Episode 23: SCOTUS to Consider Right of Inmates to Bear Beards?

It’s snowing out so I’m in my home office watching the snow fall and being thankful that I don’t have to be outside today. Would you consider warming me up by¬†subscribing to the podcast and rating us five stars on iTunes?

1. This interesting Op-Ed piece at the Times considers whether the super wealthy should be allowed to use the judiciary in secret (for a price, of course). Specifically, it examines a 2009 law allowing litigants to essentially rent out judges and courtrooms for secret binding arbitration purposes. I can think of some good reasons for and against I’ll likely discuss in the ‘cast.

2. We talked about this on an earlier podcast, but just a follow-up that the Supreme Court of New Jersey is hearing arguments today on whether a defendant’s rap lyrics are admissible as substantive evidence. I continue to be baffled about the relevancy issue.

3. Kat Chow points us to this Slate piece urging President Obama to issue an executive order calling for a redesign of the American Passport. I sort of think it’s complaining for the sake of complaining. I dig my Passport.

4. When I moved to Florida for college (from Massachusetts where we have incredibly strict alcohol purchasing regulations) I remember having my mind blown when I learned about drive-thru liquor stores. Similarly, my mind was once again blown when I read this article about a drive-thru (okay, walk-thru) traffic ticket payment service in Pasadena. The Court claims the installation of the service window has cut down the traditionally very long wait times, but didn’t seem to offer any hard data on the reduction. Do these people have e-Ticket payment? I can pay my parking tickets in New York online in about 10 minutes even if I lose the actual ticket. I mean, not that I ever get parking tickets.

5. The Supreme Court of the United States has granted a hand-written cert petition by an Arkansas prisoner claiming that even though he’s incarcerated, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ensures him the right to grow his beard for religious purposes. LawProf Douglas Laycock from the University of Virginia filed a supplemental brief with SCOTUS pointing out that there’s a legitimate circuit split on this issue, and is now representing Mr. Holt.

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