Death Penalty

Amal Alamuddin, ready to graduate from law school

* There’s a very good chance that if you go in-house, you could wind up making more money than even the wealthiest of Biglaw partners. But how much more? Take a look at the latest GC compensation survey. [Corporate Counsel]

* GM has hired outside counsel to review the way the company handles its litigation practices. Since we’re not sure which, we’ll take bets on whether this “well-respected outside law firm” is Wachtell or Jenner & Block. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A federal judge in California ruled that the state’s death penalty was unconstitutional. It seems that allowing a defendant to live with the “slight possibility of death” violates the Eighth Amendment. Damn you, appeals! [New York Times]

* “He hasn’t been charged with anything at the moment and we’ll deal with the charges when they’re filed.” Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is currently being represented by Yale Law lecturer Eugene R. Fidell, a recognized military law expert (and husband of noted legal journalist Linda Greenhouse). [New Haven Register]

* We all know that George Clooney’s fiancée, Amal Alamuddin, has both beauty and brains. What we didn’t know is that she poses for incredibly embarrassing pictures, just like the rest of us. [Us Weekly]

* How do Americans feel about the Supreme Court’s recent cellphone privacy ruling, Riley v. California? [Digital Constitution / Microsoft]

* Donald Trump slapped with sanctions. [South Florida Lawyers]

* The very, very, very long arm of Canadian jurisdiction. [Slate]

* Alafair Burke, author of All Day and a Night (affiliate link), lists her favorite “lawyers are people too” books. In other words, fiction. [Omnivoracious]

* The latest assault on Hillary Clinton — dusting off an old story about a particularly nasty case where she served as a court-appointed attorney — is the latest in a string of political attacks on the foundation of the criminal defense system. [Washington Post]

* Tomorrow, the Family Violence Appellate Project is throwing a battle of the bands! “Banding Together To End Domestic Violence” features bands from law firms and businesses competing at San Francisco’s 1015 Folsom club. Voting is “Chicago-style,” with each vote $1. Buy tickets and submit “votes” at their website. [Family Violence Appellate Project]

* Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard Law appeared on Rachel Maddow last night to discuss whether or not doctors should participate in executions. I guess no one would be around to complain about the six-month-old issue of People in the waiting area. Video below. [Rachel Maddow Show]

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Ed. note: Above the Law will not be publishing on Monday, May 26, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

* Who cleans up after Godzilla rolls into town? I figure it’s Damage Control. [The Legal Geeks]

* So we all know University of Texas Law admits politically-connected students with bad grades and scores. But did you know they let in someone with a 128 on the LSAT? ONE. TWENTY. EIGHT. [Watchdog.org]

* Do we even need the Supreme Court? Well, that’s one way to get RBG to retire. [Huffington Post]

* Seriously, the Boston Public School system is eliminating its history department. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Yesterday I talked about a devastating takedown of the latest National Review article contending that sexual assault is no big deal. Perhaps I crowned a champion too soon, because this is an even better whipping of that article. [Concurring Opinions]

* Wait, ID laws ultimately suppress voter turnout? What a surprise! [Election Law Blog]

* The last word in the death penalty debate after the jump… [The Onion]

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

* If you want to become a Supreme Court justice, you can start by attending one of these three schools. The schools that produced the most justices are Harvard Law, Yale Law, and Columbia Law. [TIME]

* Many of the transactional practice areas that took a bruising during the height of the recession, like corporate work, M&A, real estate, and tax, seem to be coming back. Sorry litigators. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Following Oklahoma’s botched lethal injection, another death row inmate has been given a new lease on life — for the next six months — while an investigation is being carried out. [Associated Press]

* Members of the defense team for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev not only want their client’s comments after arrest stricken from the record, but they also want the death penalty off the table. Good luck. [CNN]

* A lawyer was arrested after a school board meeting because he complained for too long about a graphic sex scene in a book his daughter was assigned to read for school. That’s typical. [New York Daily News]

* Pet therapy? This is what you’re doing with your time? This is why Cardozo can’t have nice things. [Cardozo Law]

* Nobody likes name-calling, but opting for the death penalty just because you don’t want to be called “retarded”? That’s, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? [Cincinnati Enquirer]

* Remember when Mary Jo White was going to bring teeth to the SEC? Well, that’s all over. [New Republic]

* Live tweeting a prostitution sting. Yeah there’s no way this could go wrong. [Slate]

* Law student says cops beat him so hard he lost a testicle. Um. That’s horrible. [KOB]

* Do you fancy yourself a funny lawyer? Then enter New York’s Funniest Professional competition. Lawyers square off later this month. [Gotham Comedy Club / Manhattan Comedy School]

* Judge sentences rapist to 45-days and community service… working in a rape crisis center. Because the victim was “promiscuous.” How could anyone be this tone-deaf? Oh, it’s in Texas? Never mind. [CNN]

* California lawyers now must promise to be courteous. Play nice, kids. [LA Times]

* Finally, it’s time to wish a happy birthday to Winston & Strawn’s Jonathan Amoona, who was on the 2014 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. I guess he won’t be anymore. His 30th birthday invitation went out to the managing partner and a bunch of the top rainmakers, which isn’t toolish at all. The invite is available after the jump….

