Ignorantia Legis Non Excusat Has A New Home

My blog has a new home!  Now powered by WordPress, you can find it at: Sign up at the blog's homepage and get notifications by email.  RSS feeds are also available. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Vacation and the Future

Ignorantia Legis will be on vacation until the middle of May.  While I am taking a break, don't forget that you can follow the Supreme Court on  for everything Supreme Court or follow the Court as I laid out here . The next conference is on April 13; the next opinions could come down on April 16 or 17.   There may be a brief post or two if a major opinion comes down. Also, stay tuned for some changes to the Ignorantia Legis blog coming soon!  The goal will be more accessibility and more posts. As always, watch this space!  

Big Cases, No Decisions

Readers of this blog will surely have noticed that none of the "big" cases argued this term have been decided, and if you have taken a look at the argument calendar  there are two more major cases ( Wayfair  (sales tax on internet sales) and Trump v. Hawai'i (the "travel ban" case)) that have yet to be argued.  And the travel ban cases is the last on the list (April 25).  It is sure to be a very busy end of the term--April, May, and June. As Steve Vladek , professor of law at Texas put it, " Something very strange is going on behind the scenes at One First Street" (the actual address of the Supreme Court).  The questions, of course, are "What?" and "Why?'  The "what?' is not only the slow pace of decisions in cases that have already been argued but also the slow pace of grants for the next term (October 2018) and the lack of movement on big pending orders (for example, the North Carolina gerrymandering case).  The &

Stare Decisis: What It Is, Why It Is Important, And More Controversial Than You Might Think (Oh, And Spider-Man)

Stare decisis might be the first Latin legal term you learn in law school.  It was for me.  But like all Latin terms, you quickly find an English equivalent: judicial precedent. The concept is both simple and complex, straightforward and convoluted.  It will be the subject of this post; it's also the subject of the book pictured above, all 910 pages of it.  I will attempt to make stare decisis--judicial precedent--a concept you can understand and maybe even apply.  And Spider-Man will help. First, the simple.  "Stare decisis" is Latin for "stand by things decided".*  In the simplest of terms, it is the doctrine of precedent, which is when an issue is brought to the court that has already been decided and there is a precedent--a case decided by the court that answers the issue before it--to that effect, and that is how the case should be decided.  If I am bringing a case about X and the court can point to a case that has already decided X (a precedent) I

Updates: DACA, Alabama Death Penalty Case, Big Title VII Case

Today (February 26) was order day at the Supreme Court, and there were two major ones, both cases followed by this blog.  This post is a brief summary of those orders and a major decision from the Second Circuit on anti-gay employment discrimination under Title VII which is almost certain to end up on the certiorari docket. DACA : The Supreme Cout unanimously denied the government's petition for certiorari before judgment.  The order reads:  17-1003   DEPT. OF HOMELAND SEC., ET AL. V. REGENTS OF UNIV. OF CA, ET AL.  The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment is denied without prejudice. It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case. I first posted about this case on January 17 and said then that the government's attempt to get the Court to bypass the Ninth Circuit was a long shot and very unlikely to succeed.  That prediction turned out to be right.  Not a single justice thought that the case met Supreme

A Minor DACA Surprise, More On Guns (Including A Catty Dissent) And The Latest Opinions

Well, we thought that on Tuesday (February 20) we would see the order from the Court on the government's petition for certiorari before judgment in the DACA case out of the Ninth Circuit.  (You can see my posts about cert before judgment in the DACA case  here  and a brief follow-up here ).  It came as a minor surprise that we did not, mostly because the Court granted the government's request for expedited briefing.  Most commentators think it will be discussed again at the Friday (February 23) conference, which I do think is the most likely scenario, although there is the possibility that a decision has already been made and they are waiting on dissents before releasing it. *********************** My last post  was about the Second Amendment and what the current law is on the subject of guns and guns ownership.  In the February 20 order list , two gun law related cert petitions were denied.  One of these,  Sylvester, et al. v. Becerra, Attorney General of California ,

The Second Amendment: What The Law Is

The Second Amendment has long been the source of great controversy, and no more so than now with the rash of mass shootings, particularly at schools.  This post aims to deal with one thing and one thing only: what the law of the Second Amendment is.  This is, after all, a legal education blog, not a legal policy blog.  I will at the end of the post draw a  policy conclusion from the existing law, but otherwise, it will be straight law.  Aside from this being the reason why this blog was started, I find (a personal point of view here) that there is plenty of argument about the issue of the right to bear arms from a "the law ought  to be this" point of view but much less from the "this is what the law is " perspective.  The starting point of many arguments is what should be the conclusion.  Maybe it's how I was trained as a lawyer, but I think you ought to start with where the law is, knowing full well that it is going to change.  Notice I did not say evolve: