This week was largely taken up with my bench trial on Thursday, which did not, after all, only take one day, because the judge had to leave at 12:30. So this coming Friday, we'll put on the other half or so of our case, and the other side will put on their case; I think we can finish Friday, but it will probably take most of the day. It's a closed hearing, so unless it makes the papers (I hope not, because that would mostly likely mean that things went horribly wrong), no details will be appearing here—it concerns a person who pled not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to a crime.
On Friday, I saw a noteworthy oral argument. New York enacted a law that took effect at the start of the year; if an employer already offered prescription drug coverage to its employees, then it had to include coverage for prescription contraceptives. There was an exemption for religious employers, but various Catholic-affiliated charities sued, claiming that the exemption was too narrow, among other things. Our office is defending the law, of course, because that's what we do; two of my co-workers have the case, though only one argued. The court heard argument on plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment. (Well, heard speeches, more accurately; the judge asked one question, by my count, on a side issue.) Now, to win on a preliminary injunction, one of the things you need to show is a likelihood of success on the merits; and to win on a summary judgment motion, you need to show that there are no undisputed material facts and that you are entitled to win as a matter of law. The judge could deny both motions and send it to trial, but given this posture, the judge will at least have to give a strong signal which way he is leaning. My colleague gave an excellently clear and dynamic argument, and we'll all be waiting eagerly to see what happens.
(A very similar California law was upheld before the trial and intermediate appeal courts, and is currently pending before California's highest court.)
Current events this week: Hurricane Isabel generated a little rain and some wind Friday, and that was it. And the dog was thrilled that Chad was home this weekend because his conference was rescheduled. Chad did heavy yard work, and I did, hmmm, not much of anything, really. Oh, I made cookies because the neighbors stopped by for dessert tonight (and the dog pulled three off the table where they were cooling and ate two. Apparently she doesn't know or care that chocolate chips are bad for her . . . ).
I'm also getting hit hard with the Swen virus, which is unusual for me; I'm not in any Outlook address books to speak of, so usually I don't get hit with Windows-based viruses. (Usenet addresses appear to be a source, so I think that's it.) I use MailWasher as a spam filter (free or pay, Windows, POP3 or Hotmail; I really like it), and it's catching them all with a pretty simple filter, which I offer here if you're having this problem too: if your program filters on body text, tell it to dump anything with "latest version of security update" and "September 2003 Cumulative Patch".
[ Edited to correct the filter: that's "September 2003, Cumulative Patch" (note comma), which by itself appears to be sufficient, actually. ]
Entertainment this week: watched DVD episodes from the first season of A&E's Nero Wolfe series, The Doorbell Rang and Champagne for One. The series isn't perfect (too much yelling, and no-one ever takes off their hats, which drives me nuts), but it captures the spirit very well, and it's too bad A&E canceled after the second season.