The Supreme Court ruled today in McCullen v. Coakley that a Massachusetts law creating a buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the First Amendment. The law criminalized standing on a public sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility, with narrow exceptions for employee and law enforcement access. Eleanor McCullen, the lead plaintiff, is a grandmother in her late seventies who stood on sidewalks near clinics in order to initiate quiet, one-on-one conversations with women seeking abortions. The Court held today that the buffer zones created by the law burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s interests.
The Court was unanimous in its judgment that the law violates the First Amendment rights of anti-abortion speakers such as Eleanor McCullen. So, why is McCullen so disappointing to conservatives?
Oh Roy Moore, you delightful little publicity hound. Alabama’s Chief Justice is no stranger to making ridiculous pronouncements about what he thinks the law is despite all evidence to the contrary. Most recall his earlier stint running the Alabama Supreme Court, which ended in an ethics ruling after the Chief wasted around half a million in taxpayer dollars fighting — and then willfully violating — court orders seeking removal of the Ten Commandments from the court. It turns out when judges encourage disrespect for the rule of law it’s an ethical violation.
But Alabama being Alabama, the voters returned Moore to the post of Chief Justice. Roll Tide.
Over the weekend, video surfaced of his latest round of nonsensical ramblings. And while the comments about the First Amendment are certainly shocking, he also goes off on abortion and inadvertently lends support to Roe v. Wade in the process….
* Dewey know which D&L defendants did the perp walk of shame before their arraignment yesterday? Three of the ex-executives! Even Steve Davis, who quit his job as in-house counsel to Ras al Ghul Khaimah of the UAE last week. [Am Law Daily]
* It’s about half and half when it comes to states that have filed briefs with the Tenth Circuit in support of or against the rulings striking down gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. Sadly, not everyone can be as fabulous as we’d like. [National Law Journal]
* Abortion clinics are closing their doors in Texas thanks to new legislation, and the total number of clinics in the state come September will be six. Let the Mexican medical tourism commence. [New York Times]
* Illegal immigrants can’t practice law in Florida, says the state’s Supreme Court, but they can in California. Good thing there’s eleventy billion law schools there to accommodate them. [Miami Herald]
* Webster Lucas, the fellow suing McDonald’s over an alleged race-based napkin denial that’s since prevented him from working, has sued fast food joints before. He’s a “vexatious litigant.” [NBC Los Angeles]
“Best amicus brief ever” might not be saying much. Parakeets are pretty indifferent to the liners of their cages.
Every now and then, though, we come across amicus briefs that are a little unusual or interesting. Like one with somewhat surprising or high-profile signatories — say, NFL players, or leading Republicans in favor of gay marriage. Or one that takes the form of a cartoon. Or one that’s just bats**t insane.
Today we bring you an amicus brief that will make you laugh out loud — which shouldn’t be surprising, given that it’s being submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a leading humorist….
Hey you, flock of seagulls, point to something 35 feet away from you right now. Nope, your computer screen is too close… unless you are extremely far-sighted. The window in your office? You must have a really nice office. The bathrooms? What are you, a janitor?
Admit it, you have no idea how long 35 feet is. You also have no clue where your team has to get to for a first down without a CGI yellow wussy line, and you can’t land a plane in GTA V, much less a real one. You have poor spatial awareness, you suck, and Captain Kirk would blow you out of the Mutara nebula.
In that way, you are just like the justices on the Supreme Court who struggled to conceptualize the 35-foot buffer zone at issue in McCullen v. Coakley…
On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, a constitutional challenge to a Massachusetts law creating buffer zones, sometimes called “zones of exclusion,” around abortion clinics. The law at issue, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 120E ½ (2007), provides in part as follows: “No person shall knowingly enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility within a radius of 35 feet of any portion of an entrance, exit or driveway of a reproductive health care facility.” Eleanor McCullen, one of the challengers of the law, is a 76-year-old grandmother who in the past has stood on public sidewalks near abortion clinics in order to initiate one-on-one, non-confrontational conversations with women seeking abortions. The petitioners claim that, over the years, hundreds of women have accepted offers of help from McCullen and the other petitioners. They argue that the new law violates their right to free speech.
The First Circuit opinion below characterizes the plaintiffs’ appeal as advancing “a salmagundi of arguments, old and new, some of which are couched in a creative recalibration of First Amendment principles.” That opinion finds that “[t]he Massachusetts statute at issue here is a content-neutral, narrowly tailored time-place-manner regulation that protects the rights of prospective patients and clinic employees without offending the First Amendment rights of others.”
