Harold Koh

Antonin Scalia Justice Antonin Scalia Above the Law Legal Gossip.jpgOver at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan — one of our favorite commentators on matters judicial — provides a great account of Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent visit to his alma mater, Harvard Law School. Here’s an excerpt:

The dinner that Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan hosted on Wednesday evening to honor the 20th anniversary of Justice Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court was a delightful event, far exceeding my hopeful expectations.

In her own remarks honoring Justice Scalia, Dean Kagan was eloquent, warm-spirited, insightful, and very amusing. She presented Justice Scalia with a letter from Chief Justice Roberts congratulating him on reaching the “midpoint” (or some similar term) of his service on the Court. With wonderfully apt remarks, she also gave him, as a memento of the dinner (which featured salmon as the main course), the framed original of a humorous letter from the great Justice Joseph Story offering thanks for a gift of salmon. The celebratory remarks of professors Charles Fried, Laurence Tribe, and John Manning were likewise excellent.

Read the full report here. As Whelan notes, the welcome extended to Justice Scalia in Cambridge — by law school dean hottie Elena Kagan — was notably warmer than the somewhat chilly reception accorded to Nino in New Haven.
Harvard Law School Celebration of Justice Scalia [Bench Memos on National Review Online]
Earlier: An Addendum on Nino in New Haven

asha rangappa 2 asha rangapa asha ranggappa asha ranggapa.JPGSome happy news from New Haven, Connecticut. Seriously.

It’s about Asha Rangappa, Assistant Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School — and here at ATL, better known as the winner of our recent Hottest Law School Deans contest. Check out this memo, from YLS Dean Harold Koh:

To: Yale Law School Community
From: Harold Hongju Koh

If you have not already heard the wonderful news, I am delighted to report that Asha Rangappa and Andrew Dodd’s new baby boy, Paras Nikhil Dodd arrived on November 21, 2006! (He was instantly named “America’s Hottest Law Baby.”)

Baby Paras weighed in at 8 pounds even, 22 inches long and is wonderfully healthy. The whole family is now home from the hospital and doing well–tired but happy. If you’d like to send congratulations, their home address is [redacted -- America's hottest law school dean must be kept safe from unhinged admirers].

Please note that the baby’s name is “Paras” with an “a.”

We don’t think we’re flattering ourselves in construing the reference to “America’s Hottest Law Baby” as a shout-out to ATL. How cool!

(This shout-out does raise the possibility that Dean Koh has read Above the Law. If so, Dean Koh, we hope you weren’t upset about this post. Or this one, with comments. Everything we do around here is all in good fun.)

harold koh harold hongju koh.jpgAn interesting update to our prior post about Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent appearance at the Yale Law School. From a current YLS student:

Some of us were bothered — though not exactly surprised — by Dean Harold Koh’s tepid introduction of Justice Scalia. Koh couldn’t seem to find anything warm and welcoming to say about Scalia. Rather, he spent his entire introduction praising Christine Jolls.

It was as though Scalia wasn’t even there. Koh’s lack of hospitality was particularly striking when compared to how he often gushes about other relatively unremarkable visiting speakers.

Like our correspondent, we’re not entirely surprised. We haven’t met Dean Koh in person, and he wasn’t dean when we were at Yale. But we have heard through the YLS alumni grapevine that he is more ideologically motivated, and less evenhanded, than his predecessor as dean, Tony Kronman.
We’ve also heard Dean Koh compared to Dean Elena Kagan of Harvard Law School in this regard. Dean Kagan is politically active on the liberal side. Like Dean Koh, she served in the Clinton Administration (as a domestic policy advisor and in the White House Counsel’s office). She was nominated to the D.C. Circuit by President Clinton, but was denied a vote, and she’s a possible SCOTUS nominee in a Hillary Clinton Democratic administration. But despite her personal leanings, Dean Kagan has been widely praised for supporting intellectual and ideological diversity on the Harvard Law School campus.
(Also, Dean Kagan was a nominee in our Law School Dean Hotties contest. She did not prevail, losing out to a Yalie (Asha Rangappa). But just like the Oscars, it’s an honor just to be nominated.)
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Did Poor Justice Scalia Have to Spend the Night in New Haven?
Law School Dean Hotties: Your Female Nominees
“Harvard Law On A Heterodox Spree, Listing to Right” [Volokh Conspiracy]

When we surfed over to the WSJ Law Blog a few minutes ago, quickly scanned the page, and saw the photo for this post, we thought it had to do with Yale Law School. But upon closer inspection, we learned we were wrong.

Instead, it was a post about Skadden Arps partner Sheila Birnbaum. Birnbaum, who heads Skadden’s Complex Mass Tort and Insurance Group, has a nickname reflecting her expertise: “The Queen of Toxic Torts.” The superstar litigatrix attended the Supreme Court oral arguments this morning in the Philip Morris punitive damages case.

So why did we think, for a few brief seconds, that the post was about Yale Law School? Here’s why:

sheila birnbaum harold koh harold hongju koh sheila l birnbaum.JPG

Sheila L. Birnbaum [Skadden]
Dean Harold Hongju Koh [Yale Law School]

spyglass 2.jpgCelebrity sighting columns are a staple of gossip magazines and gossip blogs. E.g., Gawker Stalker, Wonk’d, Judicial Sightations. So, in this spirit, we proudly present The Eyes of the Law — your source for all the legal celebrity sightings that are fit to print (and a few that aren’t).
Since we don’t get out that much — we get an electrical shock if we stray ten feet from our keyboard — we need your help. We’ll need you to make the sightings and submit them to us, by email (subject line: “Sighting”). Then we’ll publish them on the internet, for all the world to enjoy. (We’ve already received a few; keep ‘em coming!)
A few tips and guidelines to help you in your celeb-spotting:

(1) When you make a sighting, please be as observant as possible. How was the person looking — hot, or not? What were they wearing? What kind of mood were they in? Were they alone, or with others?

(2) On a related note, digital photographs to support your sighting are especially welcome. A thousand words, etc.

(3) A true “sighting” requires seeing the personality outside of their natural habitat — and preferably doing something that one might not expect them to be doing. So sightings of federal judges in courthouses and law school deans in the halls of their schools don’t count. But we welcome sightings of judges or deans at, say, a baseball game — or, better yet, a nudie bar.

Here are the types of people who qualify as sighting subjects in our book:

(1) any federal judge (but we’re talking Article III here — no bankruptcy or magistrate judges, ick);

(2) any member of a state’s highest court;

(3) a state court judge from a lower court, but only if they’re notorious for doing the kinds of things that state court judges are known for doing (e.g., using a penis pump on the bench, facilitating the escape of a violent felon, etc.);

(4) famous practicing lawyers, like David Boies, Ted Olson, Mark Geragos, or Ben Brafman (if you have to explain who they are, they’re not famous);

(5) prominent law school deans, like current Yale dean Harold Koh, current Harvard dean Elena Kagan, and former Stanford dean Kathleen Sullivan;

(6) well-known law professors, like Laurence Tribe, Lawrence Lessig, Lani Guinier, or Anita Hill (no, your first-year legal writing instructor doesn’t count); and

(7) law-related television personalities, like Judge Judy Sheindlin, Nancy Grace, or Jeffrey Toobin.

This list is not exhaustive; we may have overlooked certain categories of legal eagles that we’d like you to spot. But it gives you a good idea of the kinds of people we’re interested in.
So enough idle chatter; get to it. Rustle up some juicy sightings, and submit them to us forthwith, by email. Much thanks!

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