Barack Obama

David Brooks

The country doesn’t want an election that is Harvard Law versus Harvard Law.

David Brooks of the New York Times, in a recent column offering praise for what he describes as “working-class candidate[s]” like Rick Santorum and Sherrod Brown (and implicitly dissing Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, both graduates of Harvard Law School).

It's pronounced 'Mystal' like 'Cristal,' not to be confused with Elie's crystal ball.

Welcome back to work. I’m not going to act like a flight attendant and “welcome” you to a place we all got to at the exact same time, but I do hope your 2012 is starting off well.

In case you missed it on New Year’s Eve, we took a look back at our biggest stories of 2011. Now, let’s turn our gaze to the future. What do you think will happen in 2012?

I’ll get us started: The world will not end, nor be impacted in any special way on December 21, 2012….

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* Obama took a break from his vacation to sign the NDAA. But don’t worry, as long as he’s president, he’ll never indefinitely detain American citizens. Oh boy, we get a one-year guarantee. [New York Times]

* “By your powers combined, I am Captain Primary!” Four Republican presidential candidates are joining forces to assist Rick Perry in his quest to conquer Virginia’s evil election laws. [Bloomberg]

* 31% percent of lawyers are planing to make new hires in the first quarter of 2012. The other 69% are busy doing Scrooge McDuck-esque swan dives into vaults full of money. [Washington Post]

* What will happen as a result of non-lawyer firm ownership? More money may be good for lawyers, but not clients. But if it leads to bigger bonuses, most lawyers won’t care. [Corporate Counsel]

* Howrey going to get out of these class action cases? Howrey going to pay the rent? Screw all of that, here’s the most important question: Howrey going to get paid? [Am Law Daily]

* Here’s something for all of the Roe v. Wade opponents to celebrate: two doctors have been charged with murder for performing late-term abortions in Maryland. [Star-Ledger]

* And in other abortion news, according to a lawsuit, babies are no longer kosher at this Long Island deli. A woman claims her boss forced her to lose her kid or lose her job. [New York Post]

* In case you missed our coverage on these cases, the Institute for Legal Reform is rehashing last year’s craziest lawsuits in its survey of the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2011. [Yahoo!]

* Merry Christmas! House Republicans will get one less lump of coal in their stockings this year after accepting a two-month extension of unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts. [New York Times]

* Another birther lawsuit has been thrown out, but Orly Taitz won’t be stopped. She’s like the Energizer Bunny of questionable litigation. She’ll keep appealing, and appealing, and appealing… [Los Angeles Times]

* John Edwards is trying to delay his criminal trial, claiming to have a mystery medical diagnosis. What kind of disease does karma hand you for cheating on your sick wife? [New York Daily News]

* Nora Demleitner will be will be stepping in as the new dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law. Hofstra Law, you M.A.D.? [National Law Journal]

* Is the American Bar Association really driving up the cost of law school tuition, or is it the law schools themselves? Here are some graphs that might surprise you. [Am Law Daily]

* Guys in my high school White House dropped threats to veto defense bills authorizing infinite detention of U.S. citizens all the time, it was no big deal. Nothing like bastardizing the Sixth Amendment. [New York Times]

* So much for occupying the court system, eh? This judge won’t budge on dismissals, and more than half of the OWS protesters who appeared in court yesterday accepted an offer over going to trial. [Bloomberg]

* Gibson Dunn says that it will file a motion to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s Facebook suit in January. Now taking bets on whether Ceglia will have another lawyer by then. [Buffalo News]

* Just like Michael Jackson, Conrad Murray’s money was gone too soon. He’s requesting a public defender to handle the appeal of his conviction for involuntary manslaughter. [CNN]

* Lindsay Lohan was finally able to please Judge Sautner during her probation progress hearing. She was also able to please her adoring fans, because she reportedly flashed her bra. [USA Today]

* Rod Blagojevich is sentenced to 14 years but his hair will be out in seven if it behaves. [Sentencing Law and Policy]

* Jerry Sandusky was re-arrested. This dude needs to be put in the Hannibal Lecter cell. Can’t you hear this guy saying, “A pizza boy tried to deliver to my house once. I S’ed his D after luring him with jellybeans and a Good & Plenty.” [Deadspin]

