Supreme Court

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* Michael Jackson “beat it” without paying his legal bill. [The Daily Breeze]

* Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain testified for 2.5 hours yesterday in New York in Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, but wouldn’t say which employees got some of the $3.6 billion bonus pie before the merger with B of A. How are we supposed to know which men to date when we get laid off? Kidding….[Bloomberg]

* More than 100 clients of a man who pretended to be an immigration lawyer got free advice from Lawyers at the New York City Bar Association. [The New York Times]

* SCOTUS had a big day yesterday, ruling on a Utah union case and a case involvingIndian reservations, and hearing arguments on environmental cleanups. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first to ask questions. [ABA Journal]

* In Houston, a Republican on the congressional judiciary has called for the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent, aka the groper we’ve been writing about, who is still hoping to get retirement funds from the state. [The Houston Chronicle]

* Show me the money. Lawyers, bankers, and accountants stand to make $1.2 billion in fees from GM’s bankruptcy. [Bloomberg.com]

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* SCOTUS will look at the separation of church and state when they decide whether “a cross to honor fallen soldiers can stand in a national preserve in California.” [The Los Angeles Times]

* Lawyers say Madoff must have had help with his Ponzi scheme. [Bloomberg]

* Attorney General Eric Holder visited Guantanamo yesterday to see what is needed to close the prison. [The Associated Press]

* Meanwhile, a Pentagon official who inspected Guantanamo at Obama’s request is under fire from human rights activists for filing a report (which declares Gitmo humane) that is little more than good public relations for the administration. [The New York Times]

* What do you do when your boss gets indicted for securities fraud? You get another job. A team of seven bankruptcy lawyers left Dreier LLP for Epstein Becker Green. [EBG]

* A federal judge encouraged the Obama administration to decide whether to keep pursuing a case against 11 Vietnam War Veterans accused of trying to overthrow Laos’s communist government. [The Associated Press]

* Judge says: UBS must respond to the U.S. lawsuit seeking disclosure of 52,000 names of people who allegedly used Swiss accounts for tax evasion. [Bloomberg]

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* Legal experts write a letter to Congress suggesting term limits for Supreme Court justices. [The Washington Post]

* SCOTUS will discuss whether judges should excuse themselves from voting in cases involving big campaign contributors when they hear a case involving a West Virginia judge. [Detroit Free Press]

* 3 jurors who convicted Alfred Trenkler of a bombing that killed a Boston Police officer wrote letters begging the judge for a new trial, after a book about the case convinced them of his innocence. [The Boston Globe]

* Today in Houston, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent will go on trial, facing accusations that he fondled two female court employees. [The Associated Press]

* Madoff‘s investors wont have an easy time in court; securities law is not on their side. [The Washington Post]

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGWe take back what we previously wrote about Justice Samuel Alito being “a bit secretive about his clerk hiring.” Presumably Justice Alito signed off on this press release issued by Seton Hall Law School, announcing the hiring of Lucas Townsend (Seton Hall 2004 / Ackerman (D.N.J.) / Trump Barry) as an Alito clerk for October Term 2009.

Congratulations to Townsend and to Seton Hall, which has placed its first graduate into a SCOTUS clerkship. From a tipster:

We just got this email [a slightly tweaked version of the press release] from the dean. Not bad for a school that most of the elitists on ATL would consider a TTT. Although SHU will never sniff the T-14, the school has been steadily climbing the U.S. News rankings, and I think this alum’s accomplishment might help that cause.

We also had the best showing of New York Vault 100 placement ever by this year’s 2L class. Things are looking good on this side of the Hudson.

Additional Supreme Court clerk hiring news, plus updated lists of Supreme Court clerks for OT 2009 and OT 2010, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: A First for Seton Hall”

Supreme Court hallway Above the Law Above the Law Above the Law.JPGOkay, so Chief Justice John Roberts can’t administer an oath of office to save his life. But he can hire brilliant and fabulous law clerks:

1. James McDonald (UVA 2007 / Sutton)

2. Stephen Sachs (Yale 2007 / S. Williams)

2. Erik Zimmerman (Stanford 2007/Wilkinson)

They join the previously hired Roman Martinez (Yale 2008 / Kavanaugh), filling up JGR’s chambers for October Term 2009.

We also hear that Justice Samuel A. Alito is done hiring for OT 2009. In addition to Jaynie Randall’s previously reported hiring, we can now add:

1. Amit Agarwal (Georgetown / Kavanaugh)

2. K. Winn Allen (UVA / Sutton)

If you know the identity of the fourth Alito clerk, please drop us a line. We hear that SAA is a bit secretive about his clerk hiring, which strikes us as a bit silly. As a former prosecutor, Justice Alito should be familiar with the inevitable discovery doctrine. Why guard the identities of Supreme Court clerks so jealously, when they’re all going to be made public eventually by the Court’s Public Information Office?

