1st Amendment

The battle between educational institutions and loudmouth students who fight for the right to say dumb things is a rich area of recent American history. A student says something inflammatory. The school suspends/fails/disciplines the student. The student sues, and everyone has a big First Amendment debate party.

Usually, I have a lot of sympathy for the schools. Teenagers are, how do I say this, dumb. They think they know everything, and that somehow it’s of cosmic importance that they are allowed to proclaim their love for illegal drugs on campus.

But I cannot abide when schools become the fun police. The University of Minnesota currently falls under this category. In a case that will be heard today by the Minnesota Supreme Court, a mortuary sciences student is fighting to overturn ridiculous penalties levied against her for a couple of (seriously) harmless jokes made on Facebook.

Some commentators are worried about broader implications the case will have on the power colleges have over their students. I’m more upset about the fact that the University of Minnesota can’t take a joke….

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Our school girl is even sexier.

Ah, the high school yearbook photo. Teenage girls spend hours upon hours primping and prepping before stepping in front of the camera for the picture that will forever be remembered as their high school legacy.

And while most high school girls are worried about hiding their acne, or getting their braces removed in time for the big day, one girl in Colorado is busy worrying about whether her school will even allow her photo to be published in the 2012 yearbook.

School administrators say that her attire in her photo of choice violates the school’s dress code, but why? Probably because the photo in question features the teenager posing a bit too provocatively for a girl who just turned 18. She’s considering taking legal action against the school for trampling on her right to free expression.

So who is this mystery girl? What does her scandalous yearbook photo look like? Keep reading for pictures and video of this too-sexy-for-high-school, First Amendment freedom fighter….

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* Is the Roberts court really as pro-First Amendment as we’ve been led to believe? Lawyers aren’t really that good at math, but they’ve done studies, you know. And 34.5% of the time, it works every time. [New York Times]

* The people at the ABA aren’t concerned that William Robinson’s remarks made him seem like a tactless tool. Instead, they’re concerned that his “quotes were used out of context.” [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Duncan Law wants the ABA to remove a memo denying the school’s provisional accreditation from its website. Why? So students will keep applying and paying them tuition money. At least they’re being honest. [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* Montgomery Sibley, whose license to practice is suspended, is running for president and suing “Barrack” Obama. Well, that’s a unique way to establish standing in a birther lawsuit. [Huffington Post]

Prof. Hans Smit

* Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy your way out of jail. Just ask Floyd Mayweather. Thanks to this judge, he’ll be fighting someone other than his ex on Cinco de Drinko. [Washington Post]

* Hans Smit, beloved Columbia Law professor (and owner of a $29 million mansion), RIP. [Columbia Law School]

* The actress suing IMDb has finally been unmasked. I’ve never heard of her, but she’s probably suing for more than she’s ever made in her B-movie Z-movie career. [New York Daily News]

Downward dog... kind of.

* Protip for Mark Hansen, AT&T’s lawyer: when you want a judge to save your merger plans, it’s probably not a good idea to demand that she make a ruling by a certain date. [Businessweek]

* What’s going on in Cooley Law’s defamation suit against Rockstar05 (other than discussion of whether the school’s attorney understands the tort’s defenses)? An appeal. [Lansing State Journal]

* Getting a prep school education in New York isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ask Philip Culhane, Simpson Thacher partner and name plaintiff in the Poly Prep sex abuse suit. [New York Times]

* America, f**k yeah! The Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is suing the DMV over free speech rights they might not have had if they seceded from the union. [Fox News]

* Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury tried to sue his disciples for infringement of his moves, but he ended up getting it downward doggy style from the Copyright Office instead. [Bloomberg]

* “If you want a good grade, you need to have sex with me.” At the height of finals season, many law students wish this were an option, but apparently it only happens in college. [New York Post]

Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo

The topic of whether (and how) to reform legal education remains very hot. The latest New York Times story — by David Segal, who isn’t very popular among law school deans right now — has sparked much online commentary.

And it’s not over yet. What do Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo — two of legal academia’s most colorful characters, rock stars in Federalist Society circles — think of the current state of law schools here in the United States?

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Now THIS is a legal ad.

It’s easy to forget that lawyering is a business that requires a significant amount of advertising. Lawyers offer a service, and as many unemployed attorneys know, the profession includes lots of people doing essentially the same work. You have to find your customers to make it rain.

For more and more attorneys, blogging has become one part of an overall marketing strategy. Is law blogging always advertising? The Virginia State Bar seems to think so. Last month, it disciplined a small-firm attorney for not providing adequate advertising disclaimers on his blog.

Is the Bar, as Judge Richard Posner likes to say, being an ostrich? Is it sticking its head in the sand and ignoring the current technological paradigm — or is there a legitimate ethics concern here? Let’s see….

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Dear Suffolk University Law School Administrators: Your Michael Avery problem is not going away (and not just because he has tenure).

On Veterans Day, we told you about Avery, a Suffolk Law professor with a real bug up his ass when it comes to care packages for troops serving overseas. Not long after our story, Suffolk released a wacky statement in which they tried to seem supportive of everybody and everything.

I told them at the time that wouldn’t work.

Now, an adjunct law professor currently in Kabul has cut ties with Suffolk because of Avery, and Suffolk is now in the uncomfortable position of de facto supporting Avery’s comments against a pissed-off military.

What should the school do now?

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* One of the reasons that members of Congress are so filthy rich is because they’re only technically breaking the law, but Scott Brown wants to try to curb Congressional “insider trading.” [CBS News]

* In other Congressional news, pizza is now considered a vegetable. And fat people the world over rejoiced by stuffing their faces and continuing to clog their arteries. But not me, because goddamn do I hate pizza. [MSNBC]

* MMA fighters sue, saying the ban on fighting in the state of New York is unconstitutional. If beating someone’s face in is an art form, then Anderson Silva is this generation’s Picasso. [New York Daily News]

Find out whose face the Spider should beat next, after the jump….

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Mayor Bloomberg has reason to smile today.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg can have his way with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. According to the Associated Press, Justice Michael Stallman of New York Supreme Court just shot down the Temporary Restraining Order sought by the protesters against Mayor Bloomberg.

Let’s hope everybody keeps their cool.

The ruling on the TRO appears below…

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November 15th, 2011, there was a riot in the streets, tell me where were you? While you were at home watching your T.V., I was participating in some anarchy.

Well, there wasn’t really a riot in the streets. And I wasn’t really participating in it so much as taking the 5 train to work today. But I did bump into some would-be Occupy Wall Street protesters looking to join the movement after the main group was evicted from Zuccotti Park under the cover of darkness early this morning. The people on the train asked for my legal advice.

I laughed — then told them I could do them one better. Let’s see if we can’t crowdsource a legal recourse for the Occupy protesters now that big bad Bloomberg has put his jackboot on the movement….

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