It’s late May, so we’re entering the home stretch of the Supreme Court Term. Over the next few weeks, the Court will be handing down opinions in the most contentious, closely divided cases.
One such opinion came down today: Brown v. Plata (formerly Schwarzenegger v. Plata). In this high-profile case, a three-judge district court issued an order that directed the State of California to reduce its prison population — e.g., by releasing prisoners (as many as 46,000, at the time of the order) — in order to address problems with overcrowding and poor health care for inmates.
When SCOTUS granted cert, I thought that it did so in order to summarily reverse. Federal judges running penal institutions, ordering tens of thousands of convicted criminals to be let out onto the streets? The district court’s order reeked of the kind of Ninth Circuit liberal activism that doesn’t sit well with the Roberts Court. (Note that one of the members of the three-judge panel was the notoriously left-wing Judge Stephen Reinhardt.)
Well, I was wrong. The Court just affirmed, 5-4, in an opinion by (who else?) Justice Anthony Kennedy.
There were two dissents, by Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. Justice Scalia’s opinion in particular contains some stinging (but ultimately ineffectual) benchslaps….
I think there is a disease of illiteracy or laziness, because just the commentary will tell you they haven’t read [the opinions they're critiquing]….
You don’t go to a Georgia fan to get commentary on the University of Florida, because it’s not objective commentary. Unfortunately, much of the commentary about the court is from the standpoint of people who have vested interests in particular outcomes, particular policies or particular results. Do you think you are getting an honest assessment?
It might interest you to know that if I were still an active justice, I would have joined [Justice Alito's] powerful dissent in the recent case holding that the intentional infliction of severe emotional harm is constitutionally protected speech. The case… involved a verbal assault on the private citizens attending the funeral of their son — a Marine corporal killed in Iraq. To borrow Sam’s phrase, the First Amendment does not transform solemn occasions like funerals into ‘free-fire zones.’
Here’s the question swirling through the blogosphere today: Should Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg resign now — because if she dies under a Republican president, it will be a disaster for every ideal she fights for?
The question was teed up on the WSJ Law Blog this morning after an AP report noted that some liberals were “clamoring” for her resignation (and that of Stephen Breyer, to a lesser extent), just in case Obama loses in 2012.
You can see why liberals are nervous. The Court already has a 5 – 4 conservative majority (if you really think Justice Anthony Kennedy is a “swing” vote, you’re a Republican who likes to pretend to be an independent). Justice Ginsburg has had health problems, and some are not confident that she’ll last until 2016 — and it’s unlikely that either the 78-year-old RBG or the 72-year-old Breyer would make it to 2020, if a two-term Republican president is on the horizon.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Which is why I think my answer is going to surprise people…
* BP has its granny panties in a bunch over Transocean’s liability for the oil spill. So they’re suing. [Bloomberg]
* Major League Baseball sought to take over the Dodgers from Frank McCourt yesterday. Your move, Wilpon. [Los Angeles Times]
* Tax Lady Roni DEUTCH may be thrown in jail. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in this video, but definitely wait for the thrown dog. [ABA Journal]
* Juvenile killers are hoping to reach the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn their life sentences. If their cases make it that far, they’ll undoubtedly find a certain justice who only cares about inferior MP3 players and Emilio Estefan. [New York Times]
* Something called the Second Amendment Foundation has sued Massachusetts over their law forbidding legal immigrants from owning handguns. Crocodile Dundee didn’t need a handgun. [Fox News Latino]
* The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit asking courts to force major companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking attorneys how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [New York Times]
* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who can be seen every Thursday night on 30 Rock playing Kenneth the Page, shares none of Jan Brewer’s qualms about a “birther bill.” [Politico]
* The Ecuadorean Slapfight (also the name of my ska band in high school) between Patton Boggs, Gibson Dunn, and Chevron was squashed by a judge yesterday. [Reuters]
* Tiger Blogger Vivia Chen wants white guys to be hunted like animals. [The Careerist]
* A copyright troll has found a way to exact a toll without actually owning any copyrights. No word yet on whether anyone has gained entrance into the boy’s hole. [Wired via ABA Journal]
* Alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being transferred to another prison. Julian Assange celebrated the news by going dancing. [Fox News]
* Sponsors of Proposition 8 are mad that retired judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Prop 8′s defeat in court, is giving lectures around the country that feature a three-minute clip of the trial. They say the video should remain in the closet. Or a desk drawer of some sort. [Los Angeles Times]
* Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tapped the brakes on the Insane Train yesterday, vetoing one measure that would allow guns at schools and another that would require presidential candidates to prove they weren’t Kenyan immigrants hellbent on the destruction of Lee Greenwood. [TucsonSentinel.com]
* Microsoft went before the Supreme Court yesterday to argue that patents should be easier to challenge. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking the Microsoft attorney how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [Reuters]
* Customer accounts have been frozen following the indictment of online poker companies. Bloomberg decided this was the perfect time to upload their stock poker photo, featuring the caption “A royal flush, circa 1950.” [Bloomberg]
* And here’s a rundown of the potential attorneys and firms who will work the defense side in said p-p-p-poker case. [Am Law Daily]
* The Taco Bell soylent beef lawsuit was dropped yesterday. Posting will be light today while Elie makes a run for the border. [NPR]
* Yo, Mr. Dopeman, you think you’re slick. You sold crack to my sister and now she’s sick. But if she happens to die because of your drug, federal judges will have a difficult time sentencing you. Oof, that N.W.A. lyric took a weird turn, didn’t it? [New York Times]
* The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by five Uyghurs being detained in Guantanamo Bay. On a related note, I just wasted a good ten minutes listening to this pronunciation of Uyghur. [CNN]
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!