* “Are we headed for another Great Depression?” [McClatchy]
* Quelle surprise: Bear Stearns shareholder lawsuit (filed in S.D.N.Y. by Coughlin Stoia). [Bloomberg; WSJ Law Blog (PDF of complaint)]
* Speaking of Bear Stearns, here are some law firms losing out on BSC business. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Tenth Circuit reverses convictions of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio. [AP]
* Harvard Law School will pay the 3L tuition of future students who agree to work for nonprofit organizations or government for five years following graduation. [New York Times via Tax Prof Blog; Harvard Law School (news release)]
* Settlement in Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce (more on this later). [Legal Week]
* SCOTUS to hear Second Amendment / D.C. gun control case today (more on this later too). [New York Times; Reuters]
- 10th Circuit, Bear Stearns, Celebrities, Divorce Train Wrecks, Guns / Firearms, Morning Docket, Public Interest, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, White-Collar Crime
* “Are we headed for another Great Depression?” [McClatchy]
The Supreme Court gets to enjoy the media spotlight this week as it dives into the always contentious Second Amendment. An article in Sunday’s Washington Post has a good breakdown of the issues at stake:
The nine justices, none of whom has ever ruled directly on the amendment’s meaning, will consider a part of the Bill of Rights that has existed without a definitive interpretation for more than 200 years.
“This may be one of the only cases in our lifetime when the Supreme Court is going to be interpreting the meaning of an important provision of the Constitution unencumbered by precedent,” said Randy E. Barnett, a constitutional scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center. “And that’s why there’s so much discussion on the original meaning of the Second Amendment.”
Facing the highest firearm murder rate among the States, the District of Columbia passed a law in 1976 virtually banning the possession of handguns. As a sidenote: The District also changed the name of its basketball team from the questionably violent “Bullets” to the “Wizards” in 1997.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the ban last year, and now SCOTUS has got to get up in it. In a Wall Street Journal column this month, Laurence Tribe revealed that he will do a little happy dance if the Court decides narrowly. Moderation…yawn…
Using a case about national legislative power over gun-toting in the capital city as a vehicle for deciding how far Congress or the state of California can go in regulating guns in Los Angeles would be a silly stretch.
Chief Justice John Roberts, ever since his days as a judge on the court of appeals, has virtually defined judicial modesty by opining that if it is not necessary for the court to decide an issue, then it is necessary for the court not to decide that issue. For this reason, and for the further reason that the scholarship on the reach of the Second Amendment and its implementation is still in its infancy, the court should take the smallest feasible step in resolving the case before it.
Issuing a narrow decision would disappoint partisans on both sides and leave many questions unresolved. But to do anything else would ill-suit a court that flies the flag of judicial restraint.
Supreme Court vs. the Second Amendment may be as exciting as a Duke vs. UNC basketball game. People are camping out overnight to watch the argument tomorrow! A tipster on location reports that there are already 14 people in line, the first one having arrived at 5:30 a.m.
Of course, no decision’s expected until the end of the term in June. While we wait, we’ll keep challenging people in bars to name all the Supreme Court Justices. And watch Charlton Heston movies.
D.C.’s Gun Ban Gets Day in Court [The Washington Post]
Sanity and the Second Amendment [Laurence Tribe in the Wall Street Journal]
Laurence Tribe to High Court: Restrain Yourself [Wall Street Journal Law Blog]
Thanks to everyone who responded to our open call for Supreme Court clerk hiring news. We now know the identities of Justice David H. Souter’s four law clerks for October Term 2008:
1. Erin Delaney (NYU 2007 / Guido-maniac)
2. Michael Gerber (Yale 2005 / Leval)
3. Warren Postman, (Harvard 2007 / W. Fletcher)
4. Noah Purcell (Harvard 2007 / Tatel Tot)
Congratulations to all. And if someone could put their names into Wikipedia, now that their hiring has been confirmed, that would be most appreciated.
We’re still missing those last two Alito clerks. Are they playing a game of hide and seek with us? If you can give us a hint as to who they are — or, better yet, name, rank, and feeder judge clerkship — please email us.
Updated lists of the OT 2008 and OT 2009 SCOTUS clerks, with the DHS clerks added, after the jump.
