Newsweek has an interesting article about retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The gist of the piece is that even though Justice O’Connor is longer on the Court, she’s still extremely busy. Since her SCOTUS retirement, she has served on the Iraq Study Group, which published its report not too long ago; sat by designation on circuit courts (by our count, at least three — the Second, Eighth, and Ninth); worked on books; and delivered speeches, including vigorous defenses of “judicial independence.”
The most noteworthy material concerns the timing of Justice O’Connor’s departure from the Court:
O’Connor carefully weighed when to quit the bench. In the spring of 2005, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist publicly battling thyroid cancer, the two justices discussed timing. “We talked a little bit,” O’Connor recalls. “I was concerned about whether he had an intention to step down since his plans might have altered my own. It’s hard for the nation to grapple with two [retirements] at once,” she says. “He indicated he didn’t want to step down.” So she realized she had to go first.
And so she did, announcing her retirement on July 1, 2005. As it turned out, however, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away about two months after SOC stepped down. So the nation did end up having to deal with two vacancies at the same time. (Then-Judge John Roberts was moved over to the Chief spot, after being nominated initially as an Associate Justice, and Judge Samuel Alito was subsequently appointed to replace Justice O’Connor.)
The article also reports unfortunate news concerning Justice O’Connor’s husband, John Jay O’Connor III:
After O’Connor was freed from her daily duties at the court—it took six months before Alito took her seat—John’s condition deteriorated. Last summer she reluctantly placed him in a care center near their home in Phoenix; she visits him often. “It’s such a miserable disease. It’s so sad. It’s so hard. I did the best I could,” she says. “He wants me there all the time.”
Justice O’Connor’s departure has left a void on the Court. And we’re not talking about making Justice Kennedy even more of an influential swing vote.
What we want to know is: Now that SOC is away from One First Street most of the time, who leads the morning aerobics classes at the Supreme Court gym — as Justice O’Connor used to do, on a daily basis before she retired? Although Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a cheerleader in her youth, she no longer seems like the aerobicizing type.
And don’t look to SOC’s replacement, Justice Samuel Alito. We adore Justice Alito as a jurist. But we don’t think we’re alone in not wanting to see him in spandex. Justice: Bench Player [Newsweek via WSJ Law Blog]
A quick update to yesterday’s post about Supreme Court clerk hiring for October Term 2007. Here are two more hires we’ve just learned about:
1. Chief Justice John Roberts has hired Joshua Hawley (Yale 2006 / McConnell).
From The Journal’s Journal (an email newsletter for Yale Law Journal members):
Congratulations to Volume 115 Articles Editor Josh Hawley, who will be clerking for Chief Justice John Roberts in OT ‘07. He joins Editor-in-Chief C.J. Mahoney (Kennedy OT ‘07) and Notes Editor Marah Stith (Thomas OT ‘09) as 115 Board Members who will be clerking for the Supreme Court.
2. Justice Ruth “But I’m a Cheerleader” Ginsburg has hired Ruthanne Deutsch (Georgetown 2004 / Dyk (Fed. Cir.)). Deutsch is currently an associate at Sidley Austin in DC.
Once again, we reprint an updated tally of October Term 2007 clerks, reflecting these two additions (and the correct spelling of Zach Tripp’s last name), after the jump.
Or actually, “I’m missing you already.” Supreme Court justices have feelings too, y’know.
The former cheerleader and current Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader “Kiki” Ginsburg, misses having a “wing-woman” when she visits the highest ladies’ room in the land. Per Joan Biskupic of USA Today:
It’s been a year since Sandra Day O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court after a quarter-century tenure and left Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the lone woman on the nine-member court. Although it’s unclear how O’Connor’s departure will affect the law, this much is certain: Ginsburg misses her friend, and worries about the message court visitors get when they see only one woman on the bench.
“The word I would use to describe my position on the bench is lonely,” Ginsburg, 73, said in an interview with USA TODAY.
“This is how it was for Sandra’s first 12 years,” she said, citing the time from O’Connor’s appointment in 1981 to Ginsburg’s arrival in 1993. “Neither of us ever thought this would happen again. I didn’t realize how much I would miss her until she was gone.”
