American Constitution Society

* A lawyer fresh out of law school botched a domestic violence case by gushing all over Tom Hanks… who was serving as a juror. Which, in fairness, was awfully Big of him. [TMZ]

* Federal prosecutors are seeking at least 27 years in prison for a Massachusetts man who authorities say plotted to kill and eat his children based on a search of his home and car, which is presumably a Saturn. As one law professor observed, “Perhaps the lawyer will make a free exercise argument and claim that eating children is a requirement of his religion.” [CNN]

* If you’re going to drink and drive, be sure to toss a few back with the judge first. [KVUE]

* A criminal defense lawyer who begins every cross by making the cop look more humane and respectable. I thought the public defender from My Cousin Vinny was the lowest criminal defense could go in the comical incompetence department. [Katz Justice]

* Putin crony claims 100 percent of profits in a “public” oil company by flat ignoring minority shareholders. Shhhh! Stop giving Exxon ideas. [Breaking Energy]

* Elizabeth Wurtzel knows music (a subject she covered for the New Yorker for New York Magazine). In this article, she writes about The Replacements (something Wurtzel has made her past employers, including Boies Schiller, become familiar with). [The Daily Beast]

* On Monday, the American Constitution Society will host a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court session. Panelists include Pamela Harris, Randy Barnett, Joshua Civin, Andrew Pincus, and David Strauss. [American Constitution Society]

* Then next Tuesday, The Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies will host a symposium titled “The Supreme Court: Past and Prologue: A Look at the October 2012 and 2013 Terms.” Panelists include Tom Goldstein, Marcia Coyle, and Howard Bashman. [How Appealing]

October first is the start of the new Supreme Court term!

If, like many readers, you’re a few years out of law school, this may strike you with a mild sense of dread. You remember the heady days of law school when you followed every argument, opinion, and cert grant from One First Street Northeast with an excitement rivaled only by your enthusiasm for the starting salaries for first-year associates.

Alas, the years since law school haven’t been kind to your pants size or your level of engagement with the Supreme Court.

Now, I suspect, you worry that soon — at a family dinner, dropping off your kids at preschool, or anywhere else you interact with non-lawyers — someone will recognize that you are a lawyer, and ask you what to make of the new Supreme Court term.

You have three options for how to deal with this, now, before the media frenzy over the new Supreme Court term starts.

First, you can admit to yourself that you’re no longer the gunner you used to be. You can tell people that just don’t follow the Supreme Court anymore, since you’ve gotten really interested in your exciting new life doing document review for a municipal bond arbitration.

But you’re not going to do that. If you were that good at being honest with yourself, you aren’t likely to be the kind of person who went to law school in the first place.

Second, perhaps, you can wade through the volume of information out there about the new term. Go through SCOTUSblog with the same passion you now spend tracking whether your friends from law school have better careers than you do. Maybe go to one of the OT 2012 preview events that clog every convention hall and small town library starting in mid-September.

That takes time and energy. Tom Goldstein sometimes uses really long paragraphs, and you really wanted to spend more time Googling for topless pictures of Kate Middleton.

Instead, you could let me to one of those events for you. For the truly efficient, follow the jump, sit back, and enjoy Kaiser’s Guide To Bluffing Your Way Through Knowledge About the Supreme Court’s New Term to Non-Lawyers….

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Justice Ginsburg

It is likely that the sharp disagreement rate will go up next week and the week after.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in recent remarks at the American Constitution Society’s national convention, referring to likelihood that the Court’s 44% approval rating will go even lower after decisions are announced in the remaining cases still pending before the Supreme Court — including the Affordable Care Act case.

(What else did RBG have to say? Check out a video of her address, after the jump.)

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One of [my handlers during my confirmation process] said, ‘You know, you might want to apologize for some of the things you wrote.’ I said to him, ‘Can we get one thing straight? I am not apologizing.’

I’ve lived the life I’ve wanted to live. I’ve said the things I’ve wanted to say. If you really want me to say I’m sorry, I’ll say, ‘I’m sorry that my life’s work has been misunderstood.’

Harold Koh, current Legal Adviser to the State Department and former Dean of Yale Law School, in recent remarks he delivered at the American Constitution Society’s annual convention. (In the same speech, Koh voiced support for Yale Law graduate Goodwin Liu, whose Ninth Circuit nomination was successfully filibustered.)

As we mentioned this morning, a report from researchers at Berkeley Law suggests that legal education is a field dominated by white, male, elite liberals. The National Law Journal reports:

Law schools hire more openly liberal professors than openly conservative ones, but the plum jobs at the most prestigious schools don’t appear to be going solely to the liberals.

That’s the conclusion reached by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law who analyzed the ideology of recently hired law professors. Their study, “Ideological Diversity and Law School Hiring,” is the first to focus specifically on the political leanings of law professors.

Previous research concluded that law professors skew white and male, and tend to have completed their legal studies at top law schools.

There might be a liberal bias among law school professors? Shocking! Why are we just being informed of this?

But is it really as bad as the study makes it out to be? While the researchers determined that 52 of 60 professors showed a liberal slant, the report goes on to explain that the researchers couldn’t get a clear read on 60% of the 149 entry-level professors sampled.

And even if we agree that there is some liberal bias among law school professors, does the distinction matter? Is there really a “liberal” or “conservative” way to educate people about the law?

This sounds like an appropriate moment for an Above the Law debate. Editors David Lat and Elie Mystal sound off about whether law schools need to be more welcoming to conservatives. As always, we welcome your opinions in the comments….

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We’re at the Friday luncheon at the American Constitution Society’s national convention. The lunchtime speaker is Janet Napolitano — the current Secretary for Homeland Security, the former governor and U.S. attorney for Arizona, and possible future Supreme Court nominee.

A liveblog of her remarks, plus photos (of the low-quality Blackberry variety), after the jump.

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