I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas in October yesterday, and took the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2015 term.
Thanks to this story by Dan Boyd in the Albuquerque Journal, I’ve learned that Governor Susana Martinez filed this amicus curiae brief last month in the U.S. Supreme Court to support the petitioners in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, an important case dealing with the intersection between labor law and the First Amendment. The questions presented in that case are as follows:
(1) Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and
(2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.
If you know of any other amicus curiae briefs with a New Mexico connection that have been filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit, or any other appellate court, please drop me a line, because I’ll be glad to consider linking to them here.
On Monday of this week, the Tenth Circuit heard oral argument in State of New Mexico v. U.S. Department of the Interior, a case about Pojoaque Pueblo’s dispute with the State of New Mexico over its gambling pact.
Dan Elliott has this story about the argument in the Albuquerque Journal. The panel hearing the case consists of Judges Jerome Holmes, Carolyn McHugh, and Nancy Moritz.
Links to the briefs in this case are posted at the Turtle Talk blog.
On Tuesday, the Tenth Circuit heard oral argument in ex-Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella’s appeal from convictions stemming from a road rage incident, in which Rodella allegedly threatened a young motorist with a gun.
KOB4 has this report of the oral argument, which was heard by Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe (on her last day of service as Chief Judge), and Judges David Ebel and Robert Bacharach.
It’s oral argument week at the Tenth Circuit, and Ivan Morena has this report at the Farmington Daily Times about yesterday’s oral argument in Felix v. City of Bloomfield, which was heard by Judges Robert Bacharach, David Ebel, and Carolyn McHugh.
In this case, the City of Bloomfield, New Mexico is asking the Tenth Circuit to overturn an order prohibiting it from keeping a monument containing the Ten Commandments on city property.
The ABA’s Council of Appellate Lawyers has published the Summer 2015 edition of their journal, Appellate Issues, which you can read at this link.
The theme of this edition is “The Appellate Record: Adequate or Not?” and includes a number of interesting articles about the record on appeal, including the extent to which appellate judges should conduct Internet research.
And whatever you do, don’t miss the article about the “Red Tie Guy” on page 72.
Hat tip to Steve Klepper of the Maryland Appellate Blog.
Justice Bosson will give a talk on his “Reflections from the Bench” at the Albuquerque Bar Association’s luncheon on Tuesday, October 6, at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m., and will be followed by a CLE program, “What Every Lawyer Needs to Know: Criminal Law,” from 1:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
You can register to attend the luncheon at this link.
According to this report by Julia Dendinger in the Valencia County News-Bulletin, the New Mexico Court of Appeals issued an oral ruling reviving the Village of Los Lunas’ challenge to Valencia County’s decision which paves the way for a hospital to be built in the City of Belen. Evidently, the Village would prefer that the hospital be built in Los Lunas.
Los Lunas filed suit against Valencia County, arguing that one of the county commissioners who voted in favor of the Belen hospital location had moved out of his district, and was thus no longer eligible to serve as a county commissioner at the time of the vote. The district court had dismissed Los Lunas’ complaint for lack of standing.
On appeal, Los Lunas argued that it had standing under New Mexico’s “great public importance” doctrine, in which courts can confer standing on parties to challenge actions that implicate the nature of representative government. The Court of Appeals agreed that Los Lunas has standing, and has remanded the case for further proceedings.
A notable feature of this case is that the Court of Appeals issued an oral ruling shortly after the oral argument concluded. I don’t know if a written opinion will follow.
Ms. Dendinger’s report is much more comprehensive than the usual news stories about appellate oral arguments, and for that the New Mexico Appellate Law Blog congratulates her, and encourages all New Mexico reporters to emulate her fine example.
As we count down to Christmas in October, here is Charlie Rose’s interview with Justice Breyer about his new book, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities, in which he makes the case that American courts need to gain a better awareness of how American laws interact with foreign laws.
We’re now two weeks away from Christmas in October (also known as the First Monday in October, or the first day of SCOTUS’s October 2015 Term), the best day of the year for appellate lawyers!
For those of you who just cannot wait, here is a video of a conversation between Justice Elena Kagan and Martha Minow, the dean of Harvard Law School, to help tide you over.
Hat tip to How Appealing.
On Wednesday, the New Mexico Court of Appeals issued Couch v. Williams, written by Judge Bustamante. The case contains at least two points of interest:
1. Post-judgment motions filed under NMSA 1978, Section 39-1-1 are not governed by the standards that apply to Rule 1-060(B) motions.
2. Where a district court imposes a default judgment as a discovery sanction, the defaulted party may still contest the amount of damages.
I won’t offer any opinions about this case, since my firm was retained after the discovery sanctions were imposed, and I am counsel for appellants.