December 2011

Are Bloggers Journalists?

An Oregon court says no

Crystal Cox, a self-described “investigative” blogger, was sued for defamation by investment firm Obsidian Finance Group after she posted numerous negative comments about the company and its co-founder, Kevin Padrick. Cox argued that calling Padrick a “thug” and a “liar” on her blog was protected under Oregon’s shield law – which allows journalists to keep their sources secret – because she obtained the information from a confidential source.

Posted: 12/15/2011 11:01:47 AM by On the Merits Editor | with 0 comments

When Celebrity Doesn’t Help

How many times have we heard complaints about “celebrity justice,” where the nation’s rich and famous get away with things for which ordinary folks would ultimately be punished? Sure, celebrities probably do fare better in the legal system – primarily from their ability to sustain large legal bills – but lawyers can’t fix everything.

Posted: 12/6/2011 12:00:00 AM by On the Merits Editor | with 0 comments

A Silent Threat to the Rule of Law

Kudos to the New York Times for highlighting a serious problem that gets too little attention. Because of recession-era budget cuts at all levels of government, the judicial system is facing an unprecedented funding crisis. According to the Times, in the last three years, 42 states have reduced their judicial budgets, 34 states have laid off court employees, 39 are no longer filling clerk vacancies and 23 have reduced court operating hours.

Posted: 12/5/2011 8:59:49 AM by On the Merits Editor | with 0 comments

About This Blog

Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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