SCOTUS Potential

Justice Scalia as Venetian doge.

If you watched the inauguration ceremonies, whether in person or on television, you may have noticed all nine Supreme Court justices out in force. Supreme fashions generated tons of talk on Twitter, especially Justice Alito’s snazzy sunglasses; Justice Ginsburg’s huge hat, which made her look like a toy soldier; and Justice Breyer and Justice Scalia’s jaunty skullcaps, discussed by Tony Mauro and Josh Blackman (among others). According to Kevin Walsh, Justice Scalia’s was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia.

That’s on the level of style. What about substance? How will the Supreme Court affect President Obama, and how will President Obama affect the Court, as we enter the 44th president’s second term?

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‘I’m coming for you, SCOTUS.’

Legal elites fared well on election night. For example, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren is now Senatrix-elect Elizabeth Warren, after expertly landing Langdell Hall on top of Scott Brown (“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little pickup truck too!”). As a Divacrat — I support strong, strident, brilliant (sorry Sarah Palin) women, regardless of their political party — I’m already fantasizing about Clinton/Warren in 2016.

Joining Warren on the Senate floor will be another great legal mind who spent some time in Cambridge, Harvard law grad and former SCOTUS clerk Ted Cruz. The Morgan Lewis partner is one of several current or former Biglaw attorneys who won office on Tuesday. (For more, see Am Law Daily.)

The biggest winner of the evening, of course, is also a legal elite: President Barack Obama. He’s a former law professor, like Warren; an HLS grad, like Cruz; and the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Things don’t get much more elite than that.

And in the legal world, things don’t get much more elite than the United States Supreme Court. This brings us to today’s question: What will a second Obama term mean for the Supreme Court?

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Justice Kavanaugh has a nice ring to it.

* Searching for the perfect holiday present? Via Professor Glenn Reynolds: “As A Christmas Gift, Tell Your Friends and Relatives They’re Fat.” [Instapundit]

* If a Republican wins the White House in 2012, who might get nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court? Mike Sacks offers up a star-studded SCOTUS short list: the brilliant and genial Brett Kavanaugh, the fabulous Diane Sykes, certified superhottie Jeffrey Sutton, emerging feeder judge Neil Gorsuch, and star litigator Paul Clement. [Huffington Post]

* Another proposal on law school transparency. What is this “gainful employment” of which you speak? [Law School Transparency]

* If you can’t find gainful employment, well, maybe you can score a $500 reward from a concerned parent. [The Legal Satyricon]

* Speaking of Marc Randazza, here’s an interview in which he discusses “putting the nail in copyright holding company Righthaven’s coffin.” [WebmasterRadio.FM]

* A riddle from Eric Turkewitz: How is Indiana just like the old Soviet Union? [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* An interesting profile (by Peter Lattman) of Albert Foer — father of the three famous Foer brothers, and a celebrated and successful antitrust law crusader. [DealBook / New York Times]


Update: Check out Part 2: The Conservatives.

As we were planning Above the Law’s Elena Kagan confirmation coverage, we got to thinking (always a dangerous thing around these parts): What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

We decided to keep the five-four ideological balance of the current Court. Sure, we know that some people think that without the Senate, Presidents would nominate apolitical justices who have no discernible political slant. Sadly, apolitical justices = yawn.

In this post, Elie picks four pinko commie scumbags. In a future post, Lat will select five right-wing fascist nutjobs. Should be fun…

So, who are the SCOTUS nominees in the administration of President Elie Mystal?

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Elena Kagan has the face that launched a thousand comparisons. TMZ thought she looked like Kevin James. The man wooing her via Craigslist thinks she’s a cross between Carrie Fisher, Laura Linney, and Bette Midler.

We polled you, and the results are in. Who is the winner of the Elena Kagan Look-Alike Contest?

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There’s a long tradition of seeking Supreme Court love via Craigslist (see here and here). And the tradition continues.

From a Craigslist posting entitled 40-something SJM ISO Elena Kagan (we’ve added some links to clarify various references):

I’ve had a crush on you for almost twenty years (and you deservedly made fun of me when I got tongue-tied in front of you), but it never seemed appropriate to move on it. Either I was dating someone, or you were in another city…

But now! Our careers seem to have settled in DC. I’m single. Politico and Eliot Spitzer tell me you’re single. We have so much in common: I love the law (even civil procedure!) and can’t get enough of it. I like books and baseball and poker and New York City and Medici pizza. I admire Thurgood Marshall. Like you, I love the Federalist Society. My mother was the first bas mitzvah in her Orthodox synagogue, but I’m relatively non-observant. We disagree on some First Amendment issues, to be sure, but I’ll never ask you to watch a dogfighting video. Ok, you’re smarter than me, but I’m no slouch (like you, I turned down Yale Law), and I’m cool being Mr. Ginsburg to your Ruth Bader if you are.

