Merrick Garland

Now that President Obama has interviewed the four finalists for the U.S. Supreme Court seat he has to fill — Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Cir.), Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Sidney Thomas (9th Cir.), and Judge Diane Wood (7th Cir) — the nominee could be announced any day now. Who will it be?

We realize that the betting men (and women) favor Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Kagan is also the pick of Tom Goldstein, the veteran Supreme Court litigator and founder of SCOTUSblog, who correctly forecast the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor (a nomination that the White House sought his counsel on).

But we’re going to go out on a limb and make a crazy prediction: President Obama is going to nominate Judge Diane Wood, of the Seventh Circuit, to the Supreme Court. He’ll announce the nomination on Monday, May 10 — the Monday after Mother’s Day. (That’s significant, for reasons we’ll get to later.)

Right out of the starting gate, immediately after Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement, Solicitor General Elena Kagan emerged as the frontrunner for his seat. And Kagan is still widely regarded as the leading candidate.

But, in the past week and a half or so, we’ve felt a slight, almost imperceptible shift in the wind, in favor of Judge Wood….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Speculation: Could It Be Wood?
Ten reasons Obama might appoint Diane Wood.

Who will replace Justice John Paul Stevens? While pundits, savants, and oracles across the SCOTUSphere pontificate and read Article III tea leaves, FantasySCOTUS.net conducted extensive and detailed polling to predict the next Justice. We have invited our nearly 5,000 members – who represent some of the closest and most ardent Court watchers – to weigh in on the vacancy, rank the candidates on the short list, and give their views on the potential nominees. We are still collecting data.

This is the third in a series of posts breaking down this data, as we attempt to add some certainty to the vast amounts of uncertainty emanating from the penumbras of the upcoming vacancy.

This week, we pit Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, and Merrick Garland in a head-to-head-to-head confirmation death match…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “FantasySCOTUS Predictions of the Next Justice: Team Kagan v. Team Wood v. Team Garland”

Potential Supreme Court nominees?

For weeks, the media laundry machine has been circulating news of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’s impending retirement. Now that the buzzer has gone off on that, it’s time to switch to the next cycle: speculation as to who President Barack Obama will nominate to replace him.

President Obama has been dragging his feet in his appointment of federal judges. We are relieved to hear that he is going to pick up the pace for announcing his Supreme Court pick. ABC News reports that the White House is prepared — thanks to Stevens’s public pondering — and that the announcement will come “within weeks.” Which isn’t really very helpful at all. Two weeks? Four weeks? Twelve weeks?

BLT reports on Obama’s speech from the Rose Garden today:

“While we cannot replace Justice Stevens’ experience or wisdom, I will seek someone in the coming weeks with similar qualities — an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people,” Obama said. “It will also be someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”

Please make it fast, Obama. We’re ready to move on to the confirmation hearing cycle!

Let’s speculate until then, though…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Speculation: Who Will Obama Nominate to Replace John Paul Stevens?”


champagne glasses small.jpg
LEWW’s memory isn’t what it once was, but we can’t recall a stronger week in legal nuptials than this one. All six of our featured newlyweds are truly impressive, and a few are even interesting! And not to give anything away, but if you love SCOTUS clerks (and oh, we do!) prepare to curl your toes in ecstasy.
Here are our finalists:

1. Lee Bickley and Martin Carr
2. Betsy Anderson and David Gottlieb
3. Karen Dunn and Brian Netter

Join us in evaluating these couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.6: The Point Is Probably Moot”

ACS.gifThe second panel we attended at the recent convention of the American Constitution Society (ACS) focused on a topic near and dear to our heart: free speech on the internet.
The panel, The Internet Revolution and Its Effect on the First Amendment, featured the following participants:

  • Judge Merrick B. Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • Ann Beeson, Executive Director, U.S. Programs, Open Society Institute
  • Gregory S. McCurdy, Senior Policy Counsel, State Government Affairs, Microsoft Corporation
  • Cliff Sloan, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  • Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block, LLP
  • Lee Tien, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    A summary of the extremely interesting discussion, after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “At the ACS National Convention: The Internet and the First Amendment”

  • 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!”

