Before President Obama announced his nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, we parsed some statements from former President Bill Clinton that sounded an awful like an endorsement of Kagan. At the time of Clinton’s statements, Kagan was still trying to edge out several other candidates — e.g., Judges Merrick Garland, Sidney Thomas, and Diane Wood — for the SCOTUS slot. Clinton urged Obama to appoint someone who was (1) in her late 40s or early 50s and (2) not already a judge. Of the leading candidates at the time, only Kagan fit the bill.
Judges Garland, Thomas and Wood were all appointed to their positions by President Clinton, so you’d expect him to have warm feelings towards them. But perhaps he had the strongest relationship with Kagan, who worked closely with him in the White House (and sent him lovely, handwritten notes).
Over the weekend, Clinton gave an enthusiastic endorsement for his former White House staffer….
There have been many profiles of the latest Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, but this personal note to President Bill Clinton provides insight that a newspaper story can’t. It was among the documents released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library today:
The tipster who pointed it out to us (among the 2000 pages it was buried in) noted that it reveals “the warmth and tact that she has supposedly mastered over her career.” (It may also explain why Bill Clinton seemed so supportive of Kagan as the nominee, back when Obama was mulling over his shortlist.)
Of course, Lady Kaga was not lucky enough to make it to the bench when Clinton nominated her to the D.C. Circuit, but things are looking far more promising this time around.
If you’re the type who is convinced that the people you work with in Biglaw are evil, conniving, and ready to stab you in the back with a really sharp highlighter, you will love Getting It, a novel by Daniel Shaviro. In a post titled “james joyce meets the paper chase,” an Amazon reviewer says: “If Joyce or Kafka had worked at Arnold and Porter, this would be their book.”
I’ve read a lot of lawyer fiction, but never something quite like this. The satirical novel is populated with sadistic partners and scheming associates competing for partnership, including the caddish Bill Doberman, dopey Arnold Portner, and self-involved Lowell Stellworth. It’s an “American Psycho” take on Biglaw — funny and fast-paced, a great summer quick read. I devoured it on a plane to Chicago.
Before becoming an academic, Shaviro worked for Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C., and then went on to the Joint Committee on Taxation. He started working on the book during Congressional breaks in 1985 — his characters actually use the legal research library to Shephardize their memos — but only finished it last year. Coming back to the novel two decades later, he says that it felt at times like he was working on a collaboration with a different person — a younger version of himself.
“I’m in a different place; I could never come up with this now. It was a 20-something version of me that came up with it,” Shaviro told me. He had the inspiration of youth to start it, but had the discipline and wisdom now to finish it and cut the bad parts. “I mined the cut parts and discovered some really nice turns of phrase. I wish I could reach out to that [younger] guy and get some more material from him.”
Why is the book so fun? How did Shaviro finally finish it? And why was he in that photo with Elena Kagan?
The confirmation hearings for Solicitor General Elena Kagan, nominated to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, are currently scheduled to start on Monday, June 28. We will, of course, offer extensive coverage, including some liveblogging.
Just today, Vanderbilt law professor Brian Fitzpatrick — a former law clerk to Justice Scalia and a former counsel to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) — issued an enthusiastic endorsement (PDF) of Kagan, praising her as “a person of utmost integrity, extraordinary legal talent, and relentless generosity.” Such sentiments have been heard from many conservative corners.
So, with Lady Kaga’s confirmation more or less assured, let’s start thinking about what we can expect from a Justice Elena Kagan. Specifically, how will she handle petitions for certiorari, the requests filed by litigants who want the Court to hear their cases?
In other words: Will Justice Kagan plunge into the cert pool? And should she?
As I noted this morning on Twitter, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is looking like a million bucks these days. And this should come as no surprise, since she’s worth a million bucks — and then some.
Recently I examined the financial disclosure form filed by Elena Kagan last year, when she was nominated for Solicitor General. It showed the Divine Miss K with a divine net worth — just over $1 million (as of January 2009). That may not put her in Biglaw partner territory, but for someone who has spent most of her career in government service or academia, Kagan has done quite well for herself. (She’s also doing much better than most ATL readers; according to our reader poll, over 40 percent of you have negative net worths.)
And in the past year, despite her taking a pay cut when she left Harvard Law School to become SG, and despite the economic downturn, Kagan’s net worth has jumped — significantly. Just like Lady Gaga, Lady Kaga is beautiful, dirty, rich.
How rich? Let’s take a look at Elena Kagan’s latest financial disclosure form, submitted to the Senate earlier this week….
Some of our readers enjoy engaging in meta-commentary about the commentary we offer here at Above the Law. Other readers do not care for such “coverage of the coverage,” finding it to be nothing more than navel-gazing.
If you fall into the former group — or if you’ve been unhappy with our Elena Kagan coverage, and want us to explain ourselves — then this post might interest you.
* Sen. Arlen Specter — a Yale Law School grad and former Philadelphia district attorney, by the way — loses the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania; ophthalmologist Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul, wins the Republican primary in Kentucky. [Washington Post]
* McDermott Will & Emery gets hit with an age discrimination lawsuit. [Am Law Daily]
* Lawyers at Weitz & Luxenberg, the prominent personal injury firm — perhaps you’ve heard their radio ads? — have donated heavily to the New York attorney general campaign of Kathleen Rice. [New York Times]
* Obama’s aunt will not be deported to Kenya. [CNN]
* Elena Kagan has submitted answers to the Senate questionnaire for her Supreme Court nomination (in a record five days). Her net worth is almost $1.8 million, a sizable increase from the last reported figure (apparently thanks to the sale of her Cambridge house). [Washington Post]
* A portrait of Lady Kaga as a young graduate student: in her Oxford thesis, she wrote that it was “not necessarily wrong or invalid” for judges to “try to mold and steer the law” to achieve social ends. [New York Times]
Elena Kagan has the face that launched a thousand comparisons. TMZ thought she looked like Kevin James. The man wooing her via Craigslist thinks she’s a cross between Carrie Fisher, Laura Linney, and Bette Midler.
We polled you, and the results are in. Who is the winner of the Elena Kagan Look-Alike Contest?
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
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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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