Brett Kavanaugh

The president looks good in a doctor's coat, no?

In a development that should surprise no one, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning agreed to review the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare. This means that, before the end of the current SCOTUS Term in summer 2012, Anthony Kennedy the justices will rule on the validity of this sweeping legislation (unless they avoid the question on jurisdictional grounds, as Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit recently did — a path that might appeal to Justice Kennedy, as suggested by Professor Noah Feldman, and a path that the Court itself highlighted by mentioning the jurisdictional issue in its certiorari grant.)

In the meantime, there will be a lot of cocktail party chatter about the health care reform law and its constitutionality. If you’d like some quick talking points, for use when you get the inevitable “What do you think about this as a lawyer?” questions from friends and family at Thanksgiving, keep reading….

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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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A liveblog of an interesting panel at the 2010 National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society, after the jump.

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We’ve decided to tweak the format of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch a bit. Beginning today, we’ll be bringing you all the lawyer weddings featured in the New York Times.

This, admittedly, is the kind of everyone’s-a-winner feel-goodism that we normally abhor. Alas, to be frank, we’re sick of the constant death threats from couples who don’t make our column. Don’t worry — we’ll keep the focus on our brilliant featured couples, as always. But starting with today’s installment, you’ll also be able to check out the honorable mentions (and others) at the end of each post.

Also, congratulations to Elena Lalli and Guillermo Coronado, who edged out Caroline Lopez and Nicholas Miranda in our last reader poll for Couple of the Week.

This week’s featured couples are:

1. Meredith Osborn and Christiaan Highsmith

2. Claire McCusker and Michael Murray

3. Emily Keifer and Jordan Barry

More about these couples — and a list of all the NYT’s recent legal eagle matings — after the jump.

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Sarbanes Oxley for Dummies Sarbox SOX book.jpgIs the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board unconstitutional? This admittedly boring-sounding entity has the important task of overseeing accounting firms, who in turn keep an eye on the balance sheets of corporate America, through such mechanisms as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.
The constitutionality of SOX and the PCAOB is at issue in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, one of the most important cases of the new Supreme Court term. As previously noted, the D.C. Circuit upheld the board’s constitutionality against a separation-of-powers challenge — but over a strong dissent by Article III rock star Brett Kavanaugh, which may have grabbed the justices’ attention.
Read more — and comment (anyone care to predict the result?) — over at Going Concern.
Is the PCAOB Going the Way of the Dodo? [Going Concern]
Earlier: The Sarbanes-Oxley Accounting Board: Not Long For This World?

Sarbanes Oxley for Dummies Sarbox SOX book.jpgThe constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, enacted as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was recently upheld — decision available here (PDF) — by a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit. But those who challenged the Board’s legitimacy are fighting on.
The appellants will either seek rehearing en banc in the D.C. Circuit or certiorari from the Supreme Court. In their efforts, expect them to draw support from the forceful dissent by judicial superstar Brett Kavanaugh (who is, by the way, familiar with this fine website).
If appellants seek succor from the SCOTUS, their pleas may fall upon sympathetic ears. From our colleague, former Skadden and Latham corporate lawyer John Carney, over at Dealbreaker:

Perhaps the most ominous sign for the PCAOB is the fact that Judge Kavanaugh clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who would probably hold the swing vote if the case went to the Supreme Court. His dissenting opinion seems tailor-made to provoke the conservative wing of the court into striking down the board. Unless Congress acts to amend it, we’d bet the autonomous PCAOB is headed for extinction.

You can read the rest of his analysis — which will take you “back to Con Law and the halcyon days of youth,” in the words of one Dealbreaker commenter — over here.
Short Sarbanes-Oxley’s Accounting Board [Dealbreaker]
Free Enterprise Fund v. PBAOB (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit]
Sell Sarbanes-Oxley [New York Sun]
D.C. Circuit Affirms Constitutionality of Accounting Oversight Board [WSJ Law Blog]
Will a Lawsuit Unravel SOX? Firm Brings Constitutional Challenge [WSJ Law Blog]

tarot card.jpgWe heard through the grapevine that Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit gave ATL a shout out during a Federalist Society lunch earlier this month. According to our tipsters, “his biggest advice to any summer associates in the audience was ‘don’t show up on David Lat’s blog, Above the Law.'”

