Question: Now that the Supreme Court is hearing hardly any cases these days, how are the justices spending all their free time? Answer: On constitutional law road shows, in which they debate the proper way to go about interpreting that foundational document. What fun!
On Tuesday, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen G. Breyer held forth on the subject before a packed ballroom at the Capital Hilton. The event was co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society. It ran for about an hour and a half; Jan Crawford Greenburg, of ABC News, served as moderator.
Our prior coverage of the event appears here and here (photos). Our third installment appears after the jump.
The Scalia-Breyer debate was co-sponsored by the Federalist Society and the American Consitution Society, aka “The Lion and the Lamb.” But which is which?
As promised, we bring you some pictures from last night’s debate between Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen G. Breyer, on the subject of constitutional interpretation.
Our really awful photography photo essay, plus links to MSM coverage of the event, after the jump.
Hey, guess what? Above the Law is no longer the most junior member of the Conference Dead Horse Media family of websites. Today marks the launch of Supermogul.com.
It’s nice not being the most junior member. Just ask Justice Breyer, who was delighted when Justice Alito arrived at the Court. As the most junior justice, Justice Alito took over from Justice Breyer the duty of answering the door — and fetching the coffee — when the justices are meeting in private conference.
So now that Supermogul is around, maybe ATL won’t have to fetch the coffee? Uh, think again. We’re probably still on coffee duty — because we’re the lawyers, and they’re the clients.
SUPERMOGUL.com is a business site for C-level (CEO/CFO/COO/etc.) executives and senior-level managers. Check it out here. Welcome to Supermogul [Supermogul] Dead Horse Media Introduces Supermogul.com [DealBreaker]
We have not forgotten that we owe you a report on the very interesting debate we attended last night, between Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen G. Breyer, on constitutional interpretation.
Our report, and a handful of photos (not as many as we hoped), will appear… shortly. Alas, it will take us a little time to upload the pictures and review our (copious) notes.
In the meantime, if you really can’t wait for our account, click here, for the AP wire story. It’s a fairly good summary, although not as detailed as our forthcoming report (in which we’ll tell you about how Justice Breyer’s cell phone went off in the middle of the event).
And if you have ninety minutes to spare, and want to experience the proceedings firsthand, then click here, for video of the event. Enjoy! US Supreme Court justices debate their views of Constitution [Associated Press] Justices Breyer and Scalia Converse on the Constitution [American Constitution Society] Earlier: Programming Note: Nino-Breyer Smackdown
We’ll be stepping away shortly to attend what should be a fantastic event: A Conversation on the Constitution: Perspectives from Active Liberty and A Matter of Interpretation. It’s being sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society, and we’re attending as a guest of the ACS (whom we thank for the gracious invitation).
Two Supreme Court heavyweights will be stepping into the ring. In the liberal corner: Justice Stephen G. Breyer, author of Active Liberty. In the conservative corner: Justice Antonin Scalia, author of A Matter of Interpretation. The referee: Jan Crawford Greenburg, of ABC News (who recently interviewed Chief Justice Roberts).
So if our posting is sporadic over the next few hours, it’s because we’re watching Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer trade benchslaps. Check back soon, either later today or tomorrow, for our full report on the jurisprudential battle to the death proceedings. Hasta luego!
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of KSR International v. Teleflex. Here’s our quick-and-dirty summary of the proceedings. Subject Matter / Question Presented: To qualify for patent protection, an invention must be novel, useful, and not “obvious” to a person of “ordinary skill” in the field. So how do you determine “obviousness” when you have an invention that combines already-existing products? And is the Federal Circuit’s three-part “teaching-suggestion-motivation” test for obviousness a bunch of moronic nonsense? Money Quote(s):
From the NYT:
When [veteran SCOTUS litigator Tom] Goldstein noted that “every single major patent bar association in the country has filed on our side,” the chief justice interjected: “Well, which way does that cut? That just indicates that this is profitable for the patent bar.” And when Mr. Goldstein referred to experts who had testified that the Teleflex patent was not obvious, the chief justice asked: “Who do you get to be an expert to tell you something’s not obvious? I mean, the least insightful person you can find?”
“Three imponderable nouns,” is how Justice Antonin Scalia dismissed the test, also calling it “gobbledygook” for good measure.
Likely Outcome: The Federal Circuit will probably get benchslapped by the SCOTUS. As Tony Mauro notes:
[W]hen Justice Stephen Breyer said he had read the briefs in the case “15 times” and still could not understand the “motivation” prong of the test, Scalia chimed in, “Like Justice Breyer, I don’t understand.”
The implied message to the Federal Circuit seemed to be: If two of the brainier justices on the Supreme Court don’t have a clue what you are talking about, a new test might be in order.
For those of you looking for a substantive, eyewitness account of the argument, we reprint below the report of Joseph (Jay) R. DelMaster, Jr., a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Washington. His account includes advice about how to proceed in patent prosecutions while we await the Supreme Court’s decision.
Check it out, after the jump.
Although we mentioned it inpassing, we didn’t give adequate attention to Anna Schneider-Mayerson’s delightful profile of Tim Wu when it appeared earlier this month in the New York Observer. (It was discussed on several otherprominentblogs.)
