Antonin Scalia

I really think after-dinner speeches are a barbarous institution.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in after-dinner remarks at the annual banquet of the Federalist Society, where he and Justice Clarence Thomas were honored for their respective 25 and 20 years of service on the Supreme Court.

(Justice Scalia comments playfully on Justice Thomas, after the jump.)

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Robert Bork

Some lawyers can be so circumspect in speech and so careful in action that they’re just plain boring. Such caution might help you make it to the Supreme Court someday, but it’s not a recipe for a very fun life.

Thankfully, not all brilliant lawyers are afraid of speaking their minds. Take Robert Bork, the former U.S. Solicitor General and D.C. Circuit judge whose Supreme Court nomination famously went down in flames in 1987 — due in part to his loquaciousness during his confirmation hearings.

Judge Bork, now 84, is currently a fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank. He’s not as involved in public life as he once was, but he’s not completely out of the picture. For example, he’s serving as a legal adviser to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney (a development that some on the left have criticized).

And Judge Bork continues to make controversial pronouncements, most recently in an interview with Newsweek….

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My court has, by my lights, made many mistakes of law during its distinguished two centuries of existence. But it has made very few mistakes of political judgment, of estimating how far … it could stretch beyond the text of the constitution without provoking overwhelming public criticism and resistance.

Dred Scott was one mistake of that sort. Roe v. Wade was another … And Kelo, I think, was a third.

– Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court, commenting on several cases in which he believed SCOTUS had made mistakes of political judgment. His speech was given at the Chicago-Kent College of Law (which, as you may recall, is facing a potential class action suit over its post-graduate employment data).


I’m hoping the living Constitution will die.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in remarks made yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Justice Scalia and Justice Stephen G. Breyer were invited by the Committee to discuss their views on constitutional interpretation and the proper role of judges in our democracy.

* After Anwar al-Awlaki’s death, everyone wants to know if it’s legal to kill American citizens abroad. Well, if Ron Paul is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. [New York Daily News]

* Sullivan & Cromwell and the Mailroom of Death: Harry Potter series reject or SCOTUS-bound appeal? If only there were a spell to make this screw-up disappear. [Washington Post]

* A class action suit alleges that Facebook is secretly tracking its users after they log off. Oh hi, Big Brother. I, for one, welcome our new lanky, douche overlord. [Bloomberg]

* When it comes to Scalia, caring about the coed dorm situation at Catholic University was this “Supreme Court justice’s latest supreme lapse of judgment.” Pure pwnage. [New York Times]

* Jared Lee Loughner is still just a tad too crazy to stand trial. Another four-month stay in a rubber room certainly will make his future insanity defense more believable. [Forbes]

* Hooters is suing Twin Peaks, a rival “breastaurant”, for allegedly stealing trade secrets. Boobs, butts, and booze are trade secrets? I guess that means I can’t open Grand Tetons. [Daily Mail]

I can’t believe that we have to talk about this idiotic Catholic University “controversy” of adopting same-sex dorms, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia talked about it, so now everybody has to talk about it. We can’t get Scalia to talk about executing prisoners in Georgia, and he tells us to “get over it” when we ask him about his role in usurping the power of the American people and appointing a President of the United States, but the smartest justice on the Court has an opinion on the dumbass potential lawsuit by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf about same-sex dorms.

Speaking at Duquesne University School of Law, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports that Scalia said: “I hope this place will not yield — as some Catholic institutions have — to this politically correct insistence upon suppression of moral judgment, to this distorted view of what diversity in America means.” Apparently, this was Scalia’s way of supporting Catholic University’s same-sex dormitories.

Because really, with all of the problems with our system of higher education, it’s whether or not boys and girls reside in the same physical building that’s the pressing issue worthy of supreme comment….

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* Will the DOJ ask the 11th Circuit to reconsider Obamacare before appealing to SCOTUS to get the president reeelected? Does a bear sh*t in the woods? [Los Angeles Times]

* The verdict is in on Elena Kagan’s first year on the bench, and one thing’s for sure: the ladies love her. That’s definitely what she said. Right, RBG? [Washington Post]

* Casey Anthony now owes Florida over $217K. That’s almost as much as it costs to raise a child to age 18. Talk about a bad return on an investment. [CNN]

* Antonin Scalia, the Rock Star of One First Street, banned paparazzi from his Duquesne Law appearance. Tiger Beat had to settle for pictures of Taylor Lautner. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Meth dealer: not a viable career alternative for attorneys. This 2011 law school graduate will be heading to jail after she gets her bar exam results. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

* Never accuse an elderly New Yorker of incest. She might sue, because she “was never that hard up that [she] would tap on family.” You go, girl grandma! [New York Post]

In Grammer Pole of the Weak — yes, “Grammer” is intentionally misspelled, as are “Pole” and “Weak” — we consider questions of English grammar and usage. Last week, for example, we looked at a fun an interesting topic: the adjectival use of “fun” (which over 85 percent of you support, even if traditionalists frown upon it).

But we’d like the column’s purview to extend beyond grammar and usage. We’ll also tackle issues related to legal writing, in terms of both style and mechanics. Feel free to email us with suggested subjects for future Grammer Poles.

Today’s subject is one on which there’s a split of authority, between two co-authors of a leading legal writing book….

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Happy Friday, and welcome to the latest edition of Above the Law’s Grammer Pole of the Weak, a column where we turn questions of English grammar and usage over to our readers for discussion and debate.

Last week, we discovered that 82% of our readers are willing to strangle, maim, and kill over the use of the serial comma. Take that, AP Stylebook heathens!

This week, we’re turning to a more contentious issue: the use of gender-neutral language in law practice and legal writing. Interestingly enough, experts disagree on the matter.

Bros, should you be kind to the ladies when you’re using indefinite pronouns?

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It’s hard to say which of these (non-lawyer) wedding write-ups is more cliché-ridden: the one about the two lesbian PE teachers, or the one about the peace activists who keep their income below a taxable level so they don’t give money to the Pentagon. The latter pair are way too busy rummaging through dumpsters to read the Internet, so we feel zero guilt about exposing them to ridicule in the comments. There’s certainly a lot of ridiculous material there.

But on to the lawyer weddings: still ridiculous, but in a different way. Your finalist couples:

Kathleen Cassidy and Ian Shapiro

Nina Yadava and Travis Davis

Emily Feinstein and Eric Olney

Aliya McLendon and Aaron Horne Jr.

Rebecca Krauss and Benjamin Taibleson

This is a summer mega-LEWW, with five finalists and a loooooong list of also-rans at the end. Read on for a virtual nuptial feast….

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