Unfortunately, the First Circuit is wrong about each of those points. Even more unfortunately, this law does the exact opposite of what most of us would hope . . . .
If you want to be a partner at one particular firm, it’d behoove you to know this guy…
* Breaking News: “An Indian diplomat has been indicted on federal charges of visa fraud. Prosecutors say Devyani Khobragade has left the U.S.” [CNN]
* The Bancroft firm just added three new partners. It’s apparently “not a prerequisite” to clerk for Chief Justice Roberts to be a partner at the firm, but it sure looks like it is. [The Blog of the Legal Times]
* In a continuing series on why the “nuclear option” isn’t the panacea liberals thought it was, here are four reasons why Noel Canning is still a huge deal even if the Senate Democrats can force through judicial nominations over filibusters. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* A fun interview with a lawyer turned professional athletics commissioner. Specifically, the commissioner of Sterling Archer’s favorite sport, lacrosse. [The Legal Blitz]
* Vermont is looking to pass a bill affirming abortion as a right, majorly bucking the trend of the rest of the country over the last year. Sounds about right for the state with a socialist senator. [Jezebel]
* The NFL’s concussion settlement sounded kind of fishy already, but now it looks like the initial prediction is going to be way off. [PR Log]
* Turns out a former SAC Capital Advisors trader embroiled in an insider trading case was expelled from Harvard Law School in 1999 for creating a false transcript. It’s good to know Wall Street is right there for all those cast off by law schools for ethical lapses. [Dealbook / New York Times]
* More coverage of the Insane Clown Posse suit, and more insight from our own Juggalo Law. [Washington Post]
* Chris Brown rejected a plea deal on an assault charge. Any time I think of Chris Brown I think of this Key & Peele bit. And if you don’t know who Key & Peele are, then you’re missing out… [Billboard]
* “Either access to abortion will be dramatically restricted in the coming year or perhaps the pushback will begin.” We’re moving back in history. Here’s hoping pro-choice advocacy will be born anew in 2014. [New York Times]
* George S. Canellos, the SEC’s co-chief of enforcement, announced his departure on Friday, and people are already wondering whether he’ll return to his old stomping grounds at Milbank Tweed. [DealBook / New York Times]
* We hope legal educators had fun at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting, but we hope most of all that they learned what needs to change to really make legal education pay. [WSJ Law Blog]
* “I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system.” Saudi Arabia now has its first female law firm dedicated to bringing women’s issues to the country’s patriarchal courts. Congratulations! [RT]
The Michigan Legislature recently passed the “Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act” into law. Under the new law, women and employers must buy an optional insurance rider for abortion coverage. Abortions will only be covered without a rider if the mother’s life is in medical danger. The law also specifically allows for the treatment of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.
Detractors referred to the bill as requiring “rape insurance.” Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D – East Lansing) said, “This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have thought ahead and planned for it.”
If there were such a thing as rape insurance, I surely would buy it. What woman (or likely future prison inmate) wouldn’t? No, this is abortion insurance, not rape insurance.
What the opponents of the new Michigan law seem to conveniently overlook when choosing their inflammatory and misleading rhetoric: (1) Abortion does not fully, meaningfully address the harms of rape. (2) Rape does not necessarily, or even usually, involve abortion. (3) Foreseeing an individual need for abortion insurance does not require extraordinary foresight. But let’s look a little more closely at what’s going on in Michigan . . . .
* Should Justice Lori Douglas, she of the infamous porn pictures, step down from the bench? Well, she has 324,100 reasons to stay. [Toronto Star]
* And what about Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg — should they leave while the Democrats still control the White House and the Senate? [Washington Post via How Appealing]
* A legal challenge to gun control stumbles — on standing grounds. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* Moral of the story: if you want to threaten opposing counsel, don’t do it over voicemail — unless you want to get censured. [ABA Journal]
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
* Dewey want more details about the lucrative contracts given to Stephen DiCarmine and Joel Sanders? Most definitely! [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]
* An interesting peek inside the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The S.D.N.Y.’s boss is a big fan of the Boss. [New York Times]
* Now that the merger between US Airways and American Airlines has been approved, US Airways CEO Doug Parker offers a behind-the-scenes look at his company’s response to the government’s antitrust lawsuit. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.