    In a recent post about Peter Barta, the Legal Aid lawyer who allegedly videotaped his female colleagues as they were getting undressed, we ranked on policy debaters.
    Maybe we should take it back. From a highly informative reader email:

    John Hughes John M Hughes debater Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgNot all former policy debaters are creeps. Here’s a list of former policy debaters who are current or future legal rock stars:

    Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Merrick Garland, Larry Tribe, Louis Kaplow, Erwin Chemerinsky, NYU President John Sexton, Jonathan Massey, David Boies, Tom Goldstein, Rebecca Tushnet, Annie Kastanek (OT 2007/Kennedy), and John Hughes (OT 2005/Thomas; pictured at right, captured in mid-debate).

    Former policy debaters, please accept our apologies. We did extemp and L-D debate in high school, and we generally viewed C-X debaters with suspicion. They struck us as kids who talked reallyreallyfast, warning constantly of nuclear war. But maybe we were wrong.
    To paraphrase the “ignorant tipster” from the Oona O’Connell story: “We feel kind of bad that we prejudged them. Sorry to sound like an afterschool special. But you know what? Perhaps we learned a lesson today. Good on you. ‘The more you know.'”
    Earlier: Reading the Bartameter (Part 3): What Is Up With Those Policy Debaters?

    Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGThe Supreme Court hasn’t yet finished up for October Term 2006 (which should end tomorrow). The law clerks for October Term 2007 will start arriving next month. But many of them have already started hiring clerks for October Term 2008.
    We reported on some of those hires back in this post. And now we have more to add:

    1. Conservatives hoping for his retirement will be disappointed. Rumor has it Justice John Paul Stevens has hired all of his clerks for OT 2008. The only one whose name we have, however, is Lindsey Powell (Stanford 2007 / Garland).

    2. Justice Antonin Scalia has hired Jameson Jones (Stanford 2007 / Sutton). Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a judicial superhottie, is turning into quite the feeder to his former boss.

    3. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has hired at least one clerk for October Term 2008 — Miriam Seifter (Harvard 2007 / Garland) — and perhaps more.

    So in terms of OT 2008, Stanford Law School and Judge Merrick B. Garland are off to a good start.
    If you have more SCOTUS clerk hiring news to add, please email us (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”).
    A list of OT 2008 law clerks thus far appears after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: OT 2008 (Update #1)”

    Legal%20Eagle%20Wedding%20Watch%20NYT%20wedding%20announcements%20Above%20the%20Law.jpg“Nobody’s finished, we ain’t even begun” is a good description of our progress on this column over the past few days. We apologize for serving up your weekly dose of LEWW a bit later than usual.
    Some good weddings we aren’t writing about this week: another seedling from William Howard Taft’s family tree, hot lesbians, and an Ashley’s Ice Cream heiress.
    Here are this week’s featured couples:

    1. Kathleen Rubenstein and Hays Golden
    2. Serena Hoy and James Reilly
    3. Catherine Bennett and Sophien Bennaceur

    More about these couples, after the jump.
    Also, some of you have inquired about submitting nominations for Couple of the Week from outside the pages of The New York Times. We’re confused. Surely you’re not suggesting that we grant the LEWW imprimatur to the undignified matings of commoners?
    (In all seriousness: Although NYT wedding section is the only one LEWW reads religiously, we’d love to hear about notable nuptials our readers spot elsewhere. Just send us an e-mail early in the week.)

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 06.03: The Golden Road”

    Alexandra Walsh Baker Botts Above the Law.jpgThey should have induced delivery by Baker Botts associate Alexandra Walsh, so she would have popped out her baby girl in the middle of trial, before the jury (and preferably during the strongest part of the government’s case, for maximum distraction value).
    Delivering a baby in open court would have created a magnificently dramatic scene. And it would have generated an unbreakable bond between defense counsel and the jurors that would have guaranteed acquittal for Walsh’s client, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. After you’ve watched a woman give birth, can you really send her client to the Big House?
    Alas, the Libby defense team took a more conventional route. Alex Walsh didn’t go to court last Friday, reporting instead to a Washington-area hospital, where she delivered a baby girl.
    More details about Walsh, from CNN:

    Walsh — a 2001 graduate of Stanford Law School — was named by Washingtonian magazine last year as one of the “40 top lawyers under 40.” She has focused on white-collar criminal law and appellate cases.

    If you go back to the Washingtonian listing, you learn that Walsh, after graduating from Stanford, “was hired to clerk for appeals-court judge Merrick Garland and then Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer.”
    A member of the Elect with an interest in trial work? Impressive!
    Congratulations, Alexandra, on the birth of your baby girl!
    Verdict: It’s a girl; Libby defense counsel delivers baby [CNN Political Ticker]
    40 Lawyers Under 40 [Washingtonian]

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