Election Law

Who is the Judy Garland of Biglaw?

What makes someone a gay icon? I’m tempted to fall back on Justice Potter Stewart’s famous quotation: “I know it when I see it.”

But such instinctive judgments still rest upon criteria. Regarding gay icons, Wikipedia advises: “Qualities of a gay icon often include glamour, flamboyance, strength through adversity, and androgyny in presentation. Such icons can be of any sexual orientation or gender; if LGBT, they can be out or not. Although most gay icons have given their support to LGBT social movements, some have expressed opposition, advocating against a perceived homosexual agenda.’”

So you don’t have to be gay or pro-gay-rights to be a gay icon — which brings me to a partner I hereby dub the Judy Garland of Biglaw. She has a most interesting skeleton in her closet, which might explain her staunch opposition to gay marriage….

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* It’s amazing that sports betting is not legal in New Jersey. What possible moral wackadoodle says that it’s okay to have something like the Jersey Shore (the place, not just the TV show), but you can’t take Michigan to out-shoot the Syracuse zone and then break Louisville’s legs. [Legal Blitz]

* Cloud tools for lawyers. Or as partners understand them: “Newfangled virtual file cabinets.” [Smart File Blog]

* Pro se prisoner wins! He probably wouldn’t have had he consulted a lawyer. [Simple Justice]

* Actually, congratulations to Christopher J. Paolella, who argued before the Court on behalf of Kim Millbrook — and scored a 9-0 victory. [Reich & Paolella]

* Apparently “we gotta fix that” is Obama-speak for “Let’s form a commission to study how Republicans are disenfranchising voters instead of actually stopping them.” [NPR via Election Law Blog]

* Goodbye and good luck to Bruce Carton of Legal Blog Watch. [Legal Blog Watch]

* I thought this was a law already on the books in Mississippi. [The Onion]

* Instead of Angie’s List ranking law schools, I’d like to see U.S. News ranking plumbers. Undoubtedly, they’d use size of exposed butt crack as a key factor. [TaxProf Blog]

‘They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said… sure, it’s better than going to jail!’

* President Obama nominated Thomas Perez, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, to be the next secretary of labor. Republicans, of course, are all butthurtt, calling this a “needlessly divisive nomination.” [New York Times]

* Let’s get ready to RUMBLE! Be prepared to see some legal heavyweights next week when the Prop 8 and DOMA cases are argued before the Supreme Court, including Paul Clement and Ted Olson. [National Law Journal]

* How appropriate that Justice Scalia should break out the Spanglish for an Arizona voter registration law that requires proof of U.S. citizenship. Our beloved Wise Latina probably wasn’t too thrilled by this. [New York Times]

* To promote pay equity in law firms, the ABA is encouraging bar groups to hold conferences on the topic. The question on everyone’s minds, of course, is whether those conferences are billable. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Law schools aren’t the only places where transparency is lacking. Jeh Johnson, the DOD’s former general counsel, thinks the secrecy swirling around drone strikes is bad for the government. [At War / New York Times]

* The members of Debevoise’s displaced trusts and estates practice team have been picked up by Loeb & Loeb. Enjoy your new home, and your new — presumably lower — compensation package. [Am Law Daily]

* Lindsay Lohan took a plea deal yesterday, and instead of going to jail, she’ll be going to rehab to be kept under lock and key for 90 days. I’d say this is bad for her career, but who are we kidding? [Los Angeles Times]

* Casey Anthony’s trustee just answered my prayers. He wants the ex-MILF to sell her story to pay off her debts. I demand that LiLo be cast in the role! She’s the only one broken enough to pull it off. [Washington Post]

* Hey, they actually found one instance of voter fraud. By a nun. I can’t wait for the GOP to try to construct an entire argument for restrictions on voter access based on this case. [Talking Points Memo]

* Defense attorneys can go to jail for lying? In Detroit? Mind: blown. [Washington Post]

* The Senate grills would-be SEC chairman Mary Jo White. The hypocrisy of a bunch of Senators in the pocket of Wall Street asking about White’s potential conflict of interest would be stunning if this wasn’t the U.S. Senate. [National Law Journal]

* Former prosecutor and former FBI agent join forces to start a… private equity litigation finance group. I guess their years of investigation showed them where the money is. [Reuters]

* A law professor blames “no child left behind” for the poor quality of students these days. Yes, but what do we blame for the quality of law professors? [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* We’re going to have to do something about these sinkholes. [Daily Mail]

After the jump, a propaganda video purportedly made by North Korea “seems to mistake TTT grads for regular Americans,” according to a tipster….

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Just $150K plus shipping and handling!

* The triple-dog dare: a technique employed to show off how just efficient American democracy is, or something that’s just so ridiculous it might work in the Senate when it comes to judicial filibusters for appeals court nominees. [New York Times]

* If the Supreme Court were to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Obama administration has a plan in the works from the last time they thought the Supreme Court was going to strike down the very same section. [Huffington Post]

* It takes more than one legal memo to justify the killing of an American overseas — just ask the guys from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel who rationalized the drone strike against Anwar al-Awlaki. [New York Times]

* Remember the Winston & Strawn stealth associate layoffs of 2012? Those weren’t layoffs, silly. They just left “because of reduced demand for junior lawyers.” Also, we have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. [Am Law Daily]

* If you’re not satisfied with your law degree after failing the bar exam, don’t worry, we’ve got a money-back guarantee. We’ll give you back 8.9% of your three-year tuition. It’s better than nothing! [National Law Journal]

* Meanwhile, if law school were only two years long instead of three, then perhaps a money-back guarantee would actually mean something. For now, it’s just one big public relations stunt. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

* Joseph Kelner, plaintiffs’ attorney in the Kent State suit and lawyer for Bernie Goetz, RIP. [New York Times]

Nate Silver

As much as it pleases me to see statistical data introduced in the Supreme Court, the act of citing statistical factoids is not the same thing as drawing sound inferences from them.