* Has the Leveson Inquiry into News of the World been “hijacked” by celebrities? Aren’t they the only ones that matter? [Lady of Law]

* The RIAA is about as neutral as a spider regarding something it’s caught in its web. [Simple Justice]

* Should being a world-renowned liar get you barred from practicing on character and fitness grounds? [Reuters]

* When going to the dentist feels like going to the spa, you might be spending too much time in the law school library. [Life in the Law School Lane]

* Obama’s pivots on tax cuts show why he’s the Republican frontrunner for the 2012 nomination. [Going Concern]

* The American Bar Association can’t handle law schools, yet Obama trusts them to vet potential judicial nominees. Well, seems like they’re doing a bang-up job with that, too. [New York Times]

* First the New Jersey bar exam results, and now more MF Global drama. Angry investors want to know if a lawsuit will help Jon Corzine remember where he put the missing $600M. [Bloomberg]

* Law school debt increased by $475M between 2008 and 2010. Grab a raincoat, because this bubble’s going to burst soon, and it’s not going to be pretty (except for Cooley Law; they’ll be rich). [Am Law Daily]

* And on that note, what on earth was Cornell Law thinking? Did they fail to realize that their Cooley rankings would plummet if they decimated their library square footage? [Cornell Daily Sun]

* UC Berkeley: “We never like to hurt our students.” Yeah, apparently that’s what the police are for. Occupy Berkeley protesters are suing the school over police brutality allegations. [Huffington Post]

* I guess it really doesn’t matter how much lawyers love Ron Paul if Biglaw firms keep emptying their seemingly overflowing coffers into Obama’s re-election campaign. [Washington Post]

* Congratulations to Yale Law School graduate Ronan Farrow, son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Ronan probably isn’t shallow and empty with no ideas and nothing interesting to say, since he’s just been named a 2012 Rhodes Scholar. [ABC News]

* National drinking age laws: keeping women from killing themselves or being murdered since the 1980s. Now where’s the study on how many people actually obey these laws? [USA Today]

* A Florida woman has disappeared after battling it out with her ex-fiancé over an engagement ring on The People’s Court. As if you needed another reason not to be seen on that show. [Daily Mail]

* According to a new law in England, water might be wet, but that doesn’t mean it’ll fix dehydration. Not elementary, my dear Watson, but “stupidity writ large.” [International Business Times]

* The fall of the Third Reich fourth tyke? Poor little Adolf Hitler’s parents have lost custody of yet another child thanks to the state of New Jersey. [New York Daily News]

* John Wilkes Booth. Lee Harvey Oswald. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez. Sorry, Oscar, you have three names, but you didn’t actually kill the president, so you don’t get to join the club. [New York Times]

* Former SCOTUS clerk Roy McLeese III has been nominated for a seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals. I don’t have an opinion on this yet because I can’t tell if he’s cute. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Do you really think that the .XXX domain is going to have any remarkable effect on the online porn industry? Besides more men with sticky keyboards and angry girlfriends, what’s the problem? [CNET]

* USC Law won’t be adding a tax LL.M. program. Because just dying is more advisable than adding additional debt to your name under the school’s debt solution plan. [National Law Journal]

* Wishing a very happy holiday season to you and yours with this top-of-the-line molotov snow globe. Hallmark: When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best. [New York Daily News]

The president looks good in a doctor's coat, no?

In a development that should surprise no one, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning agreed to review the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare. This means that, before the end of the current SCOTUS Term in summer 2012, Anthony Kennedy the justices will rule on the validity of this sweeping legislation (unless they avoid the question on jurisdictional grounds, as Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit recently did — a path that might appeal to Justice Kennedy, as suggested by Professor Noah Feldman, and a path that the Court itself highlighted by mentioning the jurisdictional issue in its certiorari grant.)

In the meantime, there will be a lot of cocktail party chatter about the health care reform law and its constitutionality. If you’d like some quick talking points, for use when you get the inevitable “What do you think about this as a lawyer?” questions from friends and family at Thanksgiving, keep reading….

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