Faculty Blog, Singer

Decoding Judge Kavanaugh’s “Open Mind” on Supreme Court Cameras

In one of the more substantive moments of this month’s Supreme Court Confirmation Theater, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was asked whether he would support broadcasting video of the Supreme Court’s oral arguments. Kavanaugh demurred, saying only that he would keep “an open mind” on the issue. Given that most members of the Supreme Court have come… Continue reading Decoding Judge Kavanaugh’s “Open Mind” on Supreme Court Cameras

Faculty Blog, Federal Courts, New England Law Review, Singer, U.S. Supreme Court

Faculty Blog: Spokeo v. Robins: Two Challenges to Identity

Even in the age of social media and internet searches, in which our public and private lives are increasingly (and often voluntarily) blurred, there is still something jarring about learning that your identity has been misrepresented or misconstrued. For Thomas Robins, that moment came when Spokeo, Inc., a “people search engine,” assembled an online profile of him that contained an array of incorrect information, including inaccurate statements of his age, family status, wealth, and education. Robins responded by filing a class action complaint against Spokeo in federal district court, alleging that Spokeo’s willful failure to check the accuracy of his personal information entitled him to statutory damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA). The district court originally dismissed the case for lack of standing, finding that while the FCRA conferred a private right of action against reporting agencies like Spokeo that failed to comply with the Act’s statutory requirements, Robins himself had not suffered an “injury in fact.” In particular, Robins could not point to any concrete harm he had suffered as a result of the incorrect reporting. The Ninth Circuit reversed, concluding that the FCRA had conferred a right upon Robins to be free from false reporting, and that Robins had sufficiently alleged that Spokeo had violated his individual statutory rights by misreporting information. But on May 16, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s opinion by a 6-2 vote, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Federal Courts, Judges, Judicial Elections, Singer, U.S. Supreme Court

Faculty Blog: Recent Supreme Court Term: The Supreme Court Openly Challenges Its Own Legacy

One of the more politically opportune reactions to the final week of the Supreme Court Term came from Senator Ted Cruz. His proposal: a Constitutional amendment that would replace life tenure for the Supreme Court with periodic retention elections. Under the Cruz plan, each Justice would face the voters in the second national election after initial confirmation, and every eight years thereafter. Justices would need a simple majority of “retain” votes to stay on the bench. Justices who are not retained would be replaced and would not be eligible for reappointment. The Senator couched his proposal as a response to “a long line of judicial assaults on our Constitution and the common-sense values that have made America great.” Offering some red meat for his conservative base, he added that retention elections would provide a remedy for “the decisions that have deformed our constitutional order and have debased our culture” by “giving the people the regular, periodic power to pass judgment on the judgments of their judges.”

Faculty Blog, Singer, Uncategorized

Faculty Blog: In Memoriam: Dan Markel (1972-2014)

by: Jordan Singer

Those inside and outside the legal academy are still coming to terms with the sudden and tragic loss of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel, who was shot and killed at his Tallahassee home on Friday. Dan touched the lives of hundreds of students and colleagues. I was fortunate to know him since law school, and wanted to share some (admittedly scattered) memories of a friend lost too soon. Even as a 1L, when most of us felt uncertain and trembling about our career decisions (or even just making it through the next class), Dan carried a certain unusual confidence. In criminal law, he argued in favor of sending people to “virtue schools.” He lugged his old Macintosh laptop to all classes, dragging the plug carefully across the floor behind his classmates’ chairs. On Saturday afternoons after synagogue, he was known to offer friends a mean vegetarian chopped liver. He was a character, and a sincere one.