The current New Yorker has an interesting piece by Jeffrey Toobin on President Obama’s judicial picks. Toobin took part in a live chat about the piece at NewYorker.com right nowearlier todayif you’re interested. (Try not to crash their website.). UPDATE: The chat’s quite interesting. Toobin reveals why he likes Justice Souter best and answers this young wannabe judge’s question:
11:31 Guest: I’m a 25 year old law student, I want to be a judge, and my roommate smokes pot. How worried should I be? Do you think people will still care when I’m older?
11:32 Jeffrey Toobin: Don’t inhale! I’m kidding. I don’t think it will make a bit of difference. Our president has more or less admitted he was a pretty big pothead in his day, and it’s been a non-issue. Certainly the fact that your roommate smokes — not you — is irrelevant.
Toobin’s piece is available online to non-subscribers here. If you don’t feel like clicking through seven pages, here’s the ATL reader’s digest version:
Aging liberal judges hung on through the Bush era, but once a Dem took over, they were ready to hang up their robes. Additionally, since 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy has prevented Bush’s nominees from getting through the Judiciary Committee. Now vacancies abound in the federal judiciary.
Bush kicked ass in choosing judges; Obama is taking his sweet time. In the first eight months of their respective terms, Bush nominated 52 judges while Obama has chosen 17.
Obama says he’s looking for “experiential diversity” in his judicial nominations: “not just judges and prosecutors but public defenders and lawyers in private practice.” But his first batch of nominees are mainly former judges, like SCOTUS justice Sonia Sotomayor and Indianapolis federal district judge David Hamilton, nominated by Obama to the Seventh Circuit.
More bullets, after the jump.
* Struggling to compete for business in a shrinking market, law firms are hiring image and marketing consultants to improve their chances–one Philadelphia-based image consultant even tells them how to dress for the courtroom. Lay-off problem solved–apparently all you need is a makeover. [The Wall Street Journal]
* Not only that, but in an effort to be more business savvy, more firms are investing in management courses for their top lawyers. [The Wall Street Journal]
* Tweets lawyers should follow. [Law.com]
* Jeffrey Toobin on John Roberts. [The New Yorker] UPDATE: * Kash on Toobin on Roberts. [Above The Law]
* The District US Court of Appeals ruled that the White House can keep emails from the public because the White House Office of Administration is not subject to The Freedom of Information Act. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Everyone’s a-twitter about Jeffrey Toobin’s profile of Chief Justice John Roberts in this week’s New Yorker. And with good reason. We’re not sure whether the title of the profile, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” is meant to describe Roberts or Toobin.
We’re sure you’re familiar with Toobin, the ubiquitous legal analyst whose resume includes gigs with CNN and ABC, as well a Harvard Law School degree, a stint as an assistant U.S. attorney, time on the Oliver North trial, a Second Circuit clerkship, and many books, including The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. And he’s not yet 50 years old (though he’ll be 49 on Thursday, according to Wikipedia).
But back to Roberts. He gets a fairly harsh appraisal in the profile, coming across as a political stooge:
After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.
Toobin does not appear to be a fan of the Roberts Court. More on the elephant in the courtroom, after the jump.
Guess we picked our Lawyer of the Day too soon. Update (2:30 PM): Press conference scheduled for 2:15 p.m., but Governor Spitzer is running 15 minutes late. “I don’t blame him,” said Ben Smith of the Politico, interviewed just now on CNN. Update (2:35 PM): Jeffrey Toobin, who was an HLS classmate of Eliot Spitzer, described the news as “a total shock.” He said Spitzer has been “nothing but a straight arrow” for many years. Update (2:50 PM): Still no press conference. Brooke Masters, author of Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, was just interviewed on CNN. She noted that this scandal comes at a bad time for Spitzer politically, in the wake of last year’s scandal involving his misuse of the State Police for political purposes. Update (3 PM): We’re stepping away for a bit, to give a talk at Stanford Law School. We’ll be back online as soon as we can. Some content will be posted while we’re gone (material prepared ahead of time, not Spitzer updates).
