Supreme Court arguments are off and running, and the Supremes wasted no time in getting to the fun stuff. In this instance, it’s McCutcheon v. FEC, the case billed as Citizens United II: Electric Boogaloo. The conservative wing of the Court is expected to side with McCutcheon in its continuing war to make American elections safe for multi-millionaires.
Anyway, the oral argument was marked by the usual humorous sniping amongst the justices and lots of fun exchanges where counsel and the conservative justices worked overtime to subordinate reality to ideology. Up to and including Justice Scalia arguing that $3.5 million isn’t that much money for one individual to spend on an election.
Here are 3 immediate, largely stream-of-consciousness thoughts based on reading the transcript (available at the end of the post) coming out of this oral argument:
* According to Justice Elena Kagan, the rest of her colleagues are Supreme technophobes. Because “[t]he court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email,” they still pass handwritten memos to each other. [Associated Press]
* “[I]f we don’t get some relief we might as well close our doors.” Thanks to sequestration, budget cuts to the federal judiciary have resulted in layoffs in the Southern District of New York. Sad. [New York Law Journal]
* Kodak’s Chapter 11 reorganization was approved by Judge Allan Gropper, who called the affair “a tragedy of American economic life.” He must’ve had fond memories of getting other people’s pictures. [Bloomberg]
* Bankruptcy lawyers for corporate debtors are going to have to crack down on churning their bills. Starting in November, they will be subject to additional rules, and even (gasp!) fee examiners. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda (because of course his surname is Miranda), has lawyered up after his unusual nine-hour detainment at Heathrow airport this weekend. [Am Law Daily]
* So long, Nuts and Boalts: Christopher Edley, dean of Boalt Hall, is taking a medical leave and cutting short his term as the school’s leader at the end of the year. [Bottom Line / San Francisco Chronicle]
* “We’ll take him.” Indiana Tech Law School opens today, and its founding dean is very excited to add a 33rd student — one who was admitted yesterday — to the school’s inaugural class. [National Law Journal]
* Eugene Crew, co-founder of the firm once known as Townsend and Townsend and Crew, RIP. [Recorder]
* Sorry, ladies — the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy. Unlikely to be named “Joffrey.” [Fashionista]
* The PAC-12 is trying to block a for-profit university from joining Division I athletics. Hear hear. Division I athletics is for making millions exploiting an unpaid labor force and is no place for something as crass as a for-profit school. [Sports Illustrated]
* Professor Kyle Graham wonders: Do judges have slumps? [noncuratlex]
* If you’re fed up with the law, consider being a trophy wife! [The Careerist]
* For those high school graduates who already know they want to be lawyers, Denver Law has a joint Bachelor’s/J.D. program. So what’s the angle here? Locking undergrads into DU Law years in advance, or protecting DU’s LSAT median by filling the class with students who don’t take the LSAT? [University of Denver Law School]
* Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai has pardoned a Norwegian woman who had been sentenced to prison for the transgression of being raped. Remember, Dubai is the relatively forward-thinking country in the region. [CNN]
* Justice Kagan can get a little snarky, can’t she? [Dorf on Law]
* Trevor Faure of Ernst & Young explains how a variety of market forces have placed law firms and their clients in an almost adversarial setting. Video after the jump….
* Who is the real John Roberts? Will he forever be known as health care reform’s savior, or the man who disregarded precedent to gut minority voting rights? Hell if we know, so we’ll let you be the judge. [Opinionator / New York Times]
* The man may be a mystery, but one thing’s for sure when it comes to Chief Justice Roberts: it’s fair to say that at this point, he’d sincerely appreciate it if his colleagues would kindly STFU during oral argument. [Big Story / Associated Press]
* Elena Kagan, a justice who was never a judge, is now being praised for her ability to put the law into terms that non-lawyers can understand. That’s a score for law professors everywhere. [New York Times]
* In terms of the Voting Rights Act, while the chances of the current Congress enacting a universal voting law are approximately nil, there are other effective avenues that could be taken. [New York Times]
* On Friday, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay on gay marriages in California, and less than 24 hours later, Prop 8 supporters filed an emergency motion with SCOTUS to stop all of the weddings. Lovely. [NPR]
* Meanwhile, ex-judge Vaughn Walker thinks Justice Scalia’s having joined the high court’s majority on standing telegraphed the fact that he didn’t have votes to uphold Prop 8 as constitutional. [NPR]
* Rubber stamp this: Judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are so upset that they’re being made out as government patsies that they’re talking to the press about it. [Washington Post]
* Whether you think Chevron is “suing [Patton Boggs] lawyers for litigating” or for promoting fraud that “shocks the conscience,” here’s a summary of what’s going on in an epic case. [Washington Post]
* Got a high-profile criminal defense firm? Look out, because you may have captured Biglaw’s eye. Take, for example, Stillman & Friedman, which will be merging with Ballard Spahr. [New York Times]
* Apparently being in your mid-50s is a “good time to [retire]” for law deans who pull in six figures. Ken Randall, outgoing dean of Alabama Law, says he’s “really ready for the next challenge.” [AL.com]
Elie here. In sports, we assess the legacy of athletes after every game. In politics, we assess the legacy of elected officials after every vote or scandal. So why can’t we do the same for Supreme Court justices?
In case you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been a pretty big week over at One First Street. The Court has decided a number of high-profile, controversial cases. Those decisions have come down with strong holdings, blistering dissents, and stinging concurrences. Each justice is aware that the words they’ve published this week could be around for a long time, long after they’re dead, and will be judged by history.
But who has time to wait for history? David Lat and I engage in some instant legacy analysis on what this week has meant for each of the nine justices on the Supreme Court. Let’s break it down in order of seniority, starting with the Chief….
We should have known that the Fisher opinion was going to be a letdown — a “great big dodge,” as my colleague Elie Mystal put it. Instead of readying herself for an historical moment, Justice Elena Kagan spent yesterday doing some window-shopping.
Where did she go, and what merchandise did she check out? Here’s an eyewitness report….
The third week of June is a frustrating time to follow the Supreme Court.
If there’s any institution in contemporary America that understands ceremony, it’s the Court. Such a self-consciously dramatic institution is, in no way, going to underestimate the importance of timing in issuing opinions. The Justices know that there’s a big difference between a story — or a history book — that starts “On the last day of the Term, the Supreme Court decided,” versus “On the third to last day of the Term….”
There is, in short, just about zero chance that this close to the end, yet not quite at the end, the Supreme Court is going to issue an opinion in the Texas affirmative action case, the Voting Rights Act case, the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, or the California Proposition 8 case.
And yet, the Court still issues opinions. And we still line up to hear them, or push SCOTUSblog’s liveblog viewer-count to even higher numbers, even if we all know, or should know, that the opinions we get are not opinions that will resonate through the ages.
Today, the Supreme Court did issue three opinions. And one of them is important, if only for disaffected teenagers. The rest you may not care about, unless you’re a felon with a gun or you ever signed an arbitration agreement….
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