Supreme Court

– A screenshot of the answers to the New York Times crossword puzzle from earlier this week. Justice Elena Kagan is featured prominently in the puzzle’s 69 Across position. Per Professor Josh Blackman, Justice Kagan should consider this to be “one of the biggest nerd honors.”

We’re in the home stretch of October Term 2013 at the Supreme Court. After the final two opinions are handed down on Monday, the justices will scatter to the winds (and supplement their incomes with teaching, often in lovely European destinations).

During the month of July, the clerk classes will turn over. Each week, new clerks will arrive and outgoing clerks will depart — do pass go, do collect your $300,000. (Or more; we’re hearing rumors of possible upward movement this year; drop us a line if you have info to share.)

So now is a good time to look at the latest SCOTUS clerk hires. We have almost all the clerks for October Term 2014, plus a few new hires for October Term 2015….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Looking Ahead To October Term 2015″

Exploding courthouse toilet = products liability attorney’s dream.

* Funny that SCOTUS just struck down a law imposing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics, yet it heavily enforces its own buffer zone. Some call it “supreme irony.” [WSJ Law Blog]

* Despite the slacking demand for legal services — down by 8.8 percent in terms of billable hours — members of the Am Law 100 still managed to keep their heads above water. [Am Law Daily]

* Lorin Reisner, chief of the criminal division of S.D.N.Y.’s USAO and Preet Bharara’s right-hand man on Wall Street convictions, is leaving for greener pastures at Paul Weiss. Congrats! [Reuters]

* New York State’s highest court has rejected New York City’s ban on gigantic drinks that was previously proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Go on, have yourself a nice Quadruple Big Gulp. [Bloomberg]

* When the long arm of the law flushes the toilet, it sometimes explodes, raining down jagged shards of justice. But on a more serious note, we’re happy no one was hurt at this courthouse. [Billings Gazette]

The Supreme Court ruled today in McCullen v. Coakley that a Massachusetts law creating a buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the First Amendment. The law criminalized standing on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility, with narrow exceptions for employee and law enforcement access. Eleanor McCullen, the lead plaintiff, is a grandmother in her late seventies who stood on sidewalks near clinics in order to initiate quiet, one-on-one conversations with women seeking abortions. The Court held today that the buffer zones created by the law burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s interests.

The Court was unanimous in its judgment that the law violates the First Amendment rights of anti-abortion speakers such as Eleanor McCullen. So, why is McCullen so disappointing to conservatives?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Conservatives Should Be Disappointed In A 9-0 Ruling In Favor of Abortion Opponents”

* Watchcat! [Legal Juice]

* On a similar note, New York banning “Tiger Selfies.” When do they give out the Darwin Awards again? [Lowering the Bar]

* Are there lessons to be learned from the lawyer who applied for — and got rejected from — a paralegal gig? [Law and More]

* Have you ever seen a standup comic playing music during a set? Well, they’re doing it to prevent others — clubs, networks, etc. — from lifting their work and selling it as their own. Welcome to the world of standups and copyright. [The Legal Geeks]

* You already heard our take. Now for someone who took some actual time to think about what Noel Canning means. [Federal Regulations Advisor]

* The sexiest law firm in the world? [The Careerist]

* The Supreme Court is less conservative than we think. Let’s have a poll! After reading this, do you think SCOTUS is less conservative than you expected? After the jump…. [Washington Post]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 06.26.14″

Above the Law editors are just like you. We wake up in the morning and log into SCOTUSblog and start a group Gchat about important Supreme Court cases just like everybody else.

We figure that the world doesn’t need another “analysis” of today’s Noel Canning decision in the recess appointments case. There will be approximately five million of those coming to an internet near you.

Instead, take a look at our real-time reactions as the decision went live. If you think we sound kind of dumb on the site, wait until you see how we actually think in real time….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The ATL Editors’ Breaking Gchat About Noel Canning”

It would be hard to overstate the importance of Riley v. California. Now data on cell phones (and, hopefully soon, other electronic media) requires a search warrant for law enforcement to get access to it during an arrest (generally — check your individual situation; exceptions may apply).

