John Roberts

Clarence Thomas book My Grandfather's Son Above the Law blog.jpgWelcome. If you’re at home, tune in to C-SPAN, which is rebroadcasting the recent book party for Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas’s eagerly anticipated memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, is now in bookstores — and topping the bestseller charts (to the relief of his publisher, HarperCollins, which reportedly paid him a $1.5 million advance).
7:05: The party is being held at the elegant, red-brick Capitol Hill home of radio host and syndicated columnist Armstrong Williams. Expected to attend: 250 guests, including six Supreme Court justices, Vice President Dick Cheney, and several U.S. senators.
Armstrong Williams is interviewed. He explains that the party has been in the works since June. An overwhelming turnout is expected; more people were turned away than allowed to attend.
7:08: Justice Thomas climbs the stairs. When he enters the kitchen — which is right at the top of the stairs, and thus (oddly) where everyone enters and exits — he’s greeted by hearty applause.
Various guests hug him. One guest gushes over his 60 Minutes appearance. CT explains that CBS News made no promises about the nature of its coverage. Interesting. Considering how flattering that segment was, and how uncritical Steve Kroft was in his questioning of Justice Thomas, one might have suspected that Brangelina-type stipulations were in place.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Liveblogging the Clarence Thomas Book Party”

LEWW logo.jpgSo LEWW was at a wedding the other weekend, and who should plunk down next to us but a reporter for the NYT Vows section! It was a deeply emotional, humbling experience — like being face-to-face with Gandhi, or Bono — but after we recovered, we waved our ATL press credentials and had a nice chat with the correspondent.
Turns out it was her first Vows column, so we briefed her on the most basic rules of Vows column writing: Make sure you refer to the bride, groom, or both as “honest,” “courageous,” “spirited,” or “down-to-earth,” etc., and definitely include at least one forced simile (“as white as a sun-bleached seashell” is good; “as grounded and unshakable as a redwood” is a two-fer!).
We can’t wait to read about that wedding in this coming weekend’s NYT, but in the meantime, we have two weeks worth of LEWW to catch you up on. Here are our featured couples:

1.) Kate Edmonds and Alex Donner
2.) Denise Delgado and Keith Kerman
3.) Fell Ogden and Charles Gray Jr.
4.) Daisy Wademan and Luc Dowling
5.) Deecy Gray and Douglas Ginsburg
6.) Aielleen Fajardo and Stefan Schick

More about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.16.07 and 9.23.07″

Harriet Miers Harriet E Miers Harriet Ellan Miers Harriet Elan Miers Above the Law.JPGSigh. Too much to write about, not enough time (or energy). We should have written about this on Tuesday. But since we didn’t, we now have the luxury of assembling a post by commenting on what other people have already written — and snarkily noting that they all say the same thing.
It all started with this article from the Washington Post (via the Huffington Post):

It was John G. Roberts Jr., now the chief justice of the United States, who suggested [Harriet] Miers to Bush as a possible Supreme Court justice, according to the [new] book [Dead Certain, an examination of the Bush presidency, by Robert Draper].

Miers, the White House counsel and a Bush loyalist from Texas, did not want the job, but Bush and first lady Laura Bush prevailed on her to accept the nomination, Draper writes.

Sounds juicy, right? But not so fast.
If you’re already familiar with this controversy, you can probably skip the rest of this post. But if not — or if you are, but want some commentary on the commentary — you can read more after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Harriet Miers: Who Deserves the Blame?”

