Stephen Breyer

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”

I’m hoping the living Constitution will die.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in remarks made yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Justice Scalia and Justice Stephen G. Breyer were invited by the Committee to discuss their views on constitutional interpretation and the proper role of judges in our democracy.

Toréador, en garde ! Toréador ! Toréador ! Et songe bien, oui, songe en combattant Qu'un œil noir te regarde.

My fellow Americans, I have some terrible news to tell you. I’ve just been made aware of a terrible secret. Apparently all the fears you’ve heard from the far right about the desire of certain liberal justices to impose foreign law on the Unites States of America were justified. I know, I know — I’m as shocked as you are.

I don’t know how else to make sense of what is going to happen tomorrow. The far, far right was right. They just got the kind of foreign law wrong. The Supreme Court doesn’t want to impose Sharia law on us; instead, they want to impose French law on us.

I know this because on Friday, July 22, Justice Stephen Breyer is going to go to that bastion of liberal elitism, Harvard Law School, and deliver an entire address in French. Sacré bleu!

Let’s look at the announcement….

UPDATE (5:30 PM): Please see the update added to the end of this post.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Stephen Breyer?”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer

Are justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gods, or men? There’s evidence on both sides. Their brilliant legal minds and dazzling résumés weigh in favor of deity designation. Their ability to make mistakes suggests that they’re mere mortals.

Supreme Court justices: they’re just like us! They get into accidents — as Justice Stephen Breyer did over Memorial Day weekend, while riding his bicycle near his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Justice Breyer broke his right collarbone in the incident — ouch (and more evidence to support my dislike of cycling).

This isn’t even the first vehicular mishap for one of the nine in 2011. As you may recall, Justice Antonin Scalia got in a car accident, back in March — and received a ticket for it.

Physical accidents involving federal judges might not be shocking; brainiacs aren’t known for their grace and agility. But ethical oversights might be more surprising.

Let’s look at the latest controversy involving Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. — and whether the hubbub is justified….

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Sometimes LEWW scans a wedding announcement with bated breath, praying that we’ll find a law degree so we can write about a couple. We were crushing on Peanut Wong and David Hattaway before we even clicked on their link. But alas, she’s a dental student (of course she is), and he’s an electrical engineer. So we’ll just say this: If you eat the Wong Peanut, you could die.

On to this week’s featured couples:

Elena Saxonhouse and Tulley Rafferty

Kathleen McArthur and Matthew Gross

Alice Brown and Michael Leiter

Get the scoop on these couples — including their registries, résumés, and cheesy wedding websites — after the jump.

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It should not be surprising that the two dissents have sharply different views on how to read the statute. That is the sort of thing that can happen when statutory analysis is so untethered from the text.

– Chief Justice John Roberts, benchslapping the dissents by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.

(The Court upheld, against a preemption challenge, an Arizona law that provides for suspending or revoking the licenses of businesses that violate state immigration law. Gavel bang: Josh Blackman.)

Justice Alito is going to the State of the Union this year? Not true, not true!

Tomorrow night, many of us will tune in to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address — hoping to catch more catfighting than on an episode of Jersey Shore.

Last year’s SOTU did not disappoint drama-seekers. As you may recall, an Article II vs. Article III smackdown took place: President Obama chided the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision, with six members of the Court sitting a stone’s throw away from him, and Justice Samuel Alito responded by mouthing “not true” at the POTUS.

(Speaking of Citizens United, the decision celebrated its one-year anniversary last week, on January 21. And as Josh Blackman notes, the world has not come to an end, contrary to the dire predictions of distraught liberals. Of course, experts in this area — including some Obama-supporting liberals — told us that Citizens United wasn’t that big a deal.)

Thanks to last year’s juicy Obama v. Alito showdown, numerous commentators have wondered: Will Supreme Court justices attend the State of the Union this year? If so, which ones?

Let’s make some predictions, justice by justice….

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If I’m applying the First Amendment, I have to apply it to a world where there’s an Internet, and there’s Facebook, and there are movies like … ‘The Social Network,’ which I couldn’t even understand.

– Justice Stephen Breyer, in remarks made yesterday at Vanderbilt Law School (gavel bang: ABA Journal).

As for doing what I like, I never do what I like! Ask my wife Joanna….

Justice Stephen Breyer, rejecting the notion that unelected judges can do whatever they want, at an event at the New York Public Library to promote his new book, Making Democracy Work: A Judge’s View.

Justice Stephen Breyer

* An updated version of the Twinkie defense? A Kentucky man on trial for murdering his wife plans to blame it on the caffeine. “If this defense works, partners, lock your doors….” [BL1Y]

* Speaking of coffee — for just a dollar a day, less than the cost of your daily Starbucks fix, you can fulfill a poor Bolivian child’s dream of owing you money for the rest of his or her life. [Huffington Post]

* Suing for defamation: it’s just not worth it. Larry Joe Davis, the Florida attorney who sued lawyer-rating website Avvo, is dropping his libel claims. [Avvo Blog]

* If you’re planning to attend tonight’s event at the New York Public Library — featuring Justice Stephen Breyer, who has a new book out, and Jeffrey Rosen — look for me. If you can’t make it in person but are interested in the proceedings, you can watch them over the web. [FORA.tv]

* Blawg Review #282 — that’s a pretty number, isn’t it? — has a theme: Constitution Day. [Defending People via Blawg Review]

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