Congress

It’s often noted that the United States is governed by the world’s oldest written constitution that is still in use. This is usually stated as praise, though most other products of the eighteenth century, like horse-borne travel and leech-based medical treatment, have been replaced by improved models.

Jeffrey Toobin, writing in the New Yorker about whether the current dysfunction of the federal government might be due, at least in part, to the Constitution.

(Additional notable quotes from his interesting article, after the jump.)

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[The government shutdown is] not my business. I have a deal with the Congress. I leave them alone. They leave me alone.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in remarks delivered yesterday at Tufts University. Scalia went on to note that the shutdown had not yet affected the Supreme Court’s ability to do work, and that no staff had been furloughed as a result of it.

* When it comes to the U.S. Congress — especially the current one, said to be the least productive and least popular in history — and federal lawmaking, “action isn’t the same as accomplishment.” [Boston Globe]

* The Department of Justice won’t seek the death penalty against Edward Snowden, but only because the crime he’s charged with doesn’t carry that kind of punishment as an option. But oh, Eric Holder can wish. [CNN]

* Sorry to burst your bubble, but Biglaw as we know it is on a respirator, so be prepared to recite its last rites. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber responds to the critics of last week’s hard-hitting piece. [New Republic]

* The grass isn’t greener on the other side right now. Revenue per lawyer rose at Biglaw firms in 2012 (up 8.5 percent), but small firms struggled (with RPL down 8.1 percent). Ouch. [National Law Journal]

* Let me Google that for you: Hot new technology startups have been looking to lawyers who hail from the innovative internet company’s ranks when staffing their own legal departments. [The Recorder]

* If you’re wondering why more financial crimes haven’t been prosecuted since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, it’s probably because they’re too just difficult for most juries to understand. Comforting. [NPR]

* In a recent interview having to do with all of the problems that law schools are currently facing, from shrinkage to joblessness, Professor Paul Campos sat down to politely say, “Told ya so.” [Denver Post]


Erika Harold

* AG Eric Holder sat down and had a little chat about what’s been going on at the Justice Department. He’s not impressed with his agency’s work, but he claims he’s not stepping down just yet. [NBC News]

* “Can you hear me now?” Oh, Verizon, what an apropos slogan you’ve got considering the latest government scandal. The NSA has been spying on you through your phone records since late April. [Guardian]

* Lawyers for Matthew Martoma still want more time to comb through millions upon millions of documents in their client’s insider trading case, but it seems rather pointless after a judge’s kiss of death. [Reuters]

* Looks like she got her wish: thanks to Judge Michael Baylson, a little girl with terminal cystic fibrosis may have a better chance at getting a longer lease on life in this donor lung transplant case. [CNN]

* Being a politician didn’t really work out so well for him, so John Edwards is going to try his hand at being a lawyer again. Just think of all of the lovely ladies he’ll be able to pick up as clients. [USA Today]

* Speaking of former public servants who are getting back into the law, Ken Salazar will be opening the Denver office of WilmerHale — and when it comes to pay, he’s got a “very good package.” [Denver Post]

* And not to be forgotten, famous flip-flopper Joe Lieberman will be taking his services to Kasowitz Benson. We certainly hope the firm will appreciate his superior legal mind. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* The ABA is considering law school job data collection 10 months after graduation, instead of nine, because bar exam results come out so late. Like that extra month will help… [National Law Journal]

* Erika Harold, a Harvard Law grad and ex-Sidley associate known for her reign as Miss America, is running for Congress in Illinois. What will she she do for the talent portion of the competition? [Politico]

* Sadly, Ronald Dworkin has died at 81. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Oracle really really hopes the Federal Circuit has read Harry Potter. But of course they have, because… nerds. [Groklaw]

* A 16-year-old is suing her parents to keep her unborn baby, claiming her parents are forcing her to have an abortion. I’m sure she’s just hoping to get on the next season of Teen Mom. [KPLR 11]

* Snake-handling pastor has his snakes confiscated by Tennessee cops. I had to read this twice because I assumed it was a recap from last night’s Justified. [WSJ Law Blog]

* An interesting look at the false dichotomy between teaching and practice. It’s probably unfair, but all I kept thinking was, “those that can, do; those that can’t…” [PrawfsBlawg]

* Jeff Kurzon is taking a break from suing law schools to run for Congress. If elected, Staci expects an invitation to the next State of the Union. [Jeff Kurzon Blog]

* Overlawyered cites, presumably with disdain, a school district banning the use of a piece of playground equipment. I’m sympathetic to the school for two reasons: (1) when I was a kid, I broke my arm on a piece of playground equipment; and (2) take a look at the death trap of a machine they’re banning. [Overlawyered]

* TestMasters claims that individual posters have been sharing their materials for free. This case sounds an awful lot like what brought down Litchfield Law School. [Courthouse News Service]

