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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Editorials and Opinion


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Editorial: Climate change demands response and adaptation (Knoxville News Sentinel [TN] , 05/15/14)
"Tennessee and the rest of the Southeast will see erratic weather patterns and numerous environmental changes in the coming decades, according to a recently released federal report on climate change."

Editorial: Rubio wrong on climate change denial (Palm Beach Post [FL], 05/15/14)

Rubio's climate-change doubts ignore science: Editorial (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 05/15/14)
"[T]he freshman Republican senator from Florida discountedthe views of the vast majority of the world's climate scientists, who say human activity is contributing to climate change and rising sea levels.... Leaders face problems. They don't duck them."

Editorial Don't hold David Barron's judicial nomination hostage (Los Angeles Times, 05/14/14)
"[C]oncerns are threatening to derail the appointment of David J. Barron, President Obama's choice to serve as a judge on the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ...If senators want to read Barron's actual legal analysis, the administration has said they may peruse his writings privately before voting on the nomination. Instead of blocking Barron's nomination, they should take the administration up on its offer and move to a vote."

Editorial: NC needs a stronger response to climate change (News & Observer [NC], 05/14/14)
"The message behind that evidence is clear: Reduce the release of gases that are warming the earth and get ready to cope with the effects of climate change that are already in motion and inevitable. ... Despite the emerging threats, North Carolina’s leaders from the governor through the General Assembly down to many coastal communities are not sufficiently focused on preparing for climate change."

David Barron should be confirmed to US Court of Appeals (Boston Globe, 05/13/14)
Charles Fried and Laurence H. Tribe: "ALTHOUGH THE two of us frequently approach legal questions from different perspectives, and just as often disagree about the best answers to those questions, we share a respect for our Constitution and a reverence for the judicial process. That’s why, in spite of our disagreements, we agree that Harvard Law School professor David Barron is exceptionally well-qualified to hold a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and that the Senate should promptly confirm him."

91-0 (Southern District of Florida Blog, 05/12/14)
David Markus: "That was the vote today, confirming Robin Rosenbaum to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (filling Judge Rosemary Barkett's seat). CONGRATS TO JUDGE ROSENBAUM. She's only 47 years old and will be on the court a long time, helping to reshape it with other moderate judges appointed by President Obama -- Judges Jordan and Martin. Now another seat opens up on the district bench."

Editorial: Judge rightly lets environmental groups in on coal ash case (Winston-Salem Journal [NC] , 05/12/14)
"Cheers to Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, whose ruling last week will allow environmental groups to have access to documents from Duke Energy and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources relating to groundwater leaching from the company’s coal ash dumps. Ridgeway ruled that a coalition of environmental groups can participate in the state’s enforcement action against Duke Energy for the leaching, ...That’s how it should be. Good for Judge Ridgeway."

Why Civil Libertarians and Drone Critics Should Support David Barron (Just Security, 05/12/14)
David Cole: "I have been as much a critic of the drones program as Sen. Paul, and have written often about my critiques of both the apparent scope of the program and the lack of transparency surrounding it. (See here, here & here). I continue to support transparency. But it would be a terrible mistake to hold up David Barron’s nomination over this issue. First, and most importantly, it is a mistake to conflate the issues of the appointment of David Barron and disclosure of the memos. Barron is a highly qualified lawyer who I know personally to be thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, and brilliant. ,,,Second, the administration has in fact made available to all Senators any and all memos Barron wrote concerning the targeting of al-Awlaki ... it is a huge mistake to let our legitimate concerns about transparency get in the way of the confirmation of a judge who will faithfully protect our liberties and hold government accountable – especially when the Senate already has been given access to all the information they need to exercise their “advise and consent” role. As a civil libertarian and drone critic, I have no hesitation in saying that David Barron should be confirmed."

