U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

October 2017 News

If judicial benchslaps were a literary genre, retired judge Richard Posner would be the Charles Dickens of benchslaps. From attorneys, to litigants, to other courts, if Judge Posner had an opinion, he made it known, regardless of hurt feelings or social sensitivities.

However, in an interesting twist of fate, one of Posner's most notorious benchslaps has just resulted in an appellate court reversal, by his own former Seventh Circuit. Making the matter even more contentious, particularly given his recent commitment to helping pro se litigants, the reversal concerns his handling of a pro se litigant's federal district court trial. Compounding the controversy, the reversal seems to be completely attributed to Judge Posner's inability to maintain judicial decorum.

Indiana Court Historical Society Makes a Movie: Watch Free Online

As the Civil War raged, attorney Lambdin P. Milligan urged people to fight for slavery.

He told them to take arms against the U.S. government. He said he would rather die than lose his liberty.

"Let liberty be your watchword, and let it resound from every stump in Indiana," he said in a speech. That was Aug. 13, 1864.

Now the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has brought his speech and story back to life.

Judge Says Tax Break for Clergy Unconstitutional

Judge Barbara Crabb is the kind to say, 'I told you so.'

In 2013, she said a tax break for clergy housing was unconstitutional. Four years and one appeal later, she said it again.

In a 47-page decision designed to withstand another appeal, the federal judge basically said, "Didn't you hear me the first time?"

Judicial Nominee Barely Passes Senate Test

When somebody starts by saying, "It's not about this...," that's a big hint that it really is about that.

So it seemed for judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Chuck Grassley, who voted for the nominee, said he was "surprised and disheartened" by Democrats' questions involving her faith.

"Their questions strongly implied that she's too Catholic for their taste, whatever it means to be 'too Catholic,'" Grassley said.

Blogging Professors Can Bring Free Speech Claims Against University

If caustic blogs were a knife in the back, a battle between faculty and administration may have stabbed the deepest at Chicago State Univeristy.

The struggling university, which laid off 300 employees last year due to budget cuts, is facing a lawsuit that could be the final blow. Professors Phillip Beverly and Robert Bionaz sued school officials for violating their free speech rights and for retaliation.

In Beverly v. Watson, a federal judge says the professors may continue their case. While it champions freedom of speech, however, it's also a tawdry tale.