Samuel Alito

* Sammy Alito and the roots of a compassionate constitutional conservatism. By Emily Bazelon. Foreblurb by Juggalo Law. [New York Times]

* A U.S. vulture fund is having problems collecting a certain debt from the Democratic Republic of Congo via certain chinamen. Yes, I know that’s not the preferred nomenclature. But these men actually do build railroads. [Bloomberg]

* This business professor thinks law firms should start acting like real businesses. Somewhere, a theater professor thinks law firms should just start acting. [Washington Post]

* This fascinating story’s many intimations about State Senator Carl Kruger make it difficult to discern who is doinking who. Sorry, doinking whom. Whom is doinking whom. [New York Times]

* It is spring, which means the New York Mets are feisty. Silly Mets. [New York Post]

* The FDA is weighing whether to ban menthol cigarettes. Good thing Elie already quit. What’s that? You didn’t smoke menthols, Elie? Wow, this is awkward… [Chicago Tribune]

* The Barry Bonds trial is going to be a heavyweight fight. However, most of that weight will be located in Bonds’s head. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Westboro Baptist Church might be protected under the First Amendment. But maybe we can nail them for child abuse?

The Supreme Court just handed down its decision in the Westboro Baptist Church case, Snyder v. Phelps. The court ruled, 8-1, that the father of a slain Marine could not successfully sue the Westboro church in tort for protesting during his son’s funeral.

Call it Free Speech 101. The hard part about the First Amendment is that you have to allow people to say all manner of annoying, vulgar, and inappropriate things, at the wrong times.

Not that Justice Samuel Alito thinks so. Justice Alito was the lone dissenter in this case. He was also the lone dissenter in the Stevens case, in which the Court overturned a ban on animal crush videos on First Amendment grounds. But he voted with the majority in Citizens United.

I can’t wait until Sam “Not True” Alito writes a book or something explaining why regular people don’t deserve the free speech given to American corporations and sitting Supreme Court justices….

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Justice Alito is going to the State of the Union this year? Not true, not true!

Tomorrow night, many of us will tune in to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address — hoping to catch more catfighting than on an episode of Jersey Shore.

Last year’s SOTU did not disappoint drama-seekers. As you may recall, an Article II vs. Article III smackdown took place: President Obama chided the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision, with six members of the Court sitting a stone’s throw away from him, and Justice Samuel Alito responded by mouthing “not true” at the POTUS.

(Speaking of Citizens United, the decision celebrated its one-year anniversary last week, on January 21. And as Josh Blackman notes, the world has not come to an end, contrary to the dire predictions of distraught liberals. Of course, experts in this area — including some Obama-supporting liberals — told us that Citizens United wasn’t that big a deal.)

Thanks to last year’s juicy Obama v. Alito showdown, numerous commentators have wondered: Will Supreme Court justices attend the State of the Union this year? If so, which ones?

Let’s make some predictions, justice by justice….

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Justice Antonin Scalia, being interviewed by Jan Crawford of CBS News at the Federalist Society's annual dinner in Washington, DC.

On Thursday evening, I had the great pleasure of attending the annual dinner at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, in Washington, D.C. The event — attended by an estimated 1,400 people, and held in the cavernous ballroom at the Omni Shoreham — featured, as always, conservative and libertarian legal luminaries galore.

(Did Judge Diane Sykes just air-kiss Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain? Isn’t that Ken Cuccinelli over at the bar? What might Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Jeff Sutton be discussing so intently — maybe the latest clerks they’ve placed at the Supreme Court? Whoa — Ted Olson chatting with Justice Samuel Alito! Be still my heart….)

The highlight of the evening was the interview of Justice Antonin Scalia by Jan Crawford, chief legal correspondent of CBS News (who was looking fabulous in a black dress with open sleeves). The justice was in fine form, hilarious and freewheeling in his remarks….

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Sam, you ought to thank Harriet Miers for making this possible.

– President George W. Bush to newly confirmed Justice Samuel Alito, as recounted in President Bush’s new memoir, Decision Points (via Jan Crawford).

I doubt that I will be there in January.

– Justice Samuel Alito, making a humorous and self-deprecating reference to the last time he attended the State of the Union, in response to an audience question after he delivered this year’s Wriston Lecture at the Manhattan Institute.

Let’s take a brief break from covering people leaving the Supreme Court and potential replacements, and focus on somebody who is not going anywhere any time soon. In a sports-centric interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Justice Samuel Alito goes into some depth about his love for the game of baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.

You know it’s a good interview if I’m covering a right-leaning Justice who likes the Phillies. It’s not easy to write with tears in your eyes. But Alito makes it worthwhile by showing us a little bit of his personal life:

On the shelves are a Phillies cap, several framed pictures depicting various Phillies players, autographed baseballs, a book on the 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids and other Phillies-related memorabilia.

