SCOTUS

Lisa Blatt and Tom Goldstein

On Monday, October 27, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hosting an awesome Above the Law event in Washington, D.C.: a look at the current Term of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Our managing editor, David Lat, will moderate a discussion featuring two of the nation’s foremost Supreme Court advocates: Lisa Blatt, head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Arnold & Porter, and Tom Goldstein, partner at Goldstein & Russell and publisher of SCOTUSblog. Blatt and Goldstein have collectively argued more than 60 times before the Court.

There are many SCOTUS previews taking place around town over the next few weeks, but we promise you that the ATL event will be especially fun and lively. We will offer food, drink, and excellent company.

This event is free of charge. If you’d like to attend, please request an invite below. Thanks!

Notorious-R-B-GI have quite a large supply.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, discussing the number of Notorious RBG t-shirts she has, during an appearance with Dorit Beinisch, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, at the 92nd Street Y, where the jurists were interviewed by Nina Totenberg.

(Keep reading to watch the entertaining interview, where Totenberg openly admits to the audience that both she and President Beinisch are “chopped liver” compared to Justice Ginsburg.)

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Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat

Could the third time be the charm? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari filed in May 2014 by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Texas DHCA) in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

The case gives the Supreme Court its third opportunity since 2012 to rule on the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The prior two cases, Twp. Of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. and Magner v. Gallagher, were both settled after the completion of briefing but before the Court could hear oral argument and answer the question presented. This time around the Court granted the certiorari petition without first soliciting the views of the Solicitor General.

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AlitoIf there is any justice in the world, this will revolutionize the way you consume Supreme Court news. Because the Supreme Court continues to ban video coverage of their proceedings, we’re either left waiting for Lyle to get to a phone or listening to horrible audio clips against a sketch artist’s backdrop.

Now we have a new tool to make Supreme Court coverage downright amazing. Recognizing the power of cat videos on the Internet, HBO’s John Oliver has recreated a Supreme Court oral argument playing audio clips over video of dogs representing the Supreme Court (and a chicken pecking away as the stenographer). The finished product is almost embarrassingly compelling. And Oliver encourages everyone in the media to use his raw footage to create their own SCOTUS coverage, so the ball is in your court, CNN.

Read on to see this work of genius. Come for the oral argument coverage, stay for the point where Justice Alito tries to hump Justice Kagan….

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LSAT scantron* The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to enforce its strict voter identification law during the upcoming election, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, hero to the masses, wrote a rather scathing dissent in opposition. [New York Times]

* Michael Millikin, GM’s beleaguered GC, will be stepping down from his position while the Justice Department continues its probe into the company’s fatal ignition switch failures. A replacement has not yet been named. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Baltimore Law and Maryland’s HBCUs hooked up to assist underrepresented minorities get into law school. Full scholarships come with GPAs of at least 3.5 and LSAT scores of at least 152. [USA Today]

* Kent Easter, the lawyer who was convicted for planting drugs in a school volunteer’s car, was sentenced to serve six months in jail. His law license will likely be suspended (just like his wife’s was). [OC Weekly]

* Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev isn’t doing well in court, and his trial hasn’t even started yet. Motions to dismiss his case and to suppress evidence were denied. [National Law Journal]

Paul Clement

You would think that someone like Paul would be arrogant, full of himself, a hotshot, but he is none of those things. The truth is, it was the easiest thing in the world to work with him.

Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, commenting about former U.S. Solicitor General and current Bancroft partner Paul Clement, on the occasion of Clement’s 75th oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Do you want to prove that you know more about the Supreme Court than anybody else? Do you just like money? Do you want to humiliate Above the Law editors?

If your answer to any of these questions was yes — and I suspect your answer to ALL of these questions was yes — then sign up at FantasySCOTUS and play against us predicting all the outcomes of the October 2014 Term.

There’s $10,000 in it for you if you’re good….

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The latest batch of presidential papers from the Clinton Administration, recently released to the public, contain some fun nuggets for law nerds. We’ve mentioned a few of them already — e.g., the time that a pre-robescent Elena Kagan, then a White House staffer, dropped the f-bomb in a memo to White House counsel Jack Quinn. Another just came to light today: as reported by Tony Mauro, a pre-robescent John Roberts, then in private practice at Hogan & Hartson, came close to representing President Clinton in the U.S. Supreme Court in Clinton v. Jones.

The papers contain other interesting tidbits too — and some are sad rather than salacious. For example, there’s the story of how a brilliant and distinguished circuit judge came thisclose to landing a seat on the Supreme Court, until health problems derailed his nomination….

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The source of the Supreme Court’s tech problems?

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), Above the Law will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will be back in full force tomorrow.

* The Supreme Court’s new Term is off to a great start: Thanks to a copy machine’s error, we almost missed the surprise cert denials in the gay marriage cases. What kind of screw-ups will this week bring us? [National Law Journal]

* On the other hand, in what’s considered an unsurprising move following its cert denials en masse, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage to begin in Idaho. Congrats to the Gem State. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Jenner & Block’s data privacy practice is making waves in an “uncharted but lucrative field,” and its leader thinks that the “Internet of Things” will help heat up her work soon. [Capital Business / Washington Post]

* A future Law & Order: SVU episode? Sanford Rubenstein, a personal injury and civil rights lawyer who’s been described as “[f]lashy, brash and always camera-ready,” is now being accused of rape. [ABC News]

* Yale Law’s most interesting student goes to all of his classes, but never has to study or take any of his finals. It’s not because he’s lucky — it’s because he’s a 93-year-old course auditor. [New Haven Register]

After the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petitions for certiorari in several leading same-sex marriage cases this week, media coverage exploded with headlines like “Legal Argument Over Gay Marriage Is All But Over.”  Advocates of LGBT rights seemed to view all future court action as a mere victory lap.  Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, told the press, “It’s really hard to imagine the Supreme Court would have allowed thousands of same-sex couples to get married, including in some very conservative areas like Utah, and then turn around and say, ‘Just kidding, there’s nothing wrong with state bans.'”

Warbelow deserves some slack for her sanguine interpretation of this week’s news.  After all, she has a cause to promote.  And as a general rule, when SCOTUS declines to hear a case on a particular question, one might reasonably assume that they aren’t concerned with correcting the lower court’s treatment of the issue.  But this is hardly a routine legal matter.  Nothing emanating from First Street this week made the fate of same-sex marriage in America certain.  So, why are so many other observers acting as though the Court just handed the LGBT community a gift box of equal rights, neatly wrapped in denied cert petitions?  Why is there so much denial about what these cert denials mean?

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