News

Who Would Trump Name to Supreme Court? Here's His Short List

Who would Donald Trump appoint to the Supreme Court if he were president? The presumptive Republican nominee for president released a list of 11 potential justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House. News Channel 5 says the list includes Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas. 

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Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Nashville This Week

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Nashville at the end of this week in several criminal cases and one civil case. The court will consider whether a conviction for facilitation of possession with intent to deliver warrants the application of the sentence enhancements under the Drug Free School Zone Act, whether aggravated sexual battery is a lesser-included offense of rape of a child, and more. Oral arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Nashville Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Ave N. This is the first time Justice Roger A. Page will hear oral arguments as a member of the Supreme Court.  

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Op-ed: 'No Sane Judge' Would Pass Sanders' Test

Democratic Presidential contender Bernie Sanders last week said he would demand a public commitment that any U.S. Supreme Court nominee would vote to overturn a precedent Sanders did not like. An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times criticizes Sanders’ approach: "(It) is not just politically stupid; it undermines the independence of the judiciary.” The author adds, “No lawyer in his or her right mind would make such a commitment to a president or to the Senate.”

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Investiture for Justice Page Set for April 25

The investiture of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Roger A. Page by Gov. Bill Haslam will be held April 25 at 2 p.m. at the Mifflin Community Mall, 5330 Clifford Rd., in Luray. Page was sworn in during a private ceremony in February following his confirmation by the General Assembly. RSVP via email

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U.S. Circuit Judge Ted Milburn Dies

U.S. Circuit Judge H. Ted Milburn of Signal Mountain died on April 1. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1959, Milburn practiced law in Chattanooga and became a partner at Bishop, Thomas, Leitner, Mann and Milburn. He was appointed by Gov. Winfield Dunn to be a judge in Tennessee Circuit Court, Division III, Hamilton County in 1973 and won re-election to the position for two more terms. Milburn was later appointed in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan as the U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee sitting in Chattanooga; the next year, Reagan appointed him to a newly created seat as a U.S. Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He served on the court until 1996 when he took Senior Status. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be sent to Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvior Ave, Chattanooga, TN, 37411. Condolences may be posted online or shared with the family via e-mail

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4 New Cases to Get State Supreme Court Review

The Raybin-Perky Hotlist reviews and offers predictions in four new cases for which the Tennessee Supreme Court has recently granted review. Cases include: child custody, election disputes and return of seized property in criminal cases. The Hotlist offers a prediction as to how each case may be decided. 

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Portrait Unveiling for Judge Donald Set for April 22

A portrait unveiling ceremony for the Hon. Bernice Bouie Donald, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, is planned for April 22 at 2 p.m., in the Clifford Davis-Odell Horton Federal Building, 167 N. Main St., in Memphis. A reception will follow the event, according to the Memphis Bar Association. RSVP by Friday via e-mail or by calling 901-495-1239.

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Court Upholds Judicial Selection Plans

The Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the Tennessee Plan for judicial selection and validated the new process for selecting judges this week when it affirmed a trial court’s verdict in a suit filed by Sherrie L. Durham of Mount Juliet. The ruling, delivered by Special Judge Patricia Cottrell, also upheld the statutes providing for the appointment of special and senior judges. The judges agreed with the trial court that Durham lacked standing to challenge the general laws relating to the selection of judges, and that Executive Order 34, which established the Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments, was properly promulgated.

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Register Today for the 135th Annual TBA Convention

Join us on June 15-18 in Nashville for the 135th Annual Convention! Registration for the 2016 TBA Convention includes:

  • free access to all TBA CLE programming;
  • the Opening Reception;
  • the Bench Bar Programming and Luncheon;
  • Law School and general breakfasts;
  • the Lawyers Luncheon;
  • the Thursday evening Joint (TBA/TLAW/TABL) Reception;
  • the Thursday night dinner and entertainment at the George Jones Museum;
  • and the Friday night Dance Party.

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Lawyers Break Down Ruling on Public Access

Tennessee attorneys break down last week’s state Supreme Court decision on access to public records in The Tennessean, and suggest it was not a big step toward less disclosure, but instead a reinforcement of the status quo. "The wrinkle that makes this case a slight extension of the court’s previous decisions is the explicit summary of the records sought, which includes 'text messages received from third parties by Metro Police in the course of its investigation,' TBA Communications Law Section Chair John Williams told the newspaper.

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Bill Requiring Biologic Evidence Preservation Advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed a bill (SB 2342 / HB 2377) that would require biologic evidence collected in cases involving a death sentence to be preserved for the duration of defendant's life or incarceration, Nashville Scene reports. Senate committee members previously heard testimony from a man who was sentenced to death and spent more than 10 years in an Arizona prison for murder before biological evidence proved his innocence. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, is scheduled for a vote in a House subcommittee today.

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'Scalia-isms' Found in Vanderbilt Records Case

“Jiggery-pokery” and “pure applesauce” are what The Tennessean refers to as “Scalia-isms” in the recent state Supreme Court ruling that barred the newspaper and other media from requested evidence in the Vanderbilt rape case. Tennessee Justice Gary Wade, who authored a dissent, also cited a book co-authored by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in his argument that the majority overstepped its role.

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Book of Ginsburg's Writings Coming in 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will release a collection of speeches and writings in January 2017, the Associated Press reports. The book, “My Own Words,” will also include introductions and interview excerpts from Ginsburg’s authorized biographers.

