I’m creating a proposal for a downtown performance art show based on US sex laws – the quirkier the better. There are many lists online of these laws, but it’s really hard to find the actual statute or case number. In some cases, they either don’t exist or are changed to sound funny but the actual law is not so strange. Like, if its illegal to bring an animal into a public space, you could say that porcupines are not allowed at the opera but then neither is a dog. So much for your funny porcupine law.
The strength of the show is based on the truth – like the real Texas law where having 7 or more sex toys in your possession is “intent to distribute”. I’m looking to see if some defunct laws ever existed – like the supposed Florida law that banned unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays.
If you even understand what I’m going for and have access to a law library (online or brick&mortar), please contact me.
Our tipster writes: “I’d take it on myself, but I’m not sure how I’d bill it. I know Loyola 2L is pretty hard up; perhaps he could use the extra bucks. Plus, something tells me Gabrielle’s gotta be hot (Roissy would surely agree).”
Gabrielle: you might want to drop Howard Bashman a line. He is a recognized authority on sex toys (as a legal if not practical matter). Update: A diligent associate at a bonus-bestowing firm recommends A Guide to America’s Sex Laws, by no less an authority than the eminent Judge Richard Posner.
But this sex law compendium might come with a big red flag over it, in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas. The diligent associate points out: “Note that it’s out of date, coming as it did in the Bowers era.” RESEARCH – Strange Laws for Performance Piece (Lower East Side) [Craigslist]
* He likes ‘em young. [WNBC]
* WSJ Law Blog follows SCOTUS comedy. [WSJ Law Blog]
* More Jack Thompson chicanery. [GamePolitics]
* In keeping with the non-top-tier theme, here’s a Tier 4 that’s moving. [WRAL]
* Sorry, Howard Bashman. [Yahoo!]
We’re loving this little dustup over our item about Nina Totenberg getting territorial over seating in the Supreme Court press gallery. It got us a shout-out in the Washington Post. And it’s generating celebrity correspondence for us, too.
Over the weekend, we heard from SCOTUS bar superstar Tom Goldstein. And then, this morning, we received this email, from one of our favorite commentators on legal affairs:
From: Dahlia Lithwick Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:35 AM To: David Lat Subject: one bigger question raised in Divagate
The Wa Po article about Nina said she was “dean” of the Supreme Court press corps.
The brilliant and irascible Judge Alex Kozinski, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has handed down his opinion on blogs, and it’s scathing. The audio link is down, but Orin Kerr helpfully gives us the juicy bits:
ERIC GOLDMAN: So but what about blogs? . . .
JUDGE ALEX KOZINSKI: I hate them, hateful things.
ERIC GOLDMAN: Why do you hate blogs? . . . .
JUDGE ALEX KOZINSKI: I just think it’s so self-indulgent, you know. “Oh, I’m so proud of what I’m saying, I think the world instantly wants to know what I’m thinking today.” People wake up thinking, . . . . “I wonder what great thoughts have come into his mind this morning that I can feel myself edified by. I can’t really have breakfast — really enjoy my day — until I hear the great thoughts of Howard Bashman!” I don’t think so. I go for months without ever knowing what Howard has to say. So I don’t know. I find it sort of self-indulgent. And I find it grandiloquent. And I find it annoying, particularly if I’m in an audience and people are sitting there typing in their computers.
Our favorite movie of all time is All About Eve (1950). It’s the story of a brilliant but aging stage diva, Margo Channing (Bette Davis), and an aspiring actress, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Margo befriends Eve, taking the star-struck youngster under her wing. But then the exceedingly ambitious Eve starts to threaten her mentor’s reign as queen of the theater.
The small Supreme Court press corps can be compared to the clubby world of the theater. It’s populated by distinguished veterans, like Tony Mauro, and emerging younger talents, like Dahlia Lithwick. (Expressed in Broadway terms, Mauro and Lithwick could be compared to, respectively, Christopher Plummer and Sutton Foster.)
The stage has its great divas — e.g., Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera — and so does the SCOTUS press corps. Nina Totenberg is certainly one of them. But the undoubted queen of Supreme Court correspondents is Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times.
Greenhouse has been covering the Court for almost three decades, since 1978. She enjoys unmatched access to the justices, especially those in the middle and left wings of the Court. Supreme Court justices are notoriously media-shy. But Linda Greenhouse can magically reach them on their cell phones, at any hour, and get them to spill their deepest and darkest secrets. If you want to know whether there was blood in a justice’s stool this morning, ask Linda G.
So here’s our question:
If Linda Greenhouse is the Margo Channing of Supreme Court reporters, does that make Jan Crawford Greenburg into Eve Harrington?
Just like Eve Harrington, Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News is a talented and attractive young woman, whose star is on the rise. In the past three months, she has scored coveted in-person interviews with almost half of the Supreme Court:
For all of you non-journalist types, please understand: these are MAJOR COUPS.
And there’s more. As Howard Bashman notes, later this month, Greenburg has a “top-secret” new book on the Court coming out. That book, Supreme Conflict, is being touted as drawing upon “unprecedented access to the Supreme Court justices and their inner circles.”
(Note to Greenburg’s book publicist: We’d love to get a reviewer’s copy, if you wouldn’t mind sending one our way.)
