One highlight of this year’s Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention was the annual convention luncheon, held on Saturday, November 17. During the luncheon, a panel of distinguished judges addressed the very hot topic of judicial independence. The panelists:
Apperances can be deceiving. The smiling woman above looks like a sweet old lady (or perhaps she’s middle-aged).
But don’t be fooled. This pleasant-looking woman opened a can of whoop-ass at the final panel discussion of the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention. She rained hellfire and brimstone upon the audience, and placed at least two of the panelists on an express train to Hell.
As we mentioned earlier, that last panel “discussion” was insane. It was a no-holds-barred fight between the Federalist Society’s two major constituencies: the social conservatives and the libertarians. It was a smart move to save this intra-societal slugfest until the end of the weekend.
The nominal title of the panel: “The Role of Government in Defining Our Culture.” A more appropriate title for the panel: “Watch Libertarians and Social Conservatives Rant at Each Other About Gay Marriage.”
Last week we briefly discussed the appearance at the Federalist Society convention of Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), outgoing chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We also described our exchange with him during the question-and-answer session.
We now provide you with a somewhat more detailed account of Senator Specter’s remarks. We found them surprisingly funny; but don’t get your hopes THAT high (because some of them were of a “you had to be there” nature).
Our write-up of Senator Specter’s speech, after the jump.
Throughout the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention, which we attended last week, various members and leaders of the group revelled in its reputation for being part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” (in the immortal words of Senatrix Hillary Rodham Clinton).
We’re going to play along. We have a few write-ups of conference events that we’ll be posting, and we’re titling this series of posts From the Belly of the Beast.
Last week we mentioned how we got to meet Solicitor General Paul Clement (at right), the federal government’s lead advocate before the Supreme Court. We provide a quick account of his remarks to the Society, after the jump. Note: In our prior post, we badly botched — we’re talking John Kerry-style botchery — a description of Solicitor General Clement’s record of Supreme Court appearance. These twocomments set the record straight: Clement is 40 years old, and he has had 36 Supreme Court oral arguments, making him just four arguments short of matching his age. Warning: The rest of this post contains that dreaded thing known as “substantive legal discussion.” And there’s not much in the way of humor to leaven the proceedings. So read on at your own risk, and don’t complain if it’s a little dry.
The Federalist Society Annual Dinner is basically one huge party. And no party would be complete without a rockin’ after party.
The Oscars have the Vanity Fair after-party; the Fed Soc dinner has the Harvard Law School after-party. And it’s supremely convenient. Unlike many after parties, which are held in obscure venues like underground bars or illegal clubs, the HLS Federalist Society party is held just across the hall from the ballroom hosting the dinner.
Like many non-HLS folk, we crashed the Harvard afterparty. Pictures from the raucous festivities, plus a few final photos from the dinner itself, appear after the jump.
For years we’ve been huge fans of Judith Edith H. Jones. She had a reputation as a tough, smart, conservative judge. She was known as as a badass of the bench, more than capable of eviscerating counsel or colleagues who crossed her. Her dramatic nickname — “horsewoman of the right-wing apocalypse” — pretty much said it all. (See here, hottie #3.)
(The high-powered Judge Jones was also a recurring Supreme Court short-lister — so frequent a SCOTUS mention, in fact, that Slate once dubbed her “Susan Lucci in Judicial Robes.”)
So our obsession with Judge Jones went way back. How could we not adore such a strong-willed, right-wing judicial diva? Sometimes muttering her full name under our breath — the Honorable Edith Hollan Jones — would make us shiver involuntarily.
This past weekend, at the Federalist Society conference, we actually got to meet Judge Jones. It was a thrill! And we even got to take a picture of her — so cool!
(Alas, Judge Jones forbade us from publishing it on the internet — and we don’t want to be found in contempt. So the picture will have to remain in our personal stash of federal judicial portraits. Sorry!)
In addition, we had the chance to observe Judge Jones up close, while she was in the audience of the final panel of the conference — a magnificent shouting match between social conservatives and libertarians that was nominally entitled “The Role of Government in Defining Our Culture.” (We expect to write more about this steel-cage match panel discussion later.)
