Sandra Day O’Connor

sandra day o'connor 2 justice o'connor.jpgBack in July 2005, shortly after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her resignation from the Supreme Court, Professor Orin Kerr wrote an L.A. Times op-ed about how the Court might be affected by her departure. Its provocative title: O’Connor’s Successor Will Likely Be a Swinger.
We were reminded of Professor Kerr’s op-ed when we read this piece, by SOC biographer Joan Biskupic, in USA Today:

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s husband, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has found a new romance, and his happiness is a relief to his wife, an Arizona TV report reveals.

The report, which quoted the couple’s oldest son, Scott O’Connor, focused on Alzheimer’s patients who forget their spouses and fall in love with someone else. Experts say the scenario is somewhat common.

[T]he report spotlighted John O’Connor, 77. He and the woman, referred to only as “Kay,” live at a Phoenix facility for people with Alzheimer’s.

A lesser woman might be troubled by the December-December romance. But Justice O’Connor, who understands the nature of her husband’s devastating illness, is fine with it — in fact, more than fine:

“Mom was thrilled that Dad was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here and wasn’t complaining,” Scott, 50, told KPNX-Channel 12 in Phoenix in a story that aired Thursday. The station is owned by Gannett, as is USA TODAY….

Scott compared his father to “a teenager in love” and said, “For Mom to visit when he’s happy … visiting with his girlfriend, sitting on the porch swing holding hands,” was a relief after a painful period.

In any event, Justice O’Connor is too busy with her own work to be consumed by petty jealousies. Her busy schedule of meetings and speaking engagements has kept her on the road, both nationally and internationally. Recently she was in Paris — c’est magnifique!
Earlier today, SOC spoke at Columbia Law School. A report on her visit appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice O’Connor’s Bizarre Love Triangle Ailing Husband
(And an ATL Special Report on Her Columbia Law School Visit)”

Legal%20Eagle%20Wedding%20Watch%20NYT%20wedding%20announcements%20Above%20the%20Law.jpg
Warmest congratulations to our friends Junko Ozao and Jason Choy, whose lovely wedding was written up in this week’s Vows column. Jason is an associate at Kirkland & Ellis, but Junko is a normal person, and that shortcoming cost them a spot in this week’s Legal Eagle Wedding Watch. The news will likely ruin their three-week honeymoon, but such are the ruthless decisions our readers expect LEWW to make.
Here are the six finalists (all lawyers):

1.) Amanda Trivax and Brian Burnovski
2.) Anna Skotko and Ben Vonwiller
3.) Amy Tovar and Benjamin Horwich

More about these legal eagles, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.30.07: Shall We Dance?”

Andrew Speaker 2 small Andrew H Speaker Andrew Harley Speaker Andy Speaker.JPG* What will become of Justice O’Connor’s precedent? [Slate]
* Baseball agent gets prison for smuggling clients. [ESPN]
* Civil suit vs. TB Andy. [CNN]
* Civil verdict vs. Allen Iverson. [ESPN]


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]

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]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 2 cheerleader beauty queen Little Miss Sunshine.JPGOr 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.”

Awww…. Isn’t that cute? Who knew that someone who spent 13+ years dealing with admin law could be so sentimental?
(We aren’t joking about the supreme judicial ladies room. As indicated here by Jan Crawford Greenburg, aka the Eve Harrington of One First Street, the justices’ robing room has a women’s bathroom — even though it didn’t back when Justice O’Connor first joined the Court.)
Ginsburg ‘Lonely’ Without O’Connor [USA Today]
Madame Justice [Legalities via How Appealing]

Legal Eagle Wedding Watch NYT wedding announcements Above the Law.jpgOne of you recently commented: “Retire this feature until the spring, dude. No one gets married in December.”

We beg to differ — unless you consider one of the Elect to be a nobody. A surprisingly high number of lawyers got hitched on the weekend before New Year’s Day. We even had to make some cuts.

Here are the three couples from the December 30-31 weekend that we will review:

1. Margaret Cimino, Jaime Wolf

2. Theane Evangelis, Teddy Kapur

3. Courtenay Seabring, Nathaniel Ebel

Random aside: The best tidbit from the December 31 wedding announcements appeared in the write-up for two non-lawyers, Darcy Wolcott and Thomas Proctor:

Mr. Proctor’s forebears, the Hood and Towne families, settled the towns of Topsfield and Ipswich, Mass., in the early 1600’s. One ancestor, Mary Towne Easty, was hanged as a witch in 1692 in Salem.

