Donald B. Verrilli Jr.

They say that March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. And in the case of last month’s legal happenings, that saying held true for the most part. Because even stuttering lambs are still gentle creatures, right?

All in all, March was filled with excitement (of the sexual variety) and disappointment (of the layoff variety) for lawyers. We even got a lesson in how to (and how not to) argue before the Supreme Court.

So who are our nominees for March’s Lawyer of the Month competition?

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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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After a rough week, a near consensus has emerged that Obamacare has a murky future. Liberal pundits are reeling: Dahlia Lithwick is palpably depressed, and Jeffrey Toobin — so recently heard predicting that the ACA would be upheld by an 8-1 majority — is now characterizing the proceedings as a “train wreck for the Obama Administration, and it may also be a plane wreck.” On the other hand, Philip Klein of the avowedly right-wing Washington Examiner encapsulated the opposition’s mood of gleeful triumphalism when he tweeted, “Clement channeled Michael Jordan, Verrilli channeled Scott Norwood.” (But see: Elie’s lonely defense of the Solicitor General.)

Before the arguments commenced, we asked our readers for their opinions and predictions on the case: Will SCOTUS uphold the ACA? Should it? 1,100 of you weighed in.

After the jump, we’ll look at the results of our survey, and sample some representative reader comments. (Here is an example of a non-representative reader comment: “I hope the law is overturned. I am a Christian Scientist and have not been to the doctor in 40 years.”)

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* A warning label for law school: hey, why not? [Tax Prof Blog]

* What are the laws of the world’s smallest nation? [Ars Technica]

* If we end up with no health care reform, do we have right-wing bloggers to blame? [The Atlantic]

* Speaking of the Obamacare arguments, would a simpler approach have worked for Don Verrilli in front of SCOTUS? [Recess Appointments]

* A new law school on Daytona Beach? Well, I’m sure that school will attract a lot of “talent.” [Daytona Beach News-Journal]

* Professors Miriam Cherry and Paul Secunda ask: Are law review submissions like the Hunger Games? [SSRN]

* Are professors working hard or hardly working? [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Global warming creates jobs? [Slate]

Isn’t it funny that if you refuse to buy food, the government won’t force you to buy any — broccoli or otherwise? But when you show up at the hospital dying of starvation, the government will give you health care even if you haven’t paid for it.

Sorry, I know it’s foolish for me to inject 21st century policy concerns into Scalia’s 18th century hypothetical.

Obamacare supporters are still licking their wounds from getting smacked around by SCOTUS yesterday. I don’t know why anybody is surprised. You’ve got four staunchly conservative justices and one pretty conservative justice that gets called a “swing vote” because the Court has lurched so far to the right since he was appointed, and you’re going in front of them with a massive use of the interstate commerce power. You think they care that past precedents that they don’t agree with say they should uphold the law? You think they want to give Obama a victory any more than Republicans in Congress wanted to support the Republican approach to health care once Obama adopted it? This was always going to be an uphill battle with this Court.

That’s not Don Verrilli’s fault. People need to stop yelling at this man. No, he wasn’t as witty as Paul Clement. Do we really think that whether or not Anthony Kennedy wants us to have health care will turn on Verrilli’s ability to spit out a one-liner? If liberals want to blame somebody, it’s not Don Verrilli; blame the spineless way Congress and the President abandoned single-payer. That’s why we’re here folks. We sent Verrilli into a conservative lion’s den with a liberal piece of meat hanging around his neck, and now we’re criticizing the way he ran around, screaming for his life. That’s not right.

But anyway, that was yesterday and “reading the tea leaves” from oral arguments takes way more time than looking at the political agendas of each of the justices. Let’s move on to today’s arguments. The Court will consider whether the Affordable Care Act can survive if the Court strikes down the individual mandate part, and whether the expansion of Medicaid coverage amounts to government coercion….

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Today was the big day: the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act was argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s always fun when nine unelected people get to decide whether Congress and the president get to do what the American people elected them to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been listening to CSPAN 3 take calls from “real” Americans about the constitutionality of health care, and let me tell you: Americans are incredibly stupid. On both sides. Christ on Phonics, I don’t even know if some of these people are able to read. Nine unelected arbiters looking at this is at least as legitimate as millions of freaking idiots having a clap-off to figure out how to administer health coverage for millions of people.

Did I say nine people will decide this issue? That’s not entirely accurate, is it? Aren’t we really talking about one guy?

They’re replaying the audio from today’s arguments on CSPAN 3. Too bad there’s no video… I want to see the gifts of frankincense and myrrh that Solicitor General Don Verrilli and Paul Clement brought for Justice Anthony Kennedy.

But what’s really interesting today is to see whether all these ideologically conservative judges will actually take a conservative judicial approach and show deference to the legislature.

Not that I’m holding my breath….

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Sri Srinivasan

* “Ten Worst Things for a Law Prof To Put on a CV.” [The Faculty Lounge]

* Think of this as another warning against taking sexually explicit photos of yourself. Or buying suspiciously cheap used computers. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Musical Chairs: Sri Srinivasan, chair of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at O’Melveny & Myers, is leaving OMM to serve as principal deputy to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. [Main Justice]

* Hey Warren Buffett: if you really feel that you are taxed too little, feel free to write a big check to the United States Government. [Huffington Post]

* Lawyer turned CEO Andy Lansing is looking for a few nice men (and women). [New York Times]

Woof woof!

* Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A dog walks into a bar…. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* IMF employees give Dominique Strauss-Kahn a warm welcome. [Dealbreaker]

* What is up with Georgia judges? Another one bites the dust: Judge Douglas Pullen leaves the bench, terminating an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

* More bad news for the much-sued Dov Charney. [Fashionista]

* Congratulations to the recipients of the First Chair Awards for in-house counsel! The awards will be presented tomorrow night. [First Chair Awards]

There was a threat of a filibuster, but it was averted. Last night, the Senate confirmed Donald Verrilli Jr. to serve as U.S. solicitor general, by a vote of 72-16.

As one might expect of an SG, Verrilli has an incredible résumé. He graduated from Yale College and Columbia Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review, then clerked for two legendary judges, Judge J. Skelly Wright (D.C. Cir.) and Justice William Brennan.

And that was just the start of a long and phenomenally successful legal career. Let’s go drool over Don Verrilli’s credentials — and check out his net worth, which is quite robust….

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Donald Verrilli

* Obama plans to nominate Don Verrilli as the next Solicitor General. He’s currently working a former partner at Jenner & Block, currently working at the White House. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Through his attorney, Judy Clarke, a smiling and nodding Jared Lee Loughner pleaded not guilty today to charges arising out of the Tucson shootings. [Washington Post]

* Just like Justice Elena Kagan, Vice President Joe Biden was called for — and quickly dismissed from — jury duty. [Delaware Online]

Hannibal didn't need a college degree.

* A divorce lawyer points out that Amy Chua’s parenting techniques would likely break down if she got divorced. [Huffington Post]

* This is easily the best thing I’ve read about the situation in Tunisia. Call the country a casualty of the higher education “bubble” — and consider yourself warned. [NetNet / CNBC]

* A cyberlaw-centric Blawg Review, on the twenty-seventh anniversary of the first Apple Macintosh sales. [Cyberlaw Central via Blawg Review]

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