Samuel Alito

Supreme Court 6 Above the Law blog.JPGWe’re a little late on this (and blame our tardiness on associate pay fixation). But here are two interesting tidbits of Supreme Court gossip, from Tony Mauro of the Legal Times:
1. Carter Phillips’ Kin Is Alito Clerk [Legal Times]
One of Justice Samuel Alito’s incoming clerks, Jessica Phillips — who has been described as “beautiful and brainy” — is the daughter of renowned Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips. This means that Jessica “will have no involvement in cases in which her father’s firm, Sidley Austin, participates” — which has ranged as high as 20 percent of the Court’s docket.
(Btw, Jessica Phillips is not the first female clerk whose father also clerked for the Court. Mauro ticks off a list of five daughters of male clerks who went on to become clerks themselves. Check it out here.)
2. New Job for Mrs. Roberts [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]
More on Jane Roberts’ New Job [The BLT]

Lawyer Jane Sullivan Roberts, the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has a new job — and it’s not at a law firm. The leading legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced this morning that Mrs. Roberts is leaving Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s D.C. office to become leader of the In-House Practice Group in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s D.C. office.

Inquiring minds want to know: Will Jane Roberts continue to earn more than her husband in her new position?
(That was surely the case in her old job, when Jane Sullivan Roberts was a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop. Even though her most recent post at the firm was Executive Partner for Talent Development, which probably didn’t involve a lot of client-billable work, it would be shocking for a Biglaw partner to earn less than her hubby’s $212,100 salary as Chief Justice.)

Pregnant Belly 2 Above the Law blog.JPGThis just in from One First Street. The Associated Press reports:

The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long- awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The decision pitted the court’s conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.

This ruling lends support to those who predict — like Jan Crawford Greenburg, in Supreme Conflict — that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito will move the Court significantly to the right in the years ahead. Before Justice Alito replaced Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a decision like this one would have required the conservatives to secure TWO swing votes, AMK and SOC, instead of just one. That frequently doomed the conservatives to defeat in the big-ticket cases.
So Justice Alito, appointed to the Court by President Bush, probably made all the difference here. As Senatrix Barbara Boxer recently observed: “Elections have consequences.”
Update: For more detailed commentary, check out Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSblog post, which quotes extensively from Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent. To read the opinion itself, click here (PDF).
Court Backs Ban on Abortion Procedure [Associated Press]
Court upholds federal abortion ban [SCOTUSblog]
Gonzales v. Carhart (PDF) [SCOTUSblog]
Senator Boxer: Elections Have Consequences [YouTube]

Next time you hear a cell phone go off in a movie or at the theater, and think to yourself, “What an a**hole!”, remind yourself: Someday YOU might be that a**hole.
Watch this video, from the start of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finals, which we attended at Columbia Law School earlier this week. Pay special attention to what happens around the 18-second mark:

Yes, that’s right. The judges entered the room, their robes billowing out behind them. The court crier made the very formal and grandiose announcement: “Oyez, oyez…” The room fell into a solemn silence. And then, at that precise moment, our computer — which was in the process of turning on — made that annoying Windows start-up noise. Loudly.
One could feel a wave of horrified embarrassment sweep through the audience. Justice Alito chuckled, so hopefully he wasn’t too offended. But we were mortified (and rightfully so).
In our defense, this was a complete accident. We were in the process of setting up and turning on our computer, and we didn’t know when exactly the judges would be arriving. We turned our computer on, and it began the start-up process (which can take a little while). Unfortunately, just seconds after we turned it on, the judges made their entrance. And even more unfortunately, as the silence settled over the room, our computer made that colossally loud cyber-fart.
In any event, our apologies, Your Honors! Please do not blame the CLS audience for this rudeness. It was completely our fault.
We took some rough notes on the proceedings. They will probably interest you only if you attended the Moot Court finals yourselves. Or if you care about the hairstyles of Article III judges.
If you want to see our commentary, it’s available after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wherein We Embarrass Ourselves at the Moot Court Finals”

Yesterday afternoon, we attended the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finals, at Columbia Law School. We interviewed the four finalists prior to the arguments.
Here’s our interview with Eric Chesin and Geoffrey Reed:

And here’s our interview with David Gringer and Patrick Somers:

After impressive arguments, and deliberation by the distinguished panel — Justice Samuel A. Alito, Judge Susan P. Graber, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Judge Sonia Sotomayor — the best oralist prize went to Eric Chesin. Congratulations, Eric!

