Emerging Trends

Rethinking Partisanship and its Effects on the Federal Judiciary

by Allan Griffey, 2L Note Candidate

What has the reputation of being fair, competent, and independent? The federal judiciary. Judge Hamilton, of the Seventh Circuit, assiduously explains how partisanship in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government can directly, or indirectly, influence the federal judiciary in his article in the Indiana Law Review. Hon. David F. Hamilton, Federal Courts and Partisan Conflicts, 50 Ind. L. Rev. 127 (2016) (available at https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/ilr/pdf/vol50p127.pdf). Judge Hamilton’s article contemplates to answer: (1) how partisanship in the other branches of federal government affect the federal judiciary; (2) what the federal judiciary can do to protect itself from theJ16_4172 partisanship of the other branches; and (3) what the federal judiciary can do, if anything, to avoid worsening the affairs of the other branches.

In undertaking the first question, Judge Hamilton calls to attention that partisanship from the other branches becomes highly visible during federal judiciary appointments. He illustrates this point by referencing his 2009 nomination to the Court of Appeals where U.S. Senate committee procedures slowed his confirmation. Additionally, the manner in which nomination and appointments are being handle by the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, Judge Hamilton argues, is “increas[ing] the temptation for judges and justices to make strategic decisions about when they will retire or take senior status.” Thus, threatening the function of the federal judiciary nomination and confirmation process.

In addressing the second question, Judge Hamilton proposes that if federal judges thoroughly do their job, avoid self-inflicted wounds on the judiciary’s reputation, and show the American public, then the federal judiciary will be protected from the partisanship of the other branches. By avoiding conflicts of interest and controversial off-the-job conduct, the public’s perception of a partisan judiciary should diminish. Further, refraining from “rhetorical incivility,” which Judge Hamilton describes as excessively harsh rhetoric in judicial opinions, is crucial to the judiciary’s aspiration to protect itself from partisanship.

Lastly, the article suggests that federal judges should remain humble and bear in mind the law of unintended consequences when deciding on doctrines that directly affect the political system. These particular doctrinal areas of the law include campaign finance, voting rights, state redistricting, and the extent of the political question doctrine. In conclusion, Judge Hamilton’s article brings into perspective the effects of executive and legislative partisanship on the federal judiciary.

A Roadmap for Business and Social Movement Collaboration

by Kelly R. Eskew, J.D.
Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Business Law & Ethics
Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
1309 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
kreskew@indiana.edu


This year, the Indiana General Assembly offered up Senate Bill 101 (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or “RFRA”), [1] a law ostensibly intended to protect Hoosiers from having to violate their religious principles, but widely viewed as a discriminatory response to the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in 2014 that struck down the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage. [2] RFRA raced through the Republican supermajority legislature and was quickly made law by Governor Mike Pence, one of the nation’s most conservative governors. [3] But soon after, Pence signed an amendment that not only affirmed the rights of gays and lesbians, but also those who face discrimination on the basis of gender identity. [4]

Business and grassroots advocacy leaders collaborated to try to defeat RFRA. [5] None expected to succeed, [6] but what they achieved surprised everyone – and this collaboration is not an outlier. Businesses worked with social justice advocates on marriage equality, which is now the law throughout the country. [7] In fact, businesses often engage in such initiatives. [8] Businesses have corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) programs of varying complexity that not only make charitable donations through their foundations, but also pioneer environmental projects and work to strength communities and schools. [9] CSR is also part of the syllabus in business ethics classes, which many business schools now require students to take. [10] In other words, social responsibility has moved from fad to policy. Businesses are also creating their own social movements that mirror the principles shared by grassroots advocates in areas such as poverty eradication, health-care access, and sustainability. [11]

So when and why does the American business community align itself with grassroots social movements? And is there a roadmap that shows each how to leverage the other to achieve shared goals? A fully fleshed response to these questions is beyond the scope of this post, but the RFRA experience suggests some answers. (more…)

Testimony of Professor of Law Robert Katz on Indiana RFRA

by Robert A. Katz
Professor of Law (Faculty Profile)
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Lawrence W. Inlow Hall, Room 349
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225

[Editor’s Note: This article departs from the typical format and citation style of the Indiana Law Review Blog in the interest of providing commentary on the passage of Senate Bill 101, commonly referred to as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” or RFRA. This article consists of abbreviated remarks presented by the author to the House Judiciary Committee of the Indiana General Assembly on March 16, 2015, 10 days before the bill was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence.]


