Richard Posner

This past Wednesday, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit delivered the Madison Lecture on Judicial Engagement at Columbia Law School. The lecture series, sponsored by the CLS chapter of the Federalist Society, brings distinguished jurists to Columbia to discuss topics relevant to the federal judiciary and the administration of justice.

(Perhaps we should put “at” Columbia Law in quotation marks; Judge Posner actually appeared via video conference. That shouldn’t surprise, coming from a judge who lists The Matrix as one of his favorite films.)

In his talk, entitled “How I Interpret Statutes and the Constitution,” Judge Posner was his usual candid self. He offered commentary on two recent books about statutory and constitutional interpretation — books that he’s not a fan of.

Yes, readers. There will be benchslaps….

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On the day the iPhone 5 became available to the public, I wrote a post asking if the new smartphone might be a sign of the IP apocalypse. I’m not the only one, apparently.

Finally, the rumblings of discontent within the tech and legal industries haved boiled over into the mainstream. The New York Times wrote an extensive front-page story yesterday, chronicling the intellectual property arms race gripping the industry.

A lot of the subjects in the piece may be familiar to Above the Law’s readers. We’ve covered Apple’s schizophrenic attitude towards patents and the America Invents Act (and how it could affect one’s ability to patent bedroom gymnastics).

But let’s take a closer look and put it all in context…

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In a few hours, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will meet in Denver, Colorado, for the first of three presidential debates (though the second is a town hall debate; are those really “debates?”). As lawyers, you likely possess more than a passing interest in the events of the evening.

You are also Above the Law readers, which means you likely possess more than a passing interest in reckless self-destruction through the massive consumption of alcohol.

As a lawyer, drinker, and college debate coach who gets way too into these things, I have constructed a drinking game to shepherd you through the process of viewing tonight’s debate….

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‘If there’s one thing America needs, it’s more lawyers!’

* Bank robber tuned jailhouse lawyer turned successful author, Shon Hopwood, is now in law school — on scholarship. Second chances FTW. [Seattle Times]

* As Hopwood transitions from inmate to law student, another would-be lawyer’s career is going the other direction. One of Reema Bajaj’s classmates is headed to the slammer. [Daily Herald]

* Damon Thibodeaux is the 300th person in the U.S. to be exonerated on DNA evidence. The Louisiana death row inmate was exonerated after 15 years behind bars. Oy. [Washington Post]

* Apparently this is the jailhouse edition of Non-Sequiturs, so here’s Judge Richard Posner expounding upon prison rats, damp, dark cells, and the concept of the Bubonic Plague in jail. Heavy s**t, man. [How Appealing]

* Lionel Hutz is a wonderfully terrible cartoon lawyer, but God help the client who ends up with a real-life version. [RocketLawyer]

* A trip down the substantially creepy rabbit hole wherein Chevron’s Ecuador litigation, Google, and concerns about electronic privacy all converge. [Opinio Juris]

* Add Maryland to the list of states sending gay marriage to the ballot box. [Daily Beast]

Scalia v. Posner meets Mean Girls

* Someone was finally able to liken the Scalia v. Posner debate to a suitable situation: bitchy mean girls fighting each other in a middle school cafeteria. Seriously, only the inclusion of “like” throughout the entirety of the dialogue could’ve made it better. [lawprofblawg]

* Who pays your law professors’ salary? The obvious answer is law students, since professorial wallets are padded by tuition dollars. But what happens when IBR comes into play and loan debts are forgiven? Then the answer shifts to the taxpayers. [PrawfsBlawg]

* When Derek Boogaard of the New York Rangers died, everyone was expecting that a lawsuit would be filed, but no one really thought that it would be one based on contract law. [New York Law and Legal Analysis Blog]

* What kind of case “really turn[s] on” everyone’s favorite First Amendment lawyer? Free speech cases that are riddled with challenges, of course, and questions about what does and doesn’t constitute porn. [Vegas Inc]

* You must be wondering where Above the Law fell on this ranking of the 15 Most Influential Law Blogs. We won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we now share something in common with Cooley. [Business Insider]

* “[S]ome dude with the munchies is getting a little legal education.” That’s what we thought when one of our top searches last week was “pictures of tacos” — and not even “duck tacos,” but regular ones. [Search Party]

How festive!

* You can kiss your dreams of seeing Prop 8 being taken up by the Supreme Court goodbye if the justices decide to proceed with “more cautious DOMA challenges.” [Slate]

* Well, at least one person is getting annoyed by the endless back and forth between Posner and Scalia. But that’s just one person. We’ll continue to beat that horse until it’s extra dead. [Althouse]

* Is this like the new WebMD, but for law? With prompts like, “Can that crazy neighbor buy a gun?,” it looks like a suitable place for legal hypochondriacs to call home. [myRight]

* Oh yay, I don’t like to get into election law and politics, so it’s a good thing that The Simpsons did all my work for me on this one: “Stopping all Americans from voting is for the protection of all Americans.” [PrawfsBlawg]

* Kat over at Corporette wants to know what your top five tailoring alterations are — because after all, it’s pretty hard to dress for success in Biglaw if your pants are dragging on the floor. [Corporette]

* You’d have to be super-dee-duper high to think that disguising your pot plants as Christmas trees in the middle of the desert to throw the police off your tracks would actually work. [Legally Weird / FindLaw]

Justice Scalia (left) and Judge Posner

Responding to a Supreme Court Justice who calls one a liar requires special care in expression.

– Judge Richard Posner, in a cover email introducing his written response to Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent “You lie!” accusation.

(More about this tiff, which we’ve been covering quite closely here at Above the Law, after the jump.)

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Justice Scalia (left) and Judge Posner

I’m not going to get into this whole thing written for a glossy magazine.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, responding to a question about his thoughts on Judge Richard Posner’s somewhat critical review, in the New Republic, of the justice’s new book, Reading Law (affiliate link).

(We attended Scalia’s talk, which took place this afternoon and was sponsored by the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. Additional highlights from the eminently quotable justice’s remarks, after the jump.)

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Justice Scalia (left) and Judge Posner

Over the past few months, Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Richard Posner have been trading benchslaps. The most recent clash got going a few weeks ago, when Judge Posner wrote a harsh review for the New Republic of Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner’s new book, Reading Law (affiliate link).

Scalia surrogates rushed to the justice’s defense. One of his former clerks, Ed Whelan, wrote a series of posts for the National Review’s Bench Memos blog in which he criticized the Posner review. Justice Scalia’s co-author, Professor Garner, also responded forcefully to Judge Posner (who in turn responded to Garner, again in the New Republic).

But the justice himself remained silent on all of this. When we reached out to both judges about the apparent tiff, Judge Posner denied any personal animosity, but Justice Scalia declined to comment.

Now Justice Scalia has broken his silence. And His Honor seems none too happy with Judge Posner’s book reviewing skills….

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Left to right: Bryan Garner, Antonin Scalia, and Richard Posner

The jurisprudential wrestling match between Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Richard Posner is quickly turning into a WWE tag team battle royal. Tagging in to help Justice Scalia: Bryan Garner, one of the foremost authorities on legal writing and legal language. Professor Garner, of course, is Justice Scalia’s co-author on Reading Law (affiliate link).

Professor Garner is not happy with Judge Posner’s treatment of the book. Let’s hear what he has to say — and also speculate on how the Posner/Scalia tiff might affect Posner’s feeding of law clerks to Scalia….

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