When President Bush delivered the State of the Union last night, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not one of the four Supreme Court justices in attendance.
Oddly enough, however, Justice Ginsburg and President Bush aren’t as far apart as one might think. They share something in common:
Both Justice Ginsburg and President Bush were cheerleaders!!!
President Bush’s career as a college cheerleader is well-known. But did you know that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a cheerleader too, at Madison High School, in Brooklyn, New York?
We are not kidding. More details available from Ted Frank. It goes without saying that we would LOVE a copy of that yearbook photo.
UPDATE: Alas, the link to Ted Frank’s blog no longer works. But you can read about Justice Ginsburg’s cheerleading career, as well as her other high school activities, over here.
Look, anything is possible. If little Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) can be a beauty pageant contestant, in Little Miss Sunshine — which just snagged Oscar nominations for Best Picture and for Breslin’s performance, among others — then surely RBG can be a cheerleader.
We’re continuing to profile the current class of Supreme Court law clerks. We’ve written up the Alito clerks for October Term 2006 already, and we’re working on profiles of the Breyer clerks.
(We reiterate our prior request for tips about the SGB crew, especially Thiru Vignarajah. We probably have enough material about the other three.)
Looking ahead to the future, here’s what we know so far about the justices’ hiring of law clerks for October Term 2007. Most of it is taken from Wikipedia. Caveat lector: Wikipedia, of course, can be edited by pretty much anyone. So please note that much of the information appearing below is UNCONFIRMED. We have added links to additional, confirmatory sources where available, so you can weigh for yourself the reliability of the information. Justice John Paul Stevens
1. Todd Gluth (Boalt Hall 2005 / W. Fletcher)
2. Sara Klein (Cardozo 2005 / Barry (3d Cir.) / Lifland (D.N.J.))
3. Kate Shaw (Northwestern 2006 / Posner)
4. Abby Wright (U. Penn. 2006 / Boudin) Justice Antonin Scalia
1. Aditya Bamzai (University of Chicago/Sutton/OLC)
2. John Bash (Harvard 2006 / Kavanaugh)
3. Bryan Killian (Harvard / Niemeyer)
4. Rachel Kovner (Stanford / Wilkinson) Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
1. Michael Chu (Harvard / D. Ginsburg)
2. Stephen Cowen (U. Chicago / D. Ginsburg)
2. Andrianna (“Annie”)Kastanek (Northwestern 2005 / Ripple)
3. C.J. Mahoney (Yale 2006 / Kozinski) Justice Clarence Thomas 1. William S. Consovoy (George Mason 2001 / E. Jones)
2. Eric McArthur (Chicago 2005 / Luttig)
3. Carrie Severino (Harvard 2005 / Sentelle)
4. Heath Tarbert (U. Penn 2001 / D. Ginsburg)
5. Leila Thompson (NYU / Lambert (D.D.C.) / Sentelle) Update: Upon information and belief, William Consovoy is now scheduled to clerk for Justice Thomas in October Term 2008, not October Term 2007. For more, see here. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
1. Brian Fletcher (Harvard 2006 / Garland)
2. Zack Trip (Columbia 2005 / Kearse) Justice Stephen G. Breyer
1. Eric Feigin (Stanford 2005 / Wilkinson) Justice Samuel Alito
1. David H. Moore (BYU 1996 / Alito)
2. Jessica Phillips (Northwestern 2006 / Flaum) Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired):
1. Heidi Bond (U. Michigan 2006 / Kozinski)
(Random observation: WOW. This is shaping up as the best Term ever for Northwestern Law School, with three of its graduates landing SCOTUS clerkships so far. And U. Penn is doing quite well, too.)
