Supreme Court

* Really, Baker, you’re gonna appeal? Listen, let it go. Nobody wants this guy in jail. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Who will patrol the guardsmen? [New York Times]
* Senate seven votes shy on expressing no confidence in Gonzales. [Jurist]
* Rum and coke at a Bears game? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Five unanimous opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court. [SCOTUSblog via How Appealing]

Harriet Miers Harriet E Miers Harriet Ellan Miers Harriet Elan Miers Above the Law.JPGWe’re about to sit down and enjoy a sandwich we just picked up from Cosi. If it’s good enough for the Chief Justice, it’s good enough for us.
Normally we’d wash our hands first. But not today.
Why? Because we just met Harriet Miers — and shook her hand!
We were crossing the street at 15th and L Streets in downtown Washington, shortly after 2 PM today. Walking towards us were three well-dressed, older lawyers: two tall men, and a much shorter woman.
We had that feeling of “we know her from somewhere.” And suddenly it hit us:

ATL: “Oh my goodness. You’re Harriet Miers!!!”

HEM: “Yes.”

ATL: “Wow, I’m a huge fan of yours. Thank you for all of your great work!”

We then shook hands with the former Supreme Court nominee. Her handshake was just right: firm, but far from crushing.
More details from this sighting, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: A Thrilling Lunchtime Sighting”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGIn addition to our ATL work, we write freelance pieces for print publications. In the current issue of Washingtonian magazine, we have a short write-up about the incoming class of Supreme Court clerks. Here’s the lede:

After the Supreme Court enters its summer recess this month, a new wave of eager young legal scholars in training will arrive. The Supreme Court’s 37 law clerks—the brilliant legal minds who assist the justices in selecting cases for review, preparing for oral argument, and drafting opinions—will hand over their duties to a new crop of clerks.

Demographically, the incoming class looks like those of past years—mostly white, mostly recent law-school graduates, with impressive academic records earned from the nation’s top law schools.

With eight clerks apiece, Harvard and Yale dominate the list, as they typically do. But there are some surprises. Northwestern, with three clerks, ties with Stanford and the University of Chicago for third place. Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law claims its first clerk since 1981.

Fourteen of the 37 incoming law clerks are women, twice the number during the previous term, when the low number of female clerks—seven of 37—generated controversy.

You can read the whole piece by clicking here.
P.S. Can you help us fill in the blanks for the October Term 2008 law clerks? Please check out this post; if you see missing info, please email us (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”). Thanks!
Women Gaining in Court-Clerk Contest [Washingtonian]

Jan Crawford Greenburg 2.JPG
Linda says Jan has had work done — I mean, A LOT of work….”
Due to associate pay raise mania, we’ve been neglecting news in other areas of the legal profession — like our beloved federal judiciary. We’re embarrassed, for example, not to have commented upon the Bush Administration’s rumored Supreme Court short list, drawn up in case there’s an unexpected vacancy at the end of this Term.
The theme of the article: the shortlist is centered on women and minorities. Most of the names are familiar (e.g., Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen), but there was one very exciting addition: Judge Loretta Preska, of the Southern District of New York.
Here’s how she was described previously at Underneath Their Robes:

Judge Loretta A. Preska. In a word: magnificent. Tall, thin, elegant. Great bone structure, perfectly coiffed silver hair. Note to self: nominate for superhotties contest next year? Fabulous dark blue suit. Who designed? Dramatic, extra-long jacket, white-trimmed lapels; tapers down towards clasp, then flares out again–gorgeous cut. Nice accessories: big gold eagle pin, ladies-who-lunch pearl necklace, matching earrings. Delivers intro like newscaster, smooth as butter. Gestures grandly with long fingers; flawless manicure. WOW!

This scrumptious SCOTUS scoop was delivered courtesy of Jan Crawford Greenburg, one of our favorite Supreme Court correspondents. And our affection for her has only grown after we attended an event with her last week, at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) in Washington.
Discussion of that event — where we put JCG on the spot about her rivalry with Linda Greenhouse — appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greenhouse v. Greenburg: JCG Responds”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWe’ve received some news about Supreme Court law clerk hiring for October Term 2008 (not the upcoming Term, but the one after that):

1. We had heard, through the grapevine, that Justice Antonin Scalia had started his OT 2008 interviewing earlier than usual. And it appears to have yielded at least one hire: Yaakov Roth (Harvard 2007 / Boudin).

Rumor has it that Roth has one of the highest GPAs in the history of Harvard Law School. So presumably he’s graduating summa cum laude — which happens once in a blue moon at HLS.

2. Justice Samuel Alito continues his trend of hiring from the ranks of his former Third Circuit clerks. Jack L. White (Pepperdine 2003 / Alito) will be reunited with his former boss for 2008-2009.

If you have more SCOTUS clerk hiring news to add, please email us (subject line: “Supreme Court clerk hiring”).
A list of OT 2008 law clerks thus far, combining what we’ve just learned with information currently reflected on Wikipedia, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: October Term 2008″

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Justice Ginsburg Above the Law Legal Website.gifThe front page of today’s Washington Post has an interesting article about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent yesterday in Ledbetter v. Goodyear:

The court ruled 5 to 4 that Lilly Ledbetter, the lone female supervisor at a tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., did not file her lawsuit against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in the timely manner specified by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The decision moved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to read a dissent from the bench, a usually rare practice that she has now employed twice in the past six weeks to criticize the majority for opinions that she said undermine women’s rights.

