UPDATE: Supreme Court Jumps Into Internet Jurisdiction Case

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay in the case of the Texan computer guy who posted DVD “decryption” codes on the web, according to this. This is the case in which the California Supreme Court recently declined to assert jurisdiction over allegedly tortious acts that took place in Texas and Indiana, as discussed below. The ultimate issue is where web posters can be sued, given the reach of the “world wide” web. Wherever their websites can be accessed, or only where those websites are written and posted? The Australian Supreme Court recently answered the question with — essentially — “anywhere.” UPDATE to UPDATE The Supreme Court has dissolved the stay, after the defendant’s lawyers argued that the encryption codes the stay sought to keep secret have already been widely disseminated, and that the defendant had no intention of re-publishing them. The action is described here.

California Coastal Commission Ruled Unconstitutional

A California appellate court held today that, because the majority of the Coastal Commission’s members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the legislature, it cannot perform executive or quasi-judicial functions without violating the State Constitution’s separation of powers clause. Thus, the Commission is enjoined from “granting, denying, or conditioning permits, and from issuing and hearing cease and desist orders” — all things it habitually did. (The case is called Marine Forests Society v. Cal. Coastal Commission.)

The Coastal Commission is a hugely powerful and thoroughly politicized body. If I’m not mistaken, this is Big News in California. You can read the Third Appellate District’s opinion here (PDF). UPDATE: Here’s an article about the Court’s ruling.

Mormons in First Amendment Battle in Salt Lake City

In the beginning, the City sold the Mormons a block of Main Street near their Temple Square. The City retained an easement allowing the public access to the block, but only for those who obeyed church rules on dress, conduct and expression. That includes a ban on proselytizing for any other faith. Many non-Mormons were outraged. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in this opinion, published in October. The Washington Post has published an interesting article about the conflict here.

Bush Grants Seven Pardons

For the first time, President Bush has pardoned seven Americans — a traditional Holiday activity for the President. The seven were mostly convicted of minor offenses years ago, and have lead exemplary lives ever since, according to this.

“Loaf Without Parole”

Teen sniper suspect John Lee Malvo complains about the “vegetarian loaf” he is being fed in prison. Among several problems with his complaint is the fact that he requested that this be his exclusive food. This article includes the recipe, in case you want to whip some up for your holiday guests.

Petition for Rehearing in 9th Circuit’s Recent 2nd Amendment Case

Plaintiffs’ attorney Gary Gorski filed a request for rehearing today in Silveira v. Lockyer, the recent case upholding California’s ban on assault weapons which states that the 2nd Amendment does not confer the right to own guns to individuals. Mr. Gorski says that if rehearing is denied, or if he loses on the merits, he’ll take his fight to the Supreme Court. The Supremes might take it up, because the Ninth Circuit is now in conflict with the Fifth. Read about the request for rehearing here, or a longer article about Mr. Gorski here.