Guido Calabresi

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski

Conservative and libertarian judges on the Ninth Circuit — yes, they exist — have been showing the East Coast a lot of love lately. Last month, my former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, delivered the Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture at the Heritage Foundation (an excellent speech that you can watch here). Later this week, Judge O’Scannlain and one of his colleagues, Judge Carlos Bea, will make appearances at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention.

And yesterday, the ringmaster of the Ninth Circuit himself, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, delivered a talk at Yale Law School entitled “The Immigrant Experience and Judging.” He spoke to a packed house in YLS’s largest classroom.

Here are some highlights from his remarks….

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You don’t often see federal courts striking down conditions of supervised release as violations of substantive due process. But you don’t often see the federal government wanting to hook up a device to a man’s penis, make the man watch pornography, and see what happens. It sounds a bit… 1984 (affiliate link).

I couldn’t help noticing this opinion, given its unusual nature and its focus on the peen. I’m sure you’re all dying to learn more about the procedure known as “penile plethysmography.” (The good news: it’s not as bad as a penile embolism or penile degloving.)

You know you want to see what those Second Circuit judges are hiding underneath their robes. Let’s dig a little deeper (into the opinion), shall we?

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The Supreme Court’s 2008-2009 Term resulted in many notable decisions, including Ricci v. DeStafano and NAMUDNO v. Holder. It also resulted in some epic romances among the law clerks who ruled the building that year. This edition of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch features an astounding five Supreme Court clerks, all from that steamy OT ’08 class.

With five SCOTUS clerks — plus one former White House counsel — this is sure to be one prestige-drenched competition. Settle in, wedding watchers. Here are your finalists:

Jennifer Wynn and Damian Williams

Erin Delaney and Travis Lenkner

Miriam Seifter and Robert Yablon

Beth Nolan and Charles Wright

You’ll find all the details on these lawyer newlyweds, plus many more, after the jump.

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Hey, did you guys know that Asian people sometimes marry Jewish people? No? Well, the New York Times has noticed, and they’re totally on it! Here’s the paper’s investigative masterpiece on Asian-Jewish intermixing, which manages a paragraph linking Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld to the Beastie Boys.

We await a hard-hitting NYT piece on the cultural implications of the WGWAG.

Meanwhile, it’s high wedding season for couples of all races and creeds. Here are three of the most outstanding:

Debra Elias and Seth Grossman

Ebonie Hazle and David Rochelson

Laurie Pila and Gregory Sheindlin

More on these couples, plus other lawyer weddings, after the jump….

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You know you're getting old when this is the Spock you're referring to.

* Canadian comes to America, goes into $100,000 worth of law school debt, and has no job. Mwahahaha, Canada, let’s see your superior health care system find a cure for that! [Globe and Mail]

* Wait, you’re not supposed to take your baby along when you go to see a prostitute? Okay. Got it. See, that’s the kind of tip that isn’t in any of the Dr. Spock books. [Wave3]

* Ben Bernanke can time travel… [Dealbreaker]

* … While John Mara, owner of the WORLD CHAMPION New York Giants, simply revises history. [Forbes]

* Alan Dershowitz received a “D” on his first legal writing assignment. Apparently, his Yale Law School professor, the great Guido Calebresi, told him, “You write like you’re having a conversation with your friends in Brooklyn,” and then helped him work on his technique. Little did Calebresi or Dershowitz know that writing like you’re having a conversation with friends could lead to a successful life as a legal blogger. Boy, did they miss out! [Yale Alumni Magazine]

* Kenny Heitz, an Irell & Manella partner and former UCLA basketball champion, passed away. [Daily News]

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe foresaw the Obamacare Tax Holding, and we’ve got video evidence to prove it….

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Here are a couple of things I learned last week:

1) Above the Law readers love commencement train wreck stories.
2) Emory Law students feel picked on.

Armed with this new information, I bring you stories of commencement ridiculousness at schools with student bodies mature enough to take a little scrutiny.