* Sorry, Rob Portman, while you’re very good at making law students flee from commencement ceremonies, you don’t get to be Mitt’s running mate. Instead, you get to pretend to be the president. Dreams do come true. [Recess Appointment]

* Just because there was an undergrad rankings scandal at our school doesn’t mean that our law school data isn’t sound. ::pout:: Oh Emory, that’s so precious. [TaxProf Blog]

* Breast implants don’t make women healthier?! Damn you, Congress! [New York Magazine]

* Scamming insurance companies > scamming dying AIDS patients. [Dealbreaker]

* Scott Greenfield is running a book giveaway contest. Well, here’s my submission: The law doesn’t suck; it’s just the week before Labor Day, so writing about the law sucks. [Simple Justice; Legal Blog Watch]

* Given the number of men who ignore their girlfriends in favor of video games, it’s surprising that more women haven’t been charged with misdemeanor battery. [Legal Juice]

If Congress wants lessons on how things work from Jamie Dimon, they should have to pay him a speaker fee or something.

* Another year, another survey that shows prospective law students care more about the U.S. News Law School Rankings than anything else when applying to law school. In fact, it’s the exact same number from 2010. Kids are dumb. [Kaplan]

* Everybody is worried about what will happen when computers replace attorneys. I’m much more interested in what will happen when computers replace hookers. [The Atlantic]

* If watching our Congress ask idiot questions of Jamie Dimon doesn’t make you feel like we need vastly more intelligent Congresspeople, maybe watching them fawn over Jamie Dimon will do the trick. [Dealbreaker]

* I really hadn’t thought of this — in addition to your huge educational debts, your parents are most likely out there spending your inheritance. I swear, if I ever spend money on more education, it’s going to be on a post-apocalyptic survivalist class. [Law and More]

* Former TSA lady gropes current TSA lady after inappropriate groping from TSA. [Threat Level / Wired]

* In real life, unlike Monopoly, a bank error is never really in your favor. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Do the Republicans have an abortion problem? [New Yorker]

* Happy Birthday, Lat! Check out the very cool gift (affiliate link) that he received in the mail today — signed by one of the authors. [Twitpic via Twitter]

Going to law school worked out great for this guy.

And now we come to the real reason I, and so many others, went to law school: I wanted to go into politics. Before I was married, before my father’s name recognition spiked, before I was in debt, before I realized I had no talent asking people for money, I thought elected office was in my future and a law degree was an important credential.

Don’t act like I’m the only one. For as long as anybody can remember, a training in law has been viewed as a good foundation for an eventual career in politics. Even if you never practice, it makes sense that a person who would make laws would have a fundamental understanding of how laws work. A law degree also suggests a certain respect for the rules, a useful quality for those who would be in charge of the rules. In the modern era, law has been the best “career” for would-be politicians to start out in, and historically only military service has been a more common way to elected office.

But maybe that’s all changing? Catherine Rampell of the New York Times has a great piece showing that while lawyers are still the dominant profession among our senators and congresspeople, there are fewer former lawyers running Washington than there have been for a generation.

So, you know, just add one more way in which law school isn’t as valuable as it used to be…

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This ship be sinking.

* How many one percenters do you think are members of the 11%? According to this poll, Congressional approval ratings have hit an all-time low. Looks like it’s time to occupy Congress. [CNN]

* Wikipedia is planning a site-wide blackout this Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act. At least they’re giving some advance notice. If you’ve got papers to write, hurry up and finish. [Businessweek]

* Racial profiling ain’t easy. Sheriff Joe Arpaio still wants to detain people based on the suspicion that they might be here illegally, so he’s appealing Judge Snow’s ruling. [Washington Post]

* The part you won’t see in the inevitable movie starring Robert Pattinson: victims of Italy’s Titanic reenactment will probably be unable to sue for damages in U.S. courts. [Reuters]

* Here’s the umpteenth rehashing of the “are law schools cooking their employment statistics?” argument. Better question: without minimum standards for employment, does it matter? [NPR]

* Jesse Dimmick — the kidnapper who sued his victims for breach of contract — won’t get his day in court. The “most ridiculous lawsuit of 2011″ has been dismissed. [Topeka Capital-Journal]

* You know what, screw the neighborhood. There goes the freakin’ country. Congress’s bipartisan, not-so-super committee has failed to reach an agreement for a deficit reduction deal. [CNN]

* “When the government takes action . . . there are legal limits to what they can do.” And one of those limits is that they can’t screw over any of the AIG shareholders, right, Maurice? [New York Times]

* While NBA players were busy consolidating their antitrust suits in Minnesota, David Boies was being called out by the NBA’s general counsel. Keep it on the in court, Buchanan. [USA Today]

* Remember that time we got arrested at an Occupy Wall Street protest and then sued over it? Probably not the kind of story you want to reminisce about with your future husband. [Bloomberg]

* There are only so many jokes one can make about Justin Bieber. Bottom line: this fetus took a paternity test, and we’re going to find out soon if he’s a baby-daddy. [New York Daily News]

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