It’s so hard to overstate the importance of Riley that I don’t think a single media outlet has done it yet (which is really saying something in light of the current state of Supreme Court coverage).

As you may dimly remember from the criminal procedure class you took in law school, the “search incident to arrest” doctrine is a little screwy and subject to abuse. The general rule is that police can search things on your person or in the area of your arrest to make sure you don’t destroy evidence or hurt them, but nothing else. Later cases have held that the area you can reach while you’re being arrested (where you could destroy evidence or find something to hurt the police) includes the entire interior area of your car, regardless of how far you can reach or how wedged under the seat cushions that currency counterfeiting machine is.

This body of law is a lovely example of how pro-law enforcement results drive any reasonable understanding of how a test should be applied. Reading these cases in law school is a formatively disheartening experience (“really, that’s the kind of junk judges come up with? Why have laws at all?” etc.).

Riley, though, draws a line around your phone. Sure — the police can look into your pocket to see if that square box is a cell phone or a detonating device, and they can look in the back of your van to see if you could have reached a butterfly knife if you had a 20-foot arm span — but they can’t look inside the phone without first getting a warrant.

Of course, the Court could have decided this in a few ways. It could have written a very narrow doctrinal opinion. Or it could have issued a deeply divided set of opinions where there isn’t a clear statement about the development of the law as much as a resolution of one case. But, instead, the Court issued a 9-0 decision, authored by the Chief Justice, which was a celebration of the importance of electronic privacy and recognizes that we’re in a new world — and need new rules to handle it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Search Warrants To ISPs, The Supreme Court, And Electronic Privacy”

Warrant or GTFO.

Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.

– Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the Court in Riley v. California, holding that the police generally need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

(Additional highlights from Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “SCOTUS Gets Saucy With The Po-Po”

‘Would you like fries with that, Your Honor?’

* With OT 2013 drawing to a close, here’s a nifty chart that shows which Supreme Court justices vote together most and least often. The division is real, people. [The Upshot / New York Times]

* “Not only do they have unique interpretations of the Constitution but they can’t even agree on how to pronounce words.” Listen to our SCOTUS justices flub the word “certiorari.” [Legal Times]

* Quinn Emanuel and Samsung must now pay more than $2M in sanctions to Nokia and Apple after leaking confidential, “attorneys’ eyes only” information in a discovery blunder. Oopsie! [Legal Week]

* “Why can’t you get a real job?” This judge — the same one who sentenced a rapist to just 30 days in prison — told a fast-food worker to get a better job to pay off his restitution more quickly. [Billings Gazette]

* If you think you’ve seen the best of the “Law and ______” classes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Say hello to some newcomers, like Video Game Law and Law of Robots. Justice Scalia is pissed. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The importance of firm toilets. [Legal Cheek]

* JFK University is holding “Saturday Law School” at a shopping mall. They’ll be down by the “Macy’s and California Pizza Kitchen.” [Pleasanton Weekly]

* Professor David Bernstein from GMU Law explains how sex works. Basically, unless you’re dealing with prostitutes, the proper way to deal with women is to just stick it in and see what happens. [Gawker]

* “Noticing that different people look differently = innate human observation a little girl can do. Ascribing vastly different levels of trustworthiness based on skin color = police work.” [ATL Redline]

* Michelle MacDonald, the GOP nominee for Minnesota Supreme Court, has a pending DWI and an old contempt arrest, which she blows off with the line, “You can play foosball in the court when a judge isn’t there.” Picking real winners there, Minnesota. [Politics in Minnesota]

* Cocaine gave this lawyer 9 lives. [Missouri Lawyers Weekly (sub. req.]

* Mike Rowe decides not to take a lawyer’s advice. [IJ Review]

* The Supreme Court was pretty good to the environment yesterday. Something must have been wrong. [Grist]

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