Now we have an excuse to double back and correct the error: We’ve received an email from the good professor! Here it is (reprinted with permission):
Hi this isn’t exactly a tip — I just read your entry for above the law and the FedSoc conference, and wanted to say sorry I couldn’t meet you at the Net Neutrality panel…. It turned out I had the wrong date and it conflicted with my Thursday copyright class, so I couldn’t come….
I hope to run into you in person one of these days.
Wow! When we received this email, we giggled girlishly with excitement. First, Professor Wu is brilliant. As noted in the profile, he was nicknamed “the Genius Wu” by no less an authority than Judge Richard Posner, who knows genius when he sees it (e.g., when he looks in the mirror).
Second, Professor Wu is quite handsome (see photo). How many other Columbia Law School professors have earned themselves a music video tribute (“Ain’t No Other Man But Wu”) from their students?
(Our only grooming suggestion to Professor Wu: Have those eyebrows thinned. We go to someone very good for ours, but she’s probably not convenient for you given that you’re in New York.)
Finally, we were glad to learn why Professor Wu missed the Federalist Society panel: he misread his calendar. It’s nice to know that a member of the Elect — and not just any old Supreme Court clerk, but one who has been called “indefatigable” and “a valuable man in chambers” by his former boss, Justice Breyer — makes scheduling mistakes. How utterly charming! Wu-Hoo! Nutty Professor Is Voice of a Generation [New York Observer] Tim Wu, Voice of a Generation [Volokh Conspiracy] George Clooney’s Got Nothing On Tim Wu [WSJ Law Blog] “I Heart Wu” [YouTube]
You may recall our recent Above the Law reader polls for Most Favorite Supreme Court Justice and Least Favorite Supreme Court Justice. The results of those polls are available here and here, respectively.
One of you had an interesting suggestion: Combine the results of the two polls to generate “net popularity scores” for the justices. These scores, combining measures of how much each justice is liked and disliked, could be viewed as measuring “overall” popularity.
We thought it would be interesting to see the results, so we went ahead and did this. We took the percentage of the vote each justice received in the “Most Favorite” poll, then subtracted from it the percentage of the vote received in the “Least Favorite” poll. We labeled the result the justice’s “Net Popularity Score” (NPS).
Here are the results of this number-crunching, with the justices ranked by NPS, from highest to lowest:
A few quick thoughts:
1. The rankings strike us as decent measures of overall popularity. Two of the top three finishers are favorites of their respective ideological wings. Justice Scalia, a cult figure among conservatives, comes in first; Justice Stevens, a hero of the liberals, places third.
2. The Chief is like Sara Lee: Nobody doesn’t like him. He got zero percent of the votes in the “Least Favorite” poll (just 24 votes out of 6,290). And, presumably due to his good looks and great resume — since he doesn’t have many opinions to be judged by yet — he won 16 percent of the “Most Favorite” vote. This gave him an NPS of 16, almost enough to beat Nino.
3. The next three justices — Justices Breyer, Thomas, and Alito — have net popularity scores close to zero. This makes sense too: as jurists, they don’t excite grand passion (even if Justice Thomas, prior to his confirmation, was a controversial figure).
4. Justice Alito, a fairly low-key personality, earns a “perfect” score of zero. Two percent of voters picked him as their favorite; two percent picked him as their least favorite. He’s like The Justice Who Wasn’t There (although, in fairness to Justice Alito, he’s too new to the bench to have made many enemies or fans).
5. Three justices have negative net popularity scores: Justices Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg. Their negative scores may have been affected by the fact that the voter pool in the “Least Favorite Justice” pool skewed to the right (thanks in large part to an Instapundit link).
6. As for why Justice Ginsburg attracted such a high percentage of the “least favorite” votes, Ann Althouse — and her commenters — have some interesting thoughts on the matter. Earlier: ATL Poll Results: Your LEAST Favorite Supreme Court Justice ATL Poll Results: Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice
* “Colombian Supreme Court: grabbing a woman’s behind is a crime.” [Herald-Tribune via How Appealing]
* One week until elections — there must be some litigation somewhere. [Wall Street Journal via [How Appealing]
* Justice O’Connor spoke in Utah this week, and she and Justice Breyer shed some politico-rhetoric in Washington. [CNN]
(For related links, see yesterday’s MD.)
* A second plea bargain has been reached in the Iraqi civilian murder case. [MSNBC]
* For you trusts-and-estates buffs, check out Kenneth Lay’s will. Notice he leaves much of his assets in the “Ken Lay Trust,” which seems oxymoronic. [Slate]
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
The proper hair styling product might just be the only thing standing between you and your dream job. And the best way to find what works for you is to try the best stuff on the market. Join Birchbox Man for $20 a month and you’ll get customized shipments of the best grooming and lifestyle gear on the market every month—everything from haircare and shaving supplies to style accessories and tech gadgets.
As the leading discovery commerce platform, Birchbox is redefining the retail process by offering consumers a unique and personalized way to discover, learn about, and shop the best grooming and lifestyle products out there. It’s a full 360-degree process: try, learn, buy. Once you sign up and fill out your profile, head over to Birchbox Man’s online magazine to find article and video tutorials on how to get the most out your monthly box products. Pick up full-size versions of anything you like in the Birchbox Shop and earn points for every purchase.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!