Antonin Scalia

alan dershowitz.jpgOn Monday, the Supreme Court ordered a federal trial judge to take a closer look at the murder case against Troy Anthony Davis, a Georgia death row inmate. The SCOTUS directed the district judge to “receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis'] innocence.”
Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, dissented. Justice Scalia questioned the viability of Davis’s claim of actual innocence, then went one step further. Even if Davis might be “actually” innocent, he’s SOL:

This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent.

This bold pronouncement caught the attention of Professor Alan Dershowitz, back at Justice Scalia’s alma mater, Harvard Law School. From “Scalia’s Catholic Betrayal,” over at The Daily Beast:

Let us be clear precisely what [Scalia's dissent] means. If a defendant were convicted, after a constitutionally unflawed trial, of murdering his wife, and then came to the Supreme Court with his very much alive wife at his side, and sought a new trial based on newly discovered evidence (namely that his wife was alive), these two justices would tell him, in effect: “Look, your wife may be alive as a matter of fact, but as a matter of constitutional law, she’s dead, and as for you, Mr. Innocent Defendant, you’re dead, too, since there is no constitutional right not to be executed merely because you’re innocent.”

It would be shocking enough for any justice of the Supreme Court to issue such a truly outrageous opinion, but it is particularly indefensible for Justices Scalia and Thomas, both of whom claim to be practicing Catholics, bound by the teaching of their church, to do moral justice. Justice Scalia has famously written, in the May 2002 issue of the conservative journal First Things, that if the Constitution compelled him to do something that was absolutely prohibited by mandatory Catholic rules, he would have no choice but to resign from the Supreme Court.

So should Justice Scalia resign? The Dersh isn’t saying that — yet.
But he does have a challenge for Nino.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Professor Dershowitz’s Challenge to Justice Scalia”

John Yoo Philadelphia.JPG* It sounds like very few protesters greeted John Yoo at Berkeley Law School. Only four were tenacious enough to get arrested. [Associated Press]
* Fen-phen lawyers sentenced to 20 and 25 years, respectively. The judge wants their sentences to deter other lawyers tempted to steal from settlement funds. [Bloomberg]
* Proskauer Rose probably likes this headline. [New York Daily News]
* Nino leads one to believe that empathy is not an important quality in a judge. [New York Times via Daily Beast]
* The 5th Circuit agrees with a Texas school district that has banned “shirts with words.” Are shirts with numbers okay? [Courthouse News Service]
* Michael Jackson’s children have lawyered up. [CNN]
* Nationwide salary cut watch: LA County judges. [Los Angeles Times]
* Why has there been no litigation surge in the recession? [National Law Journal]

champagne glasses small.jpgRejoice, wedding fans! We have some compelling mid-summer material for you this week: Wachtell, SCOTUS, lesbians, French nobility — read on for the details on all of that and more, as reported in the New York Times and filtered by us.
Our finalist couples:

1. Rebecca Gutner and Rodman Forter Jr.
2. Laura Hammond and Christopher Hemphill
3. Laure de Vulpillières and Vanessa Dillen

Admire these couples’ achievements, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 7.12: French Kissing”

scalia come and find me above the law.jpgFor those of you just tuning in, we have a little bit of a back and forth going on between Fordham Law School and One First Street. Last week, we wrote about What Fordham Knows About Justice Scalia. Professor Joel Reidenberg, an information privacy law professor at Fordham, had his class compile a 15-page dossier on Justice Antonin Scalia after the Justice was quoted in January saying, “Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly.”

Dan Solove expounds on Scalia’s privacy views at Concurring Opinions:

[Scalia] believes that certain kinds of information are not private — Internet tracking, most items of consumption (unless embarrassing), addresses, and so on. He partly seems to endorse the view that there’s no privacy violation if there’s “nothing to hide.”

We checked in with Justice Scalia to see how he felt about Professor Reidenberg acting on his professed privacy beliefs. He was not pleased:

I stand by my remark at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law conference that it is silly to think that every single datum about my life is private. I was referring, of course, to whether every single datum about my life deserves privacy protection in law.

It is not a rare phenomenon that what is legal may also be quite irresponsible. That appears in the First Amendment context all the time. What can be said often should not be said. Prof. Reidenberg’s exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any.

Professor Reidenberg responds to Justice Scalia’s response, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Fordham’s Dossier on Justice Scalia”

scalia come and find me above the law.jpgLast week, we wrote about the Fordham law professor who assigned his information privacy law class to compile a dossier on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The professor had chosen Scalia as the target for privacy invasion because of the Justice’s remarks at a January conference organized by the Institute of American and Talmudic Law. Scalia’s views on the privacy of personal information online are summed up nicely by this quote:

“Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly,” Scalia [said].

(And his views are summed up at greater length here by privacy expert and GW Law Professor Dan Solove.)

Professor Joel Reidenberg and his class now have a 15-page dossier on Scalia, including his home address, the value of his home, his home phone number, the movies he likes, his food preferences, his wife’s personal e-mail address, and “photos of his lovely grandchildren.”