Good day. My name is Robert Katz. I am a professor of law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where I teach First Amendment law and law and religion. My research focuses on the tension between religious freedom and anti-discrimination law. It is one of my most profound concerns as a citizen, a parent, and a member of the Jewish community.

The freedom of religion is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans. Yet, also precious to us as citizens are our civil rights and, most relevantly here, our right to be free from discrimination.

As I understand it, this bill has two main goals. (more…)

Separating Myths from Reality: Four Arguments for Raising the Minimum Wage

by Fran Quigley
Clinical Professor of Law (Faculty Profile)
Health and Human Rights Clinic
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Lawrence W. Inlow Hall, Room 111N
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225


Proposals to raise the U.S. minimum wage have attracted a great deal of attention in the last several years.  At the federal level, President Obama and many members of Congress have expressed support, via the Fair Minimum Wage Act, for an increase in the U.S. minimum wage. [1]. The legislation calls for an increase to $10.10 per hour for most workers, compared to the current minimum of $7.25 per hour. [2].  The bill also would increase the bottom level of pay for tipped workers from $2.13 per hour to 70% of the hourly worker minimum, and index both hourly and tipped worker wage levels for inflation. [3].

The federal bill has not passed, but twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have all raised their minimum wage above the federal level. [4].  At least 140 individual communities have passed living wage ordinances, which raise salaries above the federal or state minimums. [5].  Bills proposing an increase in Indiana’s minimum wage, currently set to mirror the federal level, [6] failed to get a hearing in the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly. [7].

The minimum wage debate has often been characterized by misstatements of facts and forecasts that are not supported by evidence.  In an effort to separate the myths from the reality, here are four arguments for raising the minimum wage: (more…)

Myths and Realities of GMO Labeling Initiatives

by Drake T. Land
J.D. Candidate, 2015, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Indiana International & Comparative Law Review: Executive Articles Development Editor
B.S., 2007, Ball State University; Muncie, Indiana
dtland@umail.iu.edu
Twitter (@draketland)
LinkedIn

Editor’s note: Mr. Land’s article was selected from submissions in the Indiana Law Review‘s first writing competition.


Following the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (“GMOs”) into the food market in 1994, [1] consumer groups and multiple legislative bodies have fought to restrict their sale and label GMOs differently than traditionally developed foods. [2].  This push to restrict the sale, or label, of GMOs is born of the fear that GMOs will have unforeseen consequences to human health and/or the environment. [3].  These fears have been shown to be unrealized after twenty years of market availability [4] and, although restrictions on the sale of GMOs and mandatory labeling is the law in most European countries, [5] labeling initiatives have not achieved the same success in the United States’ federal and state governments. [6].  The European Union “has probably the strictest GMO regulations in the world though these derive rather from political considerations, rather than being based upon scientific principles.” [7].  Unlike the European Union (“the EU”), the United States Constitution explicitly “promote[s] the progress of science,” [8] and under this framework the United States has provided more protection to the development and retail of GMOs.

All currently grown crops have been developed through genetic modification. [9].  “By selectively breeding plants and animals with the most desirable traits, our predecessors transformed organisms’ genomes, turning a scraggly grass into plump-kerneled corn, for example.” [10].  Following Mendel’s discovery of the inheritance of genetic traits, farmers and scientists alike have been using selective breeding and hybridization to alter food crops to make them more reliable and marketable. [11].  “Today, there are virtually no food products in supermarkets that have not been improved in some manner by selective breeding.” [12]. (more…)

The Best of Both Worlds: A Solution to Indiana’s Appointment of Counsel Funding Problem

by Burnell K. Grimes, Jr.
J.D. Candidate, 2016, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
B.A., 2013, Indiana University – Bloomington; Bloomington, Indiana
bukgrime@indiana.edu
LinkedIn

Editor’s note: Mr. Grimes’s article was selected as the winner of the Indiana Law Review‘s first writing competition. You can read more about it here.


