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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Richard A. Posner
A federal appeals court on Friday ruled against the University of Notre Dame in a case over parts of the federal health care law that forces it to provide health insurance for students and employees that covers contraceptives.
The final weeks of a Supreme Court's term tend to be the most provocative. Hotly debated issues can take the longest to decide. When the court meets in conference on Thursday, it should exploit another opportunity to crack down on greedy class-action trial lawyers.
With congressional action on gun control largely stuck in a holding pattern on Capitol Hill, the real battlefields on the issue may become local, state and federal courtrooms.
A federal court on Friday delivered a major victory to gun rights supporters, denying a petition to rehear a December ruling that declared an Illinois law prohibiting people from carrying concealed handguns in public unconstitutional.
Anti-gun jurisdictions are in trouble. Tuesday's 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the Illinois ban on concealed carry has put in the crosshairs the reluctance of the District and Maryland to allow citizens to exercise their right to self-defense outside the home.
New life is being breathed into the Second Amendment. After it was beaten down by activist courts over the decades, the nation's top justices finally decided two years ago that the founders meant what they wrote. In McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court majority held it was unconstitutional for the Windy City to forbid residents to keep handguns in their homes. On Tuesday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided the phrase in the Bill of Rights about "bearing arms" has meaning as well.
Late Friday, Judge Richard A. Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set himself up as both judge and jury and found Conrad Black, once the head of one of the most illustrious publishing chains in the world, guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice in running his newspapers. That is somewhat of a comedown for our criminal justice system. Years ago, the Department of Justice arrayed about 13 charges against Black, including tax evasion, racketeering, various types of fraud and that lonely obstruction-of-justice charge. Black beat the department back on nine of 13 charges, leaving just three fraud charges and the obstruction charge against him. He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison. Then sanity intruded.
"We imagine that what the university wants is an order forbidding Aetna and Meritain to provide any contraceptive coverage to Notre Dame staff or students pending final judgment in the district court," Judge Richard A. Posner wrote. "But we can't issue such an order; neither Aetna nor Meritain is a defendant (the university's failure to join them as defendants puzzles us), so unless and until they are joined as defendants they can't be ordered by the district court or by this court to do anything."
Judge Posner said it was "a question of efficiency" to certify, with the common issue being whether the machines were defective, leaving the facts of the defect to be determined during the trial.