Thiry years ago today, the Supreme Court decided Continental Trailways, Inc. v. Director, Div. of Motor Vehicles, 102 N.J. 526 (1986). Trailways, a large bus company, sued to declare New Jersey’s Bus Excise Tax, N.J.S.A. 48:4-20, unconstitutional as unlawfully discriminating against interstate commerce. read more

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey v. Hendricks, ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016).  In 1978, the Supreme Court decided Resnick v. East Brunswick Bd. of Educ., 77 N.J. 88 (1978).  That case found unconstitutional for public schools to allow religious organizations to use school facilities at night or on weekends for religious instruction unless the religious organizations reimbursed the full cost attributable to their use of the buildings.  The ruling was based on Article I, paragraph 3 of the New Jersey Constitution, which provides, among other things, that no person shall “be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship, or the maintenance of any minister or ministry” contrary to the dictates of his or her conscience. read more

United States v. One Palmetto State Armory PA-15 Machinegun, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2016).  Constitutional challenges to gun regulations are frequently filed, and most of them are without basis.  This decision, written by Judge Thompson, who was sitting in the Third Circuit by designation, is another one of those cases.  It arose out of two consolidated actions, a forfeiture case brought by the United States, which sought to take possession of a machine gun, and a constitutional challenge to the applicability of the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. §922(o), to machine guns by the owner of the machine gun in question. read more

State Nat’l Ins. Co. v. County of Camden, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2016).  The case underlying today’s 2-1 decision involved claims of legal malpractice.  The procedural history was a tortuous one.  Ultimately, applying a “strict” view of a number of rules of procedure, the majority (Judge Fisher authored the opinion, in which Judge Chagares joined) held that plaintiff insurance company’s appeal was untimely, coming as it did 62 days after plaintiff and the defendant County had filed a stipulation of dismissal of all remaining claims.  A belated and improper motion under Rule 60(b)(6) did not restart the clock on the appeal. read more

In 1989, Robert Fulghum came out with a book titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”  The book became a best-seller.  It contained such wisdom as “Play fair,” “Don’t hit people,” and “Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.”  Twenty years ago today, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of those and other kindergarten lessons in In re McLaughlin, 144 N.J. 133 (1996).  There, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Handler, the Court adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Character and denied Frank McLaughlin’s application for admission to the New Jersey Bar, in significant part due to McLaughlin’s failure to maintain appropriate civility in his dealings with the Committee. read more

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump had promised months ago to announce a “short list” of his potential United States Supreme Court nominees.  Especially in recent days, conservatives concerned about Trump’s bona fides as a “true conservative” have been pressing him to fulfill that commitment. read more

In connection with the upcoming Bridgegate trial of Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly, news outlets had asked Judge Wigenton, who is handling the matter in the District Court, to release to the public a list of names of unindicted co-conspirators.  That list has been provided to defense counsel.  Judge Wigenton ordered that the list be made public.  One of the people on that list, John Doe, sought to block the release of the list.  Judge Wigenton rejected John Doe’s arguments and denied a stay of her ruling. read more

Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, ___ U.S. ___ (2016).  Class action defendants often label cases seeking statutory damages as “no-injury class actions.”  Those defendants do not like statutes such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. (“FCRA”), which was at issue in yesterday’s Supreme Court decision.  Defendants hoped that this case would wipe out statutory damages class actions for lack of standing.  That did not happen.  Instead, by a 6-2 vote, the Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling that remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit for further consideration of the standing issue on the facts of this case. read more