* Maybe you read this over Sunday brunch. I was going to make a crack about barely educated sorority girls in schools I’ve never heard of in states I’ve barely heard of, but then I thought of this, or this, or this. You know who should shed some light on this? Tyra. [New York Times]
* As culturally valuable as Britney’s hair? [Yahoo News]
* Man was “more than” friends with Man’s Best Friend. (You also don’t need to explicitly define “cheating” to know he was also cheating on his girlfriend… although that’s the least of her concerns.) [Bay City Times]
* Because we’re not all Wiki fans. [Conservapedia via]

* When do you lose control of your copyright? The Unabomber wants to know. Paris Hilton [NSFW], on the other hand, doesn’t care. [Slate]
* I am not a dog-hater, but you don’t see people bringing their babies to bars. (Although I hear you, dog-lovers — at least, there’s no law against it.) [Seattle Times]
* If you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know what happened. [QuizLaw]

spam spam spam.jpeg* It’s that time of the year, when you yet again resolve to no longer be an attorney. You have one more chance to make this same futile resolution when Chinese New Year rolls around. [The Complete Lawyer]
* Any food substance that sustains armies and people still living in Y2K bunkers deserves nothing less than a full-on defense of its rights. You go, Hormel. [Likelihood of Confusion]
* Healthy parenting or affirmative action? I We wonder if little Shiloh will turn out like that other token biological celebrity offspring, Satchel Ronan Seamus (or just another needy, rich, hot girl, whose mommy never loved her). [Hot Gossip at MSN Entertainment]
* Darwinism resurfaces, and thank God, because I really hate tiny dogs. [St. Petersburg Times]
* Bonus season may be behind us, but we still have money on our minds. [May It Please the Court]
* I am open to all genres of TV shows, as you may know. But this? Almost makes me long for the days of Ally McBeal. [QuizLaw]

michael lee mike lee christopher paolella chris paolella matthew schwartz matt schwartz gordon todd.JPGsamuel alito jr samuel a alito jr justice alito.jpgSorry it has taken us so long. As promised months ago, we now begin our series profiling current Supreme Court clerks (aka the “October Term 2006″ or “OT 2006″ law clerks).
We’ll be going chambers by chambers, starting with the most junior justice. Here are the four law clerks to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

1. Michael S. Lee (BYU ’97/Benson (D. Utah)/Alito)

2. Christopher J. Paolella (Harvard ’99/Alito)

3. Matthew A. Schwartz (Columbia ’03/Alito)

4. Gordon D. Todd (UVA ’00/Beam)

As a member of the Alito extended family explained to us, here’s the key to understanding the Alito chambers: 3:1. This golden ratio perfectly captures the demographics of the OT 2006 Alito clerks. Consider:

1. Familial status: three are married with children, one is not (Chris Paolella — married, but no kids yet).

2. Undergraduate institution: three are Princetonians, one is not (Michael Lee — BYU).

3. Prior Alito clerkship: three previously clerked for then-Judge Alito on the Third Circuit, one did not (Gordon Todd).

4. Religious affiliation: three are Christian,* one is not (Matthew Schwartz — he’s Jewish).

5. College debate: three were gods of the parliamentary debate circuit, and former presidents of the American Parliamentary Debate Assocation (APDA); one was not (Michael Lee).

But we wouldn’t want such commonalities to overshadow the individuality of these gents. Check out our profiles of Messrs. Lee, Paolella, Schwartz, and Todd — after the jump.
* Mitt Romney footnote: Michael Lee is Mormon, which we consider to be Christian. Presidential candidate Romney hopes that evangelical Christians voting in the Republican primaries will agree with us.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Alito’s OT 2006 Law Clerks”

Natasha Lyonne Natasha Lyone Natasha Leone.jpgWe’re late in writing about this story. But given our commitment to covering celebrity legal woes, we must at least mention it:

Actress Natasha Lyonne, the star of “American Pie” accused of threatening to sexually molest a dog, turned herself in at a New York court on Friday.

A bench warrant was issued for her arrest in January after Lyonne, who has also appeared in “Blade,” and “Scary Movie 2,” missed four court hearings.

The 27-year-old faced a number of charges including criminal mischief, harassment and trespassing after accusations she threatened to sexually molest her former neighbor’s dog and ripped a mirror off the wall during a 2004 argument.

Even worse than molesting a pastry. But we’re impressed by her ability to rip a mirror off a wall, no small feat of strength.
This is not Lyonne’s first brush with the law:

On August 28, 2001, Lyonne was arrested by Miami Beach police after hitting a road sign with her rented Dodge and trying to flee the scene. An officer who witnessed the incident said Lyonne refused to take a breathalyzer test and told him, “I’m a movie star. Can I talk to my entertainment lawyer?

