Gay Marriage

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias

* When asked what his favorite SCOTUS decision was during his POTUS tenure, Obama said it was the high court’s cert denials on the gay marriage cases. Well played, sir. [Wall Street Journal]

* “Leverage has started to shift away from law firms.” Despite the fact that their headcounts are rising, Biglaw firms are downsizing office space as rents keep climbing higher. [Am Law Daily]

* Schools are trying to slap lipstick on the pig that legal education has become amid an “anemic job market.” We bet your law school has some shiny new innovations too. [News Observer]

* Citing the fact that “the courts do not exist to win popularity contests,” a judge sentenced Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison. Serious question: Will he be allowed to bring his prosthetic legs? [New York Times]

* Nancy Grace and her friends have pitchforks at the ready because Jodi Arias’s penalty phase retrial begins today, and another jury will decide if she deserves to die for murdering her boyfriend. [Reuters]

Or at least between one group of plaintiffs and one group of defendants. A Missouri judge was hearing a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. Then the plaintiffs filed for summary judgment and sought a permanent injunction directing county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All pretty standard.

But then the Missouri Family Policy Council filed a brief in support of the defendants. Which was jarring for the Judge Ortrie D. Smith since the Missouri Family Policy Council was not a party to the case and had sought no permission to file anything with the court.

Benchslap ho!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Same-Sex Marriage Judge Benchslap: Litigation Is Between One Plaintiff And One Defendant”

* A blistering dissent from that usual suspects: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. [The Atlantic]

* Same-sex marriage opponents in Nevada suggest liberal bias in the selection of the Ninth Circuit panels hearing gay rights cases. They demand en banc review after noting that “two of the Ninth Circuit’s more liberal judges wind up most often on panels deciding cases involving gay rights.” Let me peruse that roster of Ninth Circuit judges… yeah, good luck with that en banc review, guys. [SCOTUS Blog]

* A Toledo Law student was arrested on a child sex charge. [NBC24]

* Kesha is suing producer Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery. [TMZ]

* Can you guess which states lead the way on transgender rights? The answer will… actually not surprise you much at all. [Vocativ]

* The travails of Albany Law School continue. President and Dean Penny Andrews announces that she is stepping down. [Albany Law School]

* As if police departments weren’t militarized enough, they’re using cash seizures to fuel even more ridiculous spending. [Washington Post]

* Staci profiled some legal cosplayers, and when I saw the Judge Dredd costumes, all I could think about is one of the greatest Onion videos about SCOTUS ever. “I am the law!” [The Onion]

* Katie Couric sits down with Susan Mellen, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 17 years. [Yahoo! News]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 10.14.14″


The source of the Supreme Court’s tech problems?

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow.

* The Supreme Court’s new Term is off to a great start: Thanks to a copy machine’s error, we almost missed the surprise cert denials in the gay marriage cases. What kind of screw-ups will this week bring us? [National Law Journal]

* On the other hand, in what’s considered an unsurprising move following its cert denials en masse, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage to begin in Idaho. Congrats to the Gem State. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Jenner & Block’s data privacy practice is making waves in an “uncharted but lucrative field,” and its leader thinks that the “Internet of Things” will help heat up her work soon. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* A future Law & Order: SVU episode? Sanford Rubenstein, a personal injury and civil rights lawyer who’s been described as “[f]lashy, brash and always camera-ready,” is now being accused of rape. [ABC News]

* Yale Law’s most interesting student goes to all of his classes, but never has to study or take any of his finals. It’s not because he’s lucky — it’s because he’s a 93-year-old course auditor. [New Haven Register]

After the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petitions for certiorari in several leading same-sex marriage cases this week, media coverage exploded with headlines like “Legal Argument Over Gay Marriage Is All But Over.”  Advocates of LGBT rights seemed to view all future court action as a mere victory lap.  Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, told the press, “It’s really hard to imagine the Supreme Court would have allowed thousands of same-sex couples to get married, including in some very conservative areas like Utah, and then turn around and say, ‘Just kidding, there’s nothing wrong with state bans.'”

Warbelow deserves some slack for her sanguine interpretation of this week’s news.  After all, she has a cause to promote.  And as a general rule, when SCOTUS declines to hear a case on a particular question, one might reasonably assume that they aren’t concerned with correcting the lower court’s treatment of the issue.  But this is hardly a routine legal matter.  Nothing emanating from First Street this week made the fate of same-sex marriage in America certain.  So, why are so many other observers acting as though the Court just handed the LGBT community a gift box of equal rights, neatly wrapped in denied cert petitions?  Why is there so much denial about what these cert denials mean?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Denies Cert, World Denies Uncertainty”

Social acceptance of gay marriage in the United States is often compared to social acceptance of interracial marriage. However, while interracial marriage was completely legal by 1967, majority approval of interracial marriage did not take hold until the 1990s. How does popular opinion of gay marriage today compare with the current legal status of gay marriage?

