On Feb. 29, the Supreme Court heard argument in Williams v. Pennsylvania, a case presenting two issues: (1) should one of the judges hearing the capital case appeal have recused himself due to involvement at the trial level; and, if so (2) what’s the proper remedy, if any, if the majority vote on appeal would remain a majority even excluding that judge’s vote. We’re looking at Q #2 today.
This week the Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to recommend the reappoint of the Honorable Leigh Ingalls Saufley to a third term on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. She was first nominated to the SJC in 1997 by Gov. Angus King, an Independent. She was confirmed as Chief Justice in 2001 (the first female CJ), and reappointed in 2009 by Governor Baldacci, a Democrat. She has now been nominated for reappointment by Governor Le Page, a Republican.
If only it were this easy with the Supreme Court in Washington.
On Tuesday, the Maine SJC issued another decision on the issue of finality before filing an 80B appeal. Bryant v. Town of Camden, 2016 ME 27. Whether the decision achieves the Court’s objectives providing clarity and speeding up administrative appeals remains to be seen.
If you have lived in Maine for any length of time, you remember that in 1979, the Maine Indians claimed 2/3s of the State of Maine. The end result was a settlement, embodied in federal and state statutes, that among other things, gave the tribes federal recognition and $80 million, and set forth reservation boundaries. In an action in which we represented a coalition of municipalities and other users of the Penobscot River, the federal district court confirmed that the Penobscot Reservation does not include, as the Tribe recently claimed, the 60-mile main stem of the Penobscot River. (Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, Order on the Pending Motions of State Intervenors)
The Maine SJC issued a decision in November in a civil rights case consistent with a line of authority in which the result appears right to me, but the way the Court gets there makes me scratch my head. Marshall v. Town of Dexter, 2015 ME 135
The latest Maine Bar Journal (Fall 2015) has been issued, and included is another set of Judge Hornby’s “Fables” – short lessons in the Aesop mode. These are always enjoyable, thought provoking, and helpful. There are a few this time relevant to appellate practice.
I was perusing recent First Circuit decisions and noticed one that ordered a remand to a different district court judge. U.S. v. Figueroa-Ocasio (Oct. 16, 2016). This is unusual, and got me wondering whether there is any pattern that can be found in these determinations, either in that court or the Maine SJC.