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Anti-gay-marriage groups look for Ariz. redemption
Legal News | 2008/10/30 16:43
Arizona has been a disappointment to anti-gay marriage activists since 2006, when the state became the first in the nation to reject a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage.

Those same opponents are hoping for redemption Tuesday, when Arizona voters again will have to decide whether they want the state's constitution to be amended to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

"It actually helped us out having it fail the first time because it allowed us to raise more money," said state Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican and prime sponsor of this year's measure, which was put on the ballot by the Legislature. "It just motivates people to put the remote down, get out of the La-Z-Boy and do something."

Twenty-seven states have approved anti-gay marriage ballot measures, including seven in 2006. Similar measures are being considered in California and Florida this year.

Although Arizona voters turned down the 2006 measure, there is a big difference between that one and this year's measure, Proposition 102.



Supreme Court to review decision on Navy sonar use
Legal News | 2008/06/21 15:51
The Supreme Court announced Monday it will step into a dispute over the Navy's use of sonar off the Southern California coast and its potential harm to dolphins and whales.

Acting at the Bush administration's urging, the court will review a federal appeals court ruling that limits the use of sonar in training seminars. The administration says the decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco jeopardizes the Navy's ability to train sailors and Marines for service in wartime.

The government also contends that national security interests can trump those of marine mammals, and that its use of mid-frequency sonar in training exercises hasn't caused any documented harm to dolphins or beaked whales in the waters where they're conducted. Arguments will take place in the next court term, beginning in October.



Top Law Schools Tighten Hold on NLJ 250 Firms
Legal News | 2008/04/14 15:04
A bigger percentage of students graduating from top law schools in 2007 took jobs at NLJ 250 law firms than those graduating in 2006.

Columbia Law School landed in the No. 1 spot again as the school thatsent the greatest portion of graduates to NLJ 250 law firms, withnearly 75 percent of its students in 2007 taking jobs among thenation's largest law firms. The school ranked No. 1 last year, when69.6 percent of its graduates went to NLJ 250 law firms. Boston CollegeLaw School rounded at the list of the top 20 go-to law schools, with36.8 percent of its 261 juris doctor graduates in 2007 heading forfull-time jobs at NLJ 250 law firms.

All together, the top 20 law schools that NLJ 250 law firms relied onmost to fill their first-year associate ranks sent 54.9 percent oftheir graduates to those firms, compared with 51.6 percent in 2006.

This year's list of go-to schools was compiled from recruiting information that law firms provided on the 2007 NLJ 250, The National Law Journal's annual survey of the nation's largest law firms.

In 2007, the top 20 schools sent 3,511 of their graduates to work asfirst-year associates at NLJ 250 law firms. Total graduates among thoseschools in 2007 equaled 6,395. In 2006, the 20 go-to law schools sent3,561 to NLJ 250 law firms out of 6,902 graduates.

Making a big jump in its percentage of graduates accepting positions atNLJ 250 firms was Northwestern University School of Law. It took theNo. 2 spot, compared with No. 11 the year before. Some 73.5 percent ofits 2007 graduates went to NLJ 250 firms, or 172 graduates out of atotal of 234. The year before, 143 graduates out of 265 went to NLJ 250firms, which equaled 54 percent.



Is Schwarzenegger Serious About Taxing Lawyers?
Legal News | 2008/03/25 16:08

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a $16 billion budget deficitdilemma on his hands. He insists he doesn't want to cut education. Buthe proclaims with equal fervor that he won't raise taxes.

So what's a post-partisan governor to do? Close tax loopholes, of course.

Now one governor's loophole may be another politician's tax increase.But according to two media outlets, Schwarzenegger told the audience ata Pleasant Hill, Calif., budget forum last Wednesday that the state should consider closing tax loop-holes and in his mind that includes the lack of a sales tax on professional services -- including legal services.

"We have to look at the way we are taxing," Schwarzenegger is reportedas saying. "There's whole new economies that are developing,service-oriented economies."

