Grading the Supreme Court

In the July episode of Common Ground, Matt Yospin, Steve Linsky and I review some of the major decisions issued by the Supreme Court in the final days of their session last month, including headline grabbers like Hobby Lobby, as well as some of the decisions that have not gotten as many headlines, but which may have significant consquences for individual rights, intellectual property law, and other important legal doctrines.

The cases we discussed were:

  • McCullen v. Coakley – Buffer zones
  • Burwell v. Hobby Lobby – Contraceptive coverage
  • CLS Bank v. Alice – Patentability of computer software
  • American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. – Copyright infringement
  • Harris v. Quinn – Union dues
  • Riley v. California – Fourt Amendment protection for cell phones
  • NLRB v. Noel Canning – Recess appointments

To hear our analysis of these decisions, watch the show online.  Then come back and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.



Where have I been?

I just noticed that my last blog entry is almost two years old!  I got very busy during my third year of law school, working for Wolf, Greenfield, & Sacks and GTC Law Group, as well as serving as a reaseach assistant for two professors a teaching assistant for a third professor, a law journal editor, and -- most importantly -- a little league coach.  Then there was that little matter of the Bar Exam and finding a job.  Well, finding, is not exactly the right word, since I ended up starting a law firm with a law school classmate, Shaun Keough.  The firm, Parker Keough LLP, provides a wide range of legal services, including intellectual property protection, entity formation, transactions, and dispute resolution.  We've been surprisingly busy for a new law firm.  To find out more about our firm, you can subscribe to our newsletter by completing the contact form on our website.

During this time, I have also continued to be involved in Newton politics, helping with the election campaings of Aldermen Brian Yates and Emily Norton and School Committee Member Margaret Albright.  I also continue to host my cable show, Common Ground.


Watch the Common Ground Eighth Anniversary Special on the Web

If you haven't caught the June episode of Common Ground yet, time is running out to see it, since we did a new show last Thursday.  The June show was an eighth anniversary special featuring Jeff Seideman and Alderman Vicki Danberg and includes some great (mostly true) stories from Vicki and Jeff and a surprise guest (in addition to our usual policy discussions.  Until the folks at NewTV upload the new show, the old one will continue to be available through the NewTV web site.

The new show features Aldermen Steve Linsky and Dick Blazar.  For two mild-mannered lawyers, it was interesting to see how passionately they disagreed over the issue of naming rights for spaces in public buildings.  That show is now being cablecast on NewTV's blue channel (Thursdays at 8PM and other times throughout the week) and will soon be up on the web.

Our next live show will be Thursday, August 9 at 8:00 PM.  It will feature an All-Star cast, including two Aldermen and a member of the School Committee.  We'll be talking budgets and maintenance and some other exciting stuff, so set your DVR if you'll be traveling then :-)

If you have ideas for topics and panelists for future shows, please email your ideas to me at  Should we discuss national issues like the Affordable Care Act and the Presidential Election?  Let me know what you think.


Ward 8 Candidates Advocate Radical Ideas

Winning the Ward 8 Aldermanic Debate from barbara John on Vimeo.

I just got a chance to watch the Ward 8 candidate debate that I moderated during the summer and was surprised by the bold (some would say rash) ideas being proposed by some of the candidates.  All three candidates demonstrated strong command of the issues and gave some thoughtful answers, but they also said a few things that might raise eyebrows.

Before you vote this Tuesday, you should watch this video to find out:

- Which Ward 8 candidate thinks the Community Preservation Act (CPA) has run its course in Newton and should be repealed?

- Which candidate thinks that the potential impact on school overcrowding should not be a consideration when the Board of Aldermen deliberates Special Permit applications for new housing developments?

- Which candidate wants to cut special education spending?

- Which candidate thinks that Mayor Warren's budget process is exactly the same as Mayor Cohen's?

You might be surprised by the answers. . .