06 December 2013

Another English Judge Questions Legitimacy of ECHR Rulings

Last week I linked to an article where a senior English judge questioned whether English courts should have to follow rulings issued by the European Court of Human Rights. A few days ago the former head of the English judiciary made a similar remark:

Declaring that Strasbourg "is not superior to our supreme court" in London, Lord Judge, who retired in October, said parliamentary sovereignty should not be exported to "a foreign court".
He is the third senior judicial figure in recent weeks to warn about the dangers of an emerging "democratic deficit" if the ECHR continues to evolve into in effect a law-making body and forces the UK government to give prisoners the vote against parliament's expressed will.

03 December 2013

U.S. Federal Appeals Process

I recently came across an article headlined "Appeals court upholds law banning political ads on public broadcasting." When I read deeper into the article, I came across this passage:
Previously, a three-judge panel of the appeals court struck down the ban on political advertising but upheld the ban on for-profit advertising. But the federal government sought a rehearing in front of the full panel of judges.
This is an excellent example of an en banc hearing before a federal court of appeals, although the phrase "en banc" appears no where in the article. Remember, when one loses in the appeals court, one has two further options for appeal, either file a request with the Supreme Court (the normal route) or ask the full bench of the appeals court to review the ruling made by the three judge appellate panel. That is what happened here.

As an aside, being granted either form of appeal is extremely rare.

02 December 2013

What is the D.C. Circuit?

Students learning about the structure of the U.S. federal court system probably focus more on the geographical divisions of the appeals court more than any other aspect of the system, primarily because that is something upon which I put particular emphasis in our lecture about the system.

While I do mention that there are two other Courts of Appeal in addition to the 11 regional appeals courts, I really do a disservice to the D.C. Court of Appeals by not talking more about it. This court is arguably the second most important court in the federal court system for the reasons set forth in an excellent Q&A put together by The Blog of the Legal Times. Students interested in obtaining a deeper knowledge of the U.S. federal court system should give this a read.