If you can claim an ancestor who was executed for being a witch, you get an automatic 10 for your “Family” score.

Scores and commentary for the newlywed lawyer couples, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: December 31, 2006″

Antonin Scalia Clarence Thomas justices.JPGWho knew that jurisdiction in the patent context could cause judicial tempers to flare? In MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., an 8-1 decision handed down earlier this week, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas — who voted together almost 90 percent of the time last Term — exchanged harsh words.
Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court, holding that a patent licensee doesn’t have to terminate or breach its license agreement before suing to challenge the patent’s validity. Justice Thomas dissented, finding no standing to sue.
From a tipster:

Scalia’s MedImmune opinion disembowels Thomas’s dissenting arguments one by one. See footnote 6 (“This is demonstrably false.”). Or footnote 9 (“It obviously is not.”).

One of my kids takes Synagis (a very very expensive medication), which is why I read the decision. While patent law is not my practice area, Scalia’s scorn is very clear and understandable to even a patent law layperson.

Now, Justice Thomas doesn’t take all this lying down. He accuses Justice Scalia of “misread[ing] our precedent,” “inappropriately rel[ying]” upon various cases, and committing “serious error.”
But this match must be scored for Scalia. Some other goodies (all in the footnotes, of course, where judges get to be catty and not feel guilty about it):

Footnote 2: “The dissent contends that the question on which we granted certiorari does not reach the contract claim. We think otherwise.”

Footnote 5 6: “[The dissent would be correct] only if the license required royalties on all products under the sun, and not just those that practice the patent. Of course it does not.”

In other words: “CT, get your head out of your ass!”
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor used to take criticism from Justice Scalia rather personally. But she should have realized that with Justice Scalia, it’s really not personal. To paraphrase what our mother told us in second grade, “Nino only picks on you ’cause he likes you.”
P.S. To be sure, we suspect Justice Scalia doesn’t think very highly of Justice O’Connor as a judicial thinker — in contrast to, say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom he can respect even when they disagree.
MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. [FindLaw]
Court rules on right to bring patent case [SCOTUSblog]

supreme court hallway.jpgWe’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]

Whatcha doin’ for New Year’s? Unless your plans include the words “Diddy” and “yacht,” they’re not as fabulous as this fête:
tim wu evite supreme court clerks the elect.JPG

Some explanation is in order. This party is being brought to you by one of America’s brightest legal minds: celebrity law professor Tim Wu, of Columbia Law School. (We don’t know who this “Sue” character is.)

If you haven’t read ATL’s fawning past coverage of Professor Wu, here’s one detail that says it all: Richard Posner calls him “the Genius Wu.” Need we say more?

The invite list is equally spectacular. It includes these legal luminaries:

(1) Noah Feldman, the hottie-cum-public-intellectual that Harvard just lured away from NYU;

(2) Kermit Roosevelt, the hottie-cum-law-professor-cum-novelist (yes, descended from THOSE Roosevelts); and

(3) Tali Farhadian, the hottie-cum-hottie-cum-hottie.

Memorably described as a “lush Persian beauty,” Farhadian belongs on a Milan runway, a top-five law school faculty, or both.

All of these celebs — like their host, Tim Wu (Breyer/OT 1999) — are members of the Elect. Professors Feldman and Roosevelt clerked for Justice Souter (in October Terms 1998 and 1999, respectively). Farhadian clerked for Justice O’Connor (in October Term 2004).

But Feldman, Roosevelt and Farhadian, in all of their blinding brightness, might be eclipsed if a single invitee makes an appearance at the festivities.

Yes, that’s right. Also on “The List”: AQUAGIRL!!!

Allow us to paraphrase JFK’s famous words about Thomas Jefferson:

“I think this will be the most extraordinary collection of young legal celebrity and fabulosity that has ever been gathered together at a party — with the possible exception of when Aquagirl swam alone.”

Earlier: An Update on Aquagirl: Things Are Going Swimmingly
Wherein We Receive An Email from Celebrity Law Prof Tim Wu
Musical Chairs: Professor Noah Feldman Is Leaving NYU for Harvard!

Page 4 of 963512345678...9635