- Ann Althouse, Blogging, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Law Professors, Law Reviews, Law School Deans, Linda Greenhouse, Non-Sequiturs, Politics, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Tax Law
* Linda Greenhouse to $300K! [New York Observer via ABA Journal]
* Duties of a law school dean: attend parties, appear at conferences, talk to alums. And don’t forget the herding of cats — aka law professors. [TJ's Double Play]
* Even law review editors screw up sometimes. “Constructive acceptance”? [Concurring Opinions]
* Who’d have thunk it? Sometimes blogging can help people. And stuff. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Ethan Leib dresses up as a giant chicken to teach Contracts, thereby guaranteeing ABA accreditation. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Orin Kerr points out online interviews “with eight of the nine current Supreme Court Justices (all but Souter) about legal writing, advocacy, and the process of deciding cases and writing opinions.” [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Ann Althouse on John McCain and being a “natural-born citizen.” [Althouse]
* Hillary to Russert: You can’t handle the truth! About my tax returns. [TaxProf Blog]
Although many believe he was carried down to earth by a choir of angels, the taxalicious Barack Obama was actually born in Hawaii. So he doesn’t face the same sticky question about presidential eligibility that John McCain confronts. From the New York Times:
The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.
Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.
To address the question, the McCain camp hired the best legal talent money can buy:
But given mounting interest, the campaign recently asked Theodore B. Olson, a former solicitor general now advising Mr. McCain, to prepare a detailed legal analysis. “I don’t have much doubt about it,” said Mr. Olson, who added, though, that he still needed to finish his research.
So, what do you think? Take our reader poll. We realize you probably haven’t researched the issue. But not having completed his research — i.e., “my recent SCOTUS-clerk associate is still surfing Westlaw” — didn’t stop Ted Olson from having an opinion.
One ATL tipster had this quick take: “SCOTUS seems kinda gray, but going by the Insular Cases…it ain’t lookin’ good. Maybe an open thread for people to comment and discuss?”
McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out [New York Times]
Does John McCain Have a Birthplace Problem? [WSJ Law Blog]
We already discussed this news yesterday. But in our earlier post, we promised to let you know if and when Linda Greenhouse got back to us — and she kindly did, sending the following message to ATL about her rumored departure as the New York Times’s Supreme Court correspondent:
As you may know – the Times put a newsroom-wide buyout package on the table last week, in an effort to shrink the staff by 100. For someone of my seniority (40 years) the terms are very attractive, and I’ve told my bureau chief that I plan to take it. I was planning to retire in a few years, and giving up this package would have basically meant working for free – which seemed foolish, much as I love my job. I plan to keep writing about the court in various forums.
(I should note that this is not official, because the buyout window is open until March 5, after which the Times will respond to the individual volunteers – so my response to you is based on the assumption that my acceptance of their offer will in turn be accepted.)
Greenhouse also confirmed her move to the Associated Press (via WSJ Law Blog).
During her 30 years covering the Court for the Times, Linda Greenhouse has sometimes been controversial. See here, here, and here, for perhaps the most recent controversy.
It cannot be denied, however, that Greenhouse has tremendous knowledge of the Supreme Court’s history and inner workings, as well as unparalleled access to the justices themselves. Few journalists are such superstars that their comings and goings are covered by the AP.
Greenhouse leaves big shoes to fill, and it will be interesting to see how her successor fares. How much of her clout was the institutional clout of the New York Times, and how much of it was Greenhouse qua Greenhouse? We’ll find out soon enough.
Feel free to speculate about replacements for the legendary Linda Greenhouse, in the comments.
NYT’s Greenhouse Takes Buyout Offer [Associated Press via WSJ Law Blog]
Public and Private Lives, Intersecting [New York Times]
Lay Off Linda [Slate]
Far From Sober [National Review Online]
Earlier: Is the Margo Channing of One First Street Taking Her Final Bow?
Is the Margo Channing of One First Street Taking Her Final Bow?
(Or: Is Linda Greenhouse leaving the New York Times?)
We have previously compared Linda Greenhouse, the veteran Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times, to Margo Channing, the great but aging diva of All About Eve. The comparison continues to hold.
Just as Margo Channing eventually leaves the thea-tuh, so too does Linda Greenhouse leave the SCOTUS. Ed Whelan, the former Scalia clerk with lots of Court connections, has this report over at Bench Memos:
According to a well-placed Supreme Court source, New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse is telling folks at the Court that she has accepted a Times buyout package and will be ending her coverage of the Court at the end of the current term.
