The media has toppled a barrel of digital ink on the issue of Justice Ginsburg’s insistence on retaining her seat on the Supreme Court. Above the Law has even mentioned it once or twice or thrice. Like any other conventional wisdom story emanating from inside the Beltway, someone raised the issue, Justice Ginsburg said “no,” and then scores of pages were written explaining how she was wrong. And now, as that’s played itself out, scores of pages are going to be written taking the stance that maybe Justice Ginsburg… isn’t wrong?
Well, she is wrong, and bucking the trend of conventional wisdom makes for fun thought experiments, but isn’t as helpful when it comes to discrete, short-term decision-making. The thinking is all too clever by half and should be heaved onto the bonfire of civil liberties Scalia has cooking in his mind….
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two eagerly anticipated rulings in major gay marriage cases. In United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, the Court held that the petitioners lacked standing to appeal, vacated the decision of the Ninth Circuit, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. This left the district court’s ruling intact and had the effect of allowing same-sex marriages to take place in California (although there’s some litigation winding its way through the courts on this matter).
Now that we have the decisions, let’s take a deeper dive into them. What do they reflect about the Court’s role in society? And what can we expect from future SCOTUS rulings in this area?
* Is the D.C. Circuit is okay with TSA screeners touching your junk? Professor Orin Kerr discusses an opinion handed down today. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* According to his mother, Mercer Law grad Stephen McDaniel — a “person of interest” in the investigation of the death of Lauren Giddings — would like to serve on the Supreme Court someday. He might want to get a haircut first. [Macon.com]
* Johnson & Johnson will have to fix several factories after an agreement with the FDA prompted by massive product recalls. This still doesn’t explain why my bottle of Tylenol may contain tree nuts. [Bloomberg]
* Charlie Sheen hammered out a custody agreement With Brooke Mueller. That’s nice. [People Magazine]
* Texas may consider a law that would make losers pay attorneys’ fees. Easy, New York Mets. Not all losers. Just those who lose lawsuits. [New York Times]
* A discussion of the legal complaints lodged against the Wisconsin Legislature for Wednesday night’s votes. You know who’s not complaining? This guy. [Wisconsin State Journal]
* A former assistant attorney general from Maine was sentenced yesterday in a child porn case. This is definitely the year of the assistant AG. [ABA Journal]
Happy Birthday Nino
* Not all people living in Idaho are racists, duh. Some are gangsters from Boston. [New York Times]
* Law firm profits and productivity were up in 2010, while demand was flat and revenue was modestly up. Someone named Dan DiPietro and someone named Gretta Rusanow tag-teamed a report all about it. [Am Law Daily]
* A former McGuireWoods partner pleaded guilty to falsifying a tax document. [ABA Journal]
That’s the question posed by Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, in an extremely interesting post on the Opinionator blog. In attempting to address “why other countries [don't] suffer from the same toxic confirmation battles that we do,” she first notes that other nations don’t give their judges life tenure:
High-court judges [in other countries] typically serve for a single nonrenewable term of 9 to 12 years — a period during which Supreme Court justices in the United States are just getting warmed up. These shorter terms ensure frequent turnover and allay fears about a party in power being able to lock up the court for decades through the fortuity of a large number of vacancies; each vacancy naturally carries less weight.
But we’re guessing that Greenhouse, whose politics tend to fall on the left side of the aisle, actually likes having life-tenured judges who are completely unaccountable insulated from the political process. So she tosses out another idea….
We spent a fair amount of time last week in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia, where we spoke at the University of Virginia Law School (coverage of our talk appears here and here). We spent lots of quality time with UVA Law students — at dinner, at a karaoke bar, and walking around the beautiful grounds.
One of the highlights of our trip was attending a luncheon talk by the fabulous Dahlia Lithwick, who has covered the Supreme Court for Slate for the past ten years (and who also served as a celebrity judge on ATL Idol). Despite suffering from a nasty flu, she delivered remarks that were hilarious and insightful, shedding much light upon media coverage of the Court.
Welcome to the latest post in our recent series on the 2008 National Convention of the American Constitution Society. We attended lots of excellent events as part of the conference. Prior posts appear here and here.
One of our favorite events was the Saturday lunch panel, “Covering the Court.” It was moderated by Thomas Goldstein, of Akin Gump and SCOTUSblog fame, and featured the following distinguished members of the Supreme Court press corps:
Robert Barnes, of the Washington Post;
Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times;
Dahlia Lithwick, of Slate; and
Tony Mauro, of the Legal Times.
For the Court-watchers among you, a detailed write-up is available below the fold.
We have a strange obsession with Linda Greenhouse, the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. When we spotted her recently at Jennifer 8. Lee’s D.C. book talk for The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, we practically leapt out of our seats in excitement. [FN1]
If you’re a fellow LG groupie, and if you’re at Yale Law School, here’s some good news. As one tipster excitedly chirped to us, “Linda Greenhouse is going to be a Yale Law sort-of-professor!” From the Yale Daily News:
After 30 years covering the Supreme Court for The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winner Linda Greenhouse will take a new post as a journalist-in-residence and senior fellow at Yale Law School starting next January, the Law School announced Wednesday.
Greenhouse, who accepted a buyout from The Times last month, will return to the law school from which she earned a Master of Studies in Law degree in 1978 to conduct her own research and give lectures and seminars, although it is not yet clear whether she will teach a formal course. She will also be involved with the Law School’s Supreme Court Clinic and will help pioneer its new Law and Media Program.
More details in the YLS press release. Surely this can only help Yale maintain its sizable lead over #2 Harvard and Stanford in the U.S. News rankings. (Yale has an overall score of 100, with Harvard and Stanford almost ten points behind, at 91.)
As you may recall, Linda Greenhouse received a cool $300K in her Times buyout. It’s a pittance compared to Biglaw bucks, but a princely sum in the world of journalism.
And now Greenhouse will be supplementing this with a draw on the well-endowed coffers of YLS — we’re guessing low six-figures (for what doesn’t sound like very much work). She’ll probably begin work on another book, too, for which she can expect a good-sized advance. Her last book, Becoming Justice Blackmun, was a national bestseller.
Linda Greenhouse to Linda Greenbacks!
[FN1] The use of “we” is especially appropriate here because Kash and I attended this reading together. Yale Law School nabs Linda Greenhouse after Times departure [Yale Daily News] Linda Greenhouse Returning To Yale Law School in 2009 as Journalist-in-Residence [Yale Law School]
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!