Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America v. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. 549 U. S. 443, was a United States Supreme Court case about attorney's fees in bankruptcy cases. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for a unanimous court. Before they declared bankruptcy, Pacific Gas & Electric Company purchased surety bonds from Travelers, an insurance company; the bonds obliged Travelers to settle debts. When PG&E filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on April 6, 2001 as a result of the California electricity crisis, Travelers hired attorneys to protect its interests. California law mandated that PG&E cover all attorney fees incurred by Travelers during state court proceedings; the litigation moved to federal court, where PG&E refused to pay for Travelers' federal court expenses, claiming they were only responsible for fees incurred during state court proceedings. The bankruptcy court denied Travelers' request for reimbursement because the federal precedents in the Ninth Circuit held that only federal laws could ensure payment for federal litigation.
PG&E was only under contractual and legal obligation to pay for state-court attorney fees, not federal-court fees. The District Court and the Ninth Circuit denied Travelers' claim on the same grounds. Travelers appealed to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court granted certiorari, seeking to resolve an inconsistency among the circuit courts. Can an unsecured creditor in a bankruptcy case collect attorneys' fees authorized by a contract and incurred in postpetition litigation where such a contractual obligation is guaranteed under a state law? Justice Alito issued the Court's unanimous opinion, holding that "an otherwise enforceable contract allocating attorney’s fees... is allowable in bankruptcy except where the Bankruptcy Code provides otherwise." Because the Bankruptcy Code "says nothing about unsecured claims for contractual attorney's fees incurred while litigating issues of bankruptcy law," the Court could "presume that claims enforceable under applicable state law will be allowed in bankruptcy unless they are expressly disallowed."
The Court found that none of the nine exemptions waiving contractual obligation to reimburse attorney fees set forth in 11 U. S. C. § 502 applied to Travelers, therefore nothing undermined the debtor's contractual or state-law obligation to pay. The idea that state-law or contractual claims for attorneys' fees are unenforceable in federal bankruptcy proceedings, Alito wrote, "finds no support in the Bankruptcy Code, either in §502 or elsewhere." Baylis v. Travelers' Insurance Company Pacific Gas & Electric v. Public Utilities Commission Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission Text of Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. of America v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. 549 U. S. 443 is available from: Cornell CourtListener Justia Oyez Supreme Court
Harry Andrew Blackmun was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1970 until 1994. Appointed by Republican President Richard Nixon, Blackmun became one of the most liberal justices on the Court, he is best known as the author of the Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade, which prohibits many state and federal restrictions on abortion. Raised in Saint Paul, Blackmun graduated from Harvard Law School in 1932, he practiced law in Minneapolis, representing clients such as the Mayo Clinic. In 1959, he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. After the defeat of two previous nominees, President Richard Nixon nominated Blackmun to the Supreme Court to replace Associate Justice Abe Fortas. Blackmun and his close friend, conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger, were referred to as the "Minnesota Twins," but Blackmun drifted away from Burger during their tenure on the court.
Blackmun retired from the Court during the administration of President Bill Clinton, was succeeded by Stephen Breyer. Aside from Roe v. Wade, notable majority opinions written by Blackmun include Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, Bigelow v. Commonwealth of Virginia, Stanton v. Stanton, he joined part of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey but filed a separate opinion, warning that Roe was in jeopardy, he wrote dissenting opinions in notable cases such as Furman v. Georgia, Bowers v. Hardwick, DeShaney v. Winnebago County. Harry Blackmun was born in Illinois, to Theo Huegely and Corwin Manning Blackmun. Three years his baby brother, Corwin Manning Blackmun, Jr. died soon after birth. Blackmun grew up in Dayton's Bluff, a working-class neighborhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he attended the same grade school as future Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, with whom he served on the Supreme Court for some sixteen years, he attended Harvard University on scholarship, earning an Artium Baccalaureus degree summa cum laude in mathematics and graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1929.