David Barron, Targeted Killing, and Rand Paul’s Wrongheaded Oped (Lawfare, 05/12/14)
Benjamin Wittes: Sen. "Paul’s oped at several points, including his opening sentence, conflates the asserted need to see the memos with both the substance of the issues in question and with Barron’s fitness to be a judge. It’s worth keeping these separate.... The problem, rather, is the combination of the imputation of presidential policy to Justice Department lawyers asked to evaluate legal questions and the willful misrepresentation of the legal views those lawyers generate to make what is actually cautious and restrained seem lawless and enabling of unbridled presidential power."

Editorial: Addressing global climate change (Dallas Morning News, 05/11/14)
"The Obama administration outlined a number of steps it is taking to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions, make cars and buildings more energy efficient, and tighten pollution standards. Those are all laudable steps, especially considering the outsized percentage of global emissions that come from this country. But it’s nowhere near enough....The next step is for America to lead so that other polluting countries get the message, too."

Journal Times editorial: State GOP right to reject measure on secession (Journal Times [Racine, WI], 05/11/14)
"Similarly, the party members were right to shoot down a resolution that said the Legislature should propose legislation to nullify certain federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act. If the Wisconsin Legislature or governor had the ability to nullify the Affordable Care Act, you can bet it would have been done already. The reality is that in our democracy, municipalities must follow state laws and states must follow federal laws."

Editorial: No denying it: Climate change is here-- and now (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 05/09/14)
"Climate change isn’t news to Californians.... Still, the latest National Climate Assessment, released this week, makes for urgent reading. It’s blunt, and its findings have dire implications, both nationally and for California ... The state and nation need to stay focused and plan for a long haul. The stakes are high, and the deniers – in Congress and elsewhere – don’t seem to be going to go away."

Editorial: Shift from climate change debate to action (Newsday [NY], 05/09/14)
"On Long Island, climate change is a water issue, and the scientists describe major consequences: More than half of the nation's population lives in coastal communities that are "increasingly vulnerable" to climate change. That's us.... The Supreme Court's decision last month upholding the right of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that blows from the Midwest to the East Coast was critically important to clearing hurdles for the next set of rules."

Editorial: Climate change vs. GOP: Our view; Denial risks branding the party as one that refuses to participate in constructive governance. (USA Today, 05/09/14)
"The National Climate Assessment, released this week, adds to a mounting and overwhelming body of evidence that the effects of rising temperatures are here and now — and that even higher sea levels, more extreme weather and water shortages are in our future if nothing is done. ... denying that a problem even exists — which is common among the most vocal of Republicans — risks branding the party as one that is anti-science and refuses to participate in constructive governance."

Editorial: Our View: Cheers and Jeers (Times-News [ID] , 05/09/14)
"Jeers to climate change, which is already altering the world and the Northwest, says a sweeping federal report issued this week.... we’re already seeing its effects with increased tree die-off, insect infestations and jumping wildfire suppression costs.... Locally, longer droughts could set agriculture back for months..... t’s time we move past the political discussion and accept the data for what it is. Things like water conservation must be a priority going forward, especially amid our changing climate."

Editorial: Politics obscure science on climate change (Commercial Appeal [TN] , 05/09/14)
"There is an old saying among lawyers: If you can't argue the facts, argue the law, and if you can't do either, attack the opposing counsel."

Editorial: Climate-change report validates our biggest fears (Aspen Times [CO], 05/09/14)
"We hope this report spurs elected leaders to address climate change for what it is — a real threat to our quality of life and the earth that we inhabit. As Sen. Mark Udall recently said in a Capitol Hill speech, in which he implored leaders to pass a Renewable Energy Standard, Congress must take action to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions."

Editorial: As climate changes, we need coping strategies (Herald [Bradenton, FL] , 05/08/14)
"With barrier islands and other low-lying coastal and inland terrain, Manatee County sits in one of the nation's regions that are "exceptionally vulnerable" to rising ocean levels, extreme heat episodes and declining water resources....Let's work together on strategies for coping with a changing climate so future generations can also enjoy Manatee County."

