Barack Obama

Former constitutional law professor and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, has decided to wade into the great law school debate by offering his “thoughts” on the length of law programs. On Friday, Obama said that he thought law school should just be two years instead of three.

Great. It’s nice to know what the President thinks. Too bad those thoughts aren’t backed up with the very simple actions necessary to make his dreams come true.

Obama’s thoughts touched off a weekend debate about the value of the third year of law school. I think I’m clearly on record saying the third year of law school is completely useless. There is no educational value to the thing, but law schools certainly make a lot of money off of it. David Lat and I will be discussing this in more depth on CNBC’s Power Lunch this afternoon around 1:00 p.m. EDT. Check it out.

Regardless of what you think about the value of the 3L year, the timing of Obama’s announcement is certainly curious. In June, Obama’s own Department of Education rubber-stamped ABA oversight over law school regulation and accreditation for another three years. Since the ABA is the organization most responsible for keeping law school at three years and preventing schools from experimenting with shorter programs, I can only assume that Obama’s statement was timed to be as useless as humanly possible…

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* Former federal prosecutor Moe Fodeman of Wilson Sonsini breaks down the case against Walter White. Spoiler: Fodeman thinks Orange Is the New Black for White. [Esquire Culture Blog]

* President Obama joins the chorus calling for an end to the 3L year. But when will students take all those Law and “Running a Massive Domestic Spying Operation” seminars? [Buzzfeed]

* At the end of this HuffPost Live clip, Elie suggests anti-gay clergy should unsubscribe from the Bravo network. Seems unfair to those who enjoy watching “Real Housewives of the Provo Tabernacle.” [HuffPo Live]

* Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant formed a dominant NBA Jam team. But without Grant, Pippen got dismantled by the duo of Easterbrook and Posner (and Williams). [FindLaw]

* Jim Beam has resuscitated Seinfeld attorney Jackie Chiles in a new ad campaign about suing bears for stealing honey. It mkaes slightly more sense when you see the whole ad. Slightly. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Judge E. Curtissa Colfield seems to have gotten a little drunker than she thought the other night and started berating cops. Maybe drinking is why she had that problem getting those decisions issued on time. [Legal Juice]

* Is rapping about crime probative to charges of committing a crime? Both the majority and dissenting opinion are worth a read. [Las Vegas Law Blog]

* Speaking of…. Taking the Notorious R.B.G. label seriously, here’s some SCOTUS-themed lyrics to Biggie’s Juicy. Embed after the jump….

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* President Obama says he’s not changing his mind on the legality of marijuana “at this time.” I guess we need Biden to go on Face the Nation this time around to get some movement on the drug war. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* California lawmakers are looking to retool its “revenge porn” — the act of posting embarrassing sex pics/videos of a significant other who screwed you over — bill. Now California won’t be able to post all those amateur vids of the organizers behind Prop 13. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* New York just boasted the largest seizure of illegal guns in NYC history because a rapper used Instagram to show the world a whole mess of illegal guns. Sometimes you have to avoid that “pics or it didn’t happen” tweet. [ABA Journal]

* Michael Jackson’s estate is battling the IRS. The article coyly suggests that the estate has told the IRS to “Beat It.” What they don’t understand is the IRS, as a general rule “Don’t Stop ‘Til [They] Get Enough.” [TaxProf Blog]

* Inspired by our recent post on the 15 Reasons to Date a Lawyer, Going Concern has found eHarmony’s “15 Reasons to Date an Accountant” and given it a similar beatdown. [Going Concern]

* Congratulations to the M&A Advisor’s “40 Under 40″ award winners. Your families would be so proud if they remembered what you looked like. [The M&A Advisor]

* I was quoted in this week’s episode of This American Life. Host Ira Glass interviewed Sharon Snyder, the court clerk fired for helping free an innocent man. [This American Life]

* Bruce MacEwen explains the mid-year results for Biglaw as reported by Wells Fargo and Citi respectively. Video after the jump…

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If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. We’ve talked extensively about the outsized power the U.S. New rankings have on higher education. Normally we talk about it in the context of law schools, but they’re just as important in college admissions.

Now, there’s a going to be a new challenger to U.S. News: The President of the United States. And yes, in a battle between USN and POTUS, I think POTUS is the clear underdog.

Today, Obama will unveil various proposals he hopes will drive down the cost of college tuition, a problem that his administration has been shockingly silent on. The centerpiece of his proposal is a new college rankings system that will rate schools on “tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend,” according to the New York Times.

Eventually, Obama hopes to tie these Obama Rankings to federal financial aid: schools that perform well will have a larger pool of federal money to dole out to students, while schools that perform poorly will have less money to play with.

Does this sound like a good idea? Would you like to see Obama apply it to law schools?

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Trayvon Martin

How are you fixed for Skittles and Arizona watermelon fruitcocktail (and maybe a bottle of Robitussin, too) in your neighborhood? I am fresh out of ‘purple drank.’ So, I may come by for a visit. In a rainstorm. In the middle of the night. In a hoodie. Don’t get upset or anything if you see me looking in your window… kay?

– John Craft, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Texas, in comments referencing the Trayvon Martin case made on a Facebook page in response to a status update in support of Stand Your Ground laws. Craft separately referred to President Barack Obama as “the Dalibama” in another Facebook comment. John Malcolm Bales, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, criticized Craft’s comments, but declined to say whether Craft would face disciplinary action for his statements.

