What’s doing in the federal courts not SCOTUS?

Every week or so, the Volokh Report (or Conspiracy — they vary the name according to some rhythm I haven’t yet picked up on) has a guy named John Ross, who, unlike the other Volokh Conspirators,* has wit, report on news from various federal courts.

I’ve noticed most of the courts he reports from are not what I’d call non-political-lean courts but that figures given the Volokh people’s allegiances. (See below at *)

Still, here are two fairly amusing federal appellate court decisions as summarized by Ross:

“Where is the treasure? Where are the assets? Where’s the loot?” Avast, ye readers, and attend the tale of Thomas Thompson, treasure hunter. After Thompson recovered gold coins from a sunken ship, he refused to pay his co-salvagers, absconded to Florida, and hid the coins (possibly in a trust in Belize). The district court locked him up for contempt. Can he get out now that he’s been incarcerated for the last year and a half? Sixth Circuit: He stays in the brig!

Undercover agent accepts a fully nude lap dance from a dancer at “Cheeks,” a West Carrollton, Ohio strip club. With the agent’s extraordinarily thorough investigation (see pages 5-6 of the gov’t’s brief) completed, the state revokes the club’s liquor license, but gives it the option to pay a $25K fine instead. The club sues. Sixth Circuit: Most claims were correctly dismissed, but the district court erred in saying that the $25k fine is not subject to the Excessive Fines Clause. The Commission conceded that the fine is a penalty. So the district court must determine whether that penalty is an excessive one.

* The chief Conspirators are the Koch Brothers. Eugene Volokh is “libertarian,” sort of, although I’ve noticed over the past couple of years he’s been edging away from the extreme views bought and paid for by the Kochs (and sneered at by people like me), dispersed from a huge network of “think” tanks, institutes, and mediocre academic facilities like George Mason U,** with its dogma-bound “scholars” from the Antonin Scalia School of Law.

** When I have a moment, I’ll try to write a fight song for George Mason U. Or an anthem. Yeah, maybe an anthem.

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