Dahlia Lithwick

ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law, is nearing its end. The original six contestants have been winnowed down to two finalists: FROLIC AND DETOUR and SOPHIST.
We’ll open the polls later today. But first, let’s hear from your celebrity judges:
ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    See what they have to say about the last two competitors, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 3)”

  • ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgHappy Friday! You know what that means: time to hear from the celebrity judges in ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law. And time to vote, when the polls open later today.
    Your judges need no introduction, but for the record:
    ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    See what they have to say about the contestants this week, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 2)”

  • ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol smaller.jpgLater today, we will open the reader polls in ATL Idol, the “reality blogging” competition in which you will select the next editor of Above the Law. Before we do that, however, we’d like to give our panel of “celebrity judges” the chance to weigh in on the contestants.
    Reader opinions on the competitors have been all over the map, as well as overwhelming in volume, with hundreds of comments posted in total. So hopefully this concise commentary, from experts in legal blogging, will be clarifying.
    To refresh your recollection, the distinguished judges are:
    ATL Idol Judges AboveTheLaw Idol Above the Law Idol panel.jpg

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Read the judges’ reviews, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Idol: The Judges Speak (Week 1)”

  • ATL Idol Above the Law Idol AboveTheLaw Idol medium.jpg
    Six lawyers, currently or formerly at large law firms, hoping to make the jump to the writing life (read: working in pajamas). One leading legal tabloid, in need of its next lead editor. A mass of angry anonymous commenters, looking for someone new with whom to have a love-hate relationship.
    “THIS…. is ATL Idol.”
    It’s a reality-show-style competition, in which site readers will pick the new editor in chief of AboveTheLaw.com — the recipient of some 3 million page views a month, described by the Washington Post as “a must-read legal blog.” We believe it to be the first time that a full-time blogging gig — one with a salary you can live on, health insurance, and even a 401(k) — has been awarded through a “reality blogging” contest.
    Back in May, we posted a help wanted ad for a new full-time writer here at Above the Law. Over the weeks that followed, we received a slew of excellent applications. We also located additional prospects through personal networking. All in all, we probably considered almost 100 talented candidates.
    We narrowed the list down to six highly impressive finalists. But we found the prospect of choosing just one of them to be agonizing.
    So we’ve decided to outsource this task to you, the readership of Above the Law. Over the next three weeks, the finalists will blog on ATL, for your consideration. Just as they would on a true reality TV show, the “assignments” will vary from week to week (details about them to follow).
    Each Friday, we will open the polls, allowing you to vote for your favorite — the blogger you’d like to see take the helm at this venerable legal tabloid. At the end of week one, the bottom two out of six finalists — the pair of contestants with the fewest votes — will be eliminated. Next week, the reader vote will take four finalists down to two. In the third and final week, the two finalists will go head to head, in a legal blogging deathmatch. Your votes will determine the winner, Above the Law’s new leader.
    ATL readers are an opinionated bunch, so we expect you to have strong views about the contestants (which you should feel free to share in the comments). But to those of you who need more guidance when voting, fear not. Just like American Idol, ATL Idol will provide you with three “celebrity judges,” to offer their expert opinions of the contestants’ blogging, and to inform and guide the electorate.
    Our judges, who are all leading legal bloggers in their own right, need no introduction. But we’ll introduce them anyway, briefly. They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and author of her eponymous blog, Althouse;
  • Tom Goldstein, head of the D.C. litigation practice and co-head of the firm-wide Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump, and founder of SCOTUSblog; and
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of Slate (where she blogged at Convictions), author of two books, and a contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post (among many other publications).
    Our impressive panel is well-balanced, featuring representatives from three major groups of legal bloggers: one law professor, one practicing lawyer, and one professional journalist. We’ll leave it to you to decide — perhaps based on how caustic their commentary is — who’s Simon, who’s Randy, and who’s Paula.
    Update: Professor Althouse emphatically rejects any suggestion that she’ll be the Paula Abdul of this contest. This is just as well; when we invited Dahlia Lithwick to serve as a judge, she called “dibs” on Paula.
    Check back later today, when we’ll post brief bios of the six finalists. And check back throughout this week – and, of course, over the next three weeks – to figure out which writers you love, and which you’d leave. The identity of ATL’s next editor rests in your hands.
    We’re expecting this contest to be fun and exciting. Please spread the word to your friends and colleagues. And once the polls are open, we pass along to you the exhortation of Ryan Seacrest: “America, don’t forget to vote!”
    Update: The bios of the finalists are now posted over here.
    Earlier: Help Wanted: ATL Seeks A New Writer