While at Harvard, Blackmun sang with the Harvard Glee Club. He attended Harvard Law School, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1932, he served in a variety of positions including private counsel, law clerk, adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School and William Mitchell College of Law. Blackmun's practice as an attorney at the law firm now known as Dorsey & Whitney focused in its early years on taxation and estates, civil litigation, he married Dorothy Clark in 1941 and had three daughters with her, Nancy and Susan. Between 1950 and 1959, Blackmun served as resident counsel for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, he would describe his time at Mayo as "his happiest time". In the late 1950s, Blackmun's close friend Warren E. Burger an appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit encouraged Blackmun to seek a judgeship. Judge John B. Sanborn Jr. of the Eighth Circuit, whom Blackmun had clerked for after graduating from Harvard, told Blackmun of his plans to assume senior status.
He said that he would suggest Blackmun's name to the Eisenhower administration if Blackmun wished to succeed him. After much urging by Sanborn and Burger, Blackmun agreed to accept the nomination, duly offered by Eisenhower and members of the Justice Department. Blackmun was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 18, 1959, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacated by Judge John B. Sanborn Jr; the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave him an high rating of "exceptionally well qualified", he was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 14, 1959, received his commission on September 21, 1959. Over the next decade, Blackmun would author 217 opinions for the Eighth Circuit, his service terminated on June 1970, due to his elevation to the Supreme Court. Blackmun was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Richard Nixon on April 14, 1970, was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 12, 1970, by a 94–0 vote.
He received his commission on May 14, 1970 and took the oath of office on June 9, 1970. Blackmun was Nixon's third choice to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Abe Fortas on May 14, 1969, his confirmation followed contentious battles over two previous, failed nominations forwarded by Nixon in 1969–1970, those of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell. Nixon's original choice, Lewis F. Powell Jr. turned him down but joined the Court in 1972. Blackmun served as Circuit Justice for the Eighth Circuit from June 9, 1970 to August 2, 1994 and for the First Circuit from August 7, 1990 to October 8, 1990. Blackmun, a lifelong Republican, was expected to adhere to a conservative interpretation of the Constitution; the Court's Chief Justice at the time, Warren Burger, a long-time friend of Blackmun's and best man at his wedding, had recommended Blackmun for the job to Nixon. The two were referred to as the "Minnesota Twins" because of their common history in Minnesota and because they so voted together.
Indeed, Blackmun voted with
San Francisco the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017, it covers an area of about 46.89 square miles at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, the fifth-most densely populated U. S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area; as of 2017, it was the seventh-highest income county in the United States, with a per capita personal income of $119,868. As of 2015, San Francisco proper had a GDP of $154.2 billion, a GDP per capita of $177,968. The San Francisco CSA was the country's third-largest urban economy as of 2017, with a GDP of $907 billion.
Of the 500+ primary statistical areas in the US, the San Francisco CSA had among the highest GDP per capita in 2017, at $93,938. San Francisco was ranked 14th in the world and third in the United States on the Global Financial Centres Index as of September 2018. San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when colonists from Spain established Presidio of San Francisco at the Golden Gate and Mission San Francisco de Asís a few miles away, all named for St. Francis of Assisi; the California Gold Rush of 1849 brought rapid growth, making it the largest city on the West Coast at the time. San Francisco became a consolidated city-county in 1856. San Francisco's status as the West Coast's largest city peaked between 1870 and 1900, when around 25% of California's population resided in the city proper. After three-quarters of the city was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, San Francisco was a major port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.
It became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, along with the rise of the "hippie" counterculture, the Sexual Revolution, the Peace Movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States. Politically, the city votes along liberal Democratic Party lines. A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman's Wharf, its Chinatown district. San Francisco is the headquarters of five major banking institutions and various other companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. Gap Inc. Fitbit, Salesforce.com, Reddit, Inc. Dolby, Weebly, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Pinterest, Uber, Mozilla, Wikimedia Foundation and Weather Underground.