Confirmation Update: More Good Judicial News (Southern District of Florida Blog, 05/08/14)
Jeff Marcus: "Today, Judges Darrin Gayles and Beth Bloom both were approved by voice vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judge Robin Rosenbaum should have her vote in front of the full Senate completed sometime Monday. Best of luck to all three nominees."

Editorial: OUR VIEW New federal report shows the need to address climate change now (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 05/08/14)
"Which means the United States not only must take the lead in efforts to mitigate climate change — such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax — but also find technologies and policies that can help communities adjust to the changes occurring around them.... Climate change is here; humans are causing it. Adjusting to that does not mean returning to the Stone Age or wrecking the economy. It does mean hard work and flexibility — and being willing to acknowledge scientific reality."

The New York Times on David Barron (Lawfare, 05/08/14)
Benjamin Wittes: "There is, however, one big, if subtle, thing wrong with the Times‘s editorial, and it’s the headline. It is quite misleading to describe Barron as the “lawyer behind the drone policy.” The drone policy—or policies, more precisely—came from the White House, from the CIA, and from the Pentagon in a complex interagency stew ultimately overseen, and pretty directly, by a man named Barack Obama. OLC’s job in that process is to field questions, when posed by others, about whether proposed executive activity would be lawful. The memos Barron wrote—at least to the extent we can judge them from summaries of them in the press and in the administration’s white paper—are not permissive with respect to targeted killing. As I explained in detail in this congressional testimony, they are actually quite narrow. One can argue about whether they are too narrow or whether they are appropriately cautious, but it’s actually difficult to imagine the administration’s having adopted a more limiting set of legal rules than it did."

How Mitch McConnell Is Exacting Revenge For Dems' Nuclear Option (Talking Points Memo, 05/07/14)
Sahil Kapur: "The best example of what Senate Republicans are up to is one grouping of 13 judicial nominees. All 13 have come up since the filibuster rule change. All 13 were ultimately unanimously confirmed by the Senate. But in each case, GOP senators attempted to filibuster their nominations, forcing delays before each nominee could come to a final vote. In other words, dozens of senators had no objection to these nominees but voted to block them anyway."

Editorial: Climate Disruptions, Close to Home (New York Times, 05/07/14)
"The climate-change deniers in Congress and industry allies like Senator Mitch McConnell, who hails from a coal-producing state, will be ferocious, employing the usual disruptive legislative and legal stratagems. The surest antidotes are continued presidential resolve, backed by voters sensitized to climate warming’s dangers. The new report should help on both fronts."

Editorial: Urgent call to action on climate (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 05/07/14)
"A new federal report released this week underscores two key points on climate change. First, the impact is being felt now, and the responsibility to act cannot be sloughed off to future generations. Second, rising temperatures have real implications for everything from where and how we live to global security and the safety of the food and water supply. The report should especially motivate coastal states such as Florida to get serious about slowing man-made contributions to the crisis.... President Barack Obama was right to use the findings to stress the urgency to act."

Editorial: Climate change means danger ahead (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 05/07/14)
"Most out-of-state owners who control West Virginia’s coal industry keep denying that climate change threatens humanity....Well, nearly all top scientists across America and the planet say the opposite."

Editorial: Climate change a planning reality (Honolulu Star Advertiser, 05/07/14)
"Nobody in Hawaii is ever more than a few miles away from the world's biggest reminder of potential climate-change impacts: the Pacific Ocean. Rising sea levels are known factors in accelerating erosion of coastlines and property loss. But according to a report distributed nationally this week, there's an even more ominous warning: depletion of the islands' drinking-water supply."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on First Circuit Nominee David Barron (The White House, 05/06/14)
"David Barron is an exceptionally qualified judicial nominee....last year, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had access to the memo. And in his committee vote, Mr. Barron received unanimous Democratic support. We are confident that David Barron will be confirmed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and that he will serve with distinction."

Eagle editorial: At least legislative session is over (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 05/06/14)
"Unfortunately, the session went wrong more often than not, including ... by trying to nullify federal law regarding the threatened status of the lesser prairie chicken."