So that’s the word on One First Street. We have reached out to Linda Greenhouse for comment and will let you know if and when we hear back from her.
If this is true — and we have no reason to doubt it, since it comes from the well-connected Whelan — then Jan Crawford Greenburg is one step closer to being Queen Bee of the Supreme Court press corps. Nina Totenberg, watch your back!
Update: More from Ed Whelan at NRO Online: “On the same day that we learn of Linda Greenhouse’s imminent departure from the New York Times, Greenhouse provides further evidence of her bias….”
Greenhouse’s Departure [Bench Memos / National Review Online]
Re: Breyer’s and Souter’s Drift to the Right? [Bench Memos / National Review Online]
Earlier: All About… Jan?
For his yearbook page, one of our most quiet high school classmates selected this quotation, by Martin Fraquhar Tupper: “Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.”
Justice Clarence Thomas concurs. As reported by the AP, “[t]wo years and 142 cases have passed since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last spoke up at oral arguments.”
So what if the “time” of CT’s “well-timed silence” has dragged on for two years? Holly Hunter was mute for two hours in The Piano — and she snagged herself an Oscar!
Thomas: No Questions in 2 Years [AP]
[Ed. note: As we recently mentioned, we're looking for someone to write Morning Docket, on an alternating-week schedule. To those of you who have already applied, thanks for your interest; we'll review the applications and pick a writer this weekend. If you'd like to apply, there's still time -- just follow the application instructions contained in this post (but please note that the gig now comes with pay -- a modest monthly stipend). Thanks.]
* It seems to get worse by the day. The CIA apparently destroyed interrogation tapes while a federal judge was still looking for information about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. [New York Times]
* So what exactly are the federal government’s policies on border searches? Two groups sue to find out. [Washington Post]
* We like funny legal ads. But state regulators are not amused. [Wall Street Journal via How Appealing]
* Kibbles ‘n bits ‘n indictments. Two Chinese companies and an American importer are indicted in connection with tainted pet food. [New York Times]
* Professor Akhil Amar (our former con law prof; pictured) will be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in the administration of… Mike Gravel! Amar: “I’m not quitting my day job.” [Yale Daily News via How Appealing]
* The latest legal woes of Dickie Scruggs and friends. [WSJ Law Blog]
Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Saved By the Bell Star To Clerk for Justice O’Connor!
(And another OT 2009 hire, by Justice Breyer)
Taken as a group, Supreme Court clerks can claim pretty much every honor under the sun. At One First Street, Rhodes and Marshall scholars are commonplace, law review editors-in-chief are a dime a dozen, and law school valedictorians abound.
But how many SCOTUS clerks have their own IMDb entry? Meet Isaac Lidsky (Harvard 2004 / Ambro), an attorney at the Department of Justice (Civil Appellate), who was selected last week by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as her law clerk for October Term 2008. He founded the non-profit Hope for Vision, and his bio there reads:
[Isaac] is an honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Thomas Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Before law school, Isaac founded Poindexter Systems, a now thriving internet advertising technology company in Manhattan. Isaac has been involved in raising awareness and funding for vision research for many years. He has organized several fundraising events, has appeared in the national media to promote awareness of the cause, has testified about the need for scientific funding before Congressional bodies on numerous occasions, and has served as a mentor to younger individuals afflicted with eye diseases. He has retinitis pigmentosa.
From a tipster:
I wonder if he is the first blind law clerk on the Supreme Court. I also wonder whether he’s the first clerk to have thrown out the first pitch at an MLB game.
[Before law school,] Isaac had a prior life as a child actor. His most notable role, I believe, was as Barton “Weasel” Wyzell (the new Screech) on Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Awesome. Fay Diplomas and Sears Prizes pale in comparison next to the experience of having acted opposite Dennis Haskins (aka “Mr. Belding”).
Also hired as a Supreme Court clerk, but for October Term 2009: Bessie Dewar (Yale 2006 / W. Fletcher / L. Pollak (E.D. Pa.)). She’s been described to us as “brilliant,” “wonderfully charismatic,” and “one of nicest, most smiling people to grace the halls of the Yale Law School.”
The current tally of OT 2008 and OT 2009 SCOTUS clerks, with Isaac Lidsky and Bessie Dewar added, appears after the jump.