Remember Shea’s post about same-sex marriage and how the AOC has advised magistrates that they could face criminal prosecution if they refused to marry same-sex couples? State Senator Phil Berger has announced plans to file a bill to allow officials with religious objections to opt out of performing such marriages. The News and Observer story about the matter makes clear that if such a bill is enacted, it will be challenged in court.
In other news:
Law school, now cheaper and more flexible. The News and Observer reports here that Elon Law is cutting tuition and shortening its program to 2.5 years, while Campbell is admitting students on a flexible schedule model that allows them to obtain their degrees over five years. This is part of a national re-examination of the law school business model, prompted by declining applicant pools and limited job opportunities on graduation. The Wall Street Journal Law Blog notes some of the developments in other states here.
Supreme Court to examine officers’ access to hotel registries. The Court granted certiorari in City of Los Angeles v. Patel, covered here on SCOTUSblog. In a nutshell, Los Angeles has an ordinance that requires hotels to allow law enforcement officers to inspect their registries upon request. But does the hotel have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the registries such that the Fourth Amendment is implicated by these warrantless and unconsented examinations? Sounds like a narrow question, but the opinion potentially could have a broader impact on the treatment of information that is compiled as a result of customers’ interactions with businesses – information like cell site location information and other telecommunications records.
Pope on LWOP: Nope. Pope Francis recently announced that while the death penalty is OK if necessary, in practice it is rarely if ever necessary, and for that matter, neither is life without parole. Agree or disagree with his views on those issues, the Pope seems like an interesting guy who isn’t afraid to stir the pot.
Do hotly contested elections make judges anti-defendant? Yes, according to a new study of state supreme court elections summarized here at Sentencing Law & Policy. The general idea is that no candidate wants to be called soft on crime, but especially not in a state where lots of money and lots of TV ads are deployed in judicial elections and negative characterizations can tip the balance. The study finds that candidates in states with more ads are less likely to vote in favor of criminal defendants.
Dogs on the supreme court vs. goats singing Bon Jovi. Many readers may be familiar with John Oliver’s recent comic segment, re-enacting a Supreme Court argument using dogs in place of the Justices and attorneys. It’s here for those who missed it, and it’s pretty funny even if in questionable taste. However, it was only my second-favorite animal-related comic video of the week. Far and away my top choice was this clip of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer featuring goats performing key parts of the chorus. It’s only 28 seconds – if you have any appreciation for Bon Jovi, goats, or weird stuff that one can find on the internet, it will be time well spent.