Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Supreme Court session starts at 10:00 a.m. At 9:55, a tall man with broad shoulders and little neck — a man with an ear piece running out of the back of his suit coat — tells everyone in the Courtroom to be quiet and stay in their seats until the session is over. The room quiets.

This is the calm before the storm. No one expects any of this term’s true blockbusters to be announced today – there will be no health care decision, no ruling on the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, no ruling on whether Arizona gets to codify its very strong dislike of immigrants.

During this time, those who watch the Court are scanning for signs of either discord or harmony. Even a concert at the Court invites scrutiny of which Justice is chummier with which other Justice. The Supreme Court watching world is like a group of eight-year-olds in the week before Christmas, sniffing the presents under the tree and trying to hunt through their parents’ closets. It’s dignified.

The Courtroom is silent after the broad man quiets us. And then, growing louder, we hear voices. Male voices. And laughter, booming male laughter, as the Chief and Justice Scalia emerge through the parted curtains, and Court is called to order.

What does the laughter mean? Is Obamacare all but destroyed? Is a secret deal finally sealed? Or did the Chief Justice share a bit of ribald humor from his native Indiana?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Everyone Is Being Reasonable”

Sandra Day O'Connor

Maybe you haven’t noticed but I think about 51 or 52 percent of population is female. I think they notice when their public bodies are dominated by one sex. Women care about this and they should.

– Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, commenting on the importance of having women on the Supreme Court. Justice O’Connor made this remark while sharing the stage with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor at a gala in honor of the 30th anniversary of O’Connor’s appointment to the Court.

Two weeks ago, we asked our readers to submit their entries for Above the Law’s “Lawyer Meme” contest.

This week, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner….

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Sidney Spies

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks Roe v. Wade was a mistimed ruling, saying things would be different today if the court had been more “restrained.” Well, wire hanger sales would be up, that’s for sure. [CBS News]

* Bait and switch of the day: personal injury firms are enticing plaintiffs to sue with promises of free iPads, but they may never see them. Blame England for this one. At least it’s not happening in America… yet. [Daily Mail]

* Netflix is settling its nationwide video privacy lawsuit for $9M. It’s embarrassing enough that you know you watched the Twilight saga so many times. Netflix doesn’t need to keep your shame on record. [paidContent]

* Remember Sidney Spies, the sexy First Amendment freedom fighter? Her final yearbook photo submission was rejected, and now her family wants to file a complaint — because nobody’s gonna tell their daughter that she can’t look like a skank. [ABC News]

* Roger Aaron, one of Skadden’s most prominent mergers-and-acquisitions partners, RIP. [WSJ Law Blog]

[A]mong the world’s democracies … constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s. The turn of the twenty-first century, however, saw the beginning of a steep plunge that continues through the most recent years for which we have data, to the point that the constitutions of the world’s democracies are, on average, less similar to the U.S. Constitution now than they were at the end of World War II.

– Professors David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia, in a forthcoming article that will be published in the New York University Law Review. They conducted a study that was discussed in a very interesting article by Adam Liptak, ‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World.

And perhaps with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Which constitutions does she prefer over our own founding document?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Why Do You Hate America, Justice Ginsburg?”

SCOTUS in the house at SOTU.

President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address this evening, and it was even less exciting than last year (which was less exciting than the year before, when the famous Obama v. Alito showdown over Citizens United took place). Tonight was light on drama — one of the most compelling moments came early on, with the arrival in the chamber of retiring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — and President Obama’s speech was light on new ideas. Considering that we’re in an election year, with no major legislation likely to pass anytime soon, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Your Above the Law editors covered the speech via Twitter. See @ATLblog, @DavidLat, @ElieNYC, and @StaciZaretsky.

Here’s an open thread for discussion of the address. We’ll get the party started with a few legally oriented highlights, after the jump.

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SCOTUS has spoken on S&C's screw-up.

We’ve previously written about the mailroom of death at Sullivan & Cromwell. To make a long story short (read our prior posts for the full background), a mailroom mix-up at 125 Broad Street caused an Alabama death-row inmate to miss a deadline for filing an appeal. The Eleventh Circuit rejected the condemned man’s attempt to reopen his case.

Presumably feeling bad for what had happened, S&C appealed to the Supreme Court. The firm hired a leading SCOTUS advocate — former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, now a partner at Latham & Watkins — to argue that prisoner Cory Maples shouldn’t forfeit his life because of S&C’s screw-up.

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Maples v. Thomas. What did the high court have to say?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Rules on Sullivan & Cromwell’s Mailroom of Death”

* In an unprecedented move, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has overruled the FDA. Looks like the Obama administration thinks that Plan B will turn little girls into promiscuous prosti-tots. [Wall Street Journal]

* Due to this ruling, Occupy Boston protesters will probably have to STFU and GTFO. Bring out the brooms, because this will be the only sweep that Red Sox Nation gets to see for a while. [Bloomberg]

* Hopefully UVA Law student Joshua Gomes has some transcript paper stashed away, because with a bond hearing on December 12, he’s probably going to be missing some finals. [The Hook]

* The spouses of the Supremes have published Chef Supreme, a cookbook dedicated to RBG’s husband, famed tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg. Better title: Article III Gourmand. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Lovely Hooters ladies in California will no longer have to pay for their uniforms thanks to this class action settlement. Stay tuned for smaller, tighter uniforms in light of budgetary constraints. [KCRA 3]

Hold up. How could I be a baby daddy? I haven't hit puberty.

* Sorry, Obama, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive, well, and doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. No more Supreme Court appointments for you, buddy boy. [The Oval / USA Today]

* Judge William Adams will not face charges over the beating of his daughter, Hillary Adams, due to the statute of limitations. At least he’ll still have public scrutiny and embarrassment. [Houston Chronicle]

* The Third Circuit has tossed out a $550K fine against CBS for the second time, because really, who wouldn’t want to see a fleeting nipple image belonging to Janet Jackson. [Legal Intelligencer]

* A former Nixon Peabody attorney got probation instead prison for false statements charges, and might even get her law license back. Did she get points for being pretty? [Blog of Legal Times]

* And speaking of being pretty, this lawsuit claims that favoring employees’ diversity over hotness at Panera Bread will allegedly earn you a spot on the unemployment line. [Washington Post]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters better hope that their lawyers aren’t planning to scrawl their pleadings on the bottoms of pizza boxes, because they’re going to trial. [Bloomberg]

* Did Justin Bieber’s alleged baby mama deflower the teen pop star? You better beliebe it! She claims in court documents that their reported encounter was his first time. [New York Post]

* Will the DOJ ask the 11th Circuit to reconsider Obamacare before appealing to SCOTUS to get the president reeelected? Does a bear sh*t in the woods? [Los Angeles Times]

* The verdict is in on Elena Kagan’s first year on the bench, and one thing’s for sure: the ladies love her. That’s definitely what she said. Right, RBG? [Washington Post]

* Casey Anthony now owes Florida over $217K. That’s almost as much as it costs to raise a child to age 18. Talk about a bad return on an investment. [CNN]

* Antonin Scalia, the Rock Star of One First Street, banned paparazzi from his Duquesne Law appearance. Tiger Beat had to settle for pictures of Taylor Lautner. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Meth dealer: not a viable career alternative for attorneys. This 2011 law school graduate will be heading to jail after she gets her bar exam results. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

* Never accuse an elderly New Yorker of incest. She might sue, because she “was never that hard up that [she] would tap on family.” You go, girl grandma! [New York Post]

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