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, numerouscommentatorshave wondered: Will Supreme Court justices attend the State of the Union this year? If so, which ones?
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….
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.
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?
Barack Obama just finished up his first State of the Union address. Lots of interesting things: jobs, gays in the military, health reformcapitulation 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.
Sensible shoes are for liberal chicks. Say hello to fabulous Federalist footwear!
As you may have noticed, from our twoposts 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.
Earlier this month, somecontroversy 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.
Things have been quiet on the Supreme Court clerk hiring front. There are rumors that Justice Alito has finally finished hiring for October Term 2008, but nobody seems to know who the lucky winners are. If you know, please drop us a line.
We do, however, have some news. A tipster reports:
Justice Ginsburg just hired a 2006 UVA Grad to begin clerking summer 2009. I knew Pamela Bookman (pictured) in law school, and not only is she incredibly smart, she is remarkably fun and down to earth. Kudos to Pam!
For confirmation, see this article, which has the story of how Pam Bookman got an offer from RBG on the spot:
Even though Bookman [who is clerking for the International Court of Justice in The Hague] currently lives thousands of miles away from Washington, D.C., she was still able to arrange an in-person meeting with Ginsburg. Two weeks after receiving an e-mail from Klarman saying that Ginsburg wanted to interview her, Bookman traveled to Washington while visiting her parents during winter break. Bookman chuckled that her interview was her first time ever visiting the Supreme Court. After chatting with Ginsburg about international law, the justice offered her the job on the spot.
“It was thrilling, it was surreal,” she said. “I’m still not sure this is real.”
The current tally of OT 2008 and OT 2009 SCOTUS clerks, with Pamela Bookman added, appears after the jump.
At the Federalist Society festivities: Ryan Bounds, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy; Deputy Associate Attorney General John O’Quinn; and Susanna Dokupil, Assistant Solicitor General for the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Last week, the Federalist Society celebrated its 25th anniversary, with a black-tie gala at Union Station. The official ATL report, by Laurie Lin, is available here; the account of the Washington Post appears here (via the WSJ Law Blog).
Since we were there also, we figured we might as well add our two cents. Some random tidbits about the evening, along with a few more photos, after the jump.
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 six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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