Miguel Estrada

Judge Richard Posner

From the Above the Law mailbag: “Is ATL ever going to call out Judge Posner for being so needlessly nasty to litigants?”

Ummm, no. I’m a big fan of Judge Richard Posner, who is brilliant and hilarious. (Yes, hilarious — if you doubt that, check out the awesome podcast that he and I did together, which you can download and listen to during your commute or at the gym.)

But in the interest of fairness, I will make this reader’s case. This correspondent cited the recent oral argument in Notre Dame v. Sebelius, which we alluded to yesterday, in which Judge Posner dispensed some benchslaps to Matthew Kairis, head of litigation in the Columbus office of Jones Day. The reader also mentioned the argument on remand in the Conrad Black case, alleging that Posner “was particularly nasty to Miguel Estrada, seemingly piqued that Estrada got him reversed by SCOTUS.”

Let’s focus on the Notre Dame v. Sebelius argument, since it just happened. How bad was it?

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[U]nderneath a sometimes gruff exterior, he has the proverbial heart of gold: no one I know is a more faithful friend or a more fundamentally decent person.

– Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, in a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about appellate litigator Miguel Estrada, a Gibson Dunn partner and possible Supreme Court nominee in a Republican administration.

Last week, inspired by the pending Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, we embarked upon a fun little imaginative exercise:

What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

President Elie Mystal kicked things off by nominating his four liberal justices. And they did make me uncomfortable — half of them failed the bar exam.

I was in charge of picking the five conservative justices. So, who are my nominees?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Unconfirmable Supreme Court (Part 2): The Conservatives”


* Professor Orin Kerr wonders: Could Roe be indirectly responsible for the religious imbalance on the Court? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of SCOTUS, Tom Goldstein suggested that an endorsement of Elena Kagan by Miguel Estrada (pictured) “has the potential to swing at least a half-dozen Republican votes.” Well, here you go. [PostPartisan / Washington Post]

* And speaking of SCOTUS and voting, how might the nomination of Lady Kaga affect the 2010 midterm elections? [Political Junkie / NPR]

* Could you reduce the law school experience to a six-word short story? [TaxProf Blog]

* Here are considerably more than six words about law school, in an open letter from a law school wife. [Lawyerist]

* Congratulations to lawyer-turned-writer Gregory Mose, whose novel Stunt Road was just honored by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. [Independent Publisher]

Marjorie Rendell Midge Rendell Judge Marjorie O Rendell Above the Law Blog.jpgIf the answer is no, that’s about to change, as of tonight. A culinarily-minded tipster alerts us:

Tonight at 10:30 EST, the fabulous Judge Midge Rendell will appear on the Food Network. Check out tonight’s episode of Dinner: Impossible:

“Chef Robert Irvine faces his most daunting assignment yet. In a surprise meeting, the governor of Pennsylvania [Ed Rendell] challenges Robert to prepare a stately array of hors d’oeuvres for his Inaugural Ball. In just 24 hours Robert has to create and prepare Pennsylvania delicacies to feed 4,000 attendees!”

Television commercials reveal that Judge Rendell will appear on the show. I suspect that it will be diva-licious!

We agree. And perhaps Judge Rendell, who has given musical guidance to Jon Bon Jovi, can teach Irvine a thing or two about cooking.

If you need to be reminded of this judicial diva’s prowess in the kitchen, we direct you to her nomination blurb as a Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary:

By day, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the Third Circuit develops groundbreaking precedents affecting fundamental constitutional rights. By night, First Lady Marjorie “Midge” Rendell of the Governor’s Mansion develops… recipes!

Yes, now you too can whip up a feast consisting of Judge Rendell’s Savory Meatloaf, Broccoli-Chicken Casserole (yummy but fattening — that’s a lot of cream cheese!), Stuffed Mushrooms, and Lowfat Raspberry Souffle. Your Honor, this is delish!

Have any of you — maybe there are some former Rendell clerks among you — sampled Judge Rendell’s cuisine? If so, we’d love to get your firsthand report.

P.S. If you’re such a huge Judge Rendell groupie that you want to see her in person as well as on television, check out this event, taking place in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. It sounds fantastic.

We would have loved to watch the legendary Miguel Estrada and David Rudovsky argue before a star-studded bench. But when we called yesterday to reserve a seat, we were informed that seats are no longer available.

If you hang around outside the entrance, though, maybe you can catch a glimpse of judicial hottie Rendell as she enters or exits the building. Good luck!

Dinner: Impossible [Food Network]
Peter Jennings Project: Law and Order in 2015: A Case Set in the Future [National Constitution Center]
Judge Marjorie O. Rendell bio [FJC]

Earlier: Judge Rendell: She Gives Love a Bad Name

lori alvino mcgill matthew mcgill matt mcgill lori alvino.jpgYesterday Lori Alvino and Matthew McGill crushed their competition in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. And perhaps their margin of victory should have been even larger.
We would have given them extra points had we known about these legal celebrity sightings at their wedding:

Not that Matt McGill and Lori Alvino McGill need more praise from you, but FYI: their wedding was attended by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, for whom Matt clerked back when he was on the D.C. Circuit; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for whom Lori clerked; and Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit.

Other guests of note: former Solicitor General Ted Olson, and former D.C. Circuit nominee — and possible Supreme Court nominee — Miguel Estrada. (Both are now partners in the elite D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.)

So, if you think about it, you’re talking about two legitimate Supreme Court justices and, but for the cruel hand of fate, three other contenders for the Court.

WOW. Not much else to say, except: WOW.
If you were a guest at this star-studded gathering, and can offer an eyewitness report on the festivities, please drop us a line. We have so many questions. For example:

Was Chief Judge Ginsburg accompanied by the special lady friend very nice guest he took to the Yankees-Orioles game last year?

Did the abstemious Justice Ginsburg eat any wedding cake?

Did Chief Justice Roberts and Jane Roberts cut the rug at the reception — and if so, how were their moves? Is the Chief ready to appear on Dancing With the Stars?

Enquiring minds want to know!
Weddings & Celebrations: Lori Alvino, Matthew McGill [New York Times]
Earlier: Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: October 1, 2006

neal katyal Above the Law Legal Blog Above the Law David Lat.JPGToday’s Wednesday. Guess what that means? Time for another sycophantic profile of Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal!
Katyal, you surely recall, successfully argued Hamdan v. Rumsfeld before the Supreme Court. For that achievement, he earned a place in the footnotes of legal history — and, even more importantly, an appearance on the Colbert Report.
After his SCOTUS victory, Katyal was all over the newspapers and airwaves. Are you getting tired of him? Well, you’re not alone. He’s in danger of becoming overexposed, the Lindsay Lohan of the Elect. He needs to pace himself if he wants to have staying power. (Katyal should get some p.r. pointers from Professor Noah Feldman and Supreme Court litigator Jeffrey Fisher, two young former SCOTUS clerks who have managed to stay in the spotlight for more than 15 minutes.)
Anyway, if you’re interested in the latest ode to Katyal, we’ve excerpted the best parts after the jump.

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