Supreme Court

* Should the Supreme Court be forced to televise oral arguments? Yes, but only on the condition that we get spin-off shows called Wise Latina Justice and Ruthie’s Law. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Rod Blagojevich won’t get leniency during sentencing. He’ll spend the next week lamenting the fact that can’t brush his beautiful hair like Marcia Brady while in prison. [Bloomberg]

* Brynee Baylor, a D.C. attorney, has been charged with fraud by the SEC. Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get yourself a pair of Jimmy Choos. You go girl. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Plan B, the morning-after pill, may soon be available on drugstore shelves thanks to the FDA. But so what? Plan A, keeping your legs closed, is a much cheaper alternative. [New York Daily News]

* Pakistani actress Veena Malik is suing FHM for $2M. She only wanted to go topless on the cover, but she claims they made her look full on nude. Have at it, pixel inspectors. [New York Magazine]

Does George Will look like the protector of Black America to you?

People who think giving charity to those less fortunate also gives them the right to direct the personal choices of those receiving the charity are some of the worst people on the planet. The biggest offenders are religious organizations: “Ooh, here’s some food. Yes. You like food, don’t you? I bet you’re hungry — I can tell ’cause I can see your ribs. Well, it’s all you can eat in here… first, just say you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior. SAY IT. Wonderful. Bon appétit!”

Organizations do it all the time, but there are plenty of individuals who also think giving a guy a buck gives them the right to tell the recipient how to spend the money. This behavior is the worst because it takes what should be a generous gesture (giving somebody money) and turns it into a cheap way to make a BS point about your moral superiority (“If this man did just one thing more like me, he wouldn’t have to beg for my scraps.”).

If you want to help, help. But don’t use “helping” as an excuse to further some ridiculous personal agenda. You’ll just look like an idiot. You’ll just look like George Will prancing around the pages of the Washington Post trying to act like he is against affirmative action because he suddenly wants the Supreme Court to step up to the plate and “help” black people….

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Justice Clarence Thomas

Elie here. Imagine Santa Claus stopping by your house — except this time Saint Nick is a mute, who stuffs your stocking with personal responsibility and brings you wooden toys, because those were the only ones available when his legend was born.

Well, joking aside, Justice Clarence Thomas will be stopping by Yale Law School on December 14th. And since there won’t be a case in front of him, he’ll actually be talking.

But not to everybody. Sources tell us — and Yale Dean Robert Post confirmed, in a school-wide email — that Justice Thomas will be speaking to the Yale Federalist Society and to the Black Law Students Association, as well as attending a class and a private reception. He won’t be making any general public appearance.

Setting aside commencement, it’s fairly typical for guest speakers (including Supreme Court justices) to speak to specific student groups and not the law school at large. If Justice Elena Kagan went to Yale, she’d likely speak to the American Constitution Society and the Socratic Hard-Ass Faculty Coven.

Some students claim, however, that the Yale administration has contacted several student organizations and asked them not to protest during Thomas’s visit. We don’t know if that’s true, and a message from Dean Post (reprinted below) does not directly mention anything about student protests. But the mere rumor of Yale trying to quash protests, circulated on “The Wall” (the YLS list-serv), has made some students angry.

Should they be? Strap yourselves in for an ATL Debate….

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Justice Elena Kagan

The latest issue of New York magazine contains a very interesting profile of the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Elena Kagan, penned by Dahlia Lithwick. Here’s the bottom-line summary of the piece (via Ezra Klein):

“While Kagan is assuredly a liberal, and likely also a fan of the health-reform law, a close read of her tenure at the Supreme Court suggests that she is in fact the opposite of a progressive zealot. By the end of Kagan’s first term, conservatives like former Bush solicitor general Paul Clement (who will likely argue against the health-care law this coming spring) and Chief Justice John Roberts were giving Kagan high marks as a new justice precisely because she wasn’t a frothing ideologue. The pre-confirmation caricatures of her as a self-serving careerist and party hack are not borne out by her conduct at oral argument, her writing, and her interactions with her colleagues. In fact, if her first term and a half is any indication, she may well madden as many staunch liberals as conservatives in the coming years.”

That’s just the overview. Let’s delve into the details a bit more….

