Richard Posner

Foreign Policy magazine Top 100 public intellectuals.jpgIn the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine, you’ll find their list of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals. The list appears here (and you can vote for your top five). Bios of the honorees — and we must confess, some of these names didn’t ring a bell — appear here.

The public intellectuals explicitly identified on the list as lawyers, judges, or legal scholars are (in alphabetical order):

Aitzaz Ahsan, president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association, and a leader in the Pakistan People’s Party;

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate;

– Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig; and

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, who wrote the book on public intellectuals.

And here are two other honorees with legal links:

– University of Chicago law professor and philosopher Martha Nussbaum; and

– journalist, Harvard Law School graduate, and Kennedy School of Government professor Samantha Power.

Cass Sunstein Martha Nussbaum Samantha Power Above the Law blog.jpgWhat do Professors Nussbaum and Power share in common? Cass Sunstein, as you may recall.

Professor Nussbaum is a former flame of Professor Sunstein, while Professor Power is his current main squeeze. Rumor has it that his move to Harvard Law School from his longtime academic home, the University of Chicago Law School, was prompted by a desire to be closer to the center of power — Samantha Power, that is.

In their paper Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship, Professors Paul Edelman and Tracey George declared Cass Sunstein to be the “Kevin Bacon” of the law. But it looks like his influence extends beyond the narrow world of legal academia, into the World of Ideas, writ large.

In sum, two percent of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals are former or current lovers of Cass Sunstein. This should provide consolation for Cass, who didn’t make the list himself.

Professor Sunstein, you are the man.

The Top 100 Public Intellectuals [Foreign Policy]

The Top 100 Public Intellectuals: Bios [Foreign Policy]

Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship [SSRN / Green Bag]

Earlier: The Real Reason Cass Sunstein’s Going to Harvard? He’s Got the Power

Chicago skyline river Above the Law blog.jpgGreetings from the great — but frigid — city of Chicago. We’re hanging out with friends and doing some sightseeing, but the main reason for our visit is this event, taking place on Thursday (and open to the public):

Judges As Public Figures
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 4:15 PM
University of Chicago Law School, Room II

Judge Richard Posner
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

David Lat
Above the Law
Underneath Their Robes

Professor Lior Strahilevitz
University of Chicago Law School

While in Chi-town, we will also be meeting readers at an ATL “Happy Hour,” similar to the event we held in Miami last year. It will take place on Wednesday, February 20, sometime after work (time and place to be determined).
Update: The Chicago “Happy Hour” will take place on Wednesday, February 20, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Miller’s Pub (134 S. Wabash). Hope to see you there!
Schedule of Events [University of Chicago Law School Federalist Society]

sex toy cornucopia pornucopia Above the Law blog.jpgYou can find the weirdest s**t on Craigslist:

I’m creating a proposal for a downtown performance art show based on US sex laws – the quirkier the better. There are many lists online of these laws, but it’s really hard to find the actual statute or case number. In some cases, they either don’t exist or are changed to sound funny but the actual law is not so strange. Like, if its illegal to bring an animal into a public space, you could say that porcupines are not allowed at the opera but then neither is a dog. So much for your funny porcupine law.

The strength of the show is based on the truth – like the real Texas law where having 7 or more sex toys in your possession is “intent to distribute”. I’m looking to see if some defunct laws ever existed – like the supposed Florida law that banned unmarried women from parachuting on Sundays.

If you even understand what I’m going for and have access to a law library (online or brick&mortar), please contact me.

Cheers,
Gabrielle

Our tipster writes: “I’d take it on myself, but I’m not sure how I’d bill it. I know Loyola 2L is pretty hard up; perhaps he could use the extra bucks. Plus, something tells me Gabrielle’s gotta be hot (Roissy would surely agree).”
Gabrielle: you might want to drop Howard Bashman a line. He is a recognized authority on sex toys (as a legal if not practical matter).
Update: A diligent associate at a bonus-bestowing firm recommends A Guide to America’s Sex Laws, by no less an authority than the eminent Judge Richard Posner.
But this sex law compendium might come with a big red flag over it, in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas. The diligent associate points out: “Note that it’s out of date, coming as it did in the Bowers era.”
RESEARCH – Strange Laws for Performance Piece (Lower East Side) [Craigslist]

Well, not in Illinois. In Cavel International v. Madigan (PDF; via How Appealing), the Seventh Circuit upheld an Illinois law making it unlawful to “slaughter a horse if that person knows or should know that any of the horse meat will be used for human consumption.”
It’s a quirky and interesting case. Howard Bashman provides a concise summary and more discussion over here.
Don’t miss page 11 of Judge Richard Posner’s slip opinion, which features a photograph of a “birthday cake” made of horse meat. YUM!!
horse meat horsemeat Cavel International Lisa Madigan Richard Posner Above the Law blog.jpg
Cavel Int’l v. Madigan (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit]
Horse meat was until recently an accepted part of the American diet [How Appealing]

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgThe rail-thin Judge Richard Posner (7th Cir.), who favors grapefruit for dessert, has this to say about fat people over at his blog:

It makes sense, as the recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine finds, that friends’ fatness would have an influence distinct from that of the culture as a whole….

In my own ingroup of 16 judges (11 active members of my court, 4 senior members, and 1 nominee, who will replace an active member who will be taking senior status), only 2 are overweight (12.5 percent), compared to a nationwide average of 66 percent. Among my other friends, judicial and otherwise, the percentage who are overweight is probably no greater than 12.5 percent.

