Government

Canada View From Up North Many judges suffer from a grave condition called T.S.S. (Tightened Sphincter Syndrome). You don’t have to conduct an intimate examination of a judge’s nether regions to determine if he/she has T.S.S. You can pretty much guess from the symptoms: constant grumpiness, a dour expression, words chosen to make onlookers feel the immense gravity of court proceedings, decisions pronounced as if only a fool would dare appeal them, etc., etc.

Sadly, T.S.S. is not fatal, but it does make everyone who comes into contact with an infected judge feel flu-like symptoms.

Justice Joseph Quinn of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice does not suffer from T.S.S. Whatever the opposite of T.S.S. is, this dude (and I say “dude” with the highest respect) has it. Take this sentence from his epic ruling in The Hearing Clinic (Niagara Falls) Inc. v. 866073 Ontario Limited: “Fridriksson has taken everyone on a hideously time-consuming and obscenely expensive journey down his private yellow brick road to the outskirts of the Emerald City where, it appears, he has a residence. It was not a worthwhile adventure.”

Find me another judge who invokes The Wizard of Oz to stick a broomstick up a deserving plaintiff’s butt. This case is delicious for so many reasons….

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Alito* That didn’t take long. John Oliver’s Supreme Court dogs have already been used to recreate Hobby Lobby. The entire Hobby Lobby argument. [Above the Law]

* Squire Patton Boggs is representing the pharmaceutical company promoting Ebola drugs. Or, as CNN would put it, EVERYONE AT SQUIRE PATTON BOGGS HAS EBOLA!!!! [Law and More]

* China Central Television advises citizens not to name themselves “Lawyer.” Good advice. [CCTV News]

* Slate posits that appealing gay marriage decisions to the Supreme Court may violate Rule 11. They’re wrong, but that’s what they’re positing. [Slate]

* Dr. Ruth is incredibly impressive. Next time you complain about the job market, try moving somewhere with no understanding of the language and getting your own TV show. [What About Clients?]

* Documentary about eDiscovery going on a six-city tour. This way other people can understand how much it sucks to do document review. [Bloomberg BNA]

* UC Hastings students are protesting their own graduation. [Change.org]

* Judges are an autocratic lot, and as long as we inflate the criminal justice system, many of them will be subpar and autocratic, which is an unfortunate combination. [Katz Justice]

* A man arrested for a carjacking and shooting up an apartment last week is — per our sources — a law student at Florida Coastal. Probably testing out the Crim issue spotter. [News4Jax]

* Are lawyers the new dentists? Or something like that. [TaxProf Blog]

* Man attempting suicide by cop told detectives he’d wanted to be killed and was disappointed in the officers’ marksmanship. [Seattle Times]

600px-US-SecuritiesAndExchangeCommission-Seal.svg

As reported this week by Law360 (subscription required), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued a reminder (Regulatory Notice 14-40) warning firms against the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements that prohibit or otherwise restrict customers or anyone else (such as current employees) from communicating with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, or any federal or state regulatory authority regarding a possible securities law violation.

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bankruptcy booksEd note: This post originally appeared on Bankruptcy Law Insights.

The perception that public employee pension obligations cannot be impaired in bankruptcy suffered a damaging blow several months ago in the City of Detroit bankruptcy case, and has now been fatally wounded by the recent ruling of Judge Christopher Klein in the Chapter 9 case of Stockton, California. Although Judge Klein’s decision is not likely to lead to a spate of municipal bankruptcy filings in an effort to escape burdensome pension liabilities (indeed, it may not even lead to the actual diminishment of pension claims in the Stockton case itself), this is an important decision. Unless reversed on appeal, it will alter the legal landscape for distressed municipalities. Together with the similar Detroit decision, the Stockton ruling will affect negotiations among municipalities, employee unions, pension system representatives and financial creditors across the country.

