Clarence Thomas

* Virginia Thomas, the politically active wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, called Anita Hill and suggested she apologize to Clarence in order to get “passed” the whole ugliness. Does that blow your mind, Anita? That JUST happened! [ABC News; New York Times]

* Foreclosed homeowners smell blood, and K&L Gates… well, they probably smell a gold mine. [Reuters]

* Former Jenkens & Gilchrist attorney Erwin Mayer faces up to 10 years in prison for actions that helped bring down the firm. Someone must pay for this abortion of a video. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The government is shelling out plenty of coin to settle a discrimination suit brought against the USDA by Native Americans. This Italian dude shed a single tear upon hearing the news. [CNN]

* The Pentagon has instructed military recruiters to accept the applications of openly gay men and lesbians. [Washington Post]

* I wouldn’t say trial lawyers are in bed with the Democratic Party. But they’re definitely engaged in some heavy petting. [National Law Journal]

* The law school cares about your crappy job prospects, Boston College 3L. Too bad caring isn’t going to pay back that mountain of debt, sucker. [Boston Herald]

A tale of two Yalies: former president Bill Clinton and aspiring senator Joe Miller.

According to the all-powerful ranking gods of U.S. News, Yale Law School is the nation’s #1 law school. In fact, Yale has been the top law school ever since the magazine started ranking law schools.

Recently, however, controversy has arisen over possible damage to the school’s reputation. As first reported in today’s New York Daily News, former President Bill Clinton and Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller are pointing fingers at each other for “diminish[ing] the university’s reputation as an elite institution.”

Let’s explore the spat — and review and vote on the seven contenders for Yale Law School’s most disgraceful graduate….

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A gallery of seven rogues and a poll.

Monday, October 4, marked the start of a new Supreme Court Term — October Term 2010, to be more specific. It also marked the first day of oral arguments for the newest member of the Court — Lady Kaga, aka Associate Justice Elena Kagan. As Justice White famously observed, a new justice makes a new court.

New Term, new justice, new court — and that’s not all that’s new in SCOTUS-related matters. There’s a new conservative sheriff in town, at least according to Jan Crawford. There’s a new book out about the Court — the long-awaited biography of Justice Brennan, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.

And, of course, we have new Supreme Court clerk hires to report, for the Term after this one — October Term 2011. Not all the justices are done hiring, at least as far as we know; but if you covet a Supreme Court clerkship, accurately described by Adam Liptak as “the most coveted credential in American law,” you should know that the window of opportunity is closing — fast. One justice has even hired a clerk for October Term 2012.

Let’s check out the new hires, shall we?

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A Supreme Court clerkship is, in the words of Adam Liptak of the New York Times, “the most coveted credential in American law.” When SCOTUS clerks leave their posts at the Court to join private law firms, they get signing bonuses of as much as $250,000 (on top of normal associate salaries and bonuses).

But typically they join their firms as associates (or maybe counsel, if they have a few extra years of practice in addition to clerking). How many clerks come in to Biglaw as partners?

As reported yesterday — by Tony Mauro in The BLT and by Marisa Kashino in Washingtonian magazine, among others — at least one Supreme Court clerk from the Term just ended, October Term 2009, is going to straight into a partnership at a major law firm.

Meet Elizabeth Papez. She clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas in OT 2009. Now she’s joining the D.C. office of Winston & Strawn, where she will practice in commercial and appellate litigation, with a focus on intellectual property and energy law, as well as government relations.

We interview Papez about her interesting career path, after the jump.

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Justice Clarence Thomas got bad news yesterday from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. His nephew, Derek Thomas, had an epileptic seizure after hospital staff used a taser on him. From ABC 26 News:

According to a statement from the family, Derek Thomas, who is epileptic, refused to put on a hospital gown and tried to leave his examination after a possible suicide attempt. They say security “punched him in his lip, pulled out more than a fistful of his dredlocks and tasered him to restrain him.”

Doctors knew about Thomas’ epilepsy, but ordered security officers to use the taser anyway, instead of sedating him, the family says.

Ouch.

Clarence Thomas is allegedly outraged and plans to fly down to New Orleans to check on his nephew, according to ABC 26 News. And because this facility sounds a wee bit unpleasant, the family is trying to have Derek Thomas transferred somewhere else.

At least this is happening after the term has ended. He can deal with this crisis more easily with the Court in recess, just as Justice Ginsburg has the summer to grieve for her husband.

