Today’s Wednesday. Guess what that means? Time for another sycophantic profile of Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal!
Katyal, you surely recall, successfully argued Hamdan v. Rumsfeld before the Supreme Court. For that achievement, he earned a place in the footnotes of legal history — and, even more importantly, an appearance on the Colbert Report.
After his SCOTUS victory, Katyal was all over the newspapers and airwaves. Are you getting tired of him? Well, you’re not alone. He’s in danger of becoming overexposed, the Lindsay Lohan of the Elect. He needs to pace himself if he wants to have staying power. (Katyal should get some p.r. pointers from Professor Noah Feldman and Supreme Court litigator Jeffrey Fisher, two young former SCOTUS clerks who have managed to stay in the spotlight for more than 15 minutes.)
Anyway, if you’re interested in the latest ode to Katyal, we’ve excerpted the best parts after the jump.
Here are the most interesting parts of T.R. Goldman’s long and adoring profile of Neal K. Katyal:
[Katyal] mooted his Supreme Court argument 15 times since the granting of cert on Nov. 17, 2005, honing his delivery skills along the way with lessons from Joshua Karton, a Los Angeles-based actor who teaches lawyers how to improve their physical presence, “to have a conversation with the justices, not an argument,” Katyal explains….
“Hey, guys, it’s Neal,” says Katyal into the speakerphone to his five student mooters, with a mien so calm and affable he could be your local pharmacist or grocer.
As originally drafted by Goldman, the sentence read “your local 7-Eleven owner who sells cold medicine to crystal meth addicts” — but that got changed in the editing process.
“I know what I told Neal three years ago. I thought it was unwinnable,” says Katyal’s Yale Law School professor, Akhil Amar, who first met Katyal in 1992 and calls him “the most memorable student I’ve ever had.”
“Not counting myself,” Amar quickly added.
[Katyal's] law school internships each summer could not have been more propitious. Summer No. 1: a legal intern in the office of Vice President Al Gore. Summer No. 2: a legal intern in the Office of the Solicitor General. Katyal spent his third summer at Washington’s Hogan & Hartson, where he worked specifically for Supreme Court litigator and now-Chief Justice Roberts. (“‘Go work for John G. Roberts,'” Katyal says he was told by Miguel Estrada, an assistant solicitor general when Katyal worked in the office. “‘The G,’ Estrada added, ‘is for ‘God.'”)
Sounds like someone has a crush on the Chief! Miguel, we don’t blame you. They don’t call him a judicial superhottie for nothing.
(Miguel: Call us.)
If you doubt that elite legal circles are small, think again:
[Katyal] is surrounded by the law; while his wife is a doctor, his brother-in-law is Jeffrey Rosen, a journalist for The New Republic and a George Washington University law professor. His sister is a law professor at Fordham University.
Rosen, by the way, is an Akhil Amar acolyte, like Katyal.
And where has Katyal’s blindingly successful legal career taken him?
For the past year and a half, Katyal’s also been represented by International Creative Management’s lecture department, alongside about 100 other people, ranging from Alan Alda to Frank Gehry to Pete Hamill to Patti LaBelle. “I’m probably the last person on their Web site,” he says dismissively, adding that so far he’s gotten only a handful of lectures from the deal, although he now expects the speaking gigs to pick up, perhaps considerably.
That pretty much says it all. One of the brightest lawyers of his generation must fall in line behind a TV star from the 1970s. And a sixtysomething R&B singer, known for having breakdowns on stage.
Someone please remind us: Why did we go to law school again?
How an Overachieving Law Professor Toppled the President’s Terror Tribunals [Legal Times via Althouse]