When we read this, we guessed that one of the two overweight judges was Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. After all, a fondness for Arby’s Melts is not a recipe for thinness. But one ex-Seventh Circuit clerk we contacted disagreed:

Actually, Easterbrook has lost a lot of weight. I am not sure who [Posner] meant. Also query whether he used the rigorous BMI > 25 test.

Good point. Did Judge Posner run around the Dirksen Courthouse with a pair of body-fat calipers? Or did he just eyeball his colleagues in the robing room, to see who was sporting muffin tops?
To Seventh Circuit groupies: Which judges are packing a few extra pounds underneath their robes? Please enlighten us, in the comments. Thanks.
Social Obesity — Posner’s Comment [The Becker-Posner Blog]

urinal small urine urination pee pee wee wee Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWhat do you get when you put the three smartest judges on the Seventh Circuit — Frank Easterbrook, Richard Posner, and Diane Wood — on the same panel?
In this case, something weird. Very weird. It’s amusing to imagine this trio of legal geniuses wrapping their minds around such a bizarre fact pattern.
Questions Presented:

(1) How can you tell when a gay co-worker is cruising you at the urinals?

(2) Is he checking you out — or does he just have a lazy eye?

For more details, check out Keeping Up With Jonas.
Gay Guy Harasses Straight Co-Worker at Urinal? [Keeping Up With Jonas]
Bernier v. Morningstar, Inc. [Keeping Up With Jonas (PDF)]

Meet Adrienne (at right), a 22-year-old hottie from South Carolina — and a current student at Boston College Law School.

Adrienne graces the cover of the current issue of Barstool Sports. We are not familiar with this publication, but we are advised that it is “a prestigious biweekly magazine.”

In our opinion, the cover photograph isn’t even the best picture of this comely young lawyer-in-training. We think this shot and this one are both superior. To review Adrienne’s photo gallery for yourself, click here.

Adrienne — who will be making an appearance next Thursday, March 15, from 9 to 11 p.m., at an establishment called “Whiskey’s” — is studying for a JD. But based on her interview, it sounds like she’s also pursuing her MRS….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If BC Law Goes Up Five Spots in U.S. News Next Year, Here’s Why”

A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post about Judge Richard Posner’s opinion in the “Giftes” free speech T-shirt case.
Thanks to the commenter who brought the two drawings in the opinion exhibits to our attention. We reprint them after the jump. And we look forward to seeing them in the august pages of the Federal Reporter.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “We Hope This Makes It Into F.3d”

Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgA detailed excerpt, plus a link to the full opinion, can be accessed here (via How Appealing). Money quote:

[T]he picture and the few words imprinted on the Brandt T-shirt are no more expressive of an idea or opinion that the First Amendment might be thought to protect than a young child’s talentless infantile drawing which Brandt’s design successfully mimics. Otherwise every T-shirt that was not all white with no design or words… would be protected by the First Amendment, and schools could not impose dress codes or require uniforms without violating the free speech of the students, a proposition sensibly rejected in the Blau case.

“[T]alentless infantile drawing”? Judge Posner, that was way harsh.
You had to rule against the plaintiffs based on the caselaw; fine. But did you really have to insult their artistic abilities? Kids are like district judges: their feelings are easily hurt.
(If you’re not familiar with this bizarre but amusing litigation, read our earlier post, available here.)
Rulings of Note from the Seventh Circuit [How Appealing]
Earlier: Lawsuit of the Day: Gifties v. Tards

nerd nerd nerd Above the Law geek dork.jpgHere’s an interesting appeal that was recently argued before the Seventh Circuit. From the Chicago Sun-Times (via Ted Frank):

Four years ago, the “Gifties” of Beaubien School lost in the principal’s office. Then, this class of gifted eighth-grade students lost in U.S. district court.

Undeterred, Thursday the group went before one of the highest courts of the land, arguing their principal violated First Amendment free speech rights when he punished them for wearing T-shirts with the word “Gifties” on them.

“There’s a certain point when you have to stick up for your rights,” said Michael Brandt, one of 24 gifted students who sued their principal and the Chicago Board of Education. His mother, Irene Dymkar, is representing the students in the class action lawsuit.

At oral argument, Judge Richard Posner sounded unsympathetic to their cause:

“Why do people bring lawsuits for such trivialities?” Judge Richard Posner, a notoriously tough jurist, asked Dymkar during a three-judge hearing of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Thursday. “Have they been harmed, these ‘Gifties’?”

“Trivialities”? C’mon, Judge Posner — have a heart! Surely you, a genius among geniuses, should be sensitive to the plight of “gifties.”

Chicago Public Schools lawyers say Kotis was protecting the kids from possible attacks by regular education students. They argue there were tensions between the groups and Kotis had outlawed the word “gifties,” as well as “tards,” used to refer to regular education students….

The gifted students claim there was no safety issue.

We admire the appellants’ chutzpah. It takes guts to label your classmates “tards.”
But we question their assertion that there was no safety issue. They might as well have worn T-shirts reading, “I’m a nerd. Please beat the crap out of me.”
Kids pit principle vs. their principal [Chicago Sun-Times via Overlawyered]
T-shirt battle before Seventh Circuit [Overlawyered]

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