Video report from Jefferson Parish, after the jump.

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Our recent suggestion that Justice Clarence Thomas consider a presidential run in 2012 has caused some chatter in the legal and political blogosphere (as well as the ATL comments section, where the commenter “President Obama” took all comers). Despite this healthy buzz, CT has not yet indicated any plans to slap a campaign poster on his RV this summer.

We submitted inquiries about our proposal to Justice Thomas, through the Supreme Court’s Publication Information Office, and to Mrs. Thomas, through Liberty Central, her new conservative nonprofit. Neither had any comment. We hear through the grapevine, however, that the idea of “Thomas for President” has been proposed to the justice by clerks in years past (and not embraced by the justice; apparently His Honor is content to remain a justice, despite his conspicuous silence from the bench).

Law professors had interesting things to say about our idea of a Thomas presidential run. George Mason law professor Ilya Somin took us very seriously (perhaps a little too seriously). Northwestern law professor Steven Lubet pointed out that Charles Evan Hughes isn’t the only SCOTUS justice who has previously given up a seat at One First Street for a shot at the Oval Office. And although we suggested that Thomas shed his robes to make his run for the Republican presidential ticket, UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge noted that CT could keep them on…

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In his speaking tours around the country, Clarence Thomas has a lot to say — sometimes critical things to say, about his fellow justices’ approach to oral argument and the lack of alma mater diversity among the Court’s clerks, for example.

But when Thomas is back at One First Street, sitting on the bench, he gets quiet. Very quiet. He hasn’t spoken a word during oral argument in over four years. He’s said before that it’s because he doesn’t see the point in badgering the attorneys arguing before the High Court. But we think there may be another reason: he hates his job. He’s suggested it himself.

In the Washington Post, we set forth a proposal for him: step down. And seek the Republican presidential nomination for 2012.

A bit about our reasoning, and a reader poll, after the jump.

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That’s the question the Supreme Court answered in the negative today, in Graham v. Florida. The Court’s opinion was by Justice Kennedy, whose vote usually controls on Eighth Amendment issues, and it was joined by the four liberal justices.

The case generated oodles and oodles of pages and a welter of separate opinions. Thankfully, the AP has a fairly clear and concise summary:

The Supreme Court has ruled that teenagers may not be locked up for life without chance of parole if they haven’t killed anyone.

By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court says the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release.

The court ruled in the case of Terrance Graham, who was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. Graham, now 22, is in prison in Florida, which holds more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for crimes other than homicide.

Florida: where it’s good to be an old person.

Interestingly enough, Chief Justice John Roberts — not known as a bleeding heart — agreed with the majority as to Terrance Graham specifically. Because he concurred in the judgment, the vote on the disposition of the case was actually 6-3.

The back-and-forth between the majority and the dissent gets quite heated at times. Justice Thomas wrote the main dissent, which Robert Barnes of the Washington Post described as “stinging.” But given the power that Justice Kennedy wields at One First Street, it’s generally unwise to attack him too harshly.

So the most snarky exchange did not involve Justice Kennedy, but took place between Justice Thomas and his soon-to-be-former colleague, Justice Stevens….

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We’re hoping the Harvard Law School email controversy has run its course — and we suspect that it has. (But we still invite you to take our reader poll on whether Crimson DNA’s email was racist or offensive.)

Before we close the door on this story, we’d like to give you the background on how it all got started. It’s disturbing — and a cautionary tale for all of us.

Our initial report on this story was missing some important pieces of information, which we did not acquire until later. This post will attempt to provide a more complete report of how one Harvard 3L’s personal email message, shared with just a handful of friends, became national news….

UPDATE: We’ve added a statement from one of the principal players, “Yelena,” after the jump.

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Justice Clarence Thomas — who tends to hire clerks from a wide range of law schools, including some schools far outside the so-called “T14″ — has had to defend himself against (unfounded) allegations that his clerks are “TTT” (an epithet so ridiculous it always makes us laugh). At the same time, because he’s the justice tasked with going to Capitol Hill to beg for money to testify in support of the SCOTUS budget request, he also has to defend the Court against charges of elitism in law clerk hiring, leveled by grandstanding lawmakers.

Hiring law clerks from Ivy League law schools: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

For this coming Term, October Term 2010, Justice Thomas has steered his chambers back in the direction of elitism. All of his clerks for OT 2010 hail from top schools.

So, who are they?

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