Porter Wilkinson J Harvie Wilkinson Above the Law blog.jpgNot too long ago, we said we had a “gut feeling” that some Supreme Court clerk hiring was going on (despite the Court being in recess). We were right.
Meet Porter Wilkinson. And don’t hate her because she’s beautiful. Or brilliant. Or rich. Or the daughter of a top feeder judge and frequent Supreme Court short-lister, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson (4th Cir.).
Or, for that matter, a future Supreme Court clerk. We hear that Judge Wilkinson’s daughter — yes, Porter is a girl’s name, if you’re a WASP — just landed an October Term 2008 clerkship with Chief Justice John Roberts. Congratulations, Porter!
Not surprisingly, we hear that the young Ms. Wilkinson is fairly conservative — in case you couldn’t have guessed that from the fact that she’s currently clerking for Judge Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.) (alongside the lovely, and recently married, Zina Gelman).
And where did we hear about Porter’s politics? From Judge Wilkinson himself!
In late July, we attended the excellent national convention of the American Constitution Society, in Washington, DC. Judge Wilkinson was on one of the panels. In thanking the ACS for inviting him, he noted that his son is a member of the liberal organization — but that he’s balanced out by his sister Porter, a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society. We bet the Wilkinsons must have interesting dinner table conversations.
Porter Wilkinson continues the trend of fathers and daughters who both clerked for the Court (as noted by Tony Mauro). See here.
Update: A tipster tells us, “FYI, Porter was an All-American lacrosse player at UNC. See here. Her husband [Christian Cook] was lacrosse Defenseman of the Year at Princeton and three-time national champion. Formerly of the Secret Service. See here. They got married this past summer in Charlottesville.”
With Porter Wilkinson added, the current list of OT 2008 clerks thus far appears after the jump.
Graduation Awards: Four in the Class of 2007: Porter Wilkinson [Virginia Law]
Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: OT 2008 (Update #5)”

Linda Greenhouse 5 New York Times Above the Law blog.JPGIn case you haven’t noticed, we’re kinda obsessed with Linda Greenhouse, the longtime Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. But we’re afraid she’s not our biggest fan. :-(
At the recent (and excellent) ACS National Convention, Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog moderated a fantastic panel on covering the Supreme Court. One of the panelists was Linda Greenhouse. After the panel, we approached and introduced ourselves. Her sarcastic response: “Oh, so you’re the famous David Lat.”
(Ouch — but we loved it. Getting abused by divas is one of our favorite pastimes!)
We praised her work. La Greenhouse quipped, quasi-snarkily (you had to be there): “Do you already have what I said up on the web?”
We offered her our business card, which she finally took — after pointedly letting it hover in the air. She did not proffer hers, then strode away, capri pants flapping in the ballroom’s air conditioning.
So yes, Linda Greenhouse — we had a reason for bringing her up. Did you catch her “Supreme Court Memo” in yesterday’s Times, on Chief Justice John Roberts’s recent seizure?
We have some meta-commentary on it. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Linda Greenhouse: A Drama Queen in Capri Pants?”

animated siren gif animated siren gif animated siren gif drudge report.GIFBreaking news, from NBC (via Drudge):

Chief Justice John G. Roberts was hospitalized Monday after falling while on vacation in Maine, the Supreme Court told NBC News. Roberts, 52, fell at his summer home off Port Clyde [previously profiled in Lawyerly Lairs]. The court said he was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

The nation’s top judge was fully awake and coherent both at his home and later at the hospital, the court said.

Lyle Denniston has a few more details over at SCOTUSblog.
The upshot: JGR is doing just fine. But it’s a reminder that anything can happen — that life is full of unpredictability.
Because if any member of the Supreme Court were to star in a Lifealert commercial — and utter those famous words, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” — wouldn’t it to be Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
Or maybe John Paul Stevens, who bears a reasonably strong resemblance to the man who cries out, “I’m having chest pain!” If you disagree, refresh your recollection here:

Chief Justice Roberts hospitalized [MSNBC]
Chief Justice falls [SCOTUSblog via How Appealing]
Lifecall/Lifealert – Commercial [YouTube]
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Chief Justice Roberts’s Island Hideaway

