With the beginning of the New Year comes the anticipation and excitement of a fresh start. That, and the bets on the hot legal issues that will be burning up the mainstream media during the year. Here are our picks for the top three legal issues that will sure to garner a lot of attention for anyone following the First Circuit Court of Appeals:
1. The Replacement of Judge Kermit Lipez
The exit of Judge Lipez from the First Circuit will be a bittersweet day for the court, but it will be even worse if a replacement isn't selected for the venerable judge. Two names were reportedly sent to the White House in May, but no one has heard anything from Washington yet. Given the terse environment surrounding judicial appointments these days, an appointment may not be possible for a while.
2. A Citizen's Right to Record the Police
The First Circuit gave citizens the right to record the police in an August decision, holding that attorney Simon Glik had the right to videotape Boston Police officers while they arrested a suspect. Soon after, the Seventh Circuit heard arguments in September regarding an Illinois ban against audio recordings of police officers in public places.
During arguments, Judge Richard Posner reportedly stated that changing the law would allow reporters and bloggers to run amuck and enable gang violence. If the Seventh rules differently than the First, the issue could be ripe for a Supreme Court appeal.
3. The Defense of Marriage Act
The First Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments regarding DOMA's denial of federal benefits to same-sex married couples. Although there have been challenges to DOMA in other jurisdictions, the case in the First Circuit has been considered by some to be the "big guns" challenge to the law and the most likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court first. Oral arguments may happen as early as February and a decision could come before the year's end - just in time for the presidential elections.
So many juicy issues to look forward to and so much time. It looks like 2012 will be a banner year for the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and we look forward to continuing to provide comprehensive coverage for you throughout the year.
- Mass. AG Martha Coakley Files DOMA Challenge Brief (FindLaw's First Circuit blog)
- Top Five List: Most Interesting Opinions from the Fifth Circuit (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog)
- FindLaw's First Circuit blog (FindLaw)