Nate Silver, statistician extraordinaire, rebuking Chief Justice John Roberts’s use of statistics during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, and noting that the voting ratios cited weren’t “meaningful in either a statistical or a practical sense.”

* Darren Heitner writes about the new business of concussions in the NFL. Safety equipment manufacturers are working overtime to shield themselves from future litigation because, you know, there’s not much that can be done when you’re still intent on running the human head into another hard, moving object at full speed. [Forbes]

* Welcome to Salem 2.0. This time it’s Salem, Missouri that tried to protect us from witchcraft by blocking Internet access to information about Wicca. A federal judge struck this down. Then hopped on a broom and skyrocketed away. [KDSK]

* A Florida woman pulled a gun on Walmart employees who wouldn’t honor her $1 coupon. It’s Florida, so she had to stand her ground on that sh*t. [Lowering the Bar]

* A 12-year-old boy got stoned and led police on a car chase. Live fast and die young, my friend. [Legal Juice]

* More on Lindsay Lohan: After her lawyer, Mark Heller, got blasted as incompetent by the media (including us) and the judge in the case, Lindsay says she’s sticking with him. Because she’s shown a canny understanding of legal practice so far. [TMZ]

* #Filiblizzard! That’s the Twitter hashtag that Senator Rand Paul coined to describe the confluence of a major D.C. snowstorm and Paul’s unabashed filibustering of the nominee to head the CIA. At the same time, there is another filibuster of Caitlin Halligan’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit. Remember when Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell hammered out a deal that would end the excessive filibusters? No. You don’t. Because that was just your Absinthe-fueled hallucination. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was on the Daily Show. She didn’t seem to understand that Shelby County was about Section 5. [Election Law Blog]

Full video after the jump….

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Will review documents for a sense of dignity?

* “Do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African American voter turnout? Massachusetts.” Sorry, Chief Justice Roberts, but the Bay State’s top elections official begs to differ with your assessment. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* This retired SCOTUS justice — the first woman to ever serve on the nation’s highest court — now refers to herself as “an unemployed cowgirl.” We wonder what Justice Scalia will refer to himself as in interviews after he retires. [Sacramento Bee]

* Mayer Brown wasn’t the only Biglaw firm that had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. Dorsey & Whitney’s 2012 revenue was also at a six-year low, but firm leaders think they can turn it around. [Star Tribune]

* Billion-dollar patent verdicts, so hot right now: 2012 was a “banner year” for for Biglaw firms representing winning clients, with K&L Gates leading the pack for the highest monetary award. [National Law Journal]

* “I wouldn’t want to be coming out of law school now.” Oh my God, you guys, the legal job market is still really tough for brand-spanking new law grads. This is new information that no one’s heard before. [Buffalo News]

* I mean, if you can’t trust a sorcerer, who can you trust? [Factual Facts]

* Not enough Elie Mystal in your life? Catch him talking about the Voting Rights Act on HuffPo Live. [HuffPo Live]

* Manhattan lawyer Joseph Rosenzweig has been suspended for six months because he was married to two women at once. That was big of him. [Thompson Reuters News & Insight]

* A Detroit judge routinely skips out on work. Honestly, if I lived someplace like Detroit, I’d never be able to sit in an office all day. [Legal Juice]

* Are we actually dignifying the “maybe the 3/5ths compromise was a good idea” debate? Because, you know, you don’t have to. [Room for Debate / New York Times]

* Rick Pildes writes a guest post at the Election Law Blog asking if Congress abdicated its responsibility when it failed to update the Voting Rights Act. That’s crazy talk. When does Congress abdicate its responsibility? [Election Law Blog]

* We say goodbye to Inside the Law School Scam. [Inside the Law School Scam]

This morning the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the challenge brought by Shelby County, Alabama, to the Voting Rights Act. I’m not really concerned with the particulars of the argument as articulated by the attorneys (U.S. Solicitor General Don Verrilli for the government, Bert Rein arguing for Shelby County), or the substance of the justices’ questions. The Court has been jonesing to strike down Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain jurisdictions to “preclear” changes to their election laws with the federal government to be sure that they aren’t racially discriminating against minorities.

Chief Justice John Roberts seems to subscribe to the butthurt view that after 400 years of the enslavement and oppression of African-Americans in this country, now the only way to protect the rights of minorities is to make sure white people don’t feel discriminated against. Justice Anthony Kennedy seems to think he can make policy for the rest of the country, even though Citizens United should have shown him that he has no idea how the real world works. And the other three conservatives on the Court, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, think that racial equality involves keeping your mouth shut while majorities do whatever they want.

The conservatives have the votes to overturn one of the most successful weapons against racism in this country, and I can’t say I’m really surprised that conservatives are eager to take this away.

But is anybody else getting a little sick and tired of Justice Antonin Scalia’s constant grandstanding? I don’t know if it was getting passed over for Chief Justice or if he’s really pissed he didn’t get to decide who won the 2008 presidential election, but isn’t his whole “conservative intellectual hero” act starting to interfere with his job as “impartial member of the judiciary”?

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