SCOTUS

I once observed that federal judges are “the closest thing this nation has to an aristocracy.” If that’s the case, then justices of the United States Supreme Court are royalty — or maybe even deities, gods, and goddesses who walk among us (and occasionally crash into us, too).

Alas, it seems that two members of SCOTUS didn’t get the memo. They are comporting themselves in public in ways that are inconsistent with the dignity of the Article III judiciary.

This is a bipartisan problem. One of the offenders comes from the left side of the Court, and one comes from the right….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: Justices Who Are Slumming It”

Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows, who learned of their selection earlier this month. These one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, awarded to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships, are generally regarded as second only to Supreme Court clerkships in prestige (and often lead to SCOTUS clerkships as well). You can read more about the Bristow Fellowship, including the job responsibilities and application process, on the Justice Department website.

Let’s take a look at the next crop of Bristow Fellows. Which law schools did they graduate from, and for whom did they clerk?

Also: over the past three years, which law schools and judges have minted the most Bristow Fellows?

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This version of her face was better.

* Grassley, if you think a letter will get the SCOTUS health care arguments on TV, then you probably think the ABA is going to do something about your letters to them, too. Aww. [Blog of Legal Times]

* When in doubt, get the f**k out. Take this expert advice from Judge Paul Hawkes: the best way to avoid an ethics hearing is to quit resign from your job. [Palm Beach Post]

* Mmm, “law school porn.” So thick, so long, so… stupid. Just think of all of the other bigger and better things that law schools could be spending your tuition money on. [National Law Journal]

* And in real porn news, a litigant says that Jenna Jameson is “possessed.” But was he talking about her case, or the evil plastic surgery demon who did a number on her face? [Chicago Tribune]

* Gary Busey is being sued for walking under the influence at an Oklahoma airport. Applicable Buseyism? CRAP: Colliding Recklessly Against Passengers. [International Business Times]


If Learned Hand’s opinions are like the products of a bespoke tailor, the opinions coming out of the Ninth Circuit are like the products of a factory that is staffed by machines and menial workers who are overseen from afar by a handful of overworked managers.

– Justice Samuel Alito, in a recent speech at Rutgers School of Law (Newark), lamenting the decline of craftsmanship in judicial opinions.

(An interesting fact about Justice Alito and the Ninth Circuit, after the jump.)

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The president looks good in a doctor's coat, no?

In a development that should surprise no one, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning agreed to review the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare. This means that, before the end of the current SCOTUS Term in summer 2012, Anthony Kennedy the justices will rule on the validity of this sweeping legislation (unless they avoid the question on jurisdictional grounds, as Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit recently did — a path that might appeal to Justice Kennedy, as suggested by Professor Noah Feldman, and a path that the Court itself highlighted by mentioning the jurisdictional issue in its certiorari grant.)

In the meantime, there will be a lot of cocktail party chatter about the health care reform law and its constitutionality. If you’d like some quick talking points, for use when you get the inevitable “What do you think about this as a lawyer?” questions from friends and family at Thanksgiving, keep reading….

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I really think after-dinner speeches are a barbarous institution.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in after-dinner remarks at the annual banquet of the Federalist Society, where he and Justice Clarence Thomas were honored for their respective 25 and 20 years of service on the Supreme Court.

(Justice Scalia comments playfully on Justice Thomas, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quotes of the Day: Cruel and Unusual Punishment?”

* Yet another appeals court has has ruled that Obamacare is constitutional. Aww, can’t we wait for the other side to catch up a little before it goes to the Supreme Court? [Wall Street Journal]

* How did it go for this controversial ballot initiative? As it turns out, the personhood amendment was so stupid that it couldn’t even pass in Mississippi. Color me surprised. [New York Times]

* Raj Rajaratnam has to pay $92.8M in penalties in his SEC case, but come on, he’s a billionaire. Much like the honey badger, Raj don’t care, and he certainly don’t give a sh*t. [Bloomberg]

* We thought this might be a swing and a miss, but the Dodgers won approval to pay Dewey & LeBoeuf and Young Conaway after hitting the Trustee’s curveball out of the park. [Businessweek]

* Best use of footnotes ever? Pitbull’s lawyers are trying to get LiLo’s case against him removed to federal court, and gossip rags are cited in the footnotes more than law. [Hollywood Reporter]

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 08:  U.S. Supreme Court m...

“If you win this case, there is nothing to prevent the police or government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States,” said Justice Breyer.

The Supreme Court justices were decked out in their usual black robes today for U.S. vs Jones [pdf], a case involving the question of whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracker to someone’s car. But given their paranoia about possible technology-enabled government intrusions on privacy, it might not have been surprising if they had also been wearing tin foil hats.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Not Psyched About Idea Of Government Secretly Putting GPS Trackers On Their Cars”

Hold up. How could I be a baby daddy? I haven't hit puberty.

* Sorry, Obama, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive, well, and doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon. No more Supreme Court appointments for you, buddy boy. [The Oval / USA Today]

* Judge William Adams will not face charges over the beating of his daughter, Hillary Adams, due to the statute of limitations. At least he’ll still have public scrutiny and embarrassment. [Houston Chronicle]

* The Third Circuit has tossed out a $550K fine against CBS for the second time, because really, who wouldn’t want to see a fleeting nipple image belonging to Janet Jackson. [Legal Intelligencer]

* A former Nixon Peabody attorney got probation instead prison for false statements charges, and might even get her law license back. Did she get points for being pretty? [Blog of Legal Times]

* And speaking of being pretty, this lawsuit claims that favoring employees’ diversity over hotness at Panera Bread will allegedly earn you a spot on the unemployment line. [Washington Post]

* Occupy Wall Street protesters better hope that their lawyers aren’t planning to scrawl their pleadings on the bottoms of pizza boxes, because they’re going to trial. [Bloomberg]

* Did Justin Bieber’s alleged baby mama deflower the teen pop star? You better beliebe it! She claims in court documents that their reported encounter was his first time. [New York Post]

On the other hand, It might be cool to have a pirate teacher.

The only things worse than obnoxious teenagers are the parents of obnoxious teenagers who still act like obnoxious teenagers themselves.

It is not hard to imagine an angsty teenager, angry at her school, hitting the ‘net and writing cruel words about a school employee on her blog. It’s also not hard to imagine word getting back to the school, and some unpleasant consequences for the student.

What just doesn’t compute is how that scenario translates to a four-year legal saga culminating in an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. And the lawsuit is spearheaded by the teen’s parents.

At least one mother-daughter team believes a 17-year-old’s right to call her teacher a douche bag online is of utmost First Amendment importance. Apparently the Supreme Court does not…

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