Harold Koh

* “The people who are paying us say this is what we want.” When it comes to cross-border mergers, law firms aren’t becoming behemoths for the hell of it. The end goal is to be able to edge out the rest of the competition. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* It’s been six weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, and “[e]verybody wants to go back downtown,” but some Biglaw firms in New York City — firms like Harris Beach and Cahill Gordon — are still stuck in their temporary offices. [New York Law Journal]

* Following Jeh Johnson’s adieu to the DoD, drone-loving Harold Koh will be packing up his office at the State Department and returning to Yale Law to resume his professorship next month. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector is employing 5,800 more people than it was at this time last year. We’d be in good shape if 40,000 people hadn’t graduated law school in May. [Am Law Daily]

* Another day, another wrist slap: Villanova Law has been placed on probation for by the Association of American Law Schools over its grade-inflation scandal. Does that even mean anything? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* The Lanier Law Firm, known for its spectacular Christmas parties, hosted some country superstars at this year’s event. Guess we know where Faith Hill and Tim McGraw go for legal assistance. [Houston Chronicle]

* A slim majority of American adults think that federal government employees should just sit back, relax, and smoke a bowl instead of enforcing federal laws against marijuana use. [FiveThirtyEight / New York Times]

* “I’m sorry they are confused in the White House.” Puerto Rico’s statehood referendum received a majority of votes, but lawmakers say the results of the two-part plebiscite are too confusing to add a 51st state. [CNN]

* A Hurricane Sandy survival guide. Key components? Food, water, booze, and prophylactics. Who’s ready for a hurricane Halloween party? [FindLaw]

* California’s longest serving death-row inmate just got his sentence set aside by the Ninth Circuit. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A few days before Thanksgiving, SCOTUS will decide whether to hear the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases. Happy holidays? [American Foundation for Equal Rights]

* Sometimes the most effective self-defense weapon isn’t a gun, it’s a pot of soup. [Consumerist]

* Harold Koh, former Yale Law School dean and current legal adviser to the State Department, sits down for a Legally Speaking interview at UC Hastings. [California Lawyer]

* Additional thoughts, this time from Professor Eugene Volokh, on employers urging employees to vote a certain way. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Justice Clarence Thomas

Elie here. Imagine Santa Claus stopping by your house — except this time Saint Nick is a mute, who stuffs your stocking with personal responsibility and brings you wooden toys, because those were the only ones available when his legend was born.

Well, joking aside, Justice Clarence Thomas will be stopping by Yale Law School on December 14th. And since there won’t be a case in front of him, he’ll actually be talking.

But not to everybody. Sources tell us — and Yale Dean Robert Post confirmed, in a school-wide email — that Justice Thomas will be speaking to the Yale Federalist Society and to the Black Law Students Association, as well as attending a class and a private reception. He won’t be making any general public appearance.

Setting aside commencement, it’s fairly typical for guest speakers (including Supreme Court justices) to speak to specific student groups and not the law school at large. If Justice Elena Kagan went to Yale, she’d likely speak to the American Constitution Society and the Socratic Hard-Ass Faculty Coven.

Some students claim, however, that the Yale administration has contacted several student organizations and asked them not to protest during Thomas’s visit. We don’t know if that’s true, and a message from Dean Post (reprinted below) does not directly mention anything about student protests. But the mere rumor of Yale trying to quash protests, circulated on “The Wall” (the YLS list-serv), has made some students angry.

Should they be? Strap yourselves in for an ATL Debate….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clarence Thomas Is Coming To Town”

One of [my handlers during my confirmation process] said, ‘You know, you might want to apologize for some of the things you wrote.’ I said to him, ‘Can we get one thing straight? I am not apologizing.’

I’ve lived the life I’ve wanted to live. I’ve said the things I’ve wanted to say. If you really want me to say I’m sorry, I’ll say, ‘I’m sorry that my life’s work has been misunderstood.’

