[T]he 64-year-old [Samuel] Alito — a George W. Bush appointee — is aggressively staking out ground as a successor or even rival of sorts to Justice Antonin Scalia, 78, who’s often viewed as the intellectual leader of the court’s conservative wing. But he’s doing so in a less pugnacious and more politically palatable way than Scalia.
The Supreme Court released its opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, holding that the HHS contraception mandate violates an employer’s rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, even when the employer is a for-profit corporation closely held by individuals who object to the mandate on religious grounds. Following the decision in McCullen v. Coakley, the abortion clinic buffer zone case, Hobby Lobby is the second case in a week where the Court told us how much each side of a fundamentally divided issue can ask of the other, under the law. They are hard cases to talk about without questioning the good faith or good sense of the other side. Nearly everyone thinks either Hobby Lobby or McCullen was a bad decision.
The only thing more frustrating than a bad high-profile Supreme Court decision may be the public’s response to any high-profile Supreme Court decision. For proof, one need only look as far as some of the tweets on SCOTUSblog’s Twitter feed….
Last year at about this time, Justice Samuel Alito authored one of the most sneaky anti-woman decisions in recent memory. In Vance v. Ball State University, Justice Alito made it much more difficult for women to sue their employers for workplace harassment. At the time, I said it’s the kind of decision Chris Brown would be proud of, but on reflection, that may have been unfair to Chris Brown.
Today, Alito once again puts in the heavy lifting to make the world worse for working women. Apparently, in Alito’s world, it’s not only okay for employers to try to have sex with their female employees, they also get to regulate what medications they take…
The opinions released by the Supreme Court this morning were not super-exciting. The good news, pointed out by Professor Rick Hasen on Twitter, is that “[t]here are no likely boring #SCOTUS opinions left.” (But see Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, noted by Ken Jost.)
So let’s talk about something more interesting than today’s SCOTUS opinions: namely, the justices’ recently released financial disclosures. Which justices are taking home the most in outside income? How robust are their investments?
* The Supreme Court chimed in on the death penalty today, ruling 5-4 that Florida can’t use an IQ score as a hardline rule to apply the death penalty. Justice Alito dissented, complaining that the Court turned over the issue to psychiatric doctors. Because if you’re going to make a decision on mental incapacity, why involve people who know the science? [SCOTUSBlog]
* Well, it turns out one of the reasons why Charleston Law is so eager to sell to InfiLaw is that its founders withdrew $25 million in profits over the last three and a half years, leaving the school a financial wreck. [Post and Courier]
* What?!? A judge was allegedly kidnapped by a convicted felon that she may or may not have had a relationship with while she worked as a public defender. And the alleged kidnapper escaped the police when he sneaked out of the hospital because apparently Maryland hired the Keystone Kops. [Washington Post]
* In a sad testament to what happens when zealous representation meets law firm hierarchy, a new study reveals that working hard doesn’t get you anywhere. Just deliver the bare minimum you promised and call it a day. [Law and More]
* Video game manufacturer files lawsuit against… somebody. They’re not sure. But whoever they are, they’re ruining Starcraft. [Hardcore Gamer]
* Nevada’s bar president decided to use his monthly newsletter column to opine on gay marriage. That was probably a mistake for him. [The Irreverent Lawyer]
* A new environmental law firm opens in the rustbelt and it’s ready to take on some industry bigwigs. [What About Paris]
* New York upholds the right to be annoying on the Internet. [IT-Lex]
* Lawyer-turned-rapper Mr. Kelly (@Mrkelly_music) has a new video after the jump about lunchtime and the malaise of living a corporate lifestyle. His album is available too. [YouTube]
I really don’t like this categorization of schools as first, second, and third-tier. The U.S. News and World Report rankings of law schools are an abomination. The legal profession and the country would be better off if they were eliminated.
It’s fine if we are not all that popular. There is a reason why the Constitution gives federal judges life tenure. We are supposed to do our jobs without worrying whether our decisions are pleasing to anybody.
* Choose your own adventure: Will you read this to see how many times Justice Alito recused himself during OT 2013? Or will you read this to see Justice Alito’s doofy-looking picture? [National Law Journal]
* Hackers took down the entire PACER system as well as various federal court websites on Friday. No, the FBI says it was “technical problems.” Oops, nope, still hackers. [Switch / Washington Post]
* It seems the best way to train new associates is to do the opposite of what Biglaw has been doing for decades. Take Stephen Susman’s word for it — you could probably end up with a $40k bonus. [The Careerist]
* “Everybody’s been very nice to us, even though we’re lawyers.” Shocker. David Boies, Ted Boutrous, and Ted Olson had fun at the Sundance Film Festival promoting “The Case Against 8.” [Associated Press]
* Finally, a happy ending to an absurd science experiment. Over the weekend, a judge ordered that Marlise Munoz, a brain-dead pregnant woman in Texas, be removed from her respirators and ventilators. [CNN]
I think the tongue-in-cheek answer would be that I was surprised because of how much [Justice Samuel Alito's] done in the way of supporting anti-discrimination laws over the years. But that would be just a facetious comment.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
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