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from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

BOB DYLAN in the SUPREME COURT


The legal (and music) world is abuzz in response to Chief Justice John Roberts citing Bob Dylan in his dissent in Sprint v. APCC Services. From the New York Times:


Four pages into his dissent on Monday in an achingly boring dispute between pay phone companies and long distance carriers, John G. Roberts Jr., the chief justice of the United States, put a song lyric where the citation to precedent usually goes.

"The absence of any right to the substantive recovery means that respondents cannot benefit from the judgment they seek and thus lack Article III standing," Chief Justice Roberts wrote. " 'When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.' Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone, on Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia Records 1965)."

Alex B. Long, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and perhaps the nation's leading authority on the citation of popular music in judicial opinions, said this was almost certainly the first use of a rock lyric to buttress a legal proposition in a Supreme Court decision. "It's a landmark opinion," Professor Long said.

Rolling Stone named "Like a Rolling Stone" the best song of all time. Roberts, or the clerk who provided the citation, has good taste, but poor attention to detail. A double negative has gone missing; when Dylan sings it, it is "When you ain't got nothing..." Rolling Stone points out that Roberts is the first baby boomer SCOTUS chief. It may be true that we'll see more musical legal citations by those raised on the political music of the 60s.

In the lower courts, according to a study Professor Long published in the Washington & Lee Law Review last year, Mr. Dylan is by far the most cited songwriter. He has been quoted in 26 opinions. Paul Simon is next, with 8 (12 if you count those attributed to Simon & Garfunkel). Bruce Springsteen has 5.

Both Dylan and Springsteen had three songs nominated for ATL's Top Ten Law Songs list, though Dylan was the only one to make the final cut with "Hurricane." Johnny Cash had the most songs nominated. Why aren't the courts showing Cash citation love?

RETURN of the ILLINOIS ANTI-PREDATORY LENDING PROGRAM


Its back!

Today marks the effective date of the new Illinois Anti-Predatory Lending Database Program. From this point forward, title companies must record a certificate of exemption or compliance with all residential mortgages. Here's one over here --->

Got this sucker at a purchase this morning. Gotta figure its one of the first ones to be issued, given that the law went into effect only hours ago. Cost my clients $50 (a title company charge to handle the paperwork) plus an additonal buck to the County Recorder for the additional page to be recorded. Tacked about twenty additional minutes onto the closing, but all in all (so far) not too bad a disruption of the closing process.

Of course, the real test will be when compliance (non-exempt) certifications start making their way through the closing pipeline. This may not begin for another week to 10 days as compliance certifications will only be necessary for certain specified types of mortgage loans applied for on and after July 1.

I understand that the new program requires title companies to undertake a fair amount of data collection and reporting to the State of Illinois. How big is the burden? Title companies are creating and staffing whole new compliance departments and buyers are going start paying roughly $150 per loan to pay for the effort. We'll soon see how much longer closing appointments will be.