Black Robes Speak!: March 2011
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Very Important Ruling From Kentucky Supreme Court: Kentucky Ebay Purchaser Cannot Sue Out Of State Seller In Kentucky Courts.

Yes, you heard it right!

You buy something on Ebay and you don't like it? Forget suing in Kentucky.

Read the court's very thoughtful opinion in the case of Hinners V. Robey.

Practice pointer: To my fellow practitioners of the law: Please note that this case is NOT limited to Ebay sales, but extends to ALL internet commerce styled like Ebay, where the sale is offered to EVERYONE and the seller does NOT specifically target Kentucky buyers.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

As I Predicted Here, U. S. Supreme Court Rules Westboro Baptist Church Has First Amendment Right To Protest Military Funerals.

The case is Snyder Vs. Phelps, and you can read the 8 to 1 decision/opinion here.

Many of you will guess that the lone dissenter in the case is one of the liberal Justices, but you would be wrong. That honor (or dishonor) belongs to Justice Samuel Alito.

While I admire Justice Alito and like his opinions (I prefer the Chief Justice), I think he allowed his heart to drive his thoughts in this opinion. Nothing wrong with that, except that a Judge/Justice is supposed to let the law and the facts direct and drive his thoughts.

I think Alito's sympathy led him astray here (and I am EXTREMELY sympathetic to the plight of the dead soldier).

However, when all is said and done, the Chief Justice has it right when he wrote:

"Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and—as it did here—inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a Nation we have chosen a different course—to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate. That choice requires that we shield West-boro from tort liability for its picketing in this case."

SHAME on Westoboro Church for its antics, but our Constitution MUST NOT be sacrificed on the alter of what is decent and what is not. Enough said.

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