Day: January 6, 2017

Judge Posner Talks about Pending En Banc Case at #AALS2017

During the AALS 2017 conference, Judge Posner appeared on a panel about Bill Eskridge’s work on legislation. Or, at least he phoned it in. Along with Judge Katzmann, Judge Posner spoke remotely by phone. On the panel were Justice Goodwin Liu and Judge Marsha S. Berzon.

During his remarks, Posner spoke about a pending en banc case, Hively v. Ivy Tech, which considers discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII. Judge Posner repeatedly referred to it as the “lesbian case.” His comments were, well, surreal.


Update: Judge Posner offers a response in this post.

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The Actuarial Life Expectancies of the SCOTUS Short List

One of the more morbid considerations when nominating a Supreme Court Justice is age: how long will the individual live, and thus serve on the bench? Most of the discussions on this topic fail to account for a really important actuarial principle–women tend to live longer than men. For example, in certain circles I’ve heard that Judge Diane Sykes (59 years, 1 month) is less desirable than, say, Judge Bill Pryor (54 years, 8 months), due to age. However, if you refer to the Social Security Administration’s actuarial life table, Judges Sykes and Pryor have the exact same life expectancy.

In the below table, for the members of the short list, I’ve charted their birthday, current age, expected years, expected age, and the year-of-death. Please note that these are utterly uninformed actuarial estimates, which do not account for factors like personal characteristics and family health history. They are based solely on a person’s current age (I rounded up to the next age-year if their birthday was more than 6 months away). Also, I was unable to find the birthdays of certain state-court judges, so I (crudely) took the Wikipedia year of birth, and selected January 1. If anyone has a birthday, I’d be happy to update the results.

Taking these estimates as accurate, the members of the short list could conceivably serve until, as early as 2034, and as late as 2053.

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With 15 Days Left in Office, Solicitor General Files Cert Petition in 2nd Amendment Case

The Solicitor General has filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in Lynch v. Binderup, which considers whether 2nd Amendment rights can be restored to certain individuals who have finished their felony sentences. The en banc Third Circuit, on an 8-7 vote, ruled in favor of Binderup. (For details on the breakdown, see Eugene Volokh’s post from September).

I’ll blog more about the petition later, but for now, I will flag that the Question Presented, as stated by the SG, is misleading:

Whether petitioners are entitled to relief from the longstanding federal statute prohibiting felons from possessing firearms, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), based on their as-applied Second Amendment claim that their criminal offenses and other particular circumstances do not warrant a firearms disqualification.

Section 922(g)(1) is from 1968–hardly “longstanding,” though there is an obvious effort to fit it within Heller’s framework.

This may be a petition that Attorney General Sessions seeks to withdraw (see my previous post on the topic).

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