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* Are you a judge or former judge interested in being on television? All you have to do is move into some quasi-Survivor commune. Who would be the best jurist to send out there? I’d say Thomas so he can just stare at everyone silently and offer no assistance. [LawSites Blog]

* Law students fight to get an immigrant lawyer admitted to the bar over 100 years later. Just what California needs. Another lawyer. [UC Davis News & Information]

* Speaking of California needing more lawyers, California law schools are reaching out to community colleges to find students who saved on their undergraduate education and might be willing to start taking on some serious debt. [SF Gate]

* The State of Texas has intervened in a legal brawl between two breweries over the use of the Alamo. One more liberal government trying to take over the free market. [Brewery Law Blog]

* Professor John Banzhaf has an interesting suggestion regarding the death penalty: why are we still using injections anyway? [PR Log]

* Most people shouldn’t sue just because they can: a commentary on Alex Rich’s recent piece. [Law and More]

* More feedback on the ATL Top 50. [Most Strongly Supported]

* “Tacoma needs a law school like I need a hole in the head.” Exactly. [Post Defiance]

* The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education took a big step toward invalidating their own name by approving the sale of Charleston to Infilaw. By the way for comedy’s sake, attached below is a screenshot of the Google News alert I got on this story…. [The State]

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* Donald Sterling may be banned from the NBA, but the recording that placed him on the outside looking in was captured illegally per California law. [The Legal Blitz]

* If the NBA owners agree — as expected — to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, it could cost his heirs over $100 million. Let’s feel sorry that megamillionaires might be slightly less megamillionaires. [Slate]

* The inimitable Charles P. Pierce with more on the horrifically botched execution in Oklahoma last night. Overlooked in the horror was the constitutional crisis that preceded it — where the very authority of the state supreme court was called into question. [Esquire]

* After getting his client acquitted of molesting a child while drunk, a lawyer managed to get arrested for DWI, hours after the verdict. Amazing. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* The conservative argument for copyright reform. Seriously, at this point there’s no political philosophy in favor of lengthy copyright terms, so why can’t we change this? Oh, right. Media companies have tons and tons of money. [R Street]

* UVA Law funds the first jobs of a bunch of its grads. David Lat weighs in. [C-Ville]

* This story could just as easily be entitled “I’m a young Biglaw associate who lives in Williamsburg.” [McSweeneys]

* For the third year in a row, Skadden has topped the list of the Biglaw firms GCs love to pay, the firms with the best brands. Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins rounded out the top three. Congratulations! [PRWeb]

* A federal judge struck down Wisconsin’s voter identification law yesterday, noting that it “only tenuously serve[d] the state’s interest in preventing voter fraud.” Ouch. Sorry about that, Scott Walker. [Bloomberg]

* Hot on the heels of the release of the second annual ATL Law School Rankings, we’ve got a list of the law schools where graduates reportedly have the least amount of debt. We’ll have more on this news later today. [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]

* It was kind of like the night of the living dead in Oklahoma last night, where an execution was botched so badly the defendant attempted to rise up off the table. That must have been horrific. [New York Times]

* Here’s an eligible bachelor alert: After being suspended from practice for six months for filming “upskirt” videos of women in public, this in-house lawyer has been reinstated. [Legal Intelligencer (reg. req.)]

* Poor Justice Lori Douglas. Not only are her kinky S&M pictures floating around somewhere online, but the man who took them — her husband, Jack King — just died. RIP, good sir. [CTV Winnipeg News]

* NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, a former Cravath lawyer, fouled L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling out of the league, but people are questioning whether his punishment was legal. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Duck Season! Rabbit Season! Duck Season! Human Season! $275,000 lawsuit filed after duck attack. [KATU]

* Following Moody’s downgrade of Vermont Law School, three other law schools see their credit join the ranks of junk bonds. [Tax Prof Blog]

* Lobbying firms are making money again. Well, except for down-on-their- luck merger candidate Patton Boggs. [Washington Post]

* Prosecution called off after the police lost the 100 Oxycodone pills in evidence. Sure. “Lost.” [The Journal News]

* Much like the Raiderettes before them, a group of former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders are suing over their pay. Thankfully Donald Trump is threatening to buy the team, so this suit isn’t the worst thing happening to the Bills right now. [WHEC]

* A sad account of how an alcoholic lawyer drank vodka by the quart while botching a death penalty trial. [Mother Jones]

Back in November 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the so-called “nuclear option,” eliminating the threat of squelching the president’s executive branch and judicial nominations by filibuster. Under the new rules, a nominee only needs 51 votes to break a potential filibuster, instead of the 60 votes previously needed. Democratic senators lubricated nominees’ paths to confirmation. Finally, we were told, a cantankerous Republican minority could no longer block all the well-qualified, uncontroversial nominees that the president had waiting in the queue.

Nevertheless, yesterday the Senate voted to reject President Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. The 47 – 52 vote failed to reach the 51 votes necessary to achieve cloture and advance the nomination. Seven Democratic senators — Senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, John Walsh of Montana and Chris Coons of Delaware — opposed the nominee. Adegbile is perhaps best known for his work leading litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, often known simply as LDF.

No Republicans voted against their party line. Perhaps some of them opposed his nomination on principle; perhaps some reflexively opposed an Obama nominee. The Democrats who voted against Adegbile, however, took a clear and conscious against him. Effectively, Democrats killed Adegbile’s nomination.

Why? Despite his other professional accomplishments, Adegbile’s problems in the Senate can be summed up in a word: Mumia. In six words: convicted and controversial cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal . . . .

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