Supreme Court

piggy bank.jpg* A Los Angeles Judge accused an asbestos litigation firm of playing “a grisly game of asbestos litigation” after they refiled a Texas case in California because it has more exacting standards for a defendant to obtain summary judgment. Perhaps, judge, you’ve lost a little perspective? [ABA Journal]
* A German court rejected a woman’s appeal to take her married name Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein because it is too long. []
* “Across Georgia, poor people accused of crimes are being abandoned by their lawyers because there is no money to pay their legal fees” (this might put deferred start dates in to perspective).[The Atlanta Journal Constitution]
* Madoff “turned his investment firm into his ‘personal piggy bank,’” using the ponzi money for his family’s expenses. Personally, I have no energy for renewed outrage. []

scotus small.jpgATL readers, there are many names being bandied about as potential nominees for the Supreme Court. We’ve narrowed the list to nine people who have been mentioned by at least two of the following outlets: BLT, AP, and the SCOTUSblog.

That the next Supreme Court justice will lack a Y chromosome is a virtual certainty, but we’ve thrown a few token males into the poll anyway. Who strikes your fancy?

More on these nine, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Poll: Who Should Replace SCOTUS Justice David Souter?”

Thumbnail image for souter2.jpg* As we told you last night, Supreme Court Justice David Souter, a 1990 Bush appointee, plans to bid One First Street farewell in June. Last night, we pointed you to BLT’s speculation on possible nominees. Here’s speculation from the AP. [Associated Press]

* The Supreme Court experts at SCOTUSblog write with the most insight into Justice Souter’s decision to retire now and speculation on who Obama will nominate. Souter’s replacement “has to be a woman… Race and ethnicity seem less important” as considerations, says SCOTUSblog. [SCOTUSblog]

* Justice Souter is only 69. Why is he stepping down before he even needs a cane to get around the hallowed halls? Because he hates the nation’s capital. [CBS News]

* Will President Obama’s list of 13 million e-mail addresses help make the SCOTUS nomination process go smoothly? [Washington Post]

* More on the sad suicide of Kilpatrick Stockton layoff Mark Levy. [Washington Post]

Souter Obama Supreme.jpgAccording to NPR, Justice David Souter is planning to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of the current Term.

Souter is expected to remain on the bench until a successor has been chosen and confirmed, which may or may not be accomplished before the court reconvenes in October.

Arlen Specter’s switch from Republican to Democrat looms even larger now.

We’ve reached out to the SCOTUS public information officer, but have not yet received comment. (We’re not surprised, though, since we reached out at 10:25 p.m.)

Update (11:47 p.m.): The PIO got back to us:

Justice Souter has no comment.

If true, Souter’s retirement would do little to change the balance of the court. Remember:

An Obama pick would be unlikely to change the ideological makeup of the court. Souter, though appointed by the first President Bush, generally votes with the more liberal members of the court, a group of four that is in a rather consistent minority.

Souter’s retirement is not entirely surprising to regular Above the Law readers. Earlier this month, we — via Underneath Their Robes — told you that Souter hadn’t hired any clerks for the October 2009 term.

Let the jockeying begin for Obama’s first SCOTUS nomination. We invite you to suggest nominees in the comments. Maybe we’ll do a poll…

Update: The BLT has an early line on possible nominees, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Justice Souter Retiring”

scalia come and find me above the law.jpgFor those of you just tuning in, we have a little bit of a back and forth going on between Fordham Law School and One First Street. Last week, we wrote about What Fordham Knows About Justice Scalia. Professor Joel Reidenberg, an information privacy law professor at Fordham, had his class compile a 15-page dossier on Justice Antonin Scalia after the Justice was quoted in January saying, “Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly.”

Dan Solove expounds on Scalia’s privacy views at Concurring Opinions:

[Scalia] believes that certain kinds of information are not private — Internet tracking, most items of consumption (unless embarrassing), addresses, and so on. He partly seems to endorse the view that there’s no privacy violation if there’s “nothing to hide.”

We checked in with Justice Scalia to see how he felt about Professor Reidenberg acting on his professed privacy beliefs. He was not pleased:

I stand by my remark at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law conference that it is silly to think that every single datum about my life is private. I was referring, of course, to whether every single datum about my life deserves privacy protection in law.

It is not a rare phenomenon that what is legal may also be quite irresponsible. That appears in the First Amendment context all the time. What can be said often should not be said. Prof. Reidenberg’s exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any.

Professor Reidenberg responds to Justice Scalia’s response, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Fordham’s Dossier on Justice Scalia”

scalia come and find me above the law.jpgLast week, we wrote about the Fordham law professor who assigned his information privacy law class to compile a dossier on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The professor had chosen Scalia as the target for privacy invasion because of the Justice’s remarks at a January conference organized by the Institute of American and Talmudic Law. Scalia’s views on the privacy of personal information online are summed up nicely by this quote:

“Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly,” Scalia [said].

(And his views are summed up at greater length here by privacy expert and GW Law Professor Dan Solove.)