Legal%20Eagle%20Wedding%20Watch%20NYT%20wedding%20announcements%20Above%20the%20Law.jpgLEWW salutes Laura Marshall Worth, a direct descendant of Chief Justice John Marshall, who celebrated her wedding last weekend. Laura wasted a great law-school admissions essay and became a teacher, so this hat-tip is all she gets.
Here are our three lucky finalist-couples:

1. Rebecca Ingber and Anton Metlitsky
2. Alexandra Flood and Samuel Alcoff
3. Devon Powers and David Bennion

More about these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Deb-acle!”

supreme court small frontal Above the Law blog.JPGLate last week, Bill Mears of CNN wrote a helpful round-up of the best benchslaps from the Supreme Court’s most recent Term. It starts off:

One Supreme Court justice says his fellow conservatives are “too dismissive” of government efforts to ensure racial diversity in schools. Another more liberal member says those on the right did “serious violence” to a high school student’s free speech rights. And one conservative slams another for “faux judicial restraint.”

That last bench-slap was one of several delivered by Justice Scalia to Chief Justice Roberts. For more, see this Linda Greenhouse piece.
But after all the verbal roughhousing, the justices go back to being friends. Then they scamper off to a bevy of European countries, where they spend the summer soaking up adulation and cash teaching summer courses in constitutional law.
The members of the SCOTUS regularly complain about the inadequacy of federal judicial pay. But let’s not forget that they — as well as certain other federal judges, like the members of the D.C. Circuit — basically get summers off.
Being a Supreme Court justice: Nice work if you can get it!
Justices take potshots in opinions [CNN via How Appealing]
Even in Agreement, Scalia Puts Roberts to Lash [New York Times]
Supreme Court Justices Hit the Road for the Summer [Legal Times via WSJ Law Blog]

kids schoolkids black white schoolchildren Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFrom the opinion of Chief Justice John “Sordid Business” Roberts:

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

From Justice John Paul Stevens’s dissent:

“John, John, John, you don’t even — you’re glib. You don’t even know what Brown v. Board of Education is. If you start talking about school integration, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how schoolchildren are affected by racial segregation. That’s what I’ve done. Then you go and you say that no member of the Court at the time of Brown would have agreed with today’s decision.”

Enough quoting from the opinions. How should we react to this ruling?

1. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!

2. Brown v. Board has been eviscerated!

3. American schoolchildren will soon be getting after-school milkshakes at lunch counters with Robert Bork!

(Note to diner owners: Keep those floors dry — or at least have a warning sign up while you’re mopping. If Judge Bork slips and falls, he WILL sue your ass.)
Court strikes down school integration plans [SCOTUSblog]
Schools Must Ignore Race in Placing Pupils, Justices Say [Associated Press]

Supreme Court 6 Above the Law blog.JPGWe’re a little late on this (and blame our tardiness on associate pay fixation). But here are two interesting tidbits of Supreme Court gossip, from Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
1. Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]
One of Justice Samuel Alito’s incoming clerks, Jessica Phillips — who has been described as “beautiful and brainy” — is the daughter of renowned Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips. This means that Jessica “will have no involvement in cases in which her father’s firm, Sidley Austin, participates” — which has ranged as high as 20 percent of the Court’s docket.
(Btw, Jessica Phillips is not the first female clerk whose father also clerked for the Court. Mauro ticks off a list of five daughters of male clerks who went on to become clerks themselves. Check it out here.)
2. New Job for Mrs. Roberts [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
More on Jane Roberts’ New Job [The BLT]

Lawyer Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has a new job — and it’s not at a law firm. The leading legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced this morning that Mrs. Roberts is leaving Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s D.C. office to become leader of the In-House Practice Group in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s D.C. office.

Inquiring minds want to know: Will Jane Roberts continue to earn more than her husband in her new position?
(That was surely the case in her old job, when Jane Sullivan Roberts was a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop. Even though her most recent post at the firm was Executive Partner for Talent Development, which probably didn’t involve a lot of client-billable work, it would be shocking for a Biglaw partner to earn less than her hubby’s $212,100 salary as Chief Justice.)

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