Supreme Court

This week, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is in the hot seat spotlight. Today, she was feeling the heat from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Judiciary Committee let the session go past the expected 6 p.m. end time, noting that Kagan has a reputation for “toughness.” Regardless, she seemed irritable about the day going for so long.

We’re just pleased that Lady Kaga is now getting the paparazzi attention that she deserves. You can plug into the hearings online in so many ways. You can stream the hearings from a webcast on the Senate Judiciary website. You can follow various liveblogs, including that of SCOTUSblog or ours here at ATL (where we had over 2,500 people following, bantering and commenting today). Or you can follow court watchers on Twitter, like Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick or our ATLblog feed.

We’re having fun watching Solicitor General Kagan’s nomination dance with the senators, with the exception of sitting through Senator Specter’s bombastic questioning. He was more interested in hearing himself talk than hearing Lady Kaga sing. And that’s unfortunate, as she had some very nice turns of phrases today.

Our five favorite Kagan quotes from Day 2 of the hearings, after the jump.

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Welcome back from lunch. We will now begin the afternoon session of day 2 of Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Your Above the Law editors are taking turns at liveblogging. Elie has handed the controls over to Lat…
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Welcome to day 2 of the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan, currently the U.S. Solicitor General, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Your Above the Law editors will be taking turns at liveblogging the proceedings…

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As I noted in my liveblogging of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Solicitor General Kagan decided to wear the same outfit that then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor wore to day one of her confirmation hearings: an electric blue blazer over a black blouse.

A reader who was also struck by this sartorial similarity sent us a photographic comparison. Check it out, and vote in our reader poll….

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Here we go, yo: the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan, currently the U.S. Solicitor General, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Click on the boxes below to follow the liveblog….

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Today was the last day of the Supreme Court term (and also the last day on the Court for Justice John Paul Stevens). The SCOTUS handed down four blockbuster opinions — on the same day that the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan are starting. Coincidence?

In alphabetical order, the four cases are (click on each case name to access the ScotusWiki page):

  • Bilski v. Kappos (patent law): “Whether a ‘process’ must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (‘machine-or-transformation’ test), to be eligible for patenting….”

  • Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (First Amendment right of association): “Whether a public university law school may deny school funding and other benefits to a religious student organization because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious viewpoints.”
  • Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (separation of powers): “Whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is consistent with separation-of-powers principles — as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is in turn overseen by the President — or contrary to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, as the PCAOB members are appointed by the SEC.”
  • McDonald v. City of Chicago (guns / Second Amendment incorporation): the applicability of the Second Amendment to state and local governments.

How were these cases resolved? Find out, after the jump.

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Martin Ginsburg — a leading tax lawyer and law professor, and the husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — passed away earlier today. He was 78. According to a statement released by the Court, he passed away at home, from complications of metastatic cancer.

Marty Ginsburg was known in Supreme Court circles as Justice Ginsburg’s secret weapon. Justice Ginsburg herself can sometimes be shy, awkward, and introverted, but her husband was gregarious, charming, and a great entertainer. He was a talented chef and would perform the culinary honors at dinners for Supreme Court justices and their spouses. He would also cook for RBG’s clerks each Term.

He was widely noted for his great sense of humor….

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The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgTomorrow — Monday, June 28, 2010 — will be a day that will live in SCOTUS fame for quite some time. At 10 a.m., the Supreme Court will hand down the remaining opinions in Bilski v. Kappos, Free Enterprise Fund and Beckstead and Watts, LLP v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, and, most importantly, McDonald v. City of Chicago. Across the street at 12:30 p.m., Elena Kagan will begin her confirmation hearing. Supreme Court overload!

In this post, we provide final predictions for those four huge cases. Additionally, we will provide an overview of how accurate FantasySCOTUS predictions were for the cases decided in June, including Stop The Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, City of Ontario v. Quon, New Process Steel v. National Labor Relations Board, and Doe v. Reed.

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A tale of three nominees (left to right): John Roberts, Harriet Miers and Samuel Alito.


Last night I headed across town to NYU Law School for a screening of Advise & Dissent, a new documentary about the Supreme Court confirmation process. Here’s a brief description of the film:

ADVISE & DISSENT is the first documentary to go behind the lines and into the trenches of the judicial confirmation wars. SCOTUSblog has called it “a fascinating, balanced insider look,” and Politico named it “a must see.” Timely and timeless, the film illuminates the collision of politics and justice.

Last night’s showing of the movie was followed by a conversation, featuring the following participants:

A report about the movie screening and the panel discussion, after the jump.

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Here at Above the Law, we’re getting very excited for the upcoming Kagan confirmation hearings. We’ll be liveblogging Lady Kaga’s big show next week.

In the lead-up to the confirmation hearings, C-SPAN conducted a poll on what the people think about the Supreme Court. There are a bunch of interesting findings. As usual, the Supreme Court enjoys the highest approval rating of any branch of government:

Isn’t it interesting that the unelected branch of government is consistently the one that voters like the best? Maybe if members of Congress were appointed by fiat, instead of selected through popular elections, people would cheer?

The above question generated a curious response, but not a dumb one. To find “the stupid,” you have to drill a little deeper into the poll.

And, ye Gods, are Americans critically uninformed when it comes to the high court….

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