Updated lists of Supreme Court clerks, for OT 2009 and OT 2010, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Chief Justice Roberts”

Lindsay Harrison front steps SCOTUS.jpgLindsay Harrison at One First Street. Photo by Patrice Gilbert.

To paraphrase the controversial Campari ads at issue in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (aka The People vs. Larry Flynt), everyone remembers “their first time” — arguing in open court, that is. It’s a rite of passage that all young litigators must go through. At large law firms, associates (or even junior partners) typically tackle something minor for their first oral argument — e.g., a non-critical discovery motion — and then work their way up the ladder.

But that’s not the case for everyone; some people start at the top. Meet Lindsay C. Harrison. She’s a fifth-year associate in the D.C. office of Jenner & Block, who just had her very first oral argument — which happened to be in the U.S. Supreme Court. On Wednesday, she appeared before the nine justices to argue the case of Nken v. Mukasey (or, technically, Nken v. Filip; more on the name changes later).

Read our interview with Lindsay Harrison, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Jenner & Block Associate Argues Her First Case – In the Supreme Court”

Gillibrand Senator.jpg* Governor Patterson has chosen Kirsten Gillibrand, a 42-year-old New York congresswoman, to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. [Reuters]

* On the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade protestors gather for the annual March for Life on the National Mall. [The Los Angeles Times]

* The Senate has confirmed six members of Obama’s cabinet but Attorney General-designate Eric Holder is still waiting. [The Associated Press]

* Blagojevich may file a lawsuit challenging “unfair” Senate trial rules to the state Supreme Court. [The Washington Post]

* Obama ordered the Justice Department to review the case of an accused al-Qaida agent, the only enemy combatant held on US soil. [The Associated Press]

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* The Madoff case will garner lawyers lots of money in fees. “This is a financial 9/11 for our clients” said a Proskauer Rose litigation partner, licking his lips. [Bloomberg.com]

* Meanwhile, the U.S. is challenging the New York Judge’s decision to keep Madoff free on bail. [Bloomberg.com]

* Legislators in Maine are introducing a bill that would recognize same-sex marriage. [The Boston Globe]

* Obama and Biden will visit the Supreme Court this afternoon to meet with the Justices and get a tour. The elephant in the chambers: Obama and Biden voted against Roberts’ confirmation. [The Washington Post]

* Al Franken asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to let him get to the Senate without waiting for the resolution of opponent Norm Coleman’s legal challenge. His lawyers argue that Senator’s will need Franken for comic relief in the midst of our trying times (just kidding). [The Associated Press]

* Dozens of suspected terrorists released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorism says the Pentagon (gulp). [CNN]

Elena Kagan 3 Harvard Law School Above the Law Elana Kagan Elena Kagen.jpgMany have speculated that Harvard Law School’s hot and high-powered dean, Elena Kagan, might be a Supreme Court nominee in an Obama administration.

Dean Kagan is one step closer to sitting on the Court. Assuming her confirmation process goes smoothly — which it surely will, given how universally adored and admired she is, by liberals and conservatives alike — Elena Kagan will soon be arguing before the SCOTUS, as the Solicitor General of the United States.

As expected, President-elect Barack Obama has selected her as his SG nominee. From a message just sent out by Dean Kagan:

I am writing to all of you – the community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Harvard Law School – to let you know that today President-elect Barack Obama will announce his intention to nominate me to serve as Solicitor General of the United States. If confirmed by the Senate, I will resign the deanship of the Law School and take a leave of absence from the faculty.

If Dean Kagan makes the jump from solicitor general to justice, it won’t be unprecedented. The justice for whom she clerked, Thurgood Marshall, served as SG from 1965 to 1967, until President Johnson appointed him to the Court.

Back in 2007, Dean Kagan lost out on the presidency of Harvard University. Near the end of the Clinton Administration, she was nominated to the Most High D.C. Circuit, but never confirmed. Is 2009 going to be her year?

The full announcement from Dean Kagan to the HLS community, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Elena Kagan to Solicitor General”

poker.jpg* Poker chip thief sniped!!! (thank goodness) [Norwich Bulletin]

* Budweiser (Bud) beer cannot corner the market on it’s name anymore. The EU high court took away Anheuser-Busch’s famous trademark–a big win for Czech beer company “Budvar”. [Associated Press]

* The Supreme Court breathed life in to the lawsuit of former Gitmo detainees, British Muslims who want top officials (including Donald Rumsfeld) held responsible for their torture at the prison. [The Los Angeles Times]

* Bankruptcy filings are up 30% this year, and New York filings are happening at a faster rate than the rest of the Nation. Maybe this time Wall Street is suffering more than mainstreet? (doubtful). [The New York Times]

* Madoff’s lawyer John R. Wing, known as “Rusty” says Madoff’s family had nothing to do with the ponzi scheme (am I the only one who thinks of the Fonz every time I hear ponzi scheme). [The New York Times]

* A Senator says the U.S. Treasury may adopt a plan that would force automakers into bankruptcy if they can’t make it without the government’s help. [Bloomberg]

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