Speaking for the three other dissenting justices, Ginsburg’s voice was as precise and emotionless as if she were reading a banking decision, but the words were stinging.

Justice Ginsburg’s style of delivery should come as no surprise to regular visitors to the Court. She’s generally regarded as the most soporific when it comes to reading opinions from the bench.
But Justice Ginsburg’s decision to dissent from the bench is interesting. A number of more hard-core liberals — e.g., Judge Stephen Reinhardt, of the Ninth Circuit — view RBG as insufficiently liberal (or insufficiently outspoken in defense of her liberal views). They see her as something of a disappointment on the SCOTUS, given her pre-robescent background as a crusading lawyer for the ACLU and feminist legal scholar.
But RBG’s vociferous dissents in Ledbetter and in Gonzalez v. Carhart, the partial-birth abortion case from earlier in the Term, raise a question: Could Justice Ginsburg finally be flowering as liberal leader of the Supreme Court?
P.S. To be sure, “flowering” is not a term usually applied to Justice Ginsburg. But you know what we mean.
P.P.S. Among the federal appeals courts, we’d say the Eleventh Circuit has the greatest track record of producing liberal lionesses. E.g., Rosemary Barkett; Phyllis Kravitch.
But there are some noteworthy liberal judicial divas on other circuit courts. E.g., that New England ice queen, Sandra Lynch, of the First Circuit; that luscious Latina, Sonia Sotomayor, of the Second Circuit; the frighteningly brilliant Diane Wood, of the Seventh Circuit; the ancient yet energetic Betty Fletcher, of the Ninth Circuit; and the magically delicious Marsha Berzon, also of the Ninth Circuit.
Over Ginsburg’s Dissent, Court Limits Bias Suits [Washington Post]

In yet another 5-4 decision with Kennedy casting the deciding vote, the Supreme Court today limited the ability to sue under Title VII for pay decisions made prior to the 180-day EEOC charge period. That’s about all we got out of the very small portion of the opinion that we had the time or inclination to read. Feel free to send us any snarks, snipes, or otherwise benchslappy comments that you find noteworthy.
The opinion can be accessed here.

All About Eve 2 Linda Greenhouse Jan Crawford Greenburg Jan Greenburg Jan Greenberg Jan Crawford Greenberg Above the Law.JPGDo we exaggerate the rivalry between Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times’s veteran Supreme Court correspondent, and comely up-and-comer Jan Crawford Greenburg, who covers the Court for ABC News?
Maybe. We have a weakness for the dramatic, in case you haven’t noticed. But even if exaggerated, there’s no denying the tension between these two formidable female journalists.
Linda Greenhouse recently spoke at a litigation department luncheon at Willkie Farr in New York. And in her remarks, she threw down the gauntlet before Jan Crawford Greenburg.
Here’s what La Greenhouse had to say about Supreme Conflict, the bestselling book penned by her young rival (emphasis added):

“In her book, Jan Crawford Greenburg wrote, I think quite improbably and without any evidence, that Justice Thomas is the ideological heavyweight anchoring the conservative side of the court…”

“Jan Crawford Greenburg got a lot of mileage out of that statement in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, but I just don’t think it’s true.”

WOW. What did Willkie Farr feed Greenhouse for lunch? Fancy Feast?
An interesting account of the rest of Greenhouse’s remarks, from an ATL reader who was there, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greenhouse v. Greenburg: The Catfight Continues”

Antonin Scalia headshot Justice Antonin Scalia Above the Law blog.JPGOkay, make that yesterday. A reader email drew our attention to the saucy conclusion of Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Roper v. Weaver:

The greatest harm is that done to AEDPA, since dismissing the writ of certiorari leaves the Eighth Circuit’s grossly erroneous precedent on the books. (That precedent, by the way, cannot be explained away—as perhaps the Court’s own opinion can—as the product of law-distorting compassion for a defendant wronged by a District Court’s erroneous action. As noted earlier, the Eighth Circuit was not informed of that erroneous action. It presumably really believes that this is the way AEDPA should be applied.)

Other courts should be warned that this Court’s failure to reverse the Eighth Circuit’s decision is a rare manifestation of judicial clemency unrestrained by law. They would be well advised to do unto the Eighth Circuit’s decision just what it did unto AEDPA: ignore it.

WHACK! As our correspondent notes: “Scalia manages to benchslap both the majority opinion and the 8th Circuit all in the same paragraph.”
Some of Justice Scalia’s colleagues get cheeky on occasion. Another tipster drew our attention to Part IV of Justice Stevens’s Bell Atlantic v. Twombly dissent — which Justice Ginsburg expressly declined to join, perhaps due to its ‘tude.
But at the end of the day, there’s no disputing this truth: When it comes to benchslaps, nobody does it like Nino.
Roper v. Weaver [FindLaw]
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly [FindLaw]

In his recent post summarizing three new cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear, Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog mentions the docket numbers for two of them, as is his usual practice.
But he omits the docket number of one of the cases that was granted certiorari today:
Kentucky Davis Above the Law blog.JPG
Could someone be a little superstitious?
May 21 Orders [U.S. Supreme Court (PDF)]
Court to hear three new cases [SCOTUSblog]
Supreme Court Grants Cert in Davis, Which Prohibits Tax Exemption for In-State Municipal Bond Interest [TaxProf Blog]
Court to Review Municipal Bond Case [Associated Press]

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