Justice Alito’s work couldn’t be more serious. The decisions he participates in have an enormous impact on the country. Baseball is his escape. And the Phillies have always been his favorite team.

Well, Alito is far more respectable than the last Phillies fan who graced these pages.

We’ve noted that baseball is such a natural fit with the judicial process. Alito also gives us the scoop on the favorite teams of other SCOTUS Justices:

Unfortunately I had a bet with Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor about the outcome of the World Series. She’s a Yankees fan. Justice [Antonin] Scalia is a Yankees fan. So we had a bet, cheesesteaks vs. Nathan’s hot dogs, and I had to provide Nathan’s hot dogs.

Justice [Stephen] Breyer is a Red Sox fan and Justice [John Paul] Stevens is a Cubs fan. He claims to have been present when Babe Ruth called his shot [in the 1932 World Series] at Wrigley Field. [Smiling] Although about 200,000 people claim to have been in attendance at that game, I trust him that he actually was.

What about John “The Umpire” Roberts? Meh, he probably just roots for a well-played game.

Alito also has some thoughts on the great baseball debates on our time. What would he do if he had a Hall of Fame vote?

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Supreme Court SCOTUS State of the Union SOTU.jpgBarack Obama just finished up his first State of the Union address. Lots of interesting things: jobs, gays in the military, health reform capitulation c’mon we’re so close we’ve got to do something…. Oh, and nuclear power plants are back on the agenda. CHECK YOU RADIATION LEVELS.

But the biggest legal news, at least from the perspective of your Above the Law editors, was Obama’s smackdown of the Supreme Court — while six of the nine were sitting right in front of his face.

It was so harsh that it inspired Justice Samuel Alito to shake his head and to mouth the words “not true” at the president — very reminiscent of the “you lie” moment from the last time Obama spoke in front of a joint session of Congress.

The video and additional details — plus UPDATES, including a mini-debate between Kash and Lat, and a READER POLL — after the jump.

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Alito Mouths ‘Not True’ at the President”

Federalist Society high heels fabulous.jpgSensible shoes are for liberal chicks. Say hello to fabulous Federalist footwear!
As you may have noticed, from our two posts late on Monday night and one from Tuesday morning, we’re engaging in some after-the-fact blogging of last week’s Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention.
As in past years, the social highlight of the conference was the Thursday night banquet (black tie optional; and many availed themselves of the option, ’cause that’s how conservatives roll). The speaker at the dinner was none other than Justice Samuel A. Alito, who delivered an insightful and hilarious speech that was a delight to listen to. Just as one might say of, say, a newscast by Jon Stewart, much of the entertainment value was in the delivery — Justice Alito is so dry and deadpan, and yet his remarks make you bust out laughing.
Interestingly enough, we haven’t come across many news accounts of Justice Alito’s speech. There was also no video recording allowed at the address. So we feel we can add some value with this write-up, despite its belated nature.
There may have been some confusion over the ground rules governing reporting about the speech. From the BLT:

Justice Samuel Alito Jr. spoke to the Federalist Society [last Thursday] night, but photos of him doing so are hard to come by. That’s because photographers other than the Federalist Society’s own were barred from the event. Keith Appell, a spokesman for the Federalist Society, said cameras were prohibited by Alito’s security detail….

Kathy Arberg, the court spokeswoman, said “The justice’s policy was that the event was open to still cameras and pencil press,” and that the Federalist Society was informed of that policy before the event.

Well, photos from the event aren’t hard to come by on Above the Law. Nobody told us that we couldn’t take photographs — so we did. And, as members of the “pencil press,” we jotted down notes in our reporter’s notebook. (We left the laptop at the hotel that night.)
Check out a slideshow of our pictures, along with a discussion of Justice Alito’s highly engaging and entertaining address, after the jump.

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Samuel Alito 3 Justice Samuel A Alito Jr Above the Law blog.JPGEarlier this month, some controversy was generated when it was reported that Senator John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, said he’d be happy to nominate justices in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts — but Justice Samuel Alito, not so much.
This resulted in speculation over exactly what Senator McCain meant by this. Several observers were confused, since JGR and SAA are jurisprudential buddies. As noted SCOTUS advocate Tom Goldstein pointed out, in the Court’s last full Term, Roberts and Alito “had the highest proportion of agreement of any members of the Court, 89 percent in pure agreement, that is to say, not just in the result but in absolute, complete agreement, every word.”
So here’s one theory. Maybe McCain doesn’t like Alito because of the justice’s taste in television? From the AP:

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. has convicted “The Sopranos” of spreading what he says are stereotypes about Italian-Americans. During a visit to Rutgers University on Wednesday, Alito complained that the hit HBO television drama not only associated Italian-Americans with the Mafia, but New Jerseyans, as well.

“You have a trifecta — gangsters, Italian-Americans, New Jersey — wedded in the popular American imagination,” Alito said at an event sponsored by the Italian studies program at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.

But it was such a great show, Your Honor!
A bit more, after the jump.

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