  • ACS.gifWelcome to the latest post in our recent series on the 2008 National Convention of the American Constitution Society. We attended lots of excellent events as part of the conference. Prior posts appear here and here.
    One of our favorite events was the Saturday lunch panel, “Covering the Court.” It was moderated by Thomas Goldstein, of Akin Gump and SCOTUSblog fame, and featured the following distinguished members of the Supreme Court press corps:

  • Robert Barnes, of the Washington Post;
  • Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times;
  • Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate; and
  • Tony Mauro, of the Legal Times.
    For the Court-watchers among you, a detailed write-up is available below the fold.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “At the ACS National Convention: Covering the Court”

  • Al Gore Albert Gore Above the Law blog.jpg* Al Gore, law school dropout, wins Nobel Peace Prize. [WSJ Law Blog; Washington Post; New York Times]
    * Houston crime lab drops the ball, again. [CNN]
    * Iraqi families sue Blackwater in U.S. court. [CNN]
    * Lithwick’s take on the interesting SCOTUS case, Medellin v. Texas. [Slate]
    * McCartney-Mills divorce settlement could break records. [MSNBC]
    * After typo, infants in Arkansas can’t not be allowed to marry. [CNN]

    Jeffrey Toobin The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.jpgMore good press for Jeffrey Toobin’s new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. It scored a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review, which is the Holy Grail of the publishing industry.
    But we’re partial to this great Slate piece, by Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick (two of our favorite Supreme Court correspondents). Bazelon and Lithwick conduct a meta-review of critical reactions to Jeff Toobin’s book, which they use as a jumping off point for broader reflections on media coverage of the Court. They include a generous shout-out to ATL:

    One of the oddest byproducts of the Internet has been the growth industry that is the Supreme Court gossip blog. These folks are less interested in the court as the place where Law Is Born, or where Politics Really Come From, and more fascinated by which clerks are sleeping with whom, and how much they earn while doing it.

    No blog has a better bead on those items than David Lat’s Above the Law. Sure, ATL invariably tends to reduce the entire sweep of modern constitutional history to a form of girl-on-girl Jell-O-wrestling. But then at bottom, what else is there?

    As one reader jokingly suggested, “Looks like your Facebook group membership finally paid off!”
    Nine Ways To Read The Nine [Slate]
    Meet the Supremes [New York Times Book Review]

    Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, so the folks over at TMZ.com don’t chase them around yet. But here at ATL, we adore legal celebrities — and invite you to send in your encounters with them, for our Eyes of the Law sightings column.
    Last Friday, for lovers of legal boldface names from the left or the right, William & Mary School of Law was the place to be:

    William and Mary Law School (and the College) had a series of speakers of today, all wedged into a very tight schedule. They included:

    At noon, former Dean of UC Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to his talk, so I can’t say whether he talked about the controversy.

    At 1 PM, UC Berkley professor (and evil incarnate if you believe some blogs) John Yoo spoke. Yoo said in his introduction that he was being “wedged in” between “the former Dean of UC Irvine” and Stuart Taylor, who was speaking at 2 on his book on the Duke rape case, “Until Proven Innocent.”

    We also had a panel on Saturday on “Judicial Modesty,” which included such leading lights as Dahlia Lithwick, Michael McConnell, Carter Phillips and Jeffrey Rosen. See here (PDF).

    Quite the weekend for legal geeks! (Er. You know. If I was one of them).