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Obama Says Nominee Should Come Quickly

"I think it's important for me to nominate a Supreme Court nominee quickly because I think it's important for the Supreme Court to have its full complement of justices," President Barack Obama said today at a White House news conference. He added that he does not feel “constrained to a pool to draw from” following Senate Republicans’ plan to block the president’s nomination. The Associated Press shares a list of potential nominees.

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Lawyers to Obama: Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

Nearly 250 corporate lawyers sent a letter today to President Barack Obama and U.S. Senators urging the president to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. “…Nearly one third of all presidents have nominated a justice in an election year who was eventually confirmed,” the letter said. Read more from the ABA Journal.

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Court Reverses Dismissal of Suit, Says Claim Was Timely Filed Under Savings Statute

The Tennessee Supreme Court today reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a professional negligence lawsuit filed by Circle C Construction LLC against the Kentucky firm of Furman, Nilsen & Lomond PLLC. The firm represented Circle C in a case brought by the United States under the False Claims Act. Circle C appealed the federal court’s decision in the case and entered into an agreement with the firm that included a deadline for it to file a lawsuit against the firm that would extend 120 days after the appeal’s court issued a decision. Circle C voluntarily dismissed the negligence suit against the firm in 2012, but later refiled it in 2013 after the the decision was issued by the appeals court. The firm’s attorneys claimed that Circle C’s case was filed too late; the trial court and Court of Appeals agreed, dismissing the suit. Circle C appealed to the state Supreme Court, where justices ruled that the savings statute applies to the claim and it can proceed. Read the majority opinion in Circle C Construction, LLC v. D. Sean Nilsen et al., authored by Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee, and the separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, authored by Justice Holly Kirby.

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Harbison: Remembering Justice Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia "counted among his close friends fellow Justices Ruth Ginsberg and Elena Kagan, members of the court with whom he often disagreed," TBA President Bill Harbison writes in the new issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. "The ability to disagree without having the disagreement become personal is of immense importance in our system of justice." Read this and more in the March issue.

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Republican Nevada Governor Emerges as Possible Next Justice

The Washington Post reports President Barack Obama is considering Brian Sandoval, the centrist Republican governor of Nevada, as his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the nation’s High Court. The review process is in its initial phases and White House press secretary Josh Earnest has not commented on the consideration of Sandoval, a former federal judge.

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The Unlikely Friendship of Ginsburg and Scalia

“We were best buddies,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in a tribute to her longtime friend, Justice Antonin Scalia. The two shared more than opposite political leanings; they shared international trips, family holidays and a mutual respect for one another, Vox explains. “…When I wrote for the Court and received a Scalia dissent, the opinion ultimately released was notably better than my initial circulation,” she wrote.

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No Home for Justice Scalia's Papers

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia did not specify a home for his official papers before his death, according to the National Law Journal (sub. req.). Preservation of such documents is not governed by any law, and Scalia’s family and Library of Congress have not commented on the fate of the files. Scalia’s papers could include writings on landmark cases from Bush v. Gore in 2000 to decisions that upheld the Affordable Care Act.

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How the High Court Will Handle 4-4 Ties

How do you break a Supreme Court tie? The Court’s 4-4 rulings will be knocked back down to the lower circuit courts that had previously ruled on the cases, and those prior rulings will stand. But Media General points out that accepted cases often follow opposing rulings from several circuit courts, so a 4-4 scenario could institute conflicting precedents in different regions. Justices may also postpone hearings until the court is back at full capacity.

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Possible Supreme Court Nominees Surface in Wake of Scalia's Death

President Barack Obama said he will attempt to fill the Supreme Court vacancy within the last year of his presidency, despite Senate Republicans saying it is unlikely the nominee will be confirmed. NPR created a shortlist of potential nominees, including: Sri Srinivasan, a D.C. Circuit judge; Paul Watford, who was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit in 2012; and Patricia Ann Millett, who was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court in 2013. Presidential-hopeful Donald Trump announced his two potential nominees during the Republican debate Saturday: Judge Diane S. Sykes, a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Bill Pryor, former Alabama attorney general and a federal judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Law Newz reports.

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Scalia Remembered as 'Vigorous Constitutionalist'

"I think his legacy is about originalism," TBA President Bill Harbsion told The Tennessean when describing what he believes U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will be remembered for. Scalia died suddenly Saturday. He was nominated to the court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, was a vehement defender of the Constitution and leader of the court’s conservative bloc. While delivering the Constitution Day lecture at Rhodes College in Memphis last fall, Scalia argued against his fellow court members’ decision to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage. “He was a strong dissenter in our marriage case, but he had been on the court a very long time. I was sad to see that news [of his death],” said Harbison, who was part of the legal team in Obergefell v. Hodges. The Tennessean also talked to U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Vanderbilt law professor Brian Fitzpatrick, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

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Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, CNN reports. The regulations are on hold while the rules are challenged in court by a mostly Republican-led lawsuit from 29 states along with suits from organizations and industry groups. The states question the legality of the regulations. The four liberal justices on the court dissented from the order.

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Justice Thomas Silent During Oral Arguments for 10 Years

It’s been nearly 10 years since U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question during oral arguments, the ABA Journal reports. His last question was on Feb. 22, 2006, in a death penalty case. His reason: “I think we should listen to lawyers who are arguing their cases, and I think we should allow the advocates to advocate,” he said in 2013 at a Harvard Law School appearance.

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