Now that election fever is behind us, here's another instalment of Bits and Briefs to catch us up on some interesting current developments that we haven't yet addressed:
- On November 10, the Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously quashed a City of Oakville bylaw that attempted to reduce visual pollution by limiting billboard advertising. The Court held the enactment was "an unreasonable "intrusion" on the right to freedom of expression." See: Oakville loses bid to limit billboards - Toronto Star
- Prime Minister Harper indicates that scheduling public hearings on the pending Supreme Court of Canada appointment of Thomas J. Cromwell will be a priority when Parliament reconvenes November 18. See: New SCOC justice appointment top priority for Harper - Canada.com
- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument November 12 on a Utah appellate ruling that required Salt Lake City to permit the erection of a monument in a City public park by the small, Summom religious sect. Salt Lake City initially refused the monument, which is to be located in a park that already has a Ten Commandments display of similar size to the proposed Summom monument. A New York Times report says the case may be "the most important free speech decision of the term." See: From Tiny Sect, Weighty Issue for Justices
- After the success last week of California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the State, the California courts will once again be called upon to decide the issue - See: Legality of Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged - Washington Post
- MSNBC reports on the coming same-sex marriage debate in New York State. See: N.Y. eyes gay marriage but opponents vow fight
- A Washington D.C. District Court judge has ruled that two actions may continue against the Bush Administration to recover millions of missing email communications. See: White House Suffers Loss in Email Case - Wall Street Journal.
- On a related note, earlier this month another federal judge ordered the Bush administration to produce the infamous legal memos it relied upon in establishing its warrantless wiretapping procedures. See: Judge orders review of wiretap memos - MSNBC
- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will have opportunity to appoint numerous federal judges when he assumes office in January. See: Dozens of federal judgeship openings for Obama - AMERICABlog
- A Malaysian court has released one of the country’s leading bloggers, who had been held on doubtful national security claims. - See: Malaysian Court Frees Blogger Detained as Threat to Security - NY Times
- Killed by a shopping cart? Will Home Depot be liable in the death of a St. Augustine, Florida shopper who was allegedly struck by an over loaded shopping cart of another? It is alleged that the victim, an 80 year old lawyer, was injured in the collision, and subsequently died from surgical complications. See: Careless Shopping Cart Loading Alleged in Death Case - On Point News
- The ABA Journal offers a "legal futurist's" forecast of the imminent near-death of the legal profession, as we now know it. Soon, according to Richard Susskind, "conventional legal advisers will be much less prominent and legal services will be 'commoditized.'" See: Legal Futurist: ‘The Party is Now Over’
- In fact, U.S. law firms are genuinely feeling the pinch of the nation's economic difficulties. See: Even Law Firms Feel Strain of Layoffs and Cutbacks - NY Times
- CTV reports that General Motors shares hit 60-year low yesterday. In response, U.S. Democrats Seek Help for Automakers - NY Times
- As Ontario's distracted driving bill winds its way through the Provincial Legislature, the American Medical Association agrees that Texting while driving is bad and supports state legislation banning the practice.
- Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie wins rave reviews for humour in a speech at a Hastings County Law Association function. See Supreme Court justice ... and a comic - Belleville Intelligencer
- Learn more about Using Google to Research Case Law - Devin Johnston
- Finally, it probably isn't such a good idea for a law firm to offer a retiring judge a position - in the middle of a trial the firm is arguing before him. "'Cupo spent over $250,000 to have his case against Lawrence Denike tried to conclusion and now as a direct result of the actions of Thomas J. Herten, Esq., and the Defendant law firm of Herten, Burstein, Sheridan, Cevasco, Bottinelli, Litt & Harz, LLC, he must spend additional funds for the retrial,"' reads the complaint in Cupo v. Herten." See: Firm Sued for Offering Job to Judge While He Sat on One of Its Cases - Law.com
That should do it for now. Happy reading.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto