- The U.S. Senate convenes today at 9:30 a.m., with the first issue of the day being H.R.1586, the legislative vehicle to ship federal taxpayer dollars to the states for Medicaid and local teacher funding. Democratic leadership hopes to reach an agreement on the final confirmation vote for Elena Kagan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her confirmation is a done deal, but we'll be watching to see if U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's overturning of California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages, emerges as a point of debate. SFGate.com has Walker's 138-page ruling here as a .pdf.
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is ecstatic about another woman serving on the court, New York Daily News reports. Since we're now determining the merit of nominations based on demographics, consider this fact: Kagan's confirmation would make it four justices from New York City on the court.
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Chevron: Outtakes prove collusion with expert," reports on the company's filing in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, based on outtakes from "Crude," that showed trial lawyers orchestrating an "independent" special master's report on environmental damage in Ecuador. (See earlier POL post.) The lawyers' reliably bumptious flack, Karen Hinton, says in effect, "Who you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?" Just read Chevron's memorandum. (More at Shopfloor, "Chevron 'Cherrypicks' Film Footage? That's Hilarious.")
- Legal NewsLine (U.S. Chamber), "Trial lawyer tax break attracts attention of two dozen senators." Twenty-four Republicans Senators led by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota send a letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner warning against granting the $1.6 billion deduction for expenses from contingency-fee lawsuits. Yes, not only is it bad policy, as John Park of the Heritage Foundation explained recently, it's bad politics for the Democrats. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) went after his Democratic opponent, Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin, on the issue, an attack made more stinging because she's the former president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
- Politico reports on the ubiquitous campaign "trackers," digitally recording candidate events in the hopes someone says or does something OUTRAGEOUS. GOP trackers were at the American Association for Justice's convention in Vancouver, B.C., Politico claims: "In that instance, the National Republican Senatorial Committee had actually deployed several teams of trackers to Vancouver, British Columbia, after discovering that numerous Democratic Senate nominees from across the country would be attending fundraisers held at a trial lawyers convention."
- Every so often it's an informative exercise to do an online news search for the phrase, "class-action lawsuit." Also gulp-inducing: "Toyota and lawsuit."
- And to circle back to the top, let's thank Congress for spending federal dollars to pay for local teacher salaries and benefits. Otherwise, teacher unions would sue. Like this: "The Chicago Teachers Union has filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools in an attempt to halt the dismissals of hundreds of teachers and support staff." It's a due process claim.
Around the web, August 5
- Chevron-Ecuador and Steven Donziger update
- Wherein Max Kennerly attacks a strawman
- New leadership at trial lawyers
- Vice President Raises Funds from Trial Lawyers in Chicago
- The debate continues over New York's "scaffold law"
- Plaintiffs' attorneys against voter ID
- Lawyers and law firms contribute heavily to the presidential campaign
- Trial lawyer membership on the skids
- Albany's 11th-hour gift to the trial bar
- Stratus Consulting and Chevron-Ecuador
- Judge orders end to trial reservation system in Madison County asbestos docket
- Around the web, March 13
- Ninth Circuit finds Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional
- Setback for Chevron in fraudulent Ecuador litigation
- Legitimacy of Cordray confirmation under the microscope