Professor Joel Reidenberg and his class now have a 15-page dossier on Scalia, including his home address, the value of his home, his home phone number, the movies he likes, his food preferences, his wife’s personal e-mail address, and “photos of his lovely grandchildren.”

We checked in with the Justice to see how he felt about his online information being aggregated and mined by the professor and his 15 students.

Scalia was far from pleased (though we were pleased that a Supreme Court Justice would honor Above The Law with a response). Check out his reply to us, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Scalia Responds to Fordham Privacy Invasion!”

pirate ship.jpg* Kenya has emerged as the chosen venue to try piracy cases. This article is worth it just for the quotes from the Kenyan piracy lawyer. Just try to imagine how much cooler your life would be if you were a Kenyan Piracy lawyer instead of a Biglaw associate. [The New York Times]

* Florida Judge Thomas Stringer worked for years to establish himself as a trusted, competent man. “then last spring, the well-respected, married judge suddenly found his face splashed beside that of a troubled exotic dancer in a kimono,” including here at ATL, of course. Amazing. [The Associated Press]

* Attorney General Eric Holder dodged alternating attacks on Capitol Hill Thursday, with some Congressman telling him to release more documents on Bush-era torture, and some telling him to stop releasing them. [CNN]

Lindsay Harrison front steps SCOTUS.jpgLindsay Harrison at One First Street. Photo by Patrice Gilbert.

Earlier this year, we conducted an interview of Lindsay C. Harrison, an associate in the Washington office of Jenner & Block. In January, Lindsay had the privilege of arguing before the United States Supreme Court — in her first oral argument ever. We chatted with her about the argument she presented in what was then Nken v. Mukasey and is now Nken v. Holder: what she wore, how she prepared, who was mean to her at argument.

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case. And even though Lindsay took the “liberal” position, she prevailed — by a 7-2 margin, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the Court. Congratulations, Lindsay!

Here’s a summary of the decision, from the ABA Journal:

A court of appeals retains its traditional authority to grant stays in deportation cases, despite a 1996 statute that limited the circumstances in which courts may block the removal of aliens, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 7-2 opinion…..

The government had argued that a provision in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 limited the circumstances in which stays could be granted. The Supreme Court disagreed, saying the statutory provision — on injunctions blocking the removal of aliens — leaves intact the court’s traditional authority to grant stays….

Harrison says the decision is “a critical victory” for [Jean Marc] Nken. “It’s a case that could really literally mean life or death for my client,” she says. “If he were deported while his appeal was pending, he is likely to be killed or jailed or tortured in Cameroon.”

As Lindsay told us in our earlier interview, she and her colleagues at Jenner in D.C. have devoted hundreds — by now, thousands — of hours to the case (pro bono). It looks like the Chicago office of Jenner isn’t the only one that can burn the midnight oil.

(Digression: One tipster is skeptical of the claim that Jenner’s office in Chicago is busy round-the-clock: “Amusing article about a condo owner who can’t sleep because her new next door neighbor, Jenner & Block, leaves its lights on all the time. Every lawyer in Chicago knows that Jenner is faking it — it’s like the guy who slips into the office on Sunday for two minutes, just to be seen by anyone who happens to be there.”)

This afternoon, we caught up with Lindsay Harrison over the phone. Our interview, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Jenner & Block Associate Scores SCOTUS Win”

scalia come and find me above the law.jpgBack in January, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a speaker at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law’s midwinter conference on privacy issues. Sitting in the New York office of Weil Gotshal, Scalia told attendees that privacy was not that important to him.

From the Associated Press (available cached only):

Discussions of privacy rights in the digital era should distinguish between such confidential data as medical records and information that might be personal but is easy to find out, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday.

Considering every fact about someone’s life private is “extraordinary,” he said, noting that data such as addresses have long been discernible, even if technology has made them easier to find.

“Every single datum about my life is private? That’s silly,” Scalia [said].

Well, Fordham Law Professor Joel Reidenberg interpreted that as a challenge. He gave the fifteen students in his Information Privacy Law class a special assignment this semester: Track down everything available on the Web about Antonin Scalia to compile a dossier on him.

Find out what they found out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Fordham Knows About Justice Scalia”

titanic.jpg* A U.S. District Judge in Virginia, Rebecca Beach Smith, will soon decide whether preserved Titanic artifacts must remain available to the public. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

* Adam Liptak gives us a lively look into the Supreme Court discussion about the highly critical Hillary documentary. [The New York Times]

* Obama’s lawyers were in lock-step with Bush policies Tuesday, arguing in favor of the decision to refuse one of Europe’s leading Muslim intellectuals entry in to the U.S. [Reuters]

* Pakistan’s supreme court chief justice returned to court Tuesday amid dancing supporters. [The Associated Press]

* Attorneys cringe as Blagojevich continues to put himself in the spotlight despite his pending federal corruption indictment. [The Associated Press]

* Dreier LLP may be able to reduce a $29 million claim from Wachovia. They need all the help they can get. [Greenwich Time]

* Barney Frank defends calling Scalia a “homophobe.” [The Boston Globe]

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