    Although this tipster wasn’t at the Chemerinsky talk, other ATL readers were. Check out this video, posted on the blog of the W&M chapter of the American Constitution Society. Isn’t Chemerinsky adorable?
    Additional discussion of the Erwin Chemerinsky and John Yoo appearances, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: Legal Celebrities Descend on William & Mary”

    dahlia lithwick headshot.jpgWe’re loving this little dustup over our item about Nina Totenberg getting territorial over seating in the Supreme Court press gallery. It got us a shout-out in the Washington Post. And it’s generating celebrity correspondence for us, too.
    Over the weekend, we heard from SCOTUS bar superstar Tom Goldstein. And then, this morning, we received this email, from one of our favorite commentators on legal affairs:

    From: Dahlia Lithwick
    Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:35 AM
    To: David Lat
    Subject: one bigger question raised in Divagate

    The Wa Po article about Nina said she was “dean” of the Supreme Court press corps.

    I have also heard that title applied to both Linda [Greenhouse] and Lyle [Denniston] at various times.

    What the heck is that about?

    Is it a real position? Is it tenured?

    Good questions. It reminds us of “The Tenth Justice,” a title that has been bestowed on everyone from the Solicitor General to ex-judge J. Michael Luttig to Howard Bashman (by Howard Bashman).
    Also, can you run for this post of “dean”? If the SCOTUS press corps is like high school, is this like being class president? Or prom queen?
    If so, we nominate Dahlia Lithwick. She’s fabulous! How many Supreme Court correspondents have Facebook fan clubs?
    (Linda Greenhouse, eat your (bleeding) heart out….)
    Names & Faces: Totenberg’s Courtside Seat [Washington Post]
    A3G to President Bush: Pick Alito, Not Luttig [Underneath Their Robes]
    Earlier: Why Is Nina Totenberg Like Judy Miller?

    Ed. note: Today we’re pleased to present a guest post by John Carney. He’s the editor of our sibling site, DealBreaker, and a non-practicing attorney.
    Please note that the views expressed in this post are those of John (and John alone). Unlike John, we HAVE met Dahlia Lithwick, and think she’s fabulous — one of the sharpest and funniest writers about the Supreme Court working today. We admire many members of the SCOTUS press corps — e.g., Jan Crawford Greenburg, Tony Mauro, Lyle Denniston — but we don’t know of another writer who marries insight and humor the way that Lithwick does. As you can see from our Facebook profile, we are proud members of the We Love Dahlia Lithwick group.
    Okay, enough disclaimers. John has a different view — and since we value viewpoint diversity here at ATL, here it is. Enjoy.
    dahlia lithwick headshot.jpg*****************
    By JOHN CARNEY
    Slate has been running its usual end of term round-up, a back-and-forth between Dahlia Lithwick (at right) and Walter Dellinger. Except for Dellinger’s defense of political speech against the slippery opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, it’s a deeply disappointing discussion. Lithwick, who I have never met, comes off as a deeply frivolous person.
    It’s almost hard to write about Lithwick’s view of the school speech case, Morse v. Frederick, without sounding foolish. The case arose when a student unfurled a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” Lithwick chastises Roberts for reading this as “clearly advocacy of a ‘pro-drug’ message.”
    “In Morse, Roberts goes to great lengths to insert meaning into the silliness of the words on the student banner. He insists the phrase ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus’can be read as ‘celebrating drug use’; indeed to get there he needed only insert the imaginary words, ‘bong hits [are a good thing].’ When did we enter into the era of constitutional interpretation through inserting pretend words? The sign could have as easily been read to say ‘bong hits [will kill you],’” Lithwick writes.
    The most difficult question raised by Lithwick here is whether she’s a liar or a fool. That sounds a bit harsh. But I can’t come come up with any other credible explanation for that paragraph. Anyone of normal intelligence understands that “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” is drug advocacy. The only question is whether it’s a command that would mean “Do Bong Hits For Jesus” or a confession meaning “I Do Bong Hits For Jesus” or even an offer, as in “I Have Bong Hits Available For Jesus.” In any case, it’s undoubtedly pro-drug.
    Read the rest, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus: A Guest Post from John Carney”

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