Developing… Check back for updates. Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring [New York TImes]
The Atlanta judge overseeing the prosecution of alleged courthouse shooter Brian Nichols has stepped aside from the case after he was quoted [in a New Yorker article] as saying, “Everyone in the world knows he did it.”
The New Yorker piece was by one of our idols, prosecutor-turned-writer Jeffrey Toobin (who launched our blogging career, with this Talk of the Town piece). Judge Fuller and Jeff Toobin were interviewed by the Fulton County Daily Report about the controversy:
“I had a specific agreement with Toobin,” said Fuller on Tuesday, before announcing his recusal. “Our conversation was to be on background only, and there would be no direct quotations or attributions, unless they were floated by me first.”
Not so, said Toobin, reached in New York. “I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I mean, it was clearly for attribution; we even had a New Yorker fact-checker call and confirm it. … I have great respect for Judge Fuller, but that was not at all my understanding.”
* Check it out: the Los Angeles Daily Journal has a brand new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Hurley! [Washington Briefs]
* Don’t you wish you had attended a non-top-tier non-T14 law school? At U. Conn. Law, Professor Robert Birmingham (at right) screens prostitution training films in class. [TaxProf Blog]
* ESPN’s Stephen Smith lawyers up, retaining Willie Gary — a/k/a the “$22,000 an Hour Man.” [FishBowl NY]
* Fake Lawyer of the Day. [AP]
* Dubious Lawsuit of the Day. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Another interesting interview with Jeffrey Toobin, author of the bestselling Supreme Court book, The Nine. [On the Media / NPR]
More good press for Jeffrey Toobin’s new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. It scored a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review, which is the Holy Grail of the publishing industry.
But we’re partial to this great Slate piece, by Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick (two of our favorite Supreme Court correspondents). Bazelon and Lithwick conduct a meta-review of critical reactions to Jeff Toobin’s book, which they use as a jumping off point for broader reflections on media coverage of the Court. They include a generous shout-out to ATL:
One of the oddest byproducts of the Internet has been the growth industry that is the Supreme Court gossip blog. These folks are less interested in the court as the place where Law Is Born, or where Politics Really Come From, and more fascinated by which clerks are sleeping with whom, and how much they earn while doing it.
No blog has a better bead on those items than David Lat’s Above the Law. Sure, ATL invariably tends to reduce the entire sweep of modern constitutional history to a form of girl-on-girl Jell-O-wrestling. But then at bottom, what else is there?
Last night’s Colbert Report was a bonanza for law nerds. The featured guest was Jeffrey Toobin, who spoke about his new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. Toobin and Colbert had a relaxed and easy rapport, and their conversation was highly entertaining — perhaps the best CR appearance since Neal Katyal. You can check out Stephen Colbert’s interview of Jeff Toobin by clicking here.
Before turning to the SCOTUS, they discussed the most recent legal troubles of O.J. Simpson. As you may recall, Toobin was one of the lead correspondents on the original O.J. trial, as well as the author of a bestselling book about it, The Run of His Life. Toobin summarized the defense strategy in the armed robbery case against Simpson as follows: “If it’s his s***, you must acquit.”
But that’s not all! There was a special shout-out to Bingham McCutchen, during the ThreatDown.
More details, plus a video clip, after the jump.
Jeffrey Rosen’s book about famous court personalities and rivalries is an interesting history packed into a professorial thesis. [A] biography of Justice Clarence Thomas by the Washington Post’s Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher is a credible, but limited, look at the justice. In addition, Thomas himself was paid a reported $1 million to write a book that is slated to come out this fall.
If you’re interested in the Supreme Court as an institution and as a collection of personalities, though, Toobin’s is the book to read.
Hey Nina, what about the book by that rather attractive lady reporter?
Supreme Conflict, by ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg, contains a fair amount of good conservative gossip about the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, but it lacks the balance, substance, and context of Toobin’s book.
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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