[UPDATE: Hm...well it looks like everyone in D.C. (including Feinstein herself yesterday) was wrong. So she's sticking with her Intelligence chair. This assignment now becomes something of a "what might have been" exercise) Query: what changed? Why would Leahy not take Appropriations? Was he worried about turning Judiciary over to the more conservative Feinstein?]
Daniel Inouye, the second longest serving Senator in history, died on Monday. Inouye had represented the state of Hawaii in Congress as either a Representative or Senator since… well, forever. Inouye took office the day Hawaii became a state and never stopped. He was also an undisputed badass who wasted a German machine gun nest by prying a grenade from his own partially severed arm and throwing it at a guy trying to kill him! This was a more impressive response to having your arm severed that I would have.
But with the loss of Inouye, the Senate has to find a new chair for the powerful Appropriations Committee. Since the Democrats run on strict seniority, noted Batman enthusiast Patrick Leahy of Vermont jumped at that plum assignment.
And here’s where this all comes back to the law. By taking the Appropriations gig, Leahy had to forfeit his role as chair of the Judiciary Committee. Enter Dianne Feinstein, who will take over as the shepherd of the country’s legal policy making for the next Congress.
The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted in favor of the nomination of Michael Mukasey to serve as attorney general. The tally was 11-8, with two Democrats — Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein — joining all the Republicans in supporting him.
What had been looking like a nailbiter of a nomination should sail through the full Senate fairly easily. The floor vote on the nomination should take place by next week.
Congratulations, Judge Mukasey! Nomination of Mukasey Sent to Full Senate [New York Times] Panel Sends Mukasey Nomination to Senate [Washington Post]
* Judge Manuel Real (C.D. Cal.) defends himself against impeachment charges before the Senate. The accusation that he made rulings “to benefit an attractive female” is one that the 82-year-old jurist “find[s] repugnant, particularly at my age.” [Los Angeles Times]
(But who says old guys can’t be horndogs? See, e.g., J. Howard Marshall, the late husband of victorious SCOTUS litigant Anna Nicole Smith.)
* Senatrix Dianne Feinstein — who has a really nice house, by the way — storms out of a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, vowing to filibuster the Ninth Circuit nomination of Idaho judge Randy Smith. DiFi wants the seat to go to a Californian. We love a little SJC drama!!! [Associated Press via How Appealing]
* Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters were sentenced to up to 18 months in jail, for refusing to disclose their confidential sources with knowledge of steroid use by star baseball players. ATL tipsters, listen up: We’ll go to jail to protect your anonymity too. It would be great publicity for us! [Los Angeles Times]
* Fifth Circuit Judge Harold R. DeMoss, Jr., will assume senior status next year, creating a Fifth Circuit vacancy. [Confirm Them via How Appealing]
* Apparently Cablevision awarded stocks options to a dead guy. Oops. Columbia Law prof John Coffee: “Trying to incentivize a corpse suggests they were not complying with the spirit of shareholder-approved stock-option plans.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* DLA Piper’s Amy Schulman (at right): Leading litigatrix, or Dianne Feinstein doppelganger? [WSJ Law Blog]
* “Eugene Volokh” on Boston Legal: the mystery revealed. Congrats on the shout-out, Professor Volokh! [Volokh Conspiracy]
* We enjoyed this. Or, to do our best Instapundit impression: HEH.
* Another funny interview story, courtesy of David Bernstein. As for why he didn’t get an offer: Maybe he picked the wrong concealer? [Volokh Conspiracy]
* There’s still time left for you to vote: Who is the Paris Hilton of the federal judiciary? [ATL]
* There appears to be a void in the blogosphere where rumor-mongering about law school faculty moves ought to be. [Is That Legal?; Concurring Opinions] Note: We’re happy to try and fill that void. So send us your tips, your juicy gossip about who in legal academia might be going where. The bigger the name, the better. If we receive a regular inflow of such info, we’ll make it a weekly feature.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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