Supreme Court

Today’s opinion opens a whole new field of constitutionalized criminal procedure: the field of plea-bargaining law. The court announces this new field in opinions that almost seem designed to sow confusion.

– Justice Antonin Scalia discussing his dissents in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 split decisions in both cases (published today) extended the constitutional right to effective legal assistance in cases of plea bargain deals that are rejected or lapsed due to bad lawyer advice.

Nicollette Sheridan

* It’s time for the Supreme Court to sound off on the battle over women’s wombs, and you know it’s bad when even a sitting justice calls it “a mess.” Can a child conceived after a parent’s death receive survivor benefits? [CNN]

* Disgusting health warning pictures on cigarette packaging and advertising: now constitutional according to the Sixth Circuit. Maybe this will inspire people to quit a habit that’s almost equally as disgusting. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* When Biglaw is involved, so is big money. Say “aloha” to the largest personal injury settlement in Hawaii’s history. The state will pay $15.4M over the hiking death of Gibson Dunn partner Elizabeth Brem. [Am Law Daily]

* A lawsuit filed against fashionista Alexander Wang over his alleged “sweatshop” has been discontinued, and not because there isn’t a case, but because the lawyers on either side have major beef. [New York Magazine]

* The Better Business Bureau has moved to dismiss a Florida law firm’s suit over its “F” grade. Because sometimes the truth hurts, but that doesn’t mean you can sue over it if you don’t like it. [Orlando Sentinel]

* The biggest bimbo from Wisteria Lane gets screwed again, but this time in court. A mistrial has been declared in Nicollette Sheridan’s lawsuit against the producers of “Desperate Housewives.” [Reuters]

Back in 2010, Kashmir Hill and I floated the idea, in a piece for the Washington Post, of Justice Clarence Thomas running for president in 2012. In light of the total clusterf**k never-ending slog that the Republican presidential primary process has become, the idea of a Thomas candidacy has been revived.

Writing in The Daily Beast, Professor Adam Winkler suggested that Justice Thomas could emerge as the Republican presidential nominee after a brokered convention. As a candidate, Clarence Thomas might be able to bridge the ever-widening gap between the Republican Establishment, which esteems him as a jurist, and the Tea Party types, with whom his wife, Ginni Thomas, has worked.

What does Justice Thomas think about making a White House run? He recently responded to the speculation….

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* Who will play starring roles in the Obamacare arguments before SCOTUS? A bunch of older white guys. Good thing this isn’t televised, because the ratings would probably suck. [Legal Times]

* The judiciary is on the cusp of a “financial crisis,” and some trials may be put on hold. That, or they’re just going to get rid of people. Which do you think it’ll be? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* When rankings like these are available, who cares about U.S. News? Here’s a list of the law schools you should go to if you want to actually make bank as a lawyer. [Forbes]

* Covington & Burling is the latest Biglaw firm to sign up for an office in Seoul. Memo to partners: this is not the spring “bonus” your associates care about. [Capital Business Blog / Washington Post]

* The jury in the Dharun Ravi privacy trial is set to begin its deliberations this morning. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that room — or, more on point, a webcam. [Statehouse Bureau]

* Thomas Puccio, a former Biglaw partner known for his notorious clientele, RIP. [New York Times]

Justice Elena Kagan

It seems like we’re all working hard. It’s not like we’re playing golf on Wednesday afternoons.

– Justice Elena Kagan, in remarks delivered at Harvard Law School this past Friday to the National Association of Women Judges.

(A second Quote of the Day, from a circuit judge who feeds clerks to Justice Kagan, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quotes of the Day: On Wednesdays We Wear Black!”

* Two weeks from today, the Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on the Obamacare case. Everyone thinks Justice Kennedy’s vote will swing the Court, but Chief Justice Roberts isn’t about to let him steal his sunshine. [New York Times]

* Montana’s Chief Judge stands accused of sending a racist email, but he once counseled law students about the dangers of email. It seems like the man can’t follow his own advice… and that’s some major Cebulls**t! [Billings Gazette]

* Gaming post-graduation employment statistics: the Columbia Law School and NYU Law edition. It looks like it might be time to fire up the Strauss/Anziska machine for the top tier of our nation’s law schools. [New York Post]

* Greenberg Traurig and Alston & Bird think people care about their new, multimillion dollar rental agreements in Los Angeles. No one cares. They just want to know where the spring bonuses are. [Los Angeles Times]

* But speaking of Alston & Bird, some Floridians are complaining about the firm’s bill. $475 an hour for four partners and associates? You really need to stop, because you’re getting the deal of the century. [The Ledger]

* James Humphreys — with a P-H! — donated $1M to GW School of Law so more students can receive scholarships. Maybe one of our favorite Wall Street Occupiers will get one? [National Law Journal]

Protesting Justice Scalia at Wesleyan.

Yesterday I wrote about Justice Antonin Scalia delivering the distinguished Hugo Black Lecture at Wesleyan University. In my write-up of Justice Scalia’s remarks, I alluded to campus protests held immediately prior to the speech. These protests, by a group calling itself the “Scalia Welcoming Committee,” were styled “Occupy Scalia” (a somewhat unfortunate moniker, in my view.)

I took some photographs and video footage of the protestors. Check these people out….

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Two weeks ago, we asked our readers to submit their entries for Above the Law’s “Lawyer Meme” contest.

This week, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner….

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Justice Scalia speaking last night at Wesleyan University.

Last night, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the prestigious Hugo Black Lecture at Wesleyan University, speaking in the university’s Memorial Chapel before a packed house. Wesleyan is an uber-liberal school — the basis for the movie PCU, about a very Politically Correct University — and Justice Scalia’s visit was preceded by campus protests (dubbed “Occupy Scalia”). But I was pleasantly surprised by how respectful and appreciative the audience was of Justice Scalia’s deeply thoughtful and persuasive remarks; the protests during his speech were minor and clustered near the end.

I trekked up to Middletown from New York City to attend the lecture. What did Justice Scalia have to say? And what did the protests entail?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Scalia Goes to Wesleyan”

* Apparently the Roberts Court is unusual in that its elite members lacked opportunities to gain “the most critical judicial virtue: practical wisdom.” Yeah, right. Tell that one to the Wise Latina. [Washington Post]

* In the wake of the contraception controversy, Rush Limbaugh apologized for calling Georgetown 3L Sandra Fluke a “slut.” He’s so very, very sorry… that he lost some of his advertisers. [The Caucus / New York Times]

* The powers that be in Massachusetts have decided to show law bloggers a little bit of respect. Now they’ll get to cover judicial proceedings like real, live journalists — press passes and all. [Metro Desk / Boston Globe]

* Pornography: now with ten percent fewer HIV infections! A Los Angeles city ordinance requiring porn actors to wear condoms during filming will be taking effect today. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

* After allegedly making two other incidents disappear from her record, former Bronx ADA Jennifer Troiano pleaded guilty to drunk driving last week. It looks like the third time really is the charm. [New York Daily News]

* New York newlyweds allege that Glamour Me Studio Photoshopped their heads onto naked bodies. Groomzilla Todd Remis must be glad that his wedding photography woes weren’t so graphic. [New York Post]

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