Asked about the comments on Thursday, finance department spokesman H.D.Palmer said the governor was just explaining that there are a lot ofdeficit-eliminating ideas "out there."

"Basically, it was in the context of we ought to have everything on thetable as we ought to be having discussions about them sooner ratherthan later," Palmer said. "But we're not carrying a bill in our backpocket, if that's what you're asking."



Attorney Is Disbarred for the Second Time
Legal News | 2008/03/24 21:16

A one-time law firm associate, disbarred in 1988 for insider trading, then re-admitted in 2003, has been disbarred again for misrepresenting his past in applications both for reinstatement and for non-legal licenses to work as an insurance agent and a stock broker.

Israel G. Grossman committed his insider trading offenses while working as an associate at the firm now known as Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. The confidential information he passed to friends and family about transactions the firm was working on netted them $1.5 million in trading profits.

Arrested and convicted in 1987, the then-34-year-old Grossman was sentenced to two years in prison. He was also later found jointly and severally liable to the Securities and Exchange Commission for $2.5 million. The case attracted considerable attention at the time, coming soon after prosecutors ensnared the much larger insider trading ring led by investment banker Dennis Levine.

But the Appellate Division, 1st Department, ruled last week that the now 55-year-old Grossman had consistently denied having a prior conviction on professional licensing applications to the state insurance department and the National Association of Securities Dealers. He failed to disclose these applications in his successful quest for reinstatement to the bar in 2003, even though he was facing criminal prosecution at the time for allegedly lying to the NASD about his past.



High Court Agrees to Hear Indecency Case
Legal News | 2008/03/18 00:00
The Supreme Court will decide whether it is indecent when some foul-mouthed celebrity drops the "F-word" on live television, stepping into its first major broadcast indecency case in 30 years.

The high court said Monday it will hear arguments in a case over whether the government can ban "fleeting expletives," one-time uses of familiar but profane words.

The case grew out of decision by the Federal Communications Commission in 2006 that two broadcasts of the "Billboard Music Awards" show were indecent, though the agency levied no fines. Cher uttered one fleeting expletive beginning with "F" and Nicole Richie uttered a variation of the same word and another one beginning with "S."

Fox Broadcasting Co. and others appealed the decision, saying that the agency had changed its enforcement policy without warning and that the new ban was unconstitutional.

A federal appeals court in New York agreed, 2-1, throwing out the ban and sending the case back to the agency, which appealed to the Supreme Court.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told The Associated Press Monday that he was pleased the justices are stepping in. He said the appeals court had "put the commission in an untenable position" by giving it the responsibility to enforce indecency rules but not the tools to take action.



Attorney General To Argue a Case Before High Court
Legal News | 2008/03/13 21:35

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, who spent most of his adult life as a federal prosecutor and a judge, will return to the courtroom later this month to argue a case before the Supreme Court, officials said yesterday.

Mukasey will urge the justices to reinstate a sentence overturned by an appeals court in the case of Ahmed Ressam, an al-Qaeda operative convicted of a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport in 1999.

The last attorney general to handle a case before the high court was Janet Reno in 1996, court officials said. William P. Barr and Richard Thornburgh also argued cases while serving as attorneys general in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

Justice Department spokesman Peter A. Carr said there is a custom, not always followed, for attorneys general to argue at least one Supreme Court case during their term. He declined to comment on why Mukasey chose the Ressam case.

Mukasey, 66, is a retired federal judge who oversaw several high-profile terrorism-related trials while on the bench in New York City. He is scheduled to appear for Supreme Court arguments on March 25 and plans to conduct moot-court sessions to prepare, officials said.

Ressam was arrested near the U.S.-Canada border in December 1999 after customs agents found 124 pounds of explosives in the trunk of his car as he disembarked from a ferry in Port Angeles, Wash. He was convicted in 2001 of nine charges in connection with the plot, but after ceasing cooperation with the FBI was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2005.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit threw out the sentence in 2007 after finding that one of the charges was applied improperly. The federal government disagrees and wants the sentence reinstated.



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