Well, the first summer associate tale of 2008 has made its way into our tips inbox from Atlanta. A summer associate at Alston & Bird decided to share his quirky sense of humor and alter ego with the rest of his summer class. Our tipster explains:

[This e-mail] was sent by an Alston & Bird summer… (as his cross-dressing alter-ego Divljan Shatterhand Steele) to the entire Atlanta summer class. The email, besides being super weird, is pretty innocuous. However, the pictures on his Facebook account could give him some serious trouble — besides the multiple pictures of him dressed in drag as his alter-ego, there is a picture of a pie with a gummy-bear swastika…

Needless to say, the email has already been widely circulated. A&B has a progressive reputation, but this might be a bit much. Given the current state of the market, Alston might be regretting hiring such a huge summer class (look at the recipient list, which likely only includes the summers who are working the first half) in Atlanta. This guy isn’t doing himself any favors.

The bizarre e-mail, involving tarot cards and multiple personalities, is available after the jump. If you’ve been wondering about the history of neckties, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

We have redacted the SA’s name and ask that you not identify the person in the comments. Feel free to refer to him as “Divljan” only. Thanks.

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Porter Wilkinson J Harvie Wilkinson Above the Law blog.jpgNot too long ago, we said we had a “gut feeling” that some Supreme Court clerk hiring was going on (despite the Court being in recess). We were right.
Meet Porter Wilkinson. And don’t hate her because she’s beautiful. Or brilliant. Or rich. Or the daughter of a top feeder judge and frequent Supreme Court short-lister, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.).
Or, for that matter, a future Supreme Court clerk. We hear that Judge Wilkinson’s daughter — yes, Porter is a girl’s name, if you’re a WASP — just landed an October Term 2008 clerkship with Chief Justice John Roberts. Congratulations, Porter!
Not surprisingly, we hear that the young Ms. Wilkinson is fairly conservative — in case you couldn’t have guessed that from the fact that she’s currently clerking for Judge Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.) (alongside the lovely, and recently married, Zina Gelman).
And where did we hear about Porter’s politics? From Judge Wilkinson himself!
In late July, we attended the excellent national convention of the American Constitution Society, in Washington, DC. Judge Wilkinson was on one of the panels. In thanking the ACS for inviting him, he noted that his son is a member of the liberal organization — but that he’s balanced out by his sister Porter, a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society. We bet the Wilkinsons must have interesting dinner table conversations.
Porter Wilkinson continues the trend of fathers and daughters who both clerked for the Court (as noted by Tony Mauro). See here.
Update: A tipster tells us, “FYI, Porter was an All-American lacrosse player at UNC. See here. Her husband [Christian Cook] was lacrosse Defenseman of the Year at Princeton and three-time national champion. Formerly of the Secret Service. See here. They got married this past summer in Charlottesville.”
With Porter Wilkinson added, the current list of OT 2008 clerks thus far appears after the jump.
Graduation Awards: Four in the Class of 2007: Porter Wilkinson [Virginia Law]
Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]

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Gelman-Bash2.jpgLEWW offers a seven-gun salute to newlyweds Zina Gelman and John Bash III, who scored a convincing victory in our July Couple of the Month vote.
Zina and John — currently public servants in the chambers of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Antonin Scalia, respectively — finished 16.7 percentage points ahead of the surprising second-place winners, the non-SCOTUS team of Jennifer DeLeonardo and Adam Frey.
Congratulations to Zina, John, and their poor little dog!
(For those of you who are curious, the full results appear after the jump.)

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Next time you hear a cell phone go off in a movie or at the theater, and think to yourself, “What an a**hole!”, remind yourself: Someday YOU might be that a**hole.
Watch this video, from the start of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finals, which we attended at Columbia Law School earlier this week. Pay special attention to what happens around the 18-second mark:

Yes, that’s right. The judges entered the room, their robes billowing out behind them. The court crier made the very formal and grandiose announcement: “Oyez, oyez…” The room fell into a solemn silence. And then, at that precise moment, our computer — which was in the process of turning on — made that annoying Windows start-up noise. Loudly.
One could feel a wave of horrified embarrassment sweep through the audience. Justice Alito chuckled, so hopefully he wasn’t too offended. But we were mortified (and rightfully so).
In our defense, this was a complete accident. We were in the process of setting up and turning on our computer, and we didn’t know when exactly the judges would be arriving. We turned our computer on, and it began the start-up process (which can take a little while). Unfortunately, just seconds after we turned it on, the judges made their entrance. And even more unfortunately, as the silence settled over the room, our computer made that colossally loud cyber-fart.
In any event, our apologies, Your Honors! Please do not blame the CLS audience for this rudeness. It was completely our fault.
We took some rough notes on the proceedings. They will probably interest you only if you attended the Moot Court finals yourselves. Or if you care about the hairstyles of Article III judges.
If you want to see our commentary, it’s available after the jump.

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