Call it Greenhouse v. Greenburg. Linda Greenhouse’s historic domination of Supreme Court coverage is under siege, as Jan Crawford Greenburg makes some serious inroads at One First Street. And we’re not the only ones who have taken notice. Check out Howard Bashman’s great interview with La Greenburg, posted just this morning, in which he accurately describes the trajectory of her career as “meteoric.”
We will surely piss off some people with this question, but we’ll ask it anyway:
Could Greenburg’s status as a hottie be contributing in any way, however small, to her journalistic success?
In All About Eve, you will recall, Eve Harrington uses her beauty and charm to seduce theatre critics, writers, and directors.*
Some of you might object: “This whole ‘All About Jan’ theory is ridiculous. Linda Greenhouse has been covering the Court since Jan Crawford Greenburg was in footsie pajamas. Do you really think LG is about to be supplanted as Empress by some upstart kid?”
We respond by quoting this exchange from All About Eve, between Margo Channing and her lover, Bill Sampson:
BILL: Darling, [to succeed in the theater,] you’ve got to keep your teeth sharp. All right. But you will not sharpen them on me — or on Eve…
MARGO: What about her teeth? What about her fangs?
Not done with your holiday shopping yet? Stumped about what to get for all those special lawyers in your life?
Howard Bashman has some ideas. So does Paul Caron (scroll down).
And, of course, don’t forget to check out Illegal Briefs. Their motto? “Be a lawyer. Don’t dress like one.” (Thanks to commenter Peter for the tip.)
From an in-house lawyer, here’s one Christmas present that was not particularly appreciated:
While my office has been flooded with good and bad holiday gifts from law firms, the award for most pretentious goes to Pilsbury Winthrop. A block of chocolate with the firm’s name etched in it, with bad ad copy describing it as the finest Belgian chocolate…
Or at least a big benchslap upside the head, courtesy of the Supreme Court. Per Orin Kerr:
A lot of people have talked about the Supreme Court’s small docket; Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit is actually doing something about it. He handed down an opinion today in Carrington v. United States that has “Destination: One First Street” written all over it.
Read the rest of Professor Kerr’s devastating critique here. Howard Bashman also doesn’t think highly of the opinion.
Professor Kerr concludes by quoting George Will: “[t]here should be two Supreme Courts, one to reverse the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the other to hear all other cases.” Will’s article was about a “Reinhardt special.” But as Carrington shows, Judge Stephen Reinhardt isn’t racking up reversals all by himself; he gets by with a little help from his friends.
One final note: Carrington gave Judge Consuelo Callahan, the luscious Latina sometimes mentioned as a possibleSupreme Courtnominee, the opportunity to write an impassioned, high-profile dissent. Judge Callahan should be grateful to Judge Pregerson for giving her the chance to develop conservative street cred. If she gets nominated to the SCOTUS someday, she should thank Judge Pregerson at her investiture.*
(We’d be curious to hear what Professor Doug Berman, sentencing guidelines guru, thinks of Carrington.) Update: Professor Berman weighs in. Interesting! Are the conservatives now guilty of putting their policy preferences ahead of the letter of the law?
* Best correction ever, from Slate: “Our article originally identified Consuelo Callahan as Consuela Callahan.”
Because, you know, all Latinas in the state of California are named “Consuela.” They’re all maids. And they’re all played by Lupe Ontiveros in the movies. Carrington v. United States [Volokh Conspiracy] Carrington v. United States (PDF) [Ninth Circuit via How Appealing]
It would be better to say “not everything that is stupid is unconstitutional.” “Everything that is stupid is not unconstitutional” can be read to mean that every stupid thing is constitutional, when plenty of stupid things are unconstitutional. I know there’s some argument over whether this should actually be considered a usage error. The argument that it’s not usually brings up Shakespeare’s “All that glisters is not gold.” Why didn’t he write “Not all that glisters is gold”?
Howard Bashman criticizes Professor Althouse for engaging in “untoward nitpicking on the internet.” But it seems to us that Althouse, after raising this possible ambiguity, ultimately comes down on the same side as Bashman:
[F]orget about this particular language nicety, I’d say. I’m rather glad to myself, since I was personally needled for years by someone who was inordinately vigilant on this usage point.
Mr. Bashman, don’t despair. ATL did NOT overlook your lunch with Professor David Hoffman, of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law (as you apparently feared).
Come now. Do you really think we’d miss a sighting of two high-profile bloggers — Howard Bashman, of How Appealing, and Dave Hoffman, of Concurring Opinions (at right) — getting their lunch on?
It just took us a little while to find a tipster with the requisite information. Here’s an account of the lunch, courtesy of “A Temple Owl in the Know”:
Celebrity blawg writer Howard Bashman, and the menschily hot Professor Hoffman, dined at the glamorous Temple University Student Center. The even more glamorous Temple University food carts were rendered a bad option due to a pounding rain.
Hoffman appeared to be eating something greasy, but complemented by a lovely side of grapes. Bashman had a dry sandwich and a soda, which he seemed pleased with.
I couldn’t overhear their conversation. But I doubt it was as interesting as the freshmen at the next table talking about their surprisingly eventful weekend in Atlantic City….
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