Supreme Court arguments are off and running, and the Supremes wasted no time in getting to the fun stuff. In this instance, it’s McCutcheon v. FEC, the case billed as Citizens United II: Electric Boogaloo. The conservative wing of the Court is expected to side with McCutcheon in its continuing war to make American elections safe for multi-millionaires.
Anyway, the oral argument was marked by the usual humorous sniping amongst the justices and lots of fun exchanges where counsel and the conservative justices worked overtime to subordinate reality to ideology. Up to and including Justice Scalia arguing that $3.5 million isn’t that much money for one individual to spend on an election.
Here are 3 immediate, largely stream-of-consciousness thoughts based on reading the transcript (available at the end of the post) coming out of this oral argument:
I nearly did not write this post this week. (I’ll pause while some of you wish that ‘nearly’ weren’t a part of that sentence.) I started the week with a mild toothache. By the time I reached my dentist on Tuesday morning, that niggling pain had bloomed into an infection that spread from my tooth to my jaw bone to the soft tissue of my face. Despite oral penicillin (and Vicodin!), I developed a high fever, the left side of my face swelled to grotesque proportions, and my jaw seized shut. I ended up in an ER on IV antibiotics.
While portions of the federal government ground to a halt due to insufficient funds, I held ice packs to my head and prayed quiet prayers about septicemia and the relative impermeability of the blood-brain barrier. Vaguely, in the background, I knew Congress and the president were arguing about health care. About funding the PPACA. Obamacare.
My heart goes out to folks harmed by the federal government shut-down this week. I also agree with those who are dismayed that Capitol Hill can’t reach a consensus sufficient to end the current crisis. It’s their job to find workable agreements, after all. That much, I hope most of us can agree on. Since we’re not here to agree, let’s talk a bit about Obamacare, the source of this week’s trouble in Washington . . . .
I am watching the goings-on in Washington with a sense that the Republicans have simply given up. No matter that they have no sensible argument to shut down the government, no matter who it might hurt in the process, no matter that they are basically conceding the 2014 cycle — it appears that the GOP is imploding. They can natter on and on about how Obama “refuses to negotiate,” the simple fact is that there is nothing to negotiate. There was a bill, on Capitol Hill, it went to the White House and became a law (apologies to Saturday mornings) — and beyond that, the law was upheld as constitutional by one of the more intelligent and well-thought out Supreme Court opinions in my lifetime. There is nothing to debate. Game over. Oh, they can remind me incessantly of the unfairness of universal healthcare, and how ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare is a very bad thing, but just like that time that Gore beat Bush, and the Supremes ruled in a way that changed the outcome, you have to live with this.
But what we don’t have to live with is an irresponsible act by a relative few that impacts the lives of so many. Retribution and punitive measures may not be swift or severe enough, but how I wish we had implemented the act of “caning” in this country.
Any time you can shut down the entire government because you still really don’t like a law that helps uninsured Americans that was passed five years ago, you’ve got to do it. Well, at least if you want to be a regional party that can only be competitive in elections by gerrymandering and suppressing voter turnout.
The Republicans have shut down the government, the President doesn’t give a s**t and can’t be held hostage because he doesn’t have to run for anything anymore, and the federal courts will take a beating. The courts have already been operating on a shoestring thanks to the sequester (that other total failure of government), and now this.
The courts can stay open for ten days, and then things get ugly. Even the ABA is not impressed…
* If the government shuts down and then defaults on its debt, Wall Street worries that it would “shake the foundations of the global financial system.” Hooray for political asshattery! [DealBook / New York Times]
* At least six of the Supreme Court’s judicial precedents are up for reconsideration in the upcoming Term, and high court commentators think the resulting decisions could be a mixed bag. [National Law Journal]
* Apparently low-income New Yorkers’ legal problems are “not worthy of a ‘real lawyer,’” or at least that’s the message that will be given if non-lawyers are allowed to provide legal services. [New York Law Journal]
* Sorry, lady, not enough prestige. A Brazilian journalist was allegedly on the receiving end of some “extremely violent” police behavior at Yale Law School after attempting to interview Justice Joaquim Barbosa at a private event. [The Guardian]
* Mark Cuban’s insider trading case is heading to trial today, but we genuinely wonder how he’ll be able to convince a jury that he’s “humble and affable,” rather than the “master of the universe.” [Boston Herald]
Even Tommy Carcetti would be more realistic about law school ‘stats’ than this guy.
I think I’m going to have the vapors.
A guy running for governor is promising to add a law school in his state if he’s elected. Not subtract. Not regulate. Not offer basic consumer protection to people in his state duped into legal education by charlatans greedy for government student loan funds. Nope, this guy says he’s going to open another one, like it’s just another pork barrel promise to be made on the campaign trail.
That’s what gets me: he thinks it’s pork. He thinks promising a new law school should be uttered in the same stump speech as promising infrastructure projects, or business incentives. Like, he would say, “I’m going to build a railroad, and right here on this spot I will build an institution to take advantage of the hopes and dreams of low-information college graduates.” He wouldn’t say that out loud. But he thinks saying “I’m going to build a law school” is something that he can say out loud. He thinks it’s something that will be met with cheers. Whether or not he does build a law school, he thinks saying “new law school” is what the people want to hear.