The Indiana State Legislature has established a statutory rule allowing a court to appoint an attorney to represent an indigent person in civil matters, upon application by the litigant. [1].  In Sholes v. Sholes, the Indiana Supreme Court held that (1) Indiana Code section 34-10-1-2 requires appointment of counsel for civil indigent litigants, and (2) the appointed counsel must be compensated. [2].  However, the Court did not specifically decide who would be responsible for compensating those attorneys who are appointed as counsel to indigent citizens. [3].  While the Court suggests that the county courts use their authority to require payment as part of the functions of the court’s administrative duties, this has placed a significant burden on courts that are already constrained by tight county budgets. [4].

While there are many possible solutions to the funding problem associated with civil legal aid in Indiana, there is a need to establish one funding source responsible for all civil legal aid matters. [5].  This article will discuss one possible solution to the funding problem for civil legal aid in Indiana, with a specific focus on the Indiana Civil Legal Aid Fund and the Indiana Pro Bono Commission.  These funds may be used to address the funding and participation shortage for both civil indigent litigants and pro bono efforts and legal aid projects in Indiana. (more…)

The State of the Internet: Keyword Advertising

by Caitlin R. Brandon (Attorney Profile)
Associate, Intellectual Property
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 231-7550
LinkedIn


Keyword advertising is not a new phenomenon.  Some believe that various forms of keyword advertising have been around since as early as 1996. [1].  Generally defined as a “form of advertising on the Internet in which a business pays to have an advertisement [for] a website appear on [a consumer’s] computer screen when [the consumer] uses a particular word or phrase to search for information on the internet,” [2] keyword advertisements play a very important role in the marketing and advertising of many businesses. (more…)

Suddenly, Employers are Exposed to Large Jury Verdicts for their Employees’ HIPAA Violations

Hannah Kaufman Joseph (Attorney Profile)
Marc A. Menkveld (Attorney Profile)
Katz & Korin, P.C.
334 N. Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
More info on the firm’s BlogFacebook, and Twitter


On November 14, 2014, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a $1.44 million jury verdict against Walgreen Company (“Walgreen”) for a pharmacist’s breach of privacy obligations. [1]. The opinion began, “[i]n this case, a pharmacist breached one of her most sacred duties by viewing the prescription records of a customer and divulging the information she learned from those records to the client’s ex-boyfriend.” [2]. That brief summary of the case’s fact pattern provides the foundation of what ultimately led to a large jury verdict against Walgreen, derived solely from the acts of its employee.

(more…)

Attorneys’ Fee Awards in Patent Litigation – Emerging Trends

Andrew M. McCoy
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
300 North Meridian Street, Suite 2700
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Attorney Profile


Section 285 of the Patent Act allows a prevailing party to recover attorneys’ fees in “exceptional” cases. [1]. In Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc.[2] and Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems, Inc.[3] the Supreme Court relaxed the requirements for proving an “exceptional” case in three significant ways: (1) now a party who files a section 285 motion need only prove that a case is “exceptional” by a preponderance of the evidence; [4] (2) the movant no longer has to prove bad faith and objective baselessness, [5] but instead must prove that, under the “totality of the circumstances,” [6] the case “stands out from others,” considering numerous factors, such as “frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness (both in the factual and legal components of the case) and the need . . . to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence;” [7] and (3) the appellate standard of review under section 285 is now a deferential abuse-of-discretion standard. [8].

Intellectual property litigators must be aware of these changes and also how various district courts are applying them. This article analyzes the dozens of cases that have applied Octane Fitness and Highmark, with a particular focus on district court opinions, [9] and identifies helpful trends and insights for patent litigators. (more…)