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Posts Tagged ‘Courts’

BBC criticised over Hallowe’en coverage [via the BBC]

British Christian groups are attacking what they say is the BBC’s inappropriate level of coverage of paganism and a drop in Christian-oriented programming. Critics cite specifically a recent program covering a coven’s Samhain celebrations in light of the government’s recent decision to officially grant religious status to the Druid Network. “I understand the BBC might choose to concentrate on something for one day, but I consider it to be symptomatic of a much bigger problem across the BBC,” Mike Judge, spokesman for the Christian Institute, said. “They down-play Christianity and up-play paganism which is unreflective of British society. It does create an atmosphere where it’s OK to marginalise Christians.”

4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case [via The New York Times]

Justice Paul Wooten of New York’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a 4-year-old girl who two years ago was racing her bike down a Manhattan sidewalk and allegedly struck and knocked down an 87-year-old woman can in fact be sued for negligence — although her parents are the liable party. The woman, Claire Menagh, suffered a hip fracture and underwent surgery, dying three months after the incident of unrelated causes. Courts have previously ruled that children under the age of four are incapable of negligence, but Wooten held this did not apply to the girl because she was four years of age.

Beyond ABCs of Lady Gaga to the Sociology of Fame [via The New York Times]

The University of South Carolina will offer a class on Lady Gaga in the spring which the professor hopes will move past superficial examinations of the pop singer and reach deeper issues about sociology and fame. “The central objective is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga,” professor Mathieu Deflem said. “I will get the word out to her that I’m doing the course, but it might be logistically too difficult for her to come.”

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Apparently the job market is tough even in the federal judiciary. According to the Los Angeles Times, approximately one in eight federal judge positions are vacant “and legal scholars warn that the increasingly politicized confirmation process threatens the administration of justice across the nation.”

There’s blame to go around — Democrats say Republicans are childishly stalling judicial nominations; Republicans say it’s payback for Dems dragging their feet on some Bush nominees and Obama has failed to make non-Supreme Court appointments a priority. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has an excellent analysis of the blame game (“not all blame is created equal,” she writes). Whatever the reason, and despite ideology, Lithwick argues, courts matter, and conservatives have a much better mastery of the judiciary’s importance.

~~~Whatever side you’re on, the fight over gay marriage will be decided in the courts, as will the fight over regulating carbon emissions. The Voting Rights Act and health care reform laws are under attack in the courts, but so are Arizona’s immigration reform and Chicago’s new gun laws. Whether you support Obama’s legislative agenda or abhor it, having properly functioning courts should matter, because today in America every single legislative action has an equal and opposite legal reaction.

With that in mind, here are a few people who would make excellent judges (if you’re willing to look past their lack of law degrees or fictionality).

Chelsea Handler

She’s funny, sure, but what else would comedienne Chelsea Handler bring to the bench? Primarily, the ability to cut through the bullshit and call out her courtroom. She’s impartial, too, as evidenced by her recent evisceration of guest commentator T.J. Miller for speaking too slowly (he deserved it; “Chelsea Lately” is a spitfire pop culture commentary show, not some stoner sitcom). Chelsea is both experienced in life and hilarious on camera — providing she’s not doing pre-scripted stand-up. Keep her away from any opening statements and she would fill out a frilly robe nicely.

Jed Bartlett

Come on! He’s the perfect president: articulate, sophisticated, intelligent, analytical, learned, humorous, economic, diplomatic — and the worst thing that happened during his presidency was one little MS fiasco that ended suddenly when the ratings began to fall. He’s cheerful even in bad times, he can spew Latin at God and he certainly doesn’t pander to religious forces. Plus, he’s the smoothest-talking president since Bill Clinton. Sure, he’d have his detractors on the right (I can already hear “activist judge” echoing in the background) but you just can’t say no to a Novel Prize in Economics.

Glenn Close

While we’re on “The West Wing,” let’s take a look at the actress who played the new Supreme Court chief appointed by Bartlett, Glenn Close. Not the character herself; Evelyn Baker Lang appeared in a grand total of one episode, appropriate considering the relative insignificance of the Supreme Court. No, I’m talking about her other characters, rolled into one: I’m talking Cruella de Vil. I’m talking Patty Hewes. I’m talking Vice President Kathryn Bennett, who could jump out of a helicopter while requesting a status update and never got her blouse wet.

Jane Bingum

If you’re not familiar, Jane Bingum, portrayed by Brooke Elliot on Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva,” is actually a dead model who was accidentally sent into the body of lawyer Jane. She has her model memories but a lawyer’s knowledge, letting her do her job. Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far you can truly suspend your disbelief! In any event, Jane is for some reason an excellent lawyer — her lawsuits always get trial time immediately, and even though most of her suits are civil there is still always a jury that makes its decisions based on how strongly they empathize with Jane’s client rather than the facts of the case. Anyone who can successfully pull off lipstick lawsuits can handle the crap thrown at the judiciary these days.

Justin Bieber

If there’s one thing the courts need, it’s youth. Who better than current youth Justin Bieber? He’s got a babyface and a rapidly deepening voice to accompany it. Furthermore, anyone willing to ride in a tram pushed by Tina Fey deserves to make rulings about arcane tax laws and interstate commerce violations. Plus, he has a small but significant judicial track record, writing opinions in cases such as Baby, Baby vs. Playing It Cool, Stupid vs. Cupid and Omaha vs. The Mall. [A note in my defense: I had to look up Justin Bieber lyrics, I swear].

Lisbeth Salander

The Girl Who Hit Her Gavel Too Hard. She was wrongly pegged as a psychopath, when technically she’s really more of a sociopath. As Stieg Larsson made painfully clear, Lisbeth is tough and subscribes to her own style of virtual street justice, taking down those who wrong her by hacking their tax returns and tipping off the authorities. Her eidetic memory will help her recall obscure case law and formulate opinions, and how goth would she look in a flowing black robe?

Judge Fudge

Judge Fudge already has experience on the bench. The only reason to hesitate appointing him would be his schedule — he’s far too busy being delicious.

Orly Taitz

Because it would be funny.

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