We are sad to report, however, that some of these observations have changed our view of Judge Jones. We reveal what we saw, after the jump.
This post is a continuation of our prior post, ATL Party Crash: The Federalist Society Annual Dinner (Part 1). It consists of additional pictures from the 2006 Annual Dinner of the Federalist Society, which took place last Thursday, at the Marriott Wardman Park.
The Fed Soc banquet is like Oscars night for the legal conservative establishment. The cavernous ballroom was packed with celebrity judges, lawyers, and legal academics, simply too numerous to mention here. Everywhere you turned, you saw a boldface name.
The evening’s two biggest stars were undoubtedly the two justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Justice Antonin Scalia, honored for his twenty years of service to the Court, and Justice Samuel Alito, who delivered the keynote address for the evening.
Our photographs — with numbering continued from the eariler post, law-review style — appear after the jump.
As we mentionedearlier, we spent much of the past few days attending events at the Federalist Society’s 2006 National Lawyers Convention. Conveniently enough, the convention was held right here in Washington, D.C. (primarily at the Mayflower Hotel).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Society, here’s a blurb about them from their website:
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.
Convention coverage will be interspersed throughout our posts over the next day or two. We attended many interesting events and took tons of pictures, so we have lots to share.
(A note to the American Constitution Society: In the interest of ideological balance, we will gladly cover your national convention next June, if you would be so kind as to invite us.)
A few photographs from the biggest social event of the Fed Soc convention — the Society’s star-studded annual dinner, held on Thursday, November 16, at the Marriott Wardman Park — appear after the jump.
* Emily Pataki, the attractive and accomplished daughter of New York governor George Pataki, failed the New York bar exam — and sent around an office-wide email about it. The story was broken by the mainstream media.
* We heard from some of Emily’s law school classmates about the incident. In a reader poll, you opined that emailing her White & Case colleagues was unwise.
* The Democratic takeover of the Senate could make things tough(er) for the White House’s judicial nominees.
* Despite the sea change in Washington, President Bush resubmitted six controversial judicial picks to the lame duck Senate. Getting all of them confirmed is probably impossible, but getting two of them through might happen.
* The White House has not yet submitted nominees for the two vacant Fifth Circuit seats. (Texas’s Solicitor General, conservative legal superstar R. Ted Cruz, is said to be uninterested.)
* Borat-related litigation shows nosigns of abating.
* O.J. Simpson: He’s back — and he’s still looking for his wife’s killer. Except this time, he’s looking in the mirror.
* Some bad ideas from the past week: getting frisky on an airplane; setting your ex-girlfriend’s kittens on fire; having sex with a deer (even if it’s dead); eating at Burger King or Taco Bell; and getting married without a prenup (if you’re a filthy rich Hollywood celebrity).
* Over the past few days, we’ve been spending some quality time with the Federalist Society. More reports on the proceedings — including lavish photography — will appear in the coming week.
Today’s sessions at the Federalist Society annual conference kicked off with a speech by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the current (but outgoing) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. His remarks, which focused on the judicial nominations process, were engaging and informative. The crowd enjoyed his dry wit.
We may have more to say about Senator Specter’s address later. For now, a quick account of our exchange with him during the question-and-answer session. When it was our turn to question Senator Specter, we asked:
Senator Specter, as the current chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, do you have any thoughts on specific individuals who might be suitable nominees to the Supreme Court? And on a related note, what do you think of Senator Chuck Schumer’s suggestion of you as a possible nominee?
The Senator took the second question first. His good-natured, joking response (paraphrased):
It’s the best idea he’s had in a decade. In fact, it’s the only good idea he’s had in a decade!
Senator Specter went on to note that, back in 1971, he was talked about as a possible Supreme Court nominee (according to the Nixon tapes). He quipped that 1971 “would have been a better time” than today.
Finally, with respect to opining on possible SCOTUS nominees, the senator demurred. He noted that while he certainly could offer some names, as part of the Senate’s “advise and consent” function, he would exercise his discretion not to speak on the subject. He said he expected President Bush to appreciate that decision.
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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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