Totality & The Law

Here in Portland we are about to be plunged into darkness for a few minutes as our moon blocks out our star for a couple of minutes.

There’s a judge in Florida, though, who hasn’t got much time for celestial events.

Above the Law reports

It seems that an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives who was a principal witness for the government during a trial scheduled to occur today had pre-paid to travel to the “path of totality” to witness the eclipse. An assistant U.S. attorney filed a motion to continue the trial thanks to the ATF agent’s travel plans, but Judge Merryday — no stranger to publicly shaming attorneys (see here and here) — was having none of it.

Judge Merryday begins his assault by describing the solar eclipse’s prominence in history and in art, later including a footnote that seems to target some sloppy drafting on the part of the AUSA. The government’s motion said the last total solar eclipse occurred in June 1918, which isn’t true. As noted above, that’s the last time a total solar eclipse passed over the United States from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. Judge Merryday is quick to point out that “total eclipses occur far more frequently than the United States claims,” citing data from NASA.


Meanwhile there’s always a lawyer with far too much money to waste. NewsChannel out of Nashville Tennessee reports…..

A local lawyer has planned to see his fourth total eclipse by flying in a jet high above Middle Tennessee.

Mark Manner, age 65, knows a lot about total solar eclipses.

As a kid, Manner looked through telescopes with his dad but didn’t start getting into astronomy until high school.

Growing up, he read books about science and space and filmed the universe. Throughout his adult-life, Manner has helped set up observatories in Middle Tennessee and other states.