Judicial Funding Cuts Inflict Widespread Economic Harm in Communities

ABA Journal News: Savings produced by court budget cuts are exceeded by harmful economic effects (white paper)

The white paper, “The Economics of Justice,” by Eric J. Magnuson, Steven M. Puiszis, Lisa M. Agrimonti, and Nicole S. Frank (DRI, 2014)

Press release: “DRI White Paper: Judicial Funding Cuts Inflict Widespread Economic Harm in Communities

“…. Salaries make up as much as 96 percent of court budgets, the white paper says. Budget cuts result in job losses, diminished tax revenues for local governments, and the increased expense of unemployment benefits.

Cuts also slow resolution of civil cases. The uncertainty caused by pending cases makes businesses reluctant to spend money on equipment, additional employees and expanded product lines, which also affects the local economy, the paper concludes.

The Florida study, for example, concluded that the backlog in foreclosure cases caused by underfunding of the state court system resulted in a $9.9 billion annual loss to the state’s economy in direct costs, and an additional $7.2 billion in indirect costs.’ [Link to full ABA news story and White Paper.]

Out-of-Cycle Changes to the Uniform Trial Court Rules (UTCR): Request for Public Comment

From OJD:

There have been a number of out-of-cycle changes to the Uniform Trial Court Rules (UTCR) to facilitate implementation of the Oregon eCourt Program, increase the fee for a pro hac vice application, correct typographical errors, and correct inaccurate website addresses. You can view the changes at the Current Uniform Trial Court Rules webpage.

We encourage all interested parties to submit comment on these changes. The UTCR Committee will review the comments at the meeting scheduled for October 17, 2014. You can post a comment at the web address mentioned above; mail it to the UTCR Reporter at the Office of the State Court Administrator, Supreme Court Building, 1163 State Street, Salem, Oregon 97301-2563; or email it to utcr@ojd.state.or.us. Please submit your comments so that we receive them by 5:00 p.m., August 29, 2014.”

See our 2013 blog post on Oregon court rule out-of-cycle amendments.

Musicians: 2014 Battle of the Oregon Law Bands: Application Due August First!

The Third Annual Multnomah Bar Association, “Battle of the Lawyer Bands” will take place October 2, 2014 at the McMenamins Kennedy School 5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Official Application and Contest Rules are at the MBA website.

Deadline: The application, entry fee and supporting materials are due to the MBA on August 1, 2014.

How is ‘certiorari’ pronounced? Even Supreme Court justices disagree

From the ABA Journal News: “How is ‘certiorari’ pronounced? Even Supreme Court justices disagree,” Jun 17, 2014, by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt: “.... He listened to the U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments to learn the uniform pronunciation and instead found a six-way split of opinion, the National Law Journal reports. Black’s Law Dictionary also fails to settle the dispute, Duane writes in an article for Green Bag (PDF). It lists three pronunciations as acceptable….” [Link to full article.]

OSB Publication Wins National Award: “Oregon Constitutional Law”

The Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) has selectedOregon Constitutional Law” as the winner of its ACLEA’s Best Award of Outstanding Achievement in Publications.

Oregon was a pioneer of the movement to interpret state constitutions independently of the U.S. Constitution. Not only does the Oregon Constitution address many of the rights protected by the federal Constitution, but it also defines many of the powers that the federal Constitution reserved for the states. Attorneys practicing in Oregon should be familiar with the provisions of the Oregon Constitution and the appellate courts’ interpretations of those provisions…” [Read the full post.]

The Unbearable Divisiveness of Diversity for Diversity’s Sake?

This past Sunday’s On Being had an interesting conversation about “diversity” with Krista Tippet (“On Being” host) and Jonathan Haidt (progam guest, professor and author of “Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion“).

[Out of context] excerpt from the transcript (you can also listen to the program and read Comments):

“.… Ms. Tippett: There’s some place you talked about, uh, some work you’d done with some of your students that, what’d you say that diversity was like cholesterol? That we need the good kind and the bad kind, we need all — we need difference. And it’s okay for — for all these [laughs] I want to find it. You know what — you — you say it.

Dr. Haidt: Yeah, yeah.

Ms. Tippett: Okay.

Dr. Haidt: So, you know…

Ms. Tippett: It’s interesting.

Dr. Haidt: Okay. So, you know, I grew up — I — I started at Yale in 1981, just as, uh, uh, diversity was becoming a major, major watchword of the left. And my entire academic career, it’s all been about diversity. Diversity this, diversity that. And what’s really meant by that is racial diversity. And then secondarily, gender diversity. Um, and claims are made for diversity, that it has all these benefits for thinking, it does all these great things. Um, but at the same time, what I’ve observed in my academic career, is when I started school in the ’80s, there were a few conservatives on the faculty. And now there are almost none.

So, we’ve reached the state that George Will described. He said there’s a certain kind of liberal that wants diversity in everything, except thought. And so, we do need certain kinds of diversity. But the key to remember is that, diversity by its very nature is divisive, and so, what’s the function of your group? If your group needs cohesion, you don’t want diversity. If your group needs good, clear thinking and you want people to challenge your prejudices, then you need it. So in the academic world, we need that kind of diversity, and we don’t have it. Um, that’s — that was part of my point.

Ms. Tippett: How does that help you analyze what might be done?

Dr. Haidt: Yeah, so, diversity is generally divisive. And it has to be managed. There is some interesting research showing that when you celebrate diversity and point it out, you split people. But if you drown it in a sea of commonality, then it’s not a problem. So, anything you can do to emphasize how similar we all are, uh, how much we have in common, is good. And if you celebrate — look at how different we are. Look at how diverse we are. That tends to make it harder to have…

Ms. Tippett: Except if you — except drowning things in commonality can also make it — being — making everything superficial. Right?

Dr. Haidt: Well, what do you want? Do you want authenticity, or do you want peace and harmony? ...” [For full context, link to full transcript and podcast.]

Judicial Scandal in Pennsylvania: Oregon Premier of “Kids for Cash” Documentary: June 22, 2014

See the Portland premiere of “Kids for Cash,” the documentary about a judge who received millions of dollars from privately-owned juvenile detention centers by ordering the incarceration of 3,000 children.

Link to the following event information from the Youth, Rights, Justice (an independent nonprofit) website:

Tickets for the June 22nd Portland Premiere
Register: June 23rd Screening and CLE
More Information about the film

Can an inherited IRA be claimed as an exemption?: U.S. Supreme Court decides Clark v Rameker

The answer to this question may matter to you, your children, and your grandchildren! (Hint, the answer is no.)

Clark v. Rameker (13-299), in a unanimous decision:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR delivered the opinion of the Court.

When an individual files for bankruptcy, she may exempt particular categories of assets from the bankruptcy estate. One such category includes certain “retirement funds.” 11 U. S. C. §522(b)(3)(C). The question presented is whether funds contained in an inherited individual retirement account (IRA) qualify as “retirement funds” within the meaning of this bankruptcy exemption. We hold that they do not….

The Bankruptcy Code does not define “retirement funds,” so we give the term its ordinary meaning….” [Link to full case.]