U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

June 2013 Archives

Let’s say a blogger doesn’t agree with your political views and writes a blog post saying you “deserve to be killed.” Not great news, but the First Amendment protects political speech, right?

What if the blogger takes it a step further and also shares your photo, your work address (along with suite number) and photos of your workplace? Threatened yet?

Let’s say the blogger also references your colleague’s family’s murders that occurred years ago because of differing political opinions? Still not threatened?

United States v. Windsor: SCOTUS Affirms, DOMA Struck Down

Edith Windsor, 83, spent 44 years with her late spouse Thea Spyer. Though they were engaged in 1967, they were not legally married until 2007, when the couple traveled to Canada to be wed. Though, at the time, New York itself did not allow same-sex marriages, the state did legally recognize the Canadian marriage.

Alas, while New York recognized their legal marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act required the federal government not to. When Spyer passed, Windsor was left with a $353,053 estate tax bill. She paid the IRS, then sued for reimbursement.

While the Department of Justice agreed with Windsor that DOMA was unconstitutional, the government denied reimbursement. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives' Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) sought to intervene and defend the law, creating questions of standing.

NY Media Intern Battle Headed for Interlocutory Appeal to 2nd Cir

Is this the most interesting employment law battle happening in the country today?

We certainly think so.

There are the unpaid Black Swan movie production interns suing Fox Searchlight. There are magazine interns suing over unpaid internships at Hearst and underpaid internships at Conde Nast. There is even a lawsuit against Atlantic Records and Warner Music, filed this week, according to Reuters.

With an economy stuffed with unemployed, desperate recent graduates, and companies reluctant to hire paid labor, we can only imagine that there will be even more to come.

Amicus Briefs Piling Up in HathiTrust Digital Library Appeal

Imagine e-book utopia. Billions of books, nearly every significant work ever written, available electronically through an electronic library. Want to flip through some Faulkner? Click. Peruse Peruvian history? Click. Find the answer to the meaning of life and everything? It’s 42, and you can find that with a click or two too.

The HathiTrust is not that utopia, nor is Google Books. They could be, but the restrictions placed upon them in the name of copyright protection limits their use to that of a glorified catalog. The user inputs a search query and the HathiTrust digital library will tell them where to look, down to the book and page number. The user can then find the book in a library or purchase it elsewhere. The only exception is for print disabled individuals, who are granted full access to the library’s catalog.

'Ghost Rider' Rides Back to Court; Hopefully Not to Theatres

Anyone remember that pair of Nicholas Cage abominations masquerading as "superhero films" from a few years back? Yeah. Those were awful. They also led to this lawsuit.

Though Marvel already had a horse-riding "Ghost Rider" character as early as 1966, freelance writer Gary Friedrich proposed a man on a motorcycle in 1972. Credit for the flaming skull head and the "pact with Satan to save [loved one's] life" cliché are still in dispute.

Conviction, Life Sentences Upheld in JFK, Queens Terror Plot

Had their plan succeded, Russell "Mohammed" Defreitas and Abdul Kadir would have leveled the John F. Kennedy International Airport and much of the Borough of Queens by attaching explosives to the airport's fuel tanks. In order to further the plot, the duo made attempts to connect with al Qaeda, al Jamaat Al-Muslimeen ("JAM"), a militant Islamic group located in Trinidad, and other contacts in Iran.

Fortunately, an FBI informant was working within the group. The four principals of the group were arrested in 2007. Defreitas and Kadir were, after a jury trial, convicted in 2010.

They now appeal a number of issues related to their trial, including the decision to use an anonymous jury, several evidentiary rulings, and of course, their life sentences.