It is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of San Francisco, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the De Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California Academy of Sciences. As of 2019, San Francisco is the highest rated American city on world liveability rankings; the earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party, led by Don Gaspar de Portolà, arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay. Seven years on March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, followed by a mission, Mission San Francisco de Asís, established by the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system ended, its lands became privatized.
In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, Mexico ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography; the California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849; the promise of great wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.
Some of these 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships and hotels.
California Public Utilities Commission
The California Public Utilities Commission is a regulatory agency that regulates owned public utilities in the state of California, including electric power, telecommunications, natural gas and water companies. In addition, the CPUC regulates common carriers, including household goods movers, passenger transportation companies such as limousine services, rail crossing safety; the CPUC has headquarters in the Civic Center district of San Francisco, field offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento. On April 1, 1878, the California Office of the Commissioner of Transportation was created. During the 19th century, public concerns over the unbridled power of the Southern Pacific Railroad grew to the point that a three-member Railroad Commission was established to approve transportation prices. However, the Southern Pacific dominated this commission to its advantage, public outrage re-ignited; as experience with public regulation grew, other common utilities were brought under the oversight of the Railroad Commission.
On March 3, 1879 the California Constitution was adopted by constitutional convention and was ratified by the electorate on May 7, 1879, included provisions relating to Railroad Commissioners in article XII. On April 15, 1880 the Board of Railroad Commissioners was created. On March 20, 1909 the Railroad Commission of the State of California replaced these other entities. On February 9, 1911 the California Legislature passed the Railroad Commission Act reorganizing the Railroad Commission. On March 24, 1911 the California Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment giving it constitutional status, ratified by the electorate on October 10, 1911. On June 16, 1945 a constitutional amendment was proposed by the legislature to rename the Railroad Commission as the California Public Utilities Commission, ratified by the electorate on November 5, 1946; as a result of the amendment, the Constitution of California declares that the Public Utilities Code is the highest law in the state, that the legislature has unlimited authority to regulate public utilities under the Public Utilities Code, that its provisions override any conflicting provision of the State Constitution which deals with the subject of regulation of public utilities.
In October 2014, Commission President Michael Peevey decided to step down at the upcoming end of his second six-year term in December. Controversy was swirling around the agency at the time, for apparent cozy relationships with Pacific Gas & Electric, a utility whose gas line exploded in San Bruno killing eight people in 2010, his home in the Los Angeles suburb of La Cañada Flintridge was searched by criminal investigators in January 2015. Five commissioners each serve staggered six-year terms as the governing body of the agency. Commissioners must be confirmed by the California State Senate; the CPUC meets publicly to carry out the business of the agency, which may include the adoption of utility rate changes, rules on safety and service standards, implementation of conservation programs, investigation into unlawful or anticompetitive practices by regulated utilities and intervention into federal proceedings which affect California ratepayers. As of January 2015, the current commissioners are: President Michael Picker, Carla J. Peterman Liane M. Randolph Clifford Rechtschaffen Martha Guzman Aceves Some regulatory laws are implemented by the California State Legislature through the passage of laws.
These laws reside in the California Public Utilities Code. The CPUC Headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento and the CPUC employs 1000 including judges, analysts, lawyers and support; the CPUC does not regulate the rates of utilities and common carriers operated by government agencies. Thus, such organizations as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit, other municipally operated utilities or common carriers are not subject to rate regulation or tariff schedule filing with the CPUC. However, all municipal utilities and carriers in California must follow Public Utilities provisions on holding hearings and obtaining public input before raising rates or changing terms of service, municipal utility customers have means of appeal of potential disconnections. Additionally, the CPUC has jurisdiction over components of the safety operations of government run utilities and common carriers; the CPUC regulates investor-owned electric and gas utilities within the state of California, including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric.