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Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffreyA few weeks ago, Pennsylvania learned that its justice system spends all its time trading porn over the Internet when it isn’t taking kickbacks for wrongfully jailing children. This all came to light as part of the ongoing investigation into Why-Did-None-of-You-Do-Anything-About-Jerry-Sanduskygate because of course it did. You can’t be expected to do anything about an inveterate child molester when you’ve got one hand… well, doing other things.

The investigation found its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where Justice Seamus McCaffrey received around 60 of these emails and forwarded at least 8 to someone at the AG’s office.

As of yesterday, Justice McCaffrey is temporarily out of a job courtesy of a salacious Per Curiam Order denouncing the alleged traffic in “highly demeaning portrayals of members of various segments of the population, including women, elderly persons, and uniformed school girls.”

Perfect. And it turns out trading porn is the least of the allegations against Justice McCaffrey….

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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]

220px-Eric_Holder_official_portrait* Eric Holder gave millions to Nazis! Or at least that’s how Darrell Issa will put it. But seriously, the Department of Justice has a long-standing policy of allowing Nazi war criminals to collect Social Security payments if they agree to get the hell out of the U.S. [Associated Press via New Europe]

* A Cleveland attorney, Peter Pattakos, is not worried about contracting Ebola, even though he was in a room with a current Ebola patient, because Pattakos is neither a crazy person nor a cable news producer and realizes that he never exchanged bodily fluids with the patient. As he points out, “I’m much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola, even if you were in the same bridal shop.” [Cleveland.com]

* Chanel is suing What About Yves for trademark infringement. The question Professor Colman asks is whether “we really want a trademark ‘protection’ regime in which mark ‘owners’ can prevent creative, non-confusing uses of ‘their property.'” [Law of Fashion]

* One for the career alternatives file: Miami lawyer who ranks local restaurants opens his own restaurant. At ATL we rank law schools, maybe we should open our own law school. [Southern District of Florida Blog]

* Academic publishers fighting the war on common sense by charging an arm and a leg for access to research that is written and peer reviewed by other people for free scored a victory on Friday when the Eleventh Circuit rejected the lower court’s articulation of educational fair use in the digital age. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Balancing parenthood and the “jealous mistress” that is the practice of law. [Jed Cain]

* An amazing symposium on campaign finance reform from the NYU Law Review and the Brennan Center for Justice. It’s a wealth of content. [NYU Law Review]

* Josh Gilliland from The Legal Geeks gave a presentation on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Law at the San Diego Comic Fest, which sounds much more fun than any “and the Law” class I ever took. He’s provided his slideshow presentation…

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Lisa Blatt and Tom Goldstein

On Monday, October 27, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hosting an awesome Above the Law event in Washington, D.C.: a look at the current Term of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Our managing editor, David Lat, will moderate a discussion featuring two of the nation’s foremost Supreme Court advocates: Lisa Blatt, head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Arnold & Porter, and Tom Goldstein, partner at Goldstein & Russell and publisher of SCOTUSblog. Blatt and Goldstein have collectively argued more than 60 times before the Court.

There are many SCOTUS previews taking place around town over the next few weeks, but we promise you that the ATL event will be especially fun and lively. We will offer food, drink, and excellent company.

This event is free of charge. If you’d like to attend, please request an invite below. Thanks!

Notorious-R-B-GI have quite a large supply.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, discussing the number of Notorious RBG t-shirts she has, during an appearance with Dorit Beinisch, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, at the 92nd Street Y, where the jurists were interviewed by Nina Totenberg.

(Keep reading to watch the entertaining interview, where Totenberg openly admits to the audience that both she and President Beinisch are “chopped liver” compared to Justice Ginsburg.)

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Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat

Could the third time be the charm? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari filed in May 2014 by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Texas DHCA) in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

The case gives the Supreme Court its third opportunity since 2012 to rule on the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The prior two cases, Twp. Of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. and Magner v. Gallagher, were both settled after the completion of briefing but before the Court could hear oral argument and answer the question presented. This time around the Court granted the certiorari petition without first soliciting the views of the Solicitor General.

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