John Paul Stevens Justice John Paul Stevens Above the Law blog.jpg[Ed. note: ATL will be on a pretty laid-back publication schedule today. It's Good Friday, the markets are closed, and many folks are probably traveling for the holiday weekend. We will be posting, but not at our regular pace.]
* Stevens’s key role. [USA Today via How Appealing]
* Surveillance laws outdated? He’s probably referring to all of those pesky constitutional protections. [Jurist]
* Dude. You gotta make sure you’re getting the right one when you’re messing with the huevos. That’s just not cool. Not cool at all. That guy deserves a bazillion dollars. [CNN]
* Lawyers and golf. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Fartman loses on appeal. [Andrews Publications via FindLaw]
* Belated birthday greetings to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., who turned 57 earlier this week. [How Appealing]

Samuel Alito 3 Justice Samuel A Alito Jr Above the Law blog.JPGAs reported last month by The BLT and Roll Call (subscription), Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and his wife, Martha Alito, are selling their million-dollar New Jersey home. Here’s the listing.
But if you were hoping to purchase a piece of history, you’re probably out of luck. The judicial manse appears to be under contract.
That won’t stop us, however, from engaging in a little ogling. Here’s what the listing originally looked like, before the photographs were removed:
Samuel Alito House Samuel A Alito Jr West Caldwell Above the Law blog.GIF
More about this supremely appealing residence, after the jump.

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* Fans of “The Office” (what BBC version?) will rejoice at this play-by-play of potential litigation related to each episode. Ladies, whenever you cringe at the memory of a loser ex-boyfriend, just think of Jan, Michael’s otherwise competent and attractive boss, who somehow ends up vacationing with him… at a Sandals resort. [That’s What She Said via WSJ Law Blog]
* I guess this means that now every idiot can use this “trademark.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to trademark “Weirdness Factor”? [The Smoking Gun]
* If David’s fashion rundown gave you a headache or put you to sleep faster than Norah Jones’s music, then don’t read this. [De Novo]
* In this quirky show you have surely never heard of, a bunch of misfits conspire to break into Mick Jagger’s home. One character suggests perhaps starting a hedge fund instead. “What’s a hedge fund?” another misfit asks. To which misfit #1 shrugs, “I don’t know.” [Conglomerate]
* I was never one to participate, but even I admit that you always need oral. [First Movers]

law library Above the Law.jpgWhen it comes to legal hotties contests, Above the Law is a market leader — and everybone else has yet to match.
We’re previously held beauty contests for America’shottest ERISA lawyers, law school deans, and 3L students at NYU Law. And we have tons of ideas for future contests.
We asked for your help in picking our next contest. Here’s how you voted:
ATL poll results hotties hottie contest competition law library librarian.JPG
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to ATL’s latest hotties contest: LAW LIBRARIANS!!!
It’s not as strange as it might seem. Librarians get a bad rap; they’re regarded as frumpy and, well, bookish. But we know there are lots of hot legal librarians out there just waiting to be discovered.
To name just one, there’s the fun and fabulous Martha-Ann Alito, the wife of Justice Samuel A. Alito. They met when he was an assistant U.S. attorney in Newark, New Jersey, and she was the USAO’s law librarian. Some people find their angels in the centerfold; Sam Alito found his in the center stacks!
Okay, time for contest logistics. Do you know a hot law librarian — whether at a law school, a law firm, a courthouse, or elsewhere — who deserves to be considered?
Please check out the nomination rules and guidelines, which appear after the jump. Thanks!

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sandra day o'connor 2 justice o'connor.jpgNewsweek 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]

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGLast month we published a round-up of Supreme Court clerk hiring for October Term 2007. We asked you to keep us updated as to future developments.
We thank you for doing so. Here is what we’ve heard recently. If you see any errors, or have anything to add, please let us know.
1. Justice Samuel Alito, who has already filled two of his spots for OT 2007, has completed his interviewing. He interviewed roughly 10 to 12 candidates for the two remaining clerkships. It is possible, if he likes someone enough, that he may hire one or two of his ’08 clerks from this batch of candidates.
2. Chief Justice John Roberts, for whom we had no information in our round-up, apparently has moved. From a tipster:

“I am sure you have probably already received this intel, but it appears Chief Justice Roberts has recently made a few hiring choices for OT 2007.”

“Looks like he hired Jason Burnette, a 2006 Georgia law grad currently clerking for Judge Anderson on the 11th. See here.”

“He also at least extended an offer to Anton Metlitsky, (I think you might have covered this guy over at UTR back in the day). I assume Mr. Metlitsky accepted.”

“Hope this info is helpful.”

It most definitely is. Thank you! And please keep the tips coming.
P.S.Yes, we did cover Metlitsky back in the day. See here. Metlitsky was hired by then-Judge Roberts to clerk for him on the D.C. Circuit. When JGR got brought up to the Supremes, Metlitsky sought refuge in the clerk-feeding arms of Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Circuit).
P.P.S. Yes, we know — we owe you profiles of the current Breyer clerks. We’ve been distracted by Aaron Charney, associate pay raises, and Shanetta Cutlar. Rest assured, they are coming. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, check out our Alito clerk profiles.
The good news is that there’s stil time for you to email us with your tidbits about them. We look forward to hearing from you.
P.P.P.S. We reprint an updated tally of October Term 2007 clerks, as well as links to our prior posts, after the jump.

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