Supreme Court

Supreme Court morning Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.jpgThey prefer crack, thank you very much.
Because why else would the justices rule against noble, crusading students, and in favor of the mean old school officials, in Morse v. Frederick — aka the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case?*
But free speech proponents shouldn’t despair. Over at SCOTUSblog, Marty Lederman notes:

Morse is a very limited holding — essentially limited to the drug context. The Alito concurrence, joined by Kennedy, is controlling. He writes:

I join the opinion of the Court on the understanding that (a) it goes no further than hold that a public school may restrict speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use and (b) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as ‘the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.’”

In other words: Hey liberals, this Alito guy might not be as bad as you thought.
* As we previously observed, petitioner Deborah Morse, one of the prevailing school officials, is “a curvaceous, dark-haired beauty.” But we would hope that Supreme Court justices would decide cases based on the merits, not on the attractiveness of the parties.
Of course, sometimes both factors point in the same direction. See, e.g., Marshall v. Marshall — the Anna Nicole Smith case.
Quick Preliminary Notes on Hein and Morse [SCOTUSblog]

supreme court 2.JPGDavid Souter is signing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s yearbook. Sam Alito is hoping he’ll get a better locker next year. Nino Scalia is mapping out which European restaurants he’s going to hit this summer. Yes, that’s right: today is the last scheduled day of the Supreme Court’s Term.
The justices are handing down opinions as we type. We’ll have coverage and links pertaining to today’s decisions in a subsequent post.
Will there be any surprises? Or will the paramount importance of Justice Kennedy simply be further confirmed — as if this fact, noted by the astute Jim Ho, wasn’t revealing enough?
Check back soon for more.
Update / correction: Today was, according to the Court’s OT 2006 calendar (PDF), the last scheduled non-argument session. But because the justices didn’t hand down all of the Term’s opinions today, they will issue more decisions on Thursday.
Batting 1.000 [Volokh Conspiracy]

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGA few more updates from tipsters:
Edward C. Dawson, who clerked for Kennedy in OT 2003, is with Yetter & Warden, and according to our tipster is in the new Austin office.
Marc Allen, also a former Kennedy clerk, has reportedly gone in-house with Boeing, working for his old boss, Judge J. Michael Luttig.
Leondra Kruger, who clerked for Stevens in OT 2003, is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
The pattern of about half in private practice appears to be holding.

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGIn our recent New York Times op-ed piece on Supreme Court clerkship bonuses, we argued that “[f]rom a narrowly economic point of view — focusing on the actual work the clerks will perform, and setting aside the law firms’ quest for prestige and bragging rights — it is difficult to understand why firms fight for the right to shower 26-year-olds with cash.”
One of the contentions we thought about offering in support of this claim was that Supreme Court clerks don’t stick around their law firms for very long after getting their huge bonuses. This was our sense of things, based admittedly on “anec-data.” It seemed to us that SCOTUS clerks go to law firms, stay for maybe two years, and then leave to become law professors, or government or public interest lawyers.
But then we decided to go back and look at the data. We thought it would be interesting to see how many Supreme Court clerks from October Term 2002 and October Term 2003 are still in private practice. The OT 2002 and OT 2003 clerk classes were ideal for the purpose of assessing the effect of bonuses because (1) law firms were offering gargantuan bonuses by this point in time, and (2) enough years have passed to allow for meaningful assessment of the clerks’ career paths.
We undertook this research, and it ended up showing that a reasonably high percentage of clerks — about 50 percent — are in private practice, a few years down the road. It’s not an overwhelmingly high percentage (in which case our argument that the firms effectively subsidize other quarters of the profession would be undermined). But it’s also not as low as we expected. We revised our argument accordingly, omitting any suggestion that a majority of clerks “take the money and run.”
Anyway, having done all this research, we felt like we should put it to some use (since it ended up not being reflected in the final version of the op-ed piece). Posting it on ATL seemed worthwhile enough.
Are you curious about what Supreme Court clerks from a few years ago are up to nowadays? Check out the lists, after the jump.
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [New York Times]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerks: Where Are They Now?”

* White House and RNC staff alleged to have tried to circumvent post-Watergate law. [CNN]
* The Roberts-Alito-Kennedy Court. [MSNBC]
* Judge recommends higher BALCO sentence. [ESPN]
* More trouble for Pacman Jones? [SI]
* DA Nifong is out; lax players reach settlement with Duke. [CNN]

O happy day! Our New York Times op-ed piece, praising the lavish bonuses bestowed upon Supreme Court clerks, has made the Most Emailed Articles list:
Supreme Court 2 bonus babies Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Thanks to all of you who have visited the NYT homepage and emailed this article to your friends and loved ones. And thanks to the bloggers who have linked to our piece and shared their thoughts. E.g.:

1. Jonathan Adler, In Defense of Clerkship Bonuses [Volokh Conspiracy]

2. Ann Althouse, “Harnessing irrational law firm egotism” for the public good. [Althouse]

3. Howard Bashman, The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [How Appealing]

To all the curious Althouse commenters, yes, we are of “Philipino [sic]” ancestry.
Hopefully we’ll climb higher than #21. The top ten would be great. We’ll keep you posted!
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [The New York Times]

A more detailed (but equally shameless) plug will follow tomorrow. For now, please check out this article:
supreme court bonus babies Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Then email it to, say, fifty of your closest friends. We are desperately trying to crack the NYT’s “Most Emailed Articles” list.
Much thanks. See you tomorrow!
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [The New York Times]

* 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]

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