LEWW 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:
Late 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.”
From 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!
We’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.)
When it comes to law clerks, that is. In other words, Justice Stevens does not subscribe to the trend of hiring Supreme Court clerks who are several years out of law school, with a few years of practice under their belts.
As JPS explains in an interesting interview in The Third Branch, which a tipster just drew to our attention:
“Speaking about law students, I have a bias in choosing law clerks. I prefer those who are only a year or two out of law school, closer to their academic experience. They keep me more abreast of what’s current in the thinking of law professors, and I just like the younger perspective.”
So that’s the secret to Justice Stevens’s longevity: Hire young law clerks, and ask the healthiest ones to donate an organ to you (which they’re happy to do in exchange for a SCOTUS clerkship). Every few years, you end up with a completely new body. Brilliant!
The rest of the interview contains some interesting tidbits — including a comparison of Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, and John Roberts as chief justices. Check it out here.
P.S. We are still interested in learning more about the gender and ethnic breakdown for the incoming class of Supreme Court clerks — the October Term 2007 clerks. If you can help us out with any info, please click here for details. Thanks. An Interview with Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens [The Third Branch] Earlier: October Term 2007 Clerk Hiring: A Request for Information
Because she needs all the help she can get these days. Backlash and insurrection against New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse, the long reigning queen of the Supreme Court press corps, continue to grow.
For years, the courts construed 40 U.S.C. 6134 — which forbids “loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building” — as prohibiting criticism of Linda Greenhouse. As a result, nobody within the legal or media establishment dared breathe a harsh word about her. But now, after decades of dominance, La Greenhouse is slipping — and increasingly vulnerable to attack.
Fueled by the success of the bestselling, critically acclaimed Supreme Conflict, Jan Crawford Greenburg — ABC News’s young, talented, and utterly gorgeous Supreme Court correspondent — is challenging Greenhouse for the title of America’s top Supreme Court reporter. Last month, a threatened LG tried to mount a snarky counterattack. But rather than damaging Greenburg’s reputation, it merely caused SCOTUS insiders to marvel at Greenhouse’s pettiness.
And now Greenburg’s challenge to Greenhouse is emboldening others. Some dare to claim that the empress has no clothes. Take Adam J. White of Baker Botts, a former Sentelletubby and legal commentator. White had this to say about Linda Greenhouse, in an essay for the Weekly Standard:
The law takes the long view, and so do its chroniclers — none more so than Linda Greenhouse, New York Times reporter and unofficial doyenne of the Supreme Court press corps. But Greenhouse’s recent essay on Chief Justice Roberts exemplifies the risks of racing to write the second draft of history before the first: By attempting to turn a single case into a moment of historic importance, Greenhouse misdescribes the record of one chief justice and severely insults another.
This just in from One First Street. The Associated Press reports:
The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long- awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.
The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.
The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.
This ruling lends support to those who predict — like Jan Crawford Greenburg, in Supreme Conflict — that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will move the Court significantly to the right in the years ahead. Before Justice Alito replaced Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a decision like this one would have required the conservatives to secure TWO swing votes, AMK and SOC, instead of just one. That frequently doomed the conservatives to defeat in the big-ticket cases.
So Justice Alito, appointed to the Court by President Bush, probably made all the difference here. As Senatrix Barbara Boxer recently observed: “Elections have consequences.” Update: For more detailed commentary, check out Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSblog post, which quotes extensively from Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent. To read the opinion itself, click here (PDF). Court Backs Ban on Abortion Procedure [Associated Press] Court upholds federal abortion ban [SCOTUSblog] Gonzales v. Carhart (PDF) [SCOTUSblog] Senator Boxer: Elections Have Consequences [YouTube]
We’re not sure we “get” this story. We agree, in part, with this comment:
[The Northwestern Law School controversy] sounds very boring to me.
The SBA president offends the Latinos Students association, people ask him to resign, he resigns. End of story.
Where’s the “scandal”? Who cares….
Our only observation, which the WSJ Law Blog post hints at, is the sheer irony of all this. The SBA president got in trouble for not inviting minority student group leaders, qua minority student group leaders, to a breakfast with Chief Justice John Roberts (and for some remarks he made after the fact).
Yes, THAT Chief Justice Roberts. The jurist who wrote, in last year’s big Texas redistricting case: “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.”
It is a sordid business, this divvying up of breakfast tickets by race.
But we seem to be in the minority. Several of you have asked us to write something about this dispute. And over at the WSJ Law Blog, there’s a comments clusterf**k going on.
So here’s an open thread. Enjoy!
P.S. We have to step away for a bit. But if we get inspired, maybe we’ll update this post a bit later with some actual substance. Law School Group Leader Resigns Amid Controversy [Daily Northwestern] Breakfast of Controversy [WSJ Law Blog]
* Lower wages for women? Always. [MSNBC]
* Trial date set for only charged Abu Ghraib officer. [Jurist]
* Racial controversy: the breakfast of champions. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Gay groups not really satisfied about Super Bowl ad; Snickers pulls it. [AP via Findlaw]
* North Dakota, now slightly less boring, but not really, issues hemp permits. [AP via Yahoo!]
Newsweek has an interesting article about retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The gist of the piece is that even though Justice O’Connor is longer on the Court, she’s still extremely busy. Since her SCOTUS retirement, she has served on the Iraq Study Group, which published its report not too long ago; sat by designation on circuit courts (by our count, at least three — the Second, Eighth, and Ninth); worked on books; and delivered speeches, including vigorous defenses of “judicial independence.”
The most noteworthy material concerns the timing of Justice O’Connor’s departure from the Court:
O’Connor carefully weighed when to quit the bench. In the spring of 2005, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist publicly battling thyroid cancer, the two justices discussed timing. “We talked a little bit,” O’Connor recalls. “I was concerned about whether he had an intention to step down since his plans might have altered my own. It’s hard for the nation to grapple with two [retirements] at once,” she says. “He indicated he didn’t want to step down.” So she realized she had to go first.
And so she did, announcing her retirement on July 1, 2005. As it turned out, however, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away about two months after SOC stepped down. So the nation did end up having to deal with two vacancies at the same time. (Then-Judge John Roberts was moved over to the Chief spot, after being nominated initially as an Associate Justice, and Judge Samuel Alito was subsequently appointed to replace Justice O’Connor.)
The article also reports unfortunate news concerning Justice O’Connor’s husband, John Jay O’Connor III:
After O’Connor was freed from her daily duties at the court—it took six months before Alito took her seat—John’s condition deteriorated. Last summer she reluctantly placed him in a care center near their home in Phoenix; she visits him often. “It’s such a miserable disease. It’s so sad. It’s so hard. I did the best I could,” she says. “He wants me there all the time.”
Justice O’Connor’s departure has left a void on the Court. And we’re not talking about making Justice Kennedy even more of an influential swing vote.
What we want to know is: Now that SOC is away from One First Street most of the time, who leads the morning aerobics classes at the Supreme Court gym — as Justice O’Connor used to do, on a daily basis before she retired? Although Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a cheerleader in her youth, she no longer seems like the aerobicizing type.
And don’t look to SOC’s replacement, Justice Samuel Alito. We adore Justice Alito as a jurist. But we don’t think we’re alone in not wanting to see him in spandex. Justice: Bench Player [Newsweek via WSJ Law Blog]
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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