainbridge here.

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McCain and Whitehouse Support Campaign Finance Reform, Oppose Citizens United

By Wilson Huhn Published: May 19, 2012

 Rachel Leven at The Hill reports that Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court urging the Court to review and overturn its decision in Citizens United.

Leven quotes the Senators' brief as stating:

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Are Boards Implicated When Traders Lose $3 Billion?

By Prof. Padfield Published: May 18, 2012

I'm a bit tardy in passing on the post I put up on that topic last Saturday, which you can find here.

Stephen Bainbridge responded here.

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Cleveland-Marshall College of Law to Host Panel Discussion on "Crisis in the Courts"

By Prof. Padfield Published: May 18, 2012

On Thursday, May 31, from 11:30 to 2:00, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law will be hosting a panel discussion (with free Ohio CLE credits) entitled:

Crisis in the Courts: The New White House Push on Judicial Confirmations and the Vacancy Rate's Impact on Justice

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