Among its stated goals for energy regulation are to establish service standards and safety rules, authorize utility rate changes, oversee markets to inhibit anti-competitive activity, prosecute unlawful utility marketing and billing activities, govern business relationships between utilities and their affiliates, resolve complaints by customers against utilities, implement energy efficiency and conservation programs and programs for the low-income and disabled, oversee the merger and restructure of utility corporations, enforce the California Environmental Quality Act for utility construction. The California Solar Initiative is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission and provides incentives for solar system installations to customers of the state’s three investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric; the CSI program provides upfront incentives for solar systems installed on existing residential homes, as well as existing and ne
United States Reports
The United States Reports are the official record of the rulings, case tables, in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner and by the name of the respondent, other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially; the Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office. For lawyers, citations to United States Reports are the standard reference for Supreme Court decisions. Following The Bluebook, a accepted citation protocol, the case Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, for example, would be cited as: Brown v. Bd. of Educ.
347 U. S. 483. This citation indicates that the decision of the Court in the case entitled Brown v. Board of Education, as abbreviated in Bluebook style, was decided in 1954 and can be found in volume 347 of the United States Reports starting on page 483; the early volumes of the United States Reports were published by the individual Supreme Court Reporters. As was the practice in England, the reports were designated by the names of the reporters who compiled them: Dallas's Reports, Cranch's Reports, etc; the decisions appearing in the entire first volume and most of the second volume of United States Reports are not decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Instead, they are decisions from various Pennsylvania courts, dating from the colonial period and the first decade after Independence. Alexander Dallas, a lawyer and journalist, of Philadelphia, had been in the business of reporting these cases for newspapers and periodicals, he subsequently began compiling his case reports in a bound volume, which he called Reports of cases ruled and adjudged in the courts of Pennsylvania and since the Revolution.
This would come to be known as the first volume of Dallas Reports. When the United States Supreme Court, along with the rest of the new Federal Government moved, in 1791, from New York City to the nation's temporary capital in Philadelphia, Dallas was appointed the Supreme Court's first unofficial, unpaid, Supreme Court Reporter. Dallas continued to publish Pennsylvania decisions in a second volume of his Reports; when the Supreme Court began hearing cases, he added those cases to his reports, starting towards the end of the second volume, 2 Dallas Reports, with West v. Barnes. Dallas went on to publish a total of four volumes of decisions during his tenure as Reporter; when the Supreme Court moved to Washington, D. C. in 1800, Dallas remained in Philadelphia, William Cranch took over as unofficial reporter of decisions. In 1817, Congress made the Reporter of Decisions an official, salaried position, although the publication of the Reports remained a private enterprise for the reporter's personal gain.
The reports themselves were the subject of an early copyright case, Wheaton v. Peters, in which former reporter Henry Wheaton sued current reporter Richard Peters for reprinting cases from Wheaton's Reports in abridged form. In 1874, the U. S. government began creating the United States Reports. The earlier, private reports were retroactively numbered volumes 1–90 of the United States Reports, starting from the first volume of Dallas Reports. Therefore, decisions appearing in these early reports have dual citation forms: one for the volume number of the United States Reports. For example, the complete citation to McCulloch v. Maryland is 17 U. S. 316. Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States Lists of United States Supreme Court cases by volume National Reporter System United States Supreme Court: Information About Opinions United States Supreme Court: Bound Volumes – Lists of PDFs Torrents of United States Reports 502–550
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights; the Bill of Rights was proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. The First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Everson v. Board of Education, the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute.
Speech rights were expanded in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing and school speech. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, is therefore subject to greater regulation; the Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota and New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in all cases; the Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In 1776, the second year of the American Revolutionary War, the Virginia colonial legislature passed a Declaration of Rights that included the sentence "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, can never be restrained but by despotic Governments." Eight of the other twelve states made similar pledges. However, these declarations were considered "mere admonitions to state legislatures", rather than enforceable provisions. After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring among other changes a stronger chief executive. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that the Constitution include a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties.
Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. For the constitution to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights; the U. S. Constitution was ratified by all thirteen states. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments, his proposed draft of the First Amendment read as follows: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably consulting for their common good; this language was condensed by Congress, passed the House and Senate with no recorded debate, complicating future discussion of the Amendment's intent. The First Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, adopted on December 15, 1791. Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists: Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies between Ma