Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shame on Justice Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia has proven himself to be a weasel over and over again in his 20-year U.S. Supreme Court tenure, but found a new way to knock Lady Justice on her bum in a recent ruling affirming the right of police to not knock before bursting into a residence.

Scalia, writing for the majority in Hudson vs. Detroit, argued that the courts need not enforce the knock-and-announce rule long embedded in American jurisprudence because there are safeguards in place within the law enforcement community to take care of the problem. He cited a study by Samuel Walker, a professor at the University of Omaha, to back up his assertion.

Not so fast there says Walker, who serves on the Panel on Policing of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences:
Scalia turned my research completely on its head. My point was that these reforms came about because the courts, specifically the Warren Court, forced the police to institute better procedures with judicial oversight. Scalia now wants to take that oversight away.

There is a wee irony here, as well.

Scalia, as a so-called originalist, has repeatedly criticized reliance on social science research to justify court rulings. Yet not only does he use such research to justify his ruling here, he does so sloppily and inaccurately.

Law Librarian Blog has the gory details.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused on Monday to decide whether the granddaughter of A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, can recapture control of the copyright for stories featuring the popular children's book character.

Milne wrote the Pooh books between 1924 and 1928 and granted a U.S. license to Stephen Slesinger in 1930. Slesinger, in turn, granted his rights to Stephen Slesinger Inc. and the company sublicensed to Walt Disney Productions certain rights to the Pooh works.

When Milne died in 1956, he did not bequeath ownership of the copyright to his family but to a trust that later became known as the Pooh Properties Trust.

If you want to know more, go here.

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