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Can a Westlaw or Lexis print-out hide your booze stash? I didn't think so.

* Are Asian American lawyers too nerdy to climb the Biglaw or corporate ladder — or is this just an outdated stereotype? [The Careerist]

* Does having your law school sob story featured on national television count as “employed upon graduation”? (Or, more seriously, here’s an opportunity for an unemployed law school grad.) [Inside the Law School Scam]

* A Notre Dame law professor, Mark McKenna, offers some courageous and deeply personal commentary on the Penn State scandal. [Slate]

* How will SCOTUS vote on Obamacare? Two political science professors, Michael Bailey and Forrest Maltzman, offer predictions. [The Monkey Cage via How Appealing]

Ted Frank

* Congratulations to Ted Frank and CCAF on a big win in the Ninth Circuit. [Center for Class Action Fairness]

* Following in the footsteps of its former employee, Gregory Berry, Kasowitz Benson seeks to conquer Silicon Valley. [Am Law Daily]

* In the age of Lexis and Westlaw, hardbound law books still serve a valuable purpose. [Kickstarter]

* It’s a briefcase branded with your favorite team insignia. But real subtle-like, so other people won’t immediately know you are an alpha jock fan boy. But you will. You’ll always know. [The Fandom Review]

I once observed that federal judges are “the closest thing this nation has to an aristocracy.” If that’s the case, then justices of the United States Supreme Court are royalty — or maybe even deities, gods, and goddesses who walk among us (and occasionally crash into us, too).

Alas, it seems that two members of SCOTUS didn’t get the memo. They are comporting themselves in public in ways that are inconsistent with the dignity of the Article III judiciary.

This is a bipartisan problem. One of the offenders comes from the left side of the Court, and one comes from the right….

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Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows, who learned of their selection earlier this month. These one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, awarded to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships, are generally regarded as second only to Supreme Court clerkships in prestige (and often lead to SCOTUS clerkships as well). You can read more about the Bristow Fellowship, including the job responsibilities and application process, on the Justice Department website.

Let’s take a look at the next crop of Bristow Fellows. Which law schools did they graduate from, and for whom did they clerk?

Also: over the past three years, which law schools and judges have minted the most Bristow Fellows?

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This version of her face was better.

* Grassley, if you think a letter will get the SCOTUS health care arguments on TV, then you probably think the ABA is going to do something about your letters to them, too. Aww. [Blog of Legal Times]

* When in doubt, get the f**k out. Take this expert advice from Judge Paul Hawkes: the best way to avoid an ethics hearing is to quit resign from your job. [Palm Beach Post]

* Mmm, “law school porn.” So thick, so long, so… stupid. Just think of all of the other bigger and better things that law schools could be spending your tuition money on. [National Law Journal]

* And in real porn news, a litigant says that Jenna Jameson is “possessed.” But was he talking about her case, or the evil plastic surgery demon who did a number on her face? [Chicago Tribune]

* Gary Busey is being sued for walking under the influence at an Oklahoma airport. Applicable Buseyism? CRAP: Colliding Recklessly Against Passengers. [International Business Times]

If Learned Hand’s opinions are like the products of a bespoke tailor, the opinions coming out of the Ninth Circuit are like the products of a factory that is staffed by machines and menial workers who are overseen from afar by a handful of overworked managers.

– Justice Samuel Alito, in a recent speech at Rutgers School of Law (Newark), lamenting the decline of craftsmanship in judicial opinions.

(An interesting fact about Justice Alito and the Ninth Circuit, after the jump.)

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The president looks good in a doctor's coat, no?

In a development that should surprise no one, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning agreed to review the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare. This means that, before the end of the current SCOTUS Term in summer 2012, Anthony Kennedy the justices will rule on the validity of this sweeping legislation (unless they avoid the question on jurisdictional grounds, as Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit recently did — a path that might appeal to Justice Kennedy, as suggested by Professor Noah Feldman, and a path that the Court itself highlighted by mentioning the jurisdictional issue in its certiorari grant.)

In the meantime, there will be a lot of cocktail party chatter about the health care reform law and its constitutionality. If you’d like some quick talking points, for use when you get the inevitable “What do you think about this as a lawyer?” questions from friends and family at Thanksgiving, keep reading….

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