/ February 4, 2014

Episode 10: High Fives, High Beams, High Courts

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I’m joined today by Fastcase black letter content guru Deb “Kat Chow” Letz who says that you should subscribe to The Law Review Podcast on iTunes or she’ll be very cross with you.

1. Slap hands, bro. Courtney Allen Curtis [D], a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, recently introduced House Bill No. 1624, amending the state code to read:

The “high five” is selected for and shall be known as the official state greeting in the state of Missouri.

Allegedly it’s sort of a joke, but I hope it passes anyway. Rep. Curtis can reportedly be seen slapping hands around the floor of the House with some frequency.

2. Speaking of fun Missouri laws, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Missouri thinks it’s possible that defendants could prevail on a claim that flashing high beams is an expression of protected speech. This is interesting because we’re really talking about an act intended to bring someone into conformity with the law, which often gets statutory carve outs in state statutes. I also wonder about implications of things like DUI checkpoint warning apps (arguably a different analysis as these people could not really be brought into conformity with the law but rather can just try to avoid detection?).

3. The Justices have been giving talks all over the country during the SCOTUS recess and Justice Alito said yesterday in Florida that he’s cool with people hating on the Court. “There is a reason why the Constitution gives federal judges life tenure. We are supposed to do our jobs without worrying whether our decisions are pleasing to anybody.” Feeling whole-heartedly seconded. Coming from a practice in Pennsylvania state courts, I’ve felt the struggle of elected judges who clearly feel the pressure of a popular election. Keep calm and cert on, Justice Alito.

4. Eugene Volokh writes about the odd practice of PA trial court judges asking intermediate appellate courts to deny appeals in the absence of written opinions. Typically, the language is along the lines of, “This Court respectfully requests that the instant appeal be denied for the following reason(s):” I used to see this all the time and I just brushed it off as typical Pennsylvania attorney verbosity. Curious whether anyone actually thinks this is an inappropriate prayer given that in PA, criminal defendants have a right of first appeal.

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