As we all know, Wikipedia is not infallible. So if you have corrections (or additions) to any of the OT 2007 law clerk information appearing above, please email us. Thanks. Update: SCOTUS Clerk Hiring News: An Errata Sheet List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States [Wikipedia]
But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is probably right:
If RBG were a swing vote on the Supreme Court, a la Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, maybe she’d have a colorable claim to the title of “most powerful woman in America.” But since she isn’t, Pelosi’s only possible competition is Oprah Winfrey. Pelosi ready to make history as new speaker [Washington Times via the amusingly alarmist Drudge Report]
Here’s a good appetite suppressant: Ginsburg in the Nude?*
As it turns out, the article has nothing to do with Ruth Bader Ginsburg sans robe. It’s about a copyright / misappropriation case, decided by the Ninth Circuit, that is now the subject of a certiorari petition before the Supreme Court.
Usually cert petitions emanating from the Ninth Circuit get put in a special “Summary Reversal” bin at One First Street. But that might not happen in this case. The opinion isn’t a Judge Reinhardt special, but a unanimous decision by a conservative judge, Jay S. Bybee (most well-known for his controversial pre-robesecent writing, namely, the so-called Bybee Memo).
Also, the song at issue is by Jennifer Lopez. And any lawsuit that would interfere with the dissemination of J. Lo’s music should be immediately dismissed.
* This isn’t the first time someone has thought about Ruthie in the nude. We know that Jon Stewart has. And so has, presumably, Martin Ginsburg. Ginsburg in the Nude? [Townhall.com via How Appealing] Laws v. Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. [Ninth Circuit] Circuit Breaker: The High Court vs. Death Penalty Foolishness [Washington Post]
You may recall our recent Above the Law reader polls for Most Favorite Supreme Court Justice and Least Favorite Supreme Court Justice. The results of those polls are available here and here, respectively.
One of you had an interesting suggestion: Combine the results of the two polls to generate “net popularity scores” for the justices. These scores, combining measures of how much each justice is liked and disliked, could be viewed as measuring “overall” popularity.
We thought it would be interesting to see the results, so we went ahead and did this. We took the percentage of the vote each justice received in the “Most Favorite” poll, then subtracted from it the percentage of the vote received in the “Least Favorite” poll. We labeled the result the justice’s “Net Popularity Score” (NPS).
Here are the results of this number-crunching, with the justices ranked by NPS, from highest to lowest:
A few quick thoughts:
1. The rankings strike us as decent measures of overall popularity. Two of the top three finishers are favorites of their respective ideological wings. Justice Scalia, a cult figure among conservatives, comes in first; Justice Stevens, a hero of the liberals, places third.
2. The Chief is like Sara Lee: Nobody doesn’t like him. He got zero percent of the votes in the “Least Favorite” poll (just 24 votes out of 6,290). And, presumably due to his good looks and great resume — since he doesn’t have many opinions to be judged by yet — he won 16 percent of the “Most Favorite” vote. This gave him an NPS of 16, almost enough to beat Nino.
3. The next three justices — Justices Breyer, Thomas, and Alito — have net popularity scores close to zero. This makes sense too: as jurists, they don’t excite grand passion (even if Justice Thomas, prior to his confirmation, was a controversial figure).
4. Justice Alito, a fairly low-key personality, earns a “perfect” score of zero. Two percent of voters picked him as their favorite; two percent picked him as their least favorite. He’s like The Justice Who Wasn’t There (although, in fairness to Justice Alito, he’s too new to the bench to have made many enemies or fans).
5. Three justices have negative net popularity scores: Justices Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg. Their negative scores may have been affected by the fact that the voter pool in the “Least Favorite Justice” pool skewed to the right (thanks in large part to an Instapundit link).
6. As for why Justice Ginsburg attracted such a high percentage of the “least favorite” votes, Ann Althouse — and her commenters — have some interesting thoughts on the matter. Earlier: ATL Poll Results: Your LEAST Favorite Supreme Court Justice ATL Poll Results: Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice
Not much explanation required. This is just the flip-side of our recently concluded Favorite Supreme Court Justice poll (in which Justice Scalia easily prevailed).
Now we want to learn which of the Nine Robed Ones is your LEAST favorite jurist.
We’ll keep the polls open until we get at least 1,000 responses, so that the result can be viewed as a fairly reliable indicator of ATL reader sentiment. Here’s the poll:
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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