That makes me a sad panda. Despite all the information and statistics available, your average schmo on the street probably thinks, “A law school? Sure why not? Now tell me more about the unmarried man who tweeted with a stripper without judging her and telling her to find Jesus”…
Oral argument before the Supreme Court is ripe with dramatic possibilities. If you doubt this, check out Arguendo, the new work by Elevator Repair Service that just received a rave review from the New York Times. I saw “Arguendo” last weekend, before I participated in an on-stage conversation with director John Collins, and I was impressed by how well the play captures the drama, comedy, and even athleticism of appellate argument. (Buy tickets here — but act quickly, since they’re going fast.)
If oral argument is a form of theater, then the U.S. Supreme Court is Broadway — the biggest and best venue in all the land. And we’ve just learned about a brilliant understudy who will be making her debut at One First Street next month.
Expectations are running high for this talented protégé of a celebrated SCOTUS litigator. Who is playing Eve Harrington to Paul Clement’s Margo Channing?
* With a government shutdown looming, the Supreme Court will likely go about business as usual. In fact, Justice Alito is rolling his eyes at the mere concept of closing the Court’s doors as we speak. [SCOTUSblog]
* But in the meantime, both the Department of Justice and the federal judiciary are hunkering down and waiting for the collapse of law and order thanks to all of our petulant politicians in Washington, D.C. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Justice Scalia thinks the NSA’s surveillance programs may come before SCOTUS for an examination of a “right of privacy that comes from penumbras and emanations, blah blah blah, garbage.” [Associated Press]
* Perhaps it’s due to the “hangover from the collapse of the markets in 2008,” but white-collar defense practices are on the rise in Biglaw, and the firms’ leaders could not be happier. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* Another law school ranking just means there’s another way for Yale to whoop Harvard’s ass. Now we know that Lat’s alma mater is slightly better at producing law deans than Elie’s. [National Law Journal]
* A motion to dismiss has been filed, and now Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite who assisted in bringing about the end of General David Petraeus’s career in the CIA, is watching her legal case unravel. [CNN]
It says something about you to be labeled as the biggest jerk at Harvard Law School. The school runs on jerks the way Smurfs run on berries. To be universally recognized as the biggest jerk in your class requires an amazing commitment to inhumanity. Think about it: I’m a pretty big jerk, but was I the biggest jerk at HLS while I was there? Please. Kiwi Camara, come on down.
A GQ article by Jason Zengerle yesterday just lit up Ted Cruz over his history of being a giant a$$hole that nobody likes. Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo, whose wife was at HLS with Cruz, added to the reporting, calling Cruz an “AASS,” which stands for “A$$hole, Arrogant, Super Smart.”
I think a quarter of the HLS class are decent humans who are just trying to get through law school with minimal stress and drama. These are the people who are out there in the world doing good stuff and when somebody says, “Did you know so-and-so went to Harvard?” you’re surprised because they’re such regular, well-adjusted people. A full 50% of the class are impressionable sorts who can access their inner jerk at a moment’s notice. They think they’re decent people with a “dark side,” but actually they’re jerks who don’t have the strength of personality to pull it off all the time. These are the future Biglaw partners of the world.
The last quarter of the class is actively in pursuit of being an AASS. This odious group might go into law or politics or media. They certainly interview with Skadden, but otherwise they don’t last long in Biglaw because they can’t spend 10 years with nobody listening to them. You never for a second do not know which law school they attended.
I think we all know which group I fall into, but my point is that this last group, tallest midgets all, should get its own award named after Ted Cruz…
* Sort of, not really spoiler alert: Saul Goodman apparently left New Mexico and joined Covington’s D.C. office. That’ll be a good fit. [Legal Cheek]
* There’s a Broadway version of A Time to Kill? And Fred Thompson is in it, because this is a lot better than putting in that modicum of effort it takes to mount a campaign for president. [A Time to Kill on Broadway]
* A bestselling author is suing USC for discrimination. I find that hard to believe. If USC turned any discriminating eye toward hiring, they wouldn’t employ Lane Kiffin. [Courthouse News Service]
* Check out the new book by former firm partner Liz Brown about the process of leaving the legal profession. [Life After Law (affiliate link)]
* A humorous take on the Supreme Court’s preparations for the new term. Justice Ginsburg is basically a Time Lord. [McSweeney's]
* Class certification is denied for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law grads alleging the school misled them with false and inaccurate employment statistics. The case was doomed from the beginning, because there’s nothing “typical” about TJSL students! [San Diego Courts]
* Lawyers defending the accused rapists of a Naval Academy Mid asked the victim to describe her oral sex technique, if she “felt like a ‘ho,’” and if she wore underwear. The goal was to teach Afghanistan to be more like the U.S., not to teach the Navy to be more like the Taliban. [Jezebel]
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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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