Supreme Court

* Florida is woefully unprepared for a zombie apocalypse. [Lowering the Bar]

* Congratulations to Sujit Choudhry on being named dean at Boalt Hall. [Prawfs Blawg]

* Justice Scalia is a delusional hack. Well, that’s not really news… [Salon]

* Just how suspect was that referendum on Crimean annexation? Even the Russian government is questioning it. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* A look at how Lauren Giddings’s killer could have gotten free. [The Telegraph (Macon)]

* The KABA and JABA have issued a joint statement on the lawsuit surrounding the Glendale, CA, Comfort Women Memorial. [Korean American Bar Association / Japanese American Bar Association]

* A governor’s cronies get the plum state judgeships. That may not be surprising, but the negative impact it has on the quality of the judiciary deserves more attention. [The Center for Public Integrity]

* I’d never heard of “The Full Kagan,” and I’m not sure I want to know what it relates to. [Excess of Democracy]

* Much has been made of federal prosecutors failing to go after the “Too Big To Fail” banks. After the jump is a primer on why they haven’t. [Bloomberg TV]

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The return of the Supreme Court to the headlines, with its ruling today in a big legislative prayer case, reminded me: it has been several months since our last update on Supreme Court clerk hiring.

So let’s plunge right in. As you’ll see in the list below, there aren’t many openings left. In fact, it’s quite possible that the justices are done hiring and we just don’t have all the future clerks’ names yet.

Also after the jump, some bonus SCOTUS clerkship coverage: a list of the top feeder judges for the past five Terms….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Is October Term 2014 Filled Up? Plus A List Of Top Feeder Judges.”

* This guy used a cellphone jammer in his car to keep his commute interruption free. Guessing he’s not a lawyer. [Slate]

* Let’s lay off Justice Scalia for his latest screw up. Because Justice Stevens screwed up once too. Oh, well, that settles it then. I think the real point is Scalia completely whiffed trying to make a hugely bitchy argument, but we’ll let the Scalia lovers have their moment. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Not for the faint of heart. Audio of a guy killing two unarmed teens. Obviously they were breaking into his house, but his wingnut psyche is laid bare in his rambling justification for shooting first and never asking questions. He’s charged with first degree murder because the grand jury just wasn’t buying his story. [Gawker]

* Meanwhile, the guys who really need guns can’t find where they left them. [Legal Juice]

* The long-running “Commentgate” story from New Orleans — where federal prosecutors allegedly used anonymous comments to sway public opinion on their cases — has ended with the prosecutors agreeing to a ban from federal court. [Times-Picayune]

* Did anybody know Donald Sterling’s son was suspected of shooting a guy in an argument? And the D.A. that the elder Sterling ran fundraisers for decided not to prosecute? Yeah, I’d missed that. [Bessette Pitney]

* Martin Scorsese’s nephew is basically a bit player in one of his crime movies. [NY Daily News]

Ed. note: This post was written by Parker Higgins and posted at ParkerHiggins.net and republished on Techdirt

I spent a lot of the last week shaking my head at the commentary on the Supreme Court and its (lack of) technical expertise. Much of the criticism came in response to the oral arguments inAereo, and broke down in two areas: it either misunderstood the nature of Supreme Court oral arguments and their transcripts, or mistook familiarity with a handful of Silicon Valley products with actual tech savviness.

But in a series of cases this week about law enforcement searches of cell phones, we caught a glimpse of the Supreme Court’s real technology problem. Here’s what it comes down to: it’s not essential that the Court knows specifics about how technology itself works—and as Timothy Lee argues, that might even tempt them to make technology-based decisions that don’t generalize well. However, it is essential that the Court understands how people use technology, especially in areas where they’re trying to elaborate a standard of what expectations are “reasonable.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Supreme Court’s Real Technology Problem: It Thinks Carrying 2 Phones Means You’re A Drug Dealer”

Justice Scalia made what’s being called “a hugely embarrassing mistake” and an “epic blunder” after he wrote one of his characteristically dismissive and belittling dissents. Unfortunately it seems Justice Scalia (or his clerks) failed to do proper research and based an entire section of his dissent on a past decision that he completely mischaracterized.

A past decision that he wrote himself. Cue effect.

Maybe if he spent more time focusing on the law instead of fomenting revolution he could have avoided this….

