- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003


The Supreme Court held no arguments yesterday in deference to the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, the first time since Congress dictated the annual term begin on the “first Monday in October” that it did not include formal hearings.

Only six of nine justices appeared for yesterday’s opening of the term, which ended the summer recess with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist’s perfunctory announcement that the 2003 term had begun.

The justices then inducted lawyers into the prestigious Supreme Court bar and issued a list of some 2,000 actions, among which they:

• Turned away a challenge by Mountain States Legal Foundation to former President Clinton’s controversial orders protecting more than 2 million acres of federal land in five Western states under the century-old Antiquities Act. President Bush objected to the proclamations during his presidential campaign, but his administration successfully defended presidential power in the case.

• Refused to intervene in a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing the World Changers Bible club to meet at Spanaway Lake High School during mandatory classtime. The Washington state public school was directed to treat the club as it did other clubs allowed to use school space and supplies during a morning period when students may receive tutoring, do homework, attend assemblies or attend meetings.

• Declined to block a legal-malpractice lawsuit by a Nevada man against the public defender he blames for his conviction and 14 years spent on death row for a murder he has always claimed he did not commit. Roberto Miranda, who was freed in 1996, says lawyer Thomas Rigsby was inexperienced and did little to avert the 1982 conviction and death sentence.

• Requested the Justice Department view of a Birmingham, Ala., case in which teacher Roderick Jackson complained his basketball-coaching duties were taken away in retaliation for complaining about discrimination against the girls’ team. School officials say only girls on the team could sue under Title IX.

• Rejected Chicago’s appeal from a federal court ruling that it cannot use an anti-peddling ordinance and claims of traffic congestion to interfere with Mark Weinberg’s First Amendment right to sell his critical book about the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team outside United Center sports arena.

• Refused to reinstate lawsuits by people seeking compensation for slave labor during World War II for Japanese and German corporations. The cases were brought under a California law extending the statute of limitations.

• Refused to hear an appeal from a founding member of the Beach Boys, Alan Jardine, who fought a court order that barred him from using the term “Beach Boys” in his touring band. The dispute arose from a split among the surviving members of the California surfer band.

Frank J. Murray

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