Antonin Scalia

The drafters could have written the Constitution as a list of specific rules and said, “That’s all, folks!” Instead, they wrote a document full of broadly written guarantees….

– Time magazine columnist Adam Cohen, criticizing Justice Antonin Scalia’s approach to constitutional interpretation. (Gavel bang: Dahlia Lithwick.)

(Please note that Quotes of the Day are selected for being interesting, thought-provoking, or funny — not because we necessarily agree with them. Personally I’m inclined to the view that originalism isn’t perfect but is probably better than any of the alternatives.)

Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has no plans of stepping down from the Supreme Court anytime soon. This wasn’t terribly exciting, since there haven’t been any rumblings of an AMK departure. In addition, Justice Kennedy has already hired at least two law clerks for October Term 2011.

And so have several of his colleagues, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who are said to be done with their OT 2011 hiring). Some have wondered whether Justice Ginsburg might be leaving the Court, given her health issues. But RBG’s commitment to the Court appears strong — she took the bench the day after the deeply sad passing of her husband, Marty Ginsburg — and her hiring a full clerk complement for 2011-2012 suggests she isn’t going anywhere.

A full list of the October Term 2010 law clerks, who are starting at One First Street this month, plus news (and rumor) of OT 2011 hires — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: All of October Term 2010
Plus several hires for October Term 2011.

I don’t even know what it is, to tell you the truth. I’ve heard it talked about. My wife calls me Mr. Clueless.

Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking about Twitter, in response to a question about whether he’s ever considering “tweeting or twitting.”

Now that the sex lives of Supreme Court justices have become grist for commentators, we are finally free to discuss a question formerly only whispered about in the shadows: Why does Justice Antonin Scalia, by common consent the leading intellectual force on the Court, have nine children? Is this normal? Or should I say ‘normal,’ as some people choose to define it? Can he represent the views of ordinary Americans when he practices such a minority lifestyle? After all, having nine children is far more unusual in this country than, say, being a lesbian.

– The Atlantic’s Michael Kinsley (via Political Wire)

New York Times NYT newspaper.jpgIf you happen to be on the frigid East Coast today, currently experiencing the coldest temperatures of the season, grab yourself a cup of cocoa and a copy of the Sunday New York Times. The NYT often has articles of interest to a legal audience, but this weekend’s edition has an especially high number of stories either by or about the boldface names of the legal profession. To wit:
John Yoo John C Yoo John Choon Yoo law professor.jpg1. Power of Attorney: Questions for John Yoo. Deborah Solomon interviews John Yoo, the Berkeley law professor perhaps most well-known for his authorship of the so-called “torture memos.” Considering her liberal politics and modus operandi as an interviewer — we’ve previously described her as “snarky, cranky, exceedingly direct” — we were expecting her to go to town on Yoo.
But Professor Yoo actually comes across very well in the short Q-and-A (and is looking newly svelte in the accompanying photo). He’s smart, funny, and charming — not a surprise to us, based on our personal interactions with him, but perhaps a surprise to some who know only the cartoon villain depicted by the mainstream media.
2. The 30-Minute Interview: Jonathan L. Mechanic. An interesting interview with real estate super-lawyer Jonathan Mechanic, chairman of the real estate department of Fried Frank (and previously profiled here). We learn that Mechanic, in addition to being a top real estate attorney, is also a real estate investor: he owns retail and commercial properties in Bergen County, NJ (where we grew up).
Three more stories, after the jump.

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washingtonian issue.jpg* Washingtonian Magazine’s December issue is devoted to lawyers. The magazine enlisted Kash and Lat to write the cover story: “Why Lawyers Make So Much Money.” Staff writer Marisa Kashino, formerly of the National Law Journal, names D.C.’s 30 top lawyers and writes about what it takes to make partner these days. Check it out on newsstands now. [Washingtonian Magazine]

* One website is tracking lateral hiring in the legal world. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Black taco? [Gothamist]

* I’d make a joke about ATL favorite Paul Bergrin, but I’m afraid of him. [TPM Muckracker / Talking Points Memo]

* Maybe Justice Scalia can’t separate his intellectual life from his spiritual life, but I sure can. Of course, it helps that my priest doesn’t read Above the Law. [Slate]

* Criminal justice work at the NAACP is about to get a huge shot in the arm. We are all on notice. [People]

Antonin Scalia Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.jpgDespite their ideological differences, Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg bond over their shared love for the opera. Both judicial luminaries attended Saturday’s opening night performance of Ariadne auf Naxos, at the Washington National Opera. If you’re into Article III celebrity sightings, the D.C. opera house is where it’s at.
Not only did the justices attend the opera; they also participated. An eyewitness evaluation of their performances, plus a photo of Justice Scalia with a sexy soprano in his lap, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: Justices Scalia and Ginsburg at the Opera”

Justice Antonin Scalia headshot.jpgIn an interview with C-SPAN, Justice Antonin Scalia once again graced us with his worldview. As usual, it is as beautiful and terrible as the dawn.
The WSJ Law Blog sloughed through the interview transcripts and pulled out this gleaming diamond of truth:

I mean there’d be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?
I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.

I have never agreed with Justice Scalia more than I do at this very moment. I … I’ve … got something in my eye.
I move that LSAC must send this quote to anybody that applies to sit for the LSAT. I further move that anybody scoring an IQ above 139 who does not receive a federal circuit clerkship or better must forthwith abandon legal practice and be forced into labor on renewable energy, cancer treatments, or summer blockbuster screenplay editing. Do I have a second?
Scalia: ‘We Are Devoting Too Many of Our Best Minds to’ Lawyering [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Hates Acronyms, Loves Marisa Tomei

Justice Antonin Scalia headshot.jpgThose law students at Fordham University have a new tidbit to add to their dossier on SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia. He made an appearance last night at the Friendship Heights Village Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, to talk about his book, “Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.”
Politico reports that he gave out some pieces of advice, namely:

  • “Don’t beat a dead horse.”
  • “Be brief. And when your time expires, shut up and sit down.”
  • Avoid acronyms in brief writing and oral arguments.
  • Lawyers should study a judge’s background and likes and dislikes before they appear in court. “At the very least, these details will humanize the judge before you, so that you will be arguing to a human being instead of a chair.”

That last bit of advice can be taken too far, of course. Nino was annoyed when he found out about Fordham Law’s background research on him earlier this year.
Justice Scalia was willing to add to the files, though, revealing his favorite legal movie. What is it?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Hates Acronyms, Loves Marisa Tomei”

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.

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