Graduation has come and gone at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School. And while most Yale and Harvard graduates have jobs lined up for this fall, the transition from student to graduate did not go as smoothly as possible. At one school, a Supreme Court justice essentially had to crash the ceremonies. At another school, it seems the smart people organizing the event were totally flummoxed by the naturally occurring phenomenon of rain.

You’d think that with 380-plus years of combined experience, these two law schools could figure out how to run a graduation ceremony. But apparently there’s no accounting for common sense….

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kenji yoshino professor kenji yoshino.jpgWe recently passed along the rumor that Professor Kenji Yoshino, one of Yale Law School’s most promising young scholars, might be leaving New Haven for one of the New York City law schools. It’s no secret that Professor Yoshino vastly prefers New York to New Haven. As noted on his website, he already splits his time between the two cities. And as some of you pointed out to us after our original item, Yoshino is visiting at NYU this year.

Yoshino has certainly “done his time” in the Elm City. In addition to the time he’s spent in New Haven as a YLS faculty member, Yoshino was there for law school, as well as his clerkship with Second Circuit judge (and former YLS dean) Guido Calabresi.

But Yale may not let Yoshino go without a fight. Several of you wrote to us about this; here’s one account:

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stephen breyer contemplative.jpgIt’s another amazingly beautiful day here in New York, and we’re blogging from Bryant Park. The temperature is in the low 70’s, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and a slight breeze is blowing. Life is good.

We don’t have much time — we’re about to run off to another New Yorker Festival event — but after sleeping on it, and reviewing our notes (’cause that’s what they’re for), we’d like to revise our earlier assessment of Justice Breyer’s interview with Jeffrey Toobin yesterday.

Although it could have been more fun, if Justice Breyer had been more forthcoming, there were actually quite a number of interesting stories and humorous moments — more than we remembered. Yesterday’s take may have been influenced by the fact that the interview’s highlights were clustered toward the beginning of the talk, and more of the bland civics-lecture material was near the end. So immediately after leaving the talk, it was the dry stuff that stuck in our mind. We’ll have more to say later about the best parts of the interview.

In the meantime, check out Ann Althouse’s great question:

David Lat gets antsy when an interview with Justice Breyer is insufficiently confessional. Why can’t he be more like Justice Scalia (or Judge Posner or Judge Kozinski)? Is there some reason the conservative judicial stars are more fun? Do liberals always have to demonstrate their circumspection?

It’s a fascinating inquiry, and one that we’ve entertained often ourselves. Do you have thoughts on why today’s leading judicial “rock stars” tend to be conservative? If so, please place them in the comments. (We’d like to see more robust debates in the comments here at ATL, like at other blogs.)

Three thoughts that we’d like to offer, before you accuse us (and Professor Althouse) of being biased in favor of conservatives:

1. There are a number of charismatic, colorful, outspoken federal judges who are quite liberal. Four examples, off the top of our head: Judge Stephen Reinhardt (9th Cir.), Judge Guido Calabresi (2d Cir.), Judge Jack Weinstein (E.D.N.Y.), and Judge Nancy Gertner (D. Mass.). So, in fairness to the left wing, let’s admit that they too have their icons.

2. Today the top judicial celebrities tend to be conservative. Is this just because the Republicans have been in power for quite some time — and because the most recent Supreme Court nominees, as well as any SCOTUS nominees in the near future, will probably be conservatives?

(Or maybe not. Judge Kozinski or Judge Posner are both brilliant, but they are unlikely Supreme Court nominees, perhaps because they are so outspoken and larger-than-life.)

3. It wasn’t always like this. Two of the most enjoyable and entertaining Supreme Court justices of the twentieth century were Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan — and they don’t come more liberal than that. (So don’t accuse us of refusing to recognize fascinating figures of the judicial left. We just feel that the best ones aren’t around today.)

Okay, gotta run. Apologies for typos or sloppy (or sloppier than usual) writing; we haven’t proofread this. Hasta luego.

“If you’ve sat through one of Justice Breyer’s civics lectures on C-SPAN… you’ve heard this all before.” [Althouse]