We checked in with the Justice to see how he felt about his online information being aggregated and mined by the professor and his 15 students.

Scalia was far from pleased (though we were pleased that a Supreme Court Justice would honor Above The Law with a response). Check out his reply to us, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Scalia Responds to Fordham Privacy Invasion!”

scalia come and find me above the law.jpgBack in January, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a speaker at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law’s midwinter conference on privacy issues. Sitting in the New York office of Weil Gotshal, Scalia told attendees that privacy was not that important to him.

From the Associated Press (available cached only):

Discussions of privacy rights in the digital era should distinguish between such confidential data as medical records and information that might be personal but is easy to find out, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday.

Considering every fact about someone’s life private is “extraordinary,” he said, noting that data such as addresses have long been discernible, even if technology has made them easier to find.

“Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly,” Scalia [said].

Well, Fordham Law Professor Joel Reidenberg interpreted that as a challenge. He gave the fifteen students in his Information Privacy Law class a special assignment this semester: Track down everything available on the Web about Antonin Scalia to compile a dossier on him.

Find out what they found out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Fordham Knows About Justice Scalia”

small cockpit.jpg* United Airlines settled a suit filed by a former pilot, who resigned after repeatedly finding porn in hidden places in her cockpit, including underneath a cap on a safety device called a “stick shaker” (no pun intended). Click to see United’s ridiculous effort to dismiss. [The Seattle Times]

* Attorney General Andrew Cuomo convinced 9 out of the top 10 bonus recipients at AIG to return their bonuses. Who is number 10? [The New York Times]

* Barney Frank called Antonin Scalia a “homophobe.” [The Associated Press]

* It turns out that Madoff has more than $1 billion worth of assets and the french authorities plan to seize his chateau in Cap d’Antibe, France, so maybe his victims can get a time share? No? [The Associated Press]

* A court battle between billionaire Wilbur Ross and hedge fund manager Bruce Rose may be the key to understanding the housing crisis. [Bloomberg]

* A sex-discrimination suit against Wal-Mart reaches the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today. 200 female employees say women in comparable jobs don’t get paid as much as men. [The Huffington Post]

* Preservationists think a landmark case in Chicago is cause for alarm. [The New York Times]

bud beer.jpg

* Change you can believe in? It looks like Obama has recruited a few “washington insiders”: 8 of the 10 top lawyers he has hired for his transition team are veterans of the Clinton administration. [Bloomberg.com]

* After his hunt yesterday, Justice Antonin Scalia told a room full of big-time Texas lawyers that he disagreed with judges who used foreign law to interpret the constitution. [Houston Chronicle]

* “Protesters galvanized by a dragging death that has stirred memories of the notorious James Byrd case rallied twice outside an eastern Texas courthouse to speak out against a judicial system they consider racist.” [Associated Press]

* Are you ready for your close-up Mr. Rehnquist? The Hoover institution released files documenting Rehnquist’s first three years on the Court, years filled with land-mark cases like Roe v. Wade and United States vs. Nixon. [New York Times]

* California Attorney general is pushing the Supreme Court to decide the legality of Prop. 8. The Court could begin to act as soon as Wednesday, when they have their weekly conference. [San Jose Mercury News]

* Say it ain’t so! Washington regulators have finally opened up the doors on Belgian-based beer company InBev’s acquisition of Anheuser Busch, which monopolizes

50% of the US beer market. The merger will make InBev the largest beer company in the world. [Courthouse News Service]

* Sorry Ohio…President-elect Obama is probably going to wait a while before overhauling NAFTA. [Bloomberg.com]

* House Democrats oppose Senate spy bill’s telecom immunity. [Washington Post]
* Justice Scalia approves of “so-called torture” under some circumstances. [MSNBC]
* Just a few months later, Senate committee gets around to admonishing Sen. Craig. [CNN]
* Clemens and McNamee go head to head before Congress. [ESPN]
* City’s scantily clad cowboy sues candy-coated counterpart. [WSJ Law Blog]

Our latest legal celebrity sighting: Justice Antonin Scalia, spotted at Georgetown University Law Center. He is believed to have been at GULC to speak to a con law class.
Of the current justices on the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia clearly inspires the greatest amount of fanatical devotion. How many other justices have their own fansite?
(Okay, Justice Thomas has one too. And with his new, bestselling memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, he’s definitely building a fan base. But we still think that Justice Scalia has the most groupies of any member of the SCOTUS.)
And how many other justices are asked to sign students’ laptop computers? This student, who had his laptop autographed by AS, was proudly displaying his computer to his classmates, saying that he felt Scalia had “blessed” his laptop for the upcoming exams.
autograph laptop Justice Antonin Scalia Above the Law blog.jpg
With such a large and devoted following, we have a feeling that Justice Scalia’s forthcoming book — Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, a guide to persuasive legal writing and oral advocacy, which he’s writing together with legendary legal writing teacher Bryan Garner — will sell pretty well too.
Scalia to Join Supreme Court Book Club [Legal Times]

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