Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More Judge Clement information...

Just a note...in my first post related to Justice O'Connor's decision to retire from the Supreme Court (Justice O'Connor Retires), I included this comment:

This move likely favors Alberto Gonzales and also Edith Jones and Edith Clement, both of the 5th Circuit. (More on Jones here... Clement here... and more on Gonzales here.)

How's that for an early, (potentially) accurate prediction outside some of the early 'short-listed' names...and if today's speculation is wrong then I'll quickly delete this post!!

Anyhow, I'm getting the following info related to Judge Clement from the Slate piece I linked to in that original O'Connor post above (here is that Slate link again):

Edith Brown Clement
Age: 57
Graduated from: Tulane Law School.
She clerked for: Judge Herbert W. Christenberry.
She used to be: a judge on the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.
She's now: a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (appointed 2001).
Her confirmation battle: Clement doesn't provide much ammunition for opposition groups, but perhaps not much for conservatives to get excited about either. She hasn't written anything notable off the bench (or at least nothing that's come to light yet), and most of her judicial decisions have been in relatively routine and uncontroversial cases.

Civil Rights and Liberties
For a unanimous panel, allowed a plaintiff who sued the police for violating his right to due process to proceed with his claim that the officers who arrested him used excessive force when they allegedly injured him by slamming the door of their car against his head. Reversed the district court's finding that the plaintiff could also sue for unlawful arrest and excessive force involving the use of handcuffs. (Tarver v. City of Edna, 2005)

Environmental Protection and Property Rights
Voted for the 5th Circuit to rehear a decision blocking developers from building on a site where six endangered bug species lived in a cluster of limestone caves. Clement joined a dissent that argued that the decision's rationale for protecting the bugs—to preserve the interdependent web of species—bore no relationship to Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. (GDF Realty Investments v. Norton, 2004)

Criminal Law
For a unanimous panel, rejected the claim of a man flying to Nigeria that his luggage was unlawfully searched at the border. Clement ruled broadly that customs inspectors need not have probable cause to search the bags of people who are leaving the country. (U.S. v. Odutayo, 2005)
Agreed with a unanimous panel that an asylum applicant who was 20 minutes late to a hearing because he'd taken the wrong highway exit should not have been ordered deported in absentia and was entitled to a new hearing. (Alarcon-Chavez v. Gonzales, 2005)

Habeas Corpus
Over a dissent, ruled that a death-row inmate who claimed to be mentally retarded was entitled to a lawyer to develop that claim in a habeas petition. Clement's ruling followed the Supreme Court's 2002 decision barring the execution of the mentally retarded. She followed up with a second opinion that limited the significance of her ruling by stating "this is a fact-bound case." (Hearn v. Dretke, 2004)

For a unanimous panel, reversed a decision of the district court finding that a police officer convicted of civil rights violation, for hitting a drunk suspect in the head with his baton, was entitled to a new trial because his lawyer was ineffective. The officer argued that his lawyer erred by failing to call character witnesses to rebut testimony that he'd complained about the need to control Mexicans in the United States. Clement said the rebuttal evidence would have been irrelevant because the officer was not charged with a hate crime. (U.S. v. Harris, 2005)

Damage Awards
Over a partial dissent, in reviewing a jury verdict in favor of a man whose wife and 3-year-old daughter were killed in a car crash, affirmed damage awards of $1.9 million for the man's loss of his wife and $1.5 million for the loss of his daughter. Reduced from $200,000 to $30,000 an award to the wife's estate for her pain and mental anguish before her death and eliminated a $200,000 award to the daughter's estate for her pain and mental anguish. (Vogler v. Blackmore, 2003)

UPDATE I: As always, the Supreme Court Nomination blog is all over the Judge Clement news, and they already have a tremendous amount of information over there...especially this post which is being updated as they find more to write - Rolling List of Interesting Opinions By Judge Clement. I'm not going to take the space to re-print it all, but it is a tremendous resource.

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