Rehnquist Center banner logoSo far, my overscheduled Tuesday looks like it won’t accommodate a trip south to Tucson. And that’s really too bad. (Well, that’s too bad most any day, but it’s especially the case on February 26.)

The reason I’d like to drop by the University of Arizona Law School is to attend an oral argument—before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, of all legal bodies.

Here is how the Court describes itself and its civilian judges:

“The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces sealThe Rehnquist Center at the law school has announced the morning event, during which law students will have the opportunity to argue; those same students have already filed an amicus brief in the case.

The Center says that the Court has never traveled to Tucson. But if that’s not enough of a draw, here are the case facts:

“GCM conviction of possession of child pornography, larceny of military property and filing a false claim. Granted issues question (1) whether the military judge abused his discretion when he failed to suppress evidence of child pornography discovered on Appellant’s personal computer in the course of an unreasonable search conducted to find contraband after Appellant was wounded in Iraq and medically evacuated to the United States; and (2) whether the Army Court erred in creating a new exception to the Fourth Amendment when it held that the Government’s search of Appellant’s personal computer was reasonable because the Government was not ‘certain’ or ‘absolutely clear’ that it would be returned to the wounded-warrior Appellant.”

From where I sit, that is a fascinating Fourth Amendment question. (Although didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court this past Term examine a question related to privacy rights on a school computer that could possibly be returned to the employer? What case was that? Anyone?) (Recently, Canada’s Supreme Court took the view that folks do have some measure of privacy, even on their work-issued computer. O Canada.)

More information about the Tuesday morning arguments is here. Included among the detail are the argument briefs (in PDF).

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

At noon today, the annual Willard Pedrick Lecture will be delivered at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The speaker will be Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC–Irvine School of Law. His topic will be “Rethinking Privacy and the Fourth Amendment.” It’s likely too late for you to reserve one of the free seats, but it may be worth a shot to drop by anyway (many of the seats reserved for students are still not taken).

I had the chance to interview Dean Chemerinsky early in 2012 for a Q&A in Arizona Attorney. I’m confident his lecture will be worth hearing.

That’s why I’m disappointed to note that I’ll be unable to attend today’s lecture. But I’d love to hear from someone who was there. If you do attend and are interested in guest-writing a blog post about his remarks, please write to me at

Here is some background about the dean, as provided by ASU Law School:

“Chemerinsky is one of the nation’s top experts in constitutional law, federal practice, civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He is the author of seven books, the latest being The Conservative Assault on the Constitution. Chemerinsky’s casebook, Constitutional Law, is one of the most widely read law textbooks in the country. He has also written nearly 200 law review articles in journals, such as the Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Stanford Law Review and Yale Law Journal.”

“Chemerinsky frequently argues appellate cases, including matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, and regularly serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S. from Northwestern University.”

Canada Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea got a pie in the face in Burlington, Ont. (CBC)

Officially I was back from vacation yesterday. But mentally, I’m expecting that to happen sometime around the middle of next week. But today being Change of Venue Day (Friday) and all, I thought I would share something from a far-flung venue.

So I’m sitting at my desk and whom do I hear from? A good friend, formerly of Phoenix, who moved last year to Toronto.

(Toronto in July sounds pretty good. She’s smilin’, we’re dyin’. But the worm will turn pretty soon, O (Snowy) Canada.)

Nedra Brown formerly was the Director of Sections & Committees at the State Bar of Arizona. But she headed back north to her ancestral home, where she now practices law. (And if I were her, I would wear a powdered wig every day.)

Nedra was a fantastic colleague, and I only miss her every single day. So I was pleased when I got this morning’s e-mail from her:

Since I don’t get to share American law with you, and it is Friday afternoon, I thought I would share a judgment from the Supreme Court of Canada that was released today.

The Supreme Court of Canada sets standards for deciding remedies for a Charter (think Bill of Rights, 4th Amendment) breach.

Also remember the Canadian Constitution is only 28 years old before you laugh too loudly.

Interesting that this comes out as G20 arrest cases will be moving up the pipeline.


When Nedra mentioned the Fourth Amendment and laughing loudly, she piqued my interest. And this opinion is one worth reading.

As my stuffy law professors would have intoned, the case “sounds in” constitutional and tort law.

Haven’t grabbed you yet? Then read this first line from the syllabus: “During a ceremony in Vancouver, the city police department received information that an unknown individual intended to throw a pie at the Prime Minister who was in attendance.”

Lawyer Cameron Ward being arrested on a pastry charge

It gets worse. There was a strip search (for, um, pie filling?).

And the misidentified suspect? A lawyer. All he originally asked for was an apology. Getting none, he pursued the case, all the way to Canada’s top bench—seven years of litigation.

I leave you with one other sentence from our understated magistrates from the icy north:

 In this case, the need for compensation bulks large.  Mr. Ward’s injury was serious.  He had a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, which was violated in an egregious fashion. Strip searches are inherently humiliating and degrading regardless of the manner in which they are carried out and thus constitute significant injury to an individual’s intangible interests (P. 64)

Here is a CBC story on the messy pie matter.

And here is The Vancouver Sun, with its tasty “Political Pie Throwing: A Delicious History of Protest.”

Cameron Ward: Egg is now on the government's face

Enjoy your weekend.