“Movie star”? Try reality TV, dear. Maybe you can be on “Dancing With the Stars” — if they’ll have you.
P.S. Why can’t the cast of “Blade” keep itself out of legal trouble? See, e.g., Wesley Snipes, alleged tax cheat. (But at least now he’s no longer a fugitive from justice.)
American Pie Actress Turns Herself In at NY Court [Reuters via Gawker]
Natasha Lyonne [Wikipedia]
Natasha Lyonne [IMDb]

* It helps the People’s case when an alleged polygamist doesn’t look like Brad Pitt or, you know, anyone non-creepy. [AP via Yahoo! News]
* “Low blood sugar” is to an opera singer what “exhaustion” is to an anorexic poppet du jour. [International Herald Tribune]
* What would the holidays be without a child left in a car while his mother picks something up at Neimans? Don’t even think of invoking the “Last-Minute Shopping Hysteria” defense — she brought along the dog. [East Valley Tribune]
* Necessity may be the mother of invention, but obviousness is its eccentric aunt. I don’t know if that makes sense, but check out the proof of what you knew all along — that you’re completely expendable. [Temporary Attorney]
* Sad, senseless deaths. One would think that such risks would exist only in the world of criminal defense, prosecution, and maybe divorce law. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Judge: Paper money violates the Rehabilitation Act because blind people cannot distinguish between bills. [CNN; USA Today]
* John Turley digs into recent comments by (presidential candidate?) Newt Gingrich on freedom of speech. [MSNBC]
* “Oregon Lawyer Wrongly Arrested After Madrid Bombings Settles Lawsuit for $2 Million.” [; New York Times; Washington Post]
* Louis Vuitton sues Chewy Vuitton Vuiton… [WSJ Law Blog]
* … and Ringling Bros. sue Louis Vuitton. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former Illinois governor and convicted felon George Ryan gets bail pending appeal from the Seventh Circuit. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Fantasy football after the jump

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morning Docket: 11.30.06″

Laurence Tribe Laurence H Tribe Larry Tribe Above the Law.gifProfessor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School is one of the country’s most distinguished constitutional scholars and Supreme Court advocates. Having argued before the Court numerous times, Professor Tribe has no fear of the coutroom.
So why did Professor Tribe flee from the Ames Courtroom of Harvard Law School last Thursday? He was scheduled to judge a moot court for Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, the school desegregation case that the Supreme Court will hear next month. But before the arguments began, Professor Tribe bolted from the coutroom, leaving an empty swivel chair on the bench.
From The Harvard Crimson:

Laurence H. Tribe ’62, the Loeb University professor at Harvard, was scheduled to judge the moot court but had to leave upon notice that his dog, Chloe, had been found “shaking like a leaf” on the streets. The traumatized Chloe had fled the sound of a fire alarm in Tribe’s house, jumped a fence, and raced down Brattle Street, where a passerby waited with her while Tribe dashed the mile to the rescue.

Chloe was fine, if “badly-shaken,” said Tribe.

What set off the fire alarm in Larry Tribe’s house? A bonfire of Scalia opinions?
(Gavel bang: How Appealing.)
Desegration Case Argued at Law School [Harvard Crimson]

deer sexy deer Above the Law.jpgBestiality-oriented necrophiliacs who live in Wisconsin, we bring you some potentially good news. In the next few weeks, a court could hold that you may have your way with whatever animals you please — as long as they’re dead.
From The Smoking Gun:

Meet Bryan James Hathaway, alleged venison lover. The Wisconsin man, 20, is facing charges that he had sex last month with a dead deer. Hathaway, who previously has served time for killing a horse he intended to sexually assault, allegedly found the deer in a ditch alongside a roadway.

Now Hathaway’s lawyer has filed a court motion (a copy of which you’ll find here) arguing that since the animal was already dead, Hathaway should not face a misdemeanor rap of sexual gratification with an animal. “The statute does not prohibit one from having sex with a carcass,” lawyer Fredric Anderson wrote in the motion filed in Douglas County Circuit Court.

Anderson isn’t trying to be a wise-ass; he has a plausible argument of statutory interpretation. Here’s an account of the court hearing on the motion, from The Daily Telegram:

The Webster’s dictionary defines “animal” as “any of a kingdom of living beings,” Anderson said. If you include carcasses in that definition, he said, “you really go down a slippery slope with absurd results.”

Anderson argued: When does a turkey cease to be an animal? When it is dead? When it is wrapped in plastic packaging in the freezer? When it is served, fully cooked?

Sounds persuasive to us. So how did the prosecution respond? Well, they got a little Platonic on defendant’s ass:

“The common and ordinary meaning of a word can be found in how people actually use the word,” Boughner wrote in his response to the motion.

When a person’s pet dog dies, [Assistant District Attorney James Boughner argued], the person still refers to the dog as his or her dog, not a carcass.

“It stays a dog for some time,” Boughner said…. “It did not lose its essence as a deer, an animal, when it died,” he said.

We hope the defendant prevails. ‘Cause we’re really looking forward to Thanksgiving.
Can You Get Dear With A Dead Deer? [The Smoking Gun]
Case Presents Unprecedented Challenge [The Daily Telegram]

kittens cats Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgClearly there are some very sick people out there:

A man pleaded guilty in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend’s four small kittens, which were tossed into a fire pit after the couple argued.

Robert Tomlin, 22, of Smithsburg was sentenced Monday to 1 1/2 years in jail for aggravated animal cruelty. Washington County Circuit Judge John McDowell suspended the sentence except for the 134 days Tomlin has served since his arrest….

“Taking defenseless animals as you have, and destroying them … there is no excuse for that,” McDowell told Tomlin.

If you cook them, at least have the decency to eat them.
Maryland Man Admits Burning Kittens to Death [Associated Press]

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