This is not a joke. I am gaga for Lady KaGa. I understand you have other priorities in the next few weeks, and Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald would be scandalized if we started dating, but I’ve waited for you this long, I can wait until after the inevitable investiture. Just send me a signal: mention your love of the Mets in your opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I’ll know to send you a dinner date invitation for the first Friday in October. We’ll go for Chinese food at a restaurant better than City Lights.

Finally, some suspense for the Kagan hearings: Will she mention the Mets? Tune in and find out.

We interviewed the Craigslist poster about his wacky plan….

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Le Fou and Le Kagan

Solicitor General Elena Kagan is a woman to be respected. She’s a product of Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. She’s one of the Elect (OT 1987 / Marshall). She’s taught at two of the nation’s top law schools and served as dean of one of them. She’s America’s lawyer, and if confirmed this summer, she’ll become the 112th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — and the fourth woman to hold that position.

She’s inspiring.

She inspires in other ways too, though. Ever since photos of her started gracing websites and newspapers across the land, she has inspired comparisons to numerous other people and fictional characters when it comes to her looks, ranging from Kevin James of King of Queens to Kathy Bates.

She just has one of those faces. BuzzFeed picked up on our post about who she looks like and came up with a list of 24 people she resembles.

Let’s settle this. Who does she MOST resemble? Vote, after the jump.

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We’ve had plenty of unnamed sources insisting on the heterosexuality of Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The most notable was the anonymous administration official who told the Washington Post that Kagan isn’t gay, in response to an online column by conservative blogger Ben Domenech claiming otherwise.

But there have been other such sources. I previously mentioned one, a Clinton Administration official involved in vetting Kagan when she was nominated to the D.C. Circuit, who insisted to me that she’s straight. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic cited “[p]eople who know Kagan very well” in reporting that she’s not gay.

Now we have an identified individual going on the record to say that the Divine Miss K enjoys the big D. From Politico:

Elena Kagan is not a lesbian, one of her best friends told POLITICO Tuesday night, responding to persistent rumors and innuendo about the Supreme Court nominee’s personal life.

“I’ve known her for most of her adult life and I know she’s straight,” said Sarah Walzer, Kagan’s roommate in law school and a close friend since then. “She dated men when we were in law school, we talked about men — who in our class was cute, who she would like to date, all of those things. She definitely dated when she was in D.C. after law school, when she was in Chicago – and she just didn’t find the right person.”

A denial that the likely 112th justice of the Supreme Court is a devotee of Sappho? This is just… so… ridiculous. But fun! God bless America.

And there’s more….

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Will confirmation hearings remind Kagan of the Pit of Despair?

UPDATE: Vote in our Elena Kagan Look-A-Like Contest here.

Every time we write about Solicitor General Elena Kagan (and we’re writing about her quite frequently since Obama tapped her for the Supreme Court), our readers immediately begin commenting on her looks.

That is not unusual in these parts. Men and women are often superficial. Rather than analyzing her law review articles or performance before the High Court in Citizens United v. FEC, people focus on her face. More specifically, the resemblance her face bears to other faces: Kevin James, a character from the Princess Bride, and Carrie Fisher, among others.

You people are shallow, sad creatures…

But we are too. We’ve written before about how attractive lawyers do better financially than their looks-challenged counterparts in the private sector, and unattractive people’s tendency to migrate out of law firms and into government and public sector jobs.

We’ve also commented specifically on Kagan’s looks. Lat is a devoted fan:

Solicitor General Kagan, you’re quite pretty. There’s a reason you made our list of law school dean hotties, back when you were dean at Harvard Law School. You have great skin, a dazzling smile, and a girlish glow. You definitely possess assets that merit accentuation.

A few years back, Kagan was nominated for our Law School Dean Hotties contest. Now we’re devoting an entire contest to her: the Elena Kagan look-a-like contest.

We’re accepting submissions in the comments, and choosing finalists based on those with the most “likes.” A photo essay on suggestions so far, after the jump….

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I can count myself as one of the thousands of students that had Elena Kagan as a professor. She’s taught at the University of Chicago School of Law and Harvard Law School. I had her in 2000 — before she became Dean of Harvard Law School — for Civil Procedure my first semester 1L year. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at some ungodly hour in the morning.

Like Frodo on Weathertop, there are some wounds that never fully heal. Professor Kagan massacred me intellectually, and brutalized my pride. I got some form of a B in her class (I honestly don’t remember if there was a modifier — I’ve tried to suppress those memories). Kagan was a frightening professor for those who wanted to match wits with the brightest legal minds in the world. For people like me, people who just wanted to get through law school with minimal mental damage, Kagan was nothing short of terrifying.

Consider this a notebook dump from my three months in Kagan’s class…

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