Constitutional Law

Zhang Ziyi

* I don’t fully understand this story, but it involves the beautiful and deadly Zhang Ziyi and a SLAPP suit. [Techdirt]

* I’m interested in who Andrew Cuomo appoints to the New York Court of Appeals, just because I’m interested in how Cuomo picks judges. You know, just because 2016-2020 could be an interesting time when it comes to shifting the balance of power on the Supreme Court. [WiseLaw NY]

* A Holland & Knight partner is leaving to start teaching an “Indigent Defense” class at Georgetown. I’m not sure who is teaching the companion class: “Blood From A Rock: How To Get Fees Out Of Indigent Clients.” [Legal Blog Watch]

* I swear I was absent the day they explained that the NRA is the fifth branch of government in civics class. [PrawfsBlawg]

* Mmm… negative liberty. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* This seems like a good time to say that I watch This Week with George Stephanopoulos instead of Meet the Press. But I really think that DCPD has better things to do than investigate David Gregory’s ammo clip prop. [Slate]

* Oh mon dieu! Cela ne semble pas bon! As confirmed by The Lawyer, Nixon Peabody will definitely be closing its four-year-old international outpost in Paris, France, leaving the firm with only two offices outside of the United States. Triste. :( [Am Law Daily]

* “I just wanted somebody to pat me on the head.” Aww, all this former Winston & Strawn partner wanted was for someone to tell him he was a good boy, so he helped Kenneth Starr launder money. At least he didn’t get jail time. [New York Law Journal]

* Sorry, lady, but when you work in an HR capacity and you publish tripe about gays not being civil rights victims because they “choose” their lifestyle, the Sixth Circuit will just laugh at your appeal. [National Law Journal]

* At least one law school has gotten the point that tuition is too damn high. Starting next year, Seton Hall Law will allow qualifying first-year students to save about 50 percent on the cost of attendance. [Associated Press]

* What are some benefits of taking a gap year between the completion of your undergraduate degree and law school? Well, for one, you might reconsider your decision to enroll. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Robert Bork, former D.C. Circuit judge and SCOTUS nominee, RIP. [Commentary Magazine]

If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in an appearance yesterday at Princeton to promote Reading Law (affiliate link), responding to a gay student who asked the justice why he draws parallels between laws against sodomy and laws against bestiality and murder.

(So, is homosexuality the new killing it? Read more, after the jump.)

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Overworked and underpaid.

* “Why drag us into it?” Constitutional or not, it seems that not even the D.C. Circuit wants to deal with the political hot mess that’s been caused by President Barack Obama’s recess appointments. [National Law Journal]

* There’s something (allegedly) rotten in the state of Texas: Bickel & Brewer was booted from a multi-million dollar lawsuit due to accusations that the firm paid top dollar for insider information. [Dallas Morning News (sub. req.)]

* There are many more women in the legal profession these days than there were 40 years ago, but — surprise, surprise, here’s a shocker — they’re still getting paid less than their male counterparts. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* And here’s today’s opportunity to beat the horse that just won’t die. This law professor says he pities those who buy into the media’s law school scam narrative, while in reality, most would pity the many unemployed graduates of his law school. [Huffington Post]

* Here’s a protip for the February bar: don’t fake a disability to get extra time. Even if you end up passing, the bar examiners will find out and pretty much ruin your life. Just ask this UC Hastings Law grad. [Am Law Daily]

* “Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property).” Umm, come on, were the Washington police officers who created this marijuana guidebook high? [CNN]

Thanks to spyware, an FBI dad got a gift-wrapped child porn case.

Like any dad, Joseph Auther was worried about what his son might get up to while exploring the wilds of the World Wide Web. So when his 7th grade son got a school-provided laptop from Whispering Palms School in Saipan in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, Auther decided to install a monitoring program on it. He went with a spyware program called eBlaster from SpectorSoft, a company based in Vero Beach, Florida. Unbeknownst to his son, the program captured his website visits, his keystrokes, and every email, chat, and instant message he sent and received. This was all delivered up to his dad in emails, while giving the monitored person no hint that it was doing so.