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‘Uh, you want me to do *what,* Justice Scalia?’

I’m hoping that a law clerk is sitting in a back room wrapping a phone in aluminum foil.

– Professor Adam M. Gershowitz of William & Mary Law, noting that warrantless cellphone searches are unnecessary when they can be stored in Faraday bags or wrapped in aluminum foil to prevent the remote wiping of information. Gershowitz and other criminal law professors filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defendants in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, which are both being heard before the Supreme Court this week.

Chris Kluwe

* Meow! Last week, in a rare move, Justice Sonia Sotomayor let the world see that she’s not exactly the best of friends with Chief Justice John Roberts through her fiery dissent in the Schuette affirmative action case. [National Law Journal]

* The Am Law 100 law firm rankings are out, and 2013 is being described as a “middling” year for most Biglaw firms. On the bright side, it looks like the big and rich got even bigger and richer. We’ll have more on this later. [American Lawyer]

* Bingham McCutchen has settled a discrimination suit filed by Sleeping Beauty a former associate with a rare sleep disorder. We hope this lawyer will be able to sleep well on her new bed of cash. [Am Law Daily]

* Secrets, secrets are no fun: The search for a new dean is on at George Washington University Law, but professors say they were “sworn to secrecy” on the candidates who’ve visited campus. [GW Hatchet]

* “It’s not about me getting the money; it’s about showing the NFL you can’t do this.” Ex-Vikings punter Chris Kluwe may sue the team after being cut for expressing positive views on gay marriage. [NBC Sports]

* Donald Sterling’s wife ain’t sayin’ V. Stiviano is a gold digger — she’s alleging V. Stiviano is a gold digger. This, plus the accusations of racism against Sterling, is a flagrant foul. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

John Paul Stevens: once a member of the ‘highest’ court?

Yes. I really think that that’s another instance of public opinion [that's] changed. And recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction. Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally, there’s a general consensus that it was not worth the cost. And I think really in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug.

– Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, in comments made during NPR’s “Weekend Edition” as to whether marijuana should be legalized in the United States.

Rankings make this justice sad.

I really don’t like this categorization of schools as first, second, and third-tier. The U.S. News and World Report rankings of law schools are an abomination. The legal profession and the country would be better off if they were eliminated.

– Justice Samuel Alito, cringing at the very mention of law school rankings in comments recently published in the American Spectator’s wide-ranging interview with the Supreme Court justice. Justice Alito also thinks law schools place “too much emphasis” on the LSAT.

It’s been a week of strange splits and noteworthy dissents at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Navarette v. California, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a five-justice majority, holding that a traffic stop premised on an anonymous but reliable 911 tip about a swerving driver provided a police officer reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated. So much the worse for the driver in this case, who happened to have thirty pounds of pot in the bed of his truck. Chief Justice Roberts agreed, as did Justices Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. The usual yammering about Thomas as Scalia’s lap dog was quiet in this case. In Navarette, they apparently don’t even agree about how booze works: Scalia writes, “Whether a drunk driver drives drunkenly, the Court seems to think, is up to him. That is not how I understand the influence of alcohol.” He then cites to an article on the science of drinking.

In Paroline v. United States, the case involving restitution for child pornography victims, Justice Kennedy authored the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. The Chief dissented, along with Scalia and Thomas. Justice Sotomayor dissented separately. While none of the other justices joined her opinion, Sotomayor would have affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s en banc majority, granting the victim Amy full restitution. That majority included some conservative stalwarts (such as my former boss, Edith Jones) who aren’t often on the same side of divisive issues as the Wise Latina.

Justice Sotomayor also dissented in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, this term’s high-profile affirmative action case. Justice Ginsburg joined Sotomayor’s spirited (58-page!) dissent. Justice Kennedy, writing for himself, the Chief, and Alito, concluded that the Constitution does not require the Court to strike down Michigan voters’ ban on race-based admissions policies in higher education. Scalia and Thomas concurred only in the judgment. Breyer separately concurred, based on a different rationale. Kagan was recused.

If the Supreme Court this week is any indicator, we often agree on little. Where we do, we sometimes find ourselves sharing the sheets with some strange bedfellows. A week of vociferous dissents and unexpected alliances suits seems strangely appropriate to me this week . . . .

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