* USDA requiring a magician to develop a disaster plan for his rabbit. I don’t think this is such a bad idea — have you ever seen Bullwinkle? [Lowering the Bar]

* The Middle Class is disappearing in the country. Why can’t we get a disaster plan for them like we have for that rabbit? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Patton Boggs is rebooting. Just like when a TV show adds a long-lost cousin in season 8, this isn’t a sign of weakness at all. [Politico]

* President Obama, speaking of the Trayvon Martin case, notes: “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. And that includes me.” See, he was uniquely prepared for the job of being followed by security guys EVERYWHERE. The difference, of course, is he knows these guys aren’t going to shoot him. [NBC Politics]

* A Miami firm is suing LexisNexis for “deceptive” fees. If they’re going to litigate this case, they’d better hope their Westlaw bill is paid in full. [Miami New Times]

* The reporter’s privilege had a bad day. After all that’s been revealed in the last couple months, let’s all agree it’s only newsworthy when the reporter’s privilege has a good day. [PrawfsBlawg]

Another week has come and gone. We’re post Independence Day, so strap in for the long grind to Labor Day before you get any rest. If you need a break, I suppose you can take some summers for a 3-hour lunch, assuming anyone still does that.

But the real importance of the week’s end is that it’s time again to compile my look at some notable stories from the week in legal news. Bring on “5 Thing Friday” or “Working for the Weekend” or something like that.

This week, we had Justice Ginsburg’s declaration that she’s not retiring, the Zimmerman trial continued on its tragically absurd course, Vault released its annual law firm rankings, the NFL got burned in court — twice — and Harry Reid figured out that there’s this thing called a filibuster and the Republicans are really good at it…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “5 Stories of the Week: Ginsburg, Football, and More”

* Ed O’Bannon asks the NCAA to agree in writing not to retaliate against any current athlete that joins his lawsuit against the organization. How sad is it that a non-profit organization committed to helping students needs to be reminded not to retaliate against students? In other news, NCAA Football 14 (affiliate link) came out today. [USA Today]

* More SCOTUS Term analysis. Tom Goldstein, Adam Liptak, and Jess Bravin have been invited to explain to the Heritage Foundation what an awesome term it had. [Heritage]

* The Shelby County decision completely lacks any foundation for the argument that the Voting Rights Act violates the Constitution. Yeah, but besides that… [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* What is wrong with soccer fans? Referee stabs player and then ends up like Ned Stark. [Legal Juice]

* Mayer Brown reports that Mexican leaders are lining up behind energy sector reform. [Breaking Energy]

* Ever wonder about the extent of Internet censorship around the world? Here’s a handy chart showing how Google is censored in various countries around the world. [io9]

* Obama caves to Republican requests to suspend law. Republicans label Obama tyrannical for suspending that law. Bravo. [Wall Street Journal]

Justice rests.

* No, silly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn’t “too old” to be a Supreme Court justice. So what if she uses the SOTU address as her personal naptime? She’s brilliant, and everyone loves her. [Los Angeles Times]

* “Justice delayed due to overworked judges can … mean justice denied,” and Obama’s got a lot of work ahead of him due to a “uniquely high” amount of judicial vacancies on his watch. [National Law Journal]

* After the SCOTUS ruling on the Voting Rights Act, Southern states have rushed to push out voter ID laws. But isn’t that discriminatory? “Not true, not true,” as Justice Alito would say. [New York Times]

* It turns out the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s redefinition of the word “relevant” is what has allowed the NSA to collect anything and everything. Say au revoir to privacy! [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Layoffs: they aren’t just for Biglaw firms anymore! McGeorge Law School is downsizing its staff and student ranks due to an “unprecedented drop” in applications. Another one bites the dust; which law school will be next? [Sacramento Bee]

* Client 9, aka Eliot Spitzer, announced his candidacy for NYC comptroller. He’ll run against Kristen Davis, the woman who once set him up with escorts. That’ll be an awkward debate. [New York Times]

* As the prosecution rests its case and the defense’s acquittal motion is denied, a nation is left wondering whose voice it was on that 911 recording — Trayvon Martin’s or George Zimmerman’s? [CNN]

Caution: May lead to malpractice suits.

* Just like he said in 2008, President Barack Obama says that he’s going to close Guantanamo Bay, and this time, he means it. No, really, he appointed a Skadden partner to handle it, so we know he means business now. [Blog of Legal Times]

* The Supreme Court just invalidated Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship voter registration law, so of course Ted Cruz wants to add an amendment to the Senate immigration reform bill to require citizenship to vote because, well… duh. [Politico]

* According to a Pew Research survey, a majority of Americans think Edward Snowden should be prosecuted for his NSA leaks. It’s also likely that same majority don’t even know what Edward Snowden leaked. [USA Today]

* It looks like Jon Leibowitz, the FTC’s ex-chairman, got some great birthday presents this week. Davis Polk partnership and a SCOTUS victory aren’t too shabby. [DealBook / New York Times]

* They don’t give a damn ’bout their bad reputation: malpractice claims filed against attorneys and firms were up in 2012, and some say mergers and laterals are to blame. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* If you’re worried about your low GPA when applying to law school, you haven’t been reading the news. You’ll get in everywhere you apply. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* ¡Ay dios mío! The Hispanic National Bar Association is hoping that a week spent in law school will inspire minority high school students to become lawyers in the distant future. [National Law Journal]

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