The genius at xkcd demonstrates how popular approval and legal status don’t always neatly track one another…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Stat Of The Week: Interracial Marriage vs. Gay Marriage”

* Some marriage equality enthusiasts applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to stay out of the way and let the circuits do their thing. But the history of miscegenation in America suggests the Supreme Court had a moral obligation to interject. [USA Today]

* On this subject, Professor Dorf presents a fascinating hypothetical: is it in the strategic interest of an anti-gay marriage conservative lower court judge to strike down same-sex marriage bans in light of the Supreme Court’s cert denials? [Dorf on Law]

* One more story while we’re at it, after the Ninth Circuit struck down bans on same-sex marriages, District Judge Robert C. Jones of Nevada, who upheld the ban in the first place, recused himself rather that be forced to issue an opinion in accordance with Ninth Circuit precedent. [BuzzFeed]

* If you’ve ever wondered how Islamic State manages to recruit Western youth to the cause, the answer is a “Disney-like” social media campaign. It’s like a Biglaw summer program, but for murder. [Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy]

* “Better Hold Off Sexting With High School Students” in Indiana. The Indiana Supreme Court finally weighed in last week after the lower court had okayed a teacher texting a 16-year-old to sneak out of the house for sex. Wait, this required the Supreme Court to weigh in? What is wrong with you Indiana? [Valpo Law Blog]

* Looking professional with a pixie cut. [Corporette]

* Enter for a chance to win a Chief Judge Randall Rader bobblehead! Yes, these exist. [Santa Clara Law]

* The Zephyr Teachout book tour for Corruption in America (affiliate link) begins. Is your town on the list? [Teachout-Wu]

* New Orleans taxpayers spent around $75K traveling judges to conferences and resorts last year. Quoth the tipster: “I could make a joke about New Orleans judges going to the third world to learn how to run their courtrooms, but I think I already did.” [The Times-Picayune]

Justice Joan Orie Melvin

* How are Nevada and Idaho officials reacting to yesterday’s Ninth Circuit ruling striking down gay marriage bans in those states, and how soon might marriages get underway? [BuzzFeed]

* In other LGBT legal news, New York City is likely to make it easier for transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates. [New York Times]

* Good news for Joan Orie Melvin, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice turned convicted felon: her unorthodox sentence has been stayed (again). [How Appealing]

* Eduardo Leite, who has led Baker & McKenzie since 2010, gets another two years at the helm of Biglaw’s biggest firm. [American Lawyer]

* Cravath associate Micaela McMurrough scores a victory in tax court for artists. [New York Times]

* The ABA has issued a new opinion addressing ethical issues raised during the sale of a law practice. [American Bar Association]

* Why do lawyers blog? Tim Baran of Rocket Matter talks to 23 of us. [Legal Productivity]

* Congratulations to Tony West on his new gig as general counsel of PepsiCo. It sounds like an exciting and challenging opportunity. Plus, you know, free Mountain Dew. [Politico]

* What the hell? The feds stole a woman’s identity and made it into a Facebook page. Well, now she’s found out and she’s suing. Identity theft was one thing, but the way the DEA Agent kept spamming the woman’s friends to play Candy Crush Saga was just unacceptable. [Buzzfeed]

* Time for some court news: Ninth Circuit joined the chorus in striking down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit]

* It’s Nobel Prize time, and one of the winners for Physics has a personal story about how important it is to hire a good lawyer. In fact, it was about $180 million important. [Slate]

* We constantly beat the drum of how law schools need to adjust to reality and stop duping students into terrible financial decisions. But here’s the PR secret that’s kept law schools from, by and large, collapsing: they sell the experience. [Law and More]

* An open letter begging Amal Alamuddin not to quit her day job now that she’s married to some acting guy. [The Careerist]

* New York City paid $50K to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a child who killed herself after school officials allegedly did nothing despite several warnings that the girl was being brutally bullied. There’s a lot of “in my day…” types who read this site who may not care about bullying, but this is more a question of irresponsibility. If your job is to provide a safe learning environment and you fail, you pay. [DNA Info]

* At oral argument, the Court seemed generally supportive of the Muslim inmate hoping to grow a beard. If this intuition is right, soon individual people may have the same religious rights as corporations! [Supreme Court Brief]

* Finally, thanks to the Rutgers-Newark Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society for hosting a great event today where Elie and I previewed the upcoming SCOTUS Term. My personal highlight was watching Elie’s head explode while talking about Young v. UPS.

* Since SCOTUS punted on same-sex marriage, people in states where gay marriage bans still exist are wondering when it will be their turn. It’s just a waiting game from here on out. [USA Today]

* Babies wait for no one: a pregnant lesbian couple fighting the Texas ban on gay marriage filed an usual request asking that the Fifth Circuit hurry up and schedule arguments. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The “puff, puff, pass” defense? Robel Phillipos, friend of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, claims he was so high during the aftermath he can’t remember a thing. [Bloomberg]

* When should you apply to law school? When you can get into a top school, have clear career objectives, and won’t have to take out loans. You’re preaching to the choir. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* A Burger King customer is suing because he claims the restaurant’s manager attacked him with a knife and a Taser. This all allegedly happened over some cold onion rings, of course. [New York Daily News]

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