Harold Koh, current Legal Adviser to the State Department and former Dean of Yale Law School, in recent remarks he delivered at the American Constitution Society’s annual convention. (In the same speech, Koh voiced support for Yale Law graduate Goodwin Liu, whose Ninth Circuit nomination was successfully filibustered.)

Update: Check out Part 2: The Conservatives.

As we were planning Above the Law’s Elena Kagan confirmation coverage, we got to thinking (always a dangerous thing around these parts): What if Supreme Court nominees didn’t have to defend themselves to the American public? What if the U.S. Senate’s constitutional privilege of “advice and consent” was revoked? What would the Court look like if the nominees didn’t have to even pretend to be moderate?

It’s a thought experiment that we’re sure has been done countless times before. But we’ve never done it, so we’ll plunge ahead.

Here are the rules: (1) The nominee should be unconfirmable. (2) The nominees on the right should make Elie angry; the nominees on the left should make Lat uncomfortable. (3) Mealy-mouthed moderates need not apply.

We decided to keep the five-four ideological balance of the current Court. Sure, we know that some people think that without the Senate, Presidents would nominate apolitical justices who have no discernible political slant. Sadly, apolitical justices = yawn.

In this post, Elie picks four pinko commie scumbags. In a future post, Lat will select five right-wing fascist nutjobs. Should be fun…

So, who are the SCOTUS nominees in the administration of President Elie Mystal?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Unconfirmable Supreme Court (Part 1): The Liberals”

Yoshino.jpgNYU School of Law announced today that it has hired Professor Kenji Yoshino as a tenured faculty member. He was a visiting professor at the school last year and again this spring.

Professor Yoshino graduated from Yale Law in 1996 and is influential in the fields of constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature. It’s quite a score for NYU. Read the original email announcement, from Dean Ricky Revesz, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “NYU Hires Kenji Yoshino as Permanent Faculty Member”

asha rangappa 2 asha rangapa asha ranggappa asha ranggapa.JPGSome happy news from New Haven, Connecticut. Seriously.

It’s about Asha Rangappa, Assistant Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School — and here at ATL, better known as the winner of our recent Hottest Law School Deans contest. Check out this memo, from YLS Dean Harold Koh:

To: Yale Law School Community
From: Harold Hongju Koh

If you have not already heard the wonderful news, I am delighted to report that Asha Rangappa and Andrew Dodd’s new baby boy, Paras Nikhil Dodd arrived on November 21, 2006! (He was instantly named “America’s Hottest Law Baby.”)

Baby Paras weighed in at 8 pounds even, 22 inches long and is wonderfully healthy. The whole family is now home from the hospital and doing well–tired but happy. If you’d like to send congratulations, their home address is [redacted -- America's hottest law school dean must be kept safe from unhinged admirers].

Please note that the baby’s name is “Paras” with an “a.”

We don’t think we’re flattering ourselves in construing the reference to “America’s Hottest Law Baby” as a shout-out to ATL. How cool!

(This shout-out does raise the possibility that Dean Koh has read Above the Law. If so, Dean Koh, we hope you weren’t upset about this post. Or this one, with comments. Everything we do around here is all in good fun.)

When we surfed over to the WSJ Law Blog a few minutes ago, quickly scanned the page, and saw the photo for this post, we thought it had to do with Yale Law School. But upon closer inspection, we learned we were wrong.

Instead, it was a post about Skadden Arps partner Sheila Birnbaum. Birnbaum, who heads Skadden’s Complex Mass Tort and Insurance Group, has a nickname reflecting her expertise: “The Queen of Toxic Torts.” The superstar litigatrix attended the Supreme Court oral arguments this morning in the Philip Morris punitive damages case.

So why did we think, for a few brief seconds, that the post was about Yale Law School? Here’s why:

sheila birnbaum harold koh harold hongju koh sheila l birnbaum.JPG

Sheila L. Birnbaum [Skadden]
Dean Harold Hongju Koh [Yale Law School]