Auther has a special appreciation for the benefits of surveillance. He’s an FBI special agent. In April, he discovered he was being transferred to the FBI office in Denver. At the end of the school year, Auther let Whispering Palms principal Thomas Weindl know that his family was moving and that they would be returning the school’s laptop. Weindl, 67, was actually a friend of the Auther family; when he got married earlier that year, Auther’s wife gave a reading at the ceremony. Auther told Weindl that he would return the laptop after he removed all of his son’s files, programs, and games.

Auther first took the laptop to his FBI office and asked his colleagues how to wipe it clean. Apparently they don’t have many cyber experts in the Mariana Islands, because they were unsuccessful. So Auther had to instead take it to a computer repair shop, which cleaned out the old files and allegedly re-imaged the hard drive to return it to its original settings. Auther didn’t tell the shop about eBlaster being on the computer — perhaps feeling a little Big Parent shame — but assumed that it would be wiped along with everything else. He then returned the computer to Weindl….

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If you’re trapped in the office on this Friday after Thanksgiving — or, just as bad, stuck at a distant relative’s house with nothing to do — Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College and Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit are here to help.

Last weekend, at the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society, Professor Arkes and Chief Judge Kozinski debated whether natural law should inform constitutional law. Let’s check out their most interesting debate….

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Justice Antonin Scalia

Congress has its job and we have ours…. They can’t tell us to set aside rules of logic!

– Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking over the weekend at the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society. He was responding to a question as to whether Congress could pass laws dictating how judges interpret the law.

(Additional highlights from Justice Scalia’s speech, after the jump.)

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Justice Samuel Alito

Where did we go wrong?

– Justice Samuel A. Alito, imagining the reaction of Yale Law School professors to the fact that he and Justice Clarence Thomas were, for a time, the two YLS graduates on the Supreme Court. Justice Alito delivered the keynote address last night at the annual dinner of the Federalist Society.

(Additional highlights from Justice Alito’s speech, after the jump.)

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* Everyone wants to know who Obama will appoint to the high court during his second term as president. Our very own David Lat chimed in with his suggestions on this panel of notable Supreme Court watchers. [BuzzFeed Politics]

* “If you are writing a biography and either you or your subject are married to a third person, and you have sex, you have done something wrong.” Well, that’s one way to reduce the amount of scandal in your life. [Instapundit]

* Who is the shirtless FBI agent who allegedly sent a sexy picture to Jill Kelley of the Petraeus Pentagon — a picture that got him kicked off the case — and how bodacious is his bod? [Business Insider]

* There is no “best way” to ask for a raise, especially in this economy. But if you’re feeling sassy, you can take some of this sound advice. [Corporette]

* Apologies to all you Beliebers, but California’s Paparazzi Law was just invalidated as unconstitutional. [Cheat Sheet / Daily Beast]

* A time when you really shouldn’t have to yell, “Don’t tase me, bro!”: when you’re trying to use a garden hose to prevent your house from catching fire. [Legal Blog Watch]

Left to right: Alex Kozinski and Diarmuid O’Scannlain.

This week is an exciting one for conservative and libertarian legal nerds: the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society starts tomorrow. I’ll be attending and covering the proceedings; if you see me, please say hello. (If you haven’t registered for the conference in advance, you can still register at the door.)

As always, the conference will overflow with legal luminaries. This year, two of the Ninth Circuit’s most notable names — Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (for whom I clerked) — will be making presentations. Chief Judge Kozinski will debate Professor Hadley Arkes about natural law and constitutional law, while Judge O’Scannlain will moderate a panel about religious liberty.

To whet your appetite, let’s read more about both of these judges and some recent First Amendment fun at the Ninth Circuit….

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