Anthony Kennedy

[L]aw schools are questioning whether or not they are teaching students the right way, and it seems to me that the bench and the bar can engage in serious discussions with the law schools to advise them whether or not, say for the next 20 years… they have the proper approach for teaching those who will soon be the trustees of the law as active practitioners. That is urgent.

– Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking this week at the Ninth Circuit’s Judicial Conference in Maui.

(Justice Kennedy’s defense of Hawaii as a conference venue, after the jump.)

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The vetting of a Supreme Court Justice

Ted Frank tweeted something brilliant at us this weekend. A law professor and blogger, Kyle Graham, was digging through documents at the Reagan Presidential Library. (Side note: if you’ve never been to a presidential library, go; all the ones I’ve been to are excellent.) Professor Graham came across a great find: the vetting form that O’Melveny & Myers chairman A.B. Culvahouse used to vet Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The document is fascinating. Vetting somebody for a lifetime appointment is serious business, but it’s hard to imagine having your private life invaded to this magnitude.

It’s particularly interesting in light of Chief Justice John Roberts’s vote in the Obamacare case. Lots of people have asked why conservatives seem to have problems nominating justices who will doggedly toe the ideological line. Perhaps some answers can be found in the vetting document?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “So You Want To Be A Supreme Court Justice? Don’t Sniff Glue.”

The individual mandate — er, tax — in the Affordable Care Act has been upheld. The President’s signature initiative survives. The reputation of the Court is untarnished. Chief Justice Roberts’s legacy as a steward of the Court’s institutional reputation is strengthened.

It’s a happy day for the Court, the President, and people who sometimes need health care. The opinion is bad news for Justice Kennedy (if Roberts will swing, who needs Kennedy?) and, I think, the belly dancers who were in front of the Court this morning (their political leanings aren’t as easy to discern as their midriffs).

But, of course, there was other action at the Court today. The Court affirmed a bedrock principle of our democracy — we have a right to lie. Sort of….

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Permitting the Government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle.

– Justice Anthony Kennedy in today’s Stolen Valor ruling. You know, just the other random Supreme Court decision — protecting the First Amendment — that nobody seems to care about.

* Really, Prometheus was the kind of movie that allows you to think “putting in some lawyers couldn’t have hurt.” [Point of Law]

* Republicans are just better at naming laws than Democrats. I don’t know why that is, but it is. [Recess Appointment]

* Stand your ground laws increase homicides. Tomorrow, the gun lobby will tell us that we need to arm ourselves because of the epidemic of people standing their ground and killing innocent, unarmed Americans who weren’t able to buy a gun. [WSJ Law Blog]

* I almost feel bad for Anthony Kennedy. Every objective indicator proves that he was wrong about what the impact of Citizens United would be, and every month brings a new opportunity to shame Kennedy again. [Election Law Blog]

* Do you take the Metro North home every day? Like Pete Campbell, you might need an apartment in the city. [Dealbreaker]

* Defense rests in Roger Clemens trial. I guess the jurors will have to go back to counting sheep in order to get their rest in. [NPR]

* A judge who meditated would freak me out. Especially if the judge meditated about how you shouldn’t judge people. [Underdog]

Of course HRH - 'Her Royal Hillaryness' - made the list.

Earlier this week, Time magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, the Time 100. For lawyers, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news: lawyers represent over 10 percent of the Time 100. The bad news: many of the law-degree-holding honorees were not recognized for their work as lawyers.

So which legal eagles soared into the Time 100 this year?

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This week, Legal Eagle Wedding Watch salutes… a divorce lawyer. This one dutifully dissolved her client’s marriage, seeing him through a contentious custody battle. But then she went the extra mile and set him up with his next wife. Attention, divorce bar: We smell a new business model.

But let’s not let talk of divorce spoil our ooh-ing and ahh-ing over some tender new lawyer marriages. Here are this week’s finalists:

Ainsley Fuhr and Orin Kerr

Alison Silber and Eric Lesser

Elizabeth Marshall and Jeffrey Leeds

Read on for all the juicy details on these newlyweds, plus a recap of all the recent legal-eagle nuptials….

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The Supreme Court handed down a new ruling today, taking a controversial stance in a (literally) sensitive area. The decision should make would-be criminals across the country wince.

In a split decision (is there any other kind these days?), the justices decided that law enforcement is justified in strip-searching anyone, for any offense, before admitting them to jail.

Understandably, a lot of people are butthurt about the 5–4 ruling…

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Carter Phillips

After the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the constitutionality of Obama’s healthcare overhaul last week, we discussed the case with veteran Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips. Phillips, the managing partner of Sidley Austin‘s Washington, D.C. office, is a renowned Supreme Court litigator. He has argued 75 cases in front of the high court, more than any other attorney in private practice.

Check out our conversation below. He had a lot of insightful comments about the performances of Paul Clement and Donald Verrilli, the mind of Justice Anthony Kennedy, and even a few jokes…

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* Statistically speaking, with its current line up, the Supreme Court is the most conservative that it’s been since the 1930s. This chart makes even Justice Kennedy look conservative. [FiveThirtyEight / New York Times]

* And another one gone, and another one gone, another one bites the dust: earlier this week, Dewey lost an antitrust partner to Arent Fox. That brings the firm’s grand total of partner defections to 38. [Am Law Daily]

* Jerry Sandusky’s trial has been postponed until June to due to “logistical contingencies” — like a motion to dismiss all of his child sex abuse charges. Meh, it’s no big deal. Same verdict, different day. [Bloomberg]

* And on a similar note, Warren Jeffs tried — and failed — to appeal his child sex abuse conviction. Because apparently that’s what happens when you represent yourself in the hopes of overturning a life sentence. [CNN]

* Lindsay Lohan’s supervised probation has ended, and for the time being, her legal woes are over. When will she screw up again? I’m going to give her three months, and that’s being really generous. [Daily Telegraph]

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