John Paul Stevens

Justice Stevens

The fact that Congress doesn’t address it is, I think, mind-boggling.

– Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, calling for the government — and the presidential nominees — to focus more seriously on gun control, in the wake of a string of mass public shootings earlier this year.

Justice Stevens

I don’t know.

– Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who spoke at the American Law Institute’s annual meeting, responding to a question about whether the justices’ individual political leanings influenced the outcome of the landmark Bush v. Gore decision.

Welcome to the latest edition of Above the Law’s Grammer Pole of the Weak, a column where we turn questions of English grammar and usage over to our readers for discussion and debate.

Last week, we found out that 52% of our readers thought it was acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition, but with the caveat that it should be avoided if possible. That’s pretty wishy-washy, folks.

This week, we’re going to focus on an issue with a supreme split in authority, and you’re going to have to choose one side or the other. You’re going to pick Clarence Thomas’ side (you’ll soon see why we wrote it that way), or you’re going to pick David Souter’s side, but that’s it. Ooh, that’s a little possessive….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Grammer Pole of the Weak: Getting Possessive with SCOTUS”


Anwar al-Awlaki

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule today. We’ll be back in full force tomorrow.

* If you are curious about that legal memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, Charlie Savage describes its contents in this very interesting NYT piece. [New York Times]

* Ten years after the start of the anthrax attacks, some observers are asking whether Bruce Ivins, the Army microbiologist blamed for the attacks by the FBI, , was wrongly accused. [How Appealing]

Paul Bergrin

* Jury selection gets underway this week in the trial of notorious New Jersey lawyer Paul Bergrin (who’s being represented by a famous defense lawyer). [Newark Star-Ledger via WSJ Law Blog]

* Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned U.S. Senate candidate, is making “a proper case for liberalism,” according to E.J. Dionne Jr. [Washington Post]

* Andrew Cohen’s review of Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir (affiliate link). [The Atlantic]

* In case you missed it last week, here is Proskauer’s response to the discrimination lawsuit filed against it by its former CFO, Elly Rosenthal. [Am Law Daily]

David and Sandra have enjoyed it. I kind of like not having to read a lot of briefs and get reversed by my former colleagues.

– Justice John Paul Stevens, in a humorous quip about the willingness of his fellow retired justices, Sandra Day O’Connor and David H. Souter, to sit by designation on the circuit courts.

(Justice Stevens just published a new book — Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir (affiliate link) — to coincide with the start of the latest Term of SCOTUS, which got underway this week. Adam Liptak of the New York Times praises the memoir as “engaging and candid.”)

Mabel: the best (and cutest) attack dog ever.

* Reason No. 564,857,495,736 Why Law Graduates Are Unemployable: They don’t have good skills. You know, like social skills, networking skills, bow hunting skills. Just the usual. [Wall Street Journal]

* At 91, Justice Stevens has got a virile mind, but he may have suffered a premature evacuation from the bench of the Supreme Court. [ABA Journal]

* Michele Bachmann wants to amend the constitution to define marriage as between a woman and a man. Those pornless marriages are going to be pretty boring. [The Note / ABC News]

* Sorry, guys, but your “Amazon fishing expedition” is on hold because of the DOJ’s child sex tourism lawsuit. Go Wet Your Line somewhere else, with someone of age. [New York Times]

* Nature, you’re doing it wrong. I said Tyler Coulson should attack the wild like Bear, not be attacked by a bear. Don’t worry, because Mabel saved the day. [New York Post]

* This lawsuit against the PGA is grrrrreat! Which tiger is more distracting: one in a bright orange costume, or one with a bevy of bimbos? [ProGolfTalk / NBC Sports]

* With Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opening this Friday, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter probably wishes it could cast some evanesco and make this Cezanne font lawsuit disappear. [Gothamist]

Justice John Paul Stevens

* Opponents of “three strikes” hope that the SCOTUS decision requiring California to reduce its prison population by 33,000 inmates will help them to repeal three strikes. Four balls, standing eight count, and wicked googly are among sports terms vying to take its place. [San Diego Union Tribune]

* A law firm librarian in New Jersey is suing her old firm and police for being falsely arrested and accused of pulling a fire alarm in the law firm’s building. This lawsuit is long overdue. Dewey even need to check out the complaint? Folio microfiche rare books. [New Jersey Law Journal]

* An in-depth look at the legal issues facing moral exemplar and top-shelf human being John Edwards. [Charlotte Observer]

* Utah became the first state to recognize gold as legal tender, momentarily sending the price per ounce skyrocketing to 5.7 wives. [International Business Times]

* Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, at 91, remains as spry as ever. At an age when most men are dribbling pudding onto their shirt, he is dribbling it onto his bow tie. [New York Times]

* “Again?! Egypt bizman busted at Pierre hotel.” [New York Post]

It might interest you to know that if I were still an active justice, I would have joined [Justice Alito's] powerful dissent in the recent case holding that the intentional infliction of severe emotional harm is constitutionally protected speech. The case… involved a verbal assault on the private citizens attending the funeral of their son — a Marine corporal killed in Iraq. To borrow Sam’s phrase, the First Amendment does not transform solemn occasions like funerals into ‘free-fire zones.’

– Justice John Paul Stevens, in a recent speech to the Federal Bar Council in New York City, explaining how he would have voted with Justice Samuel Alito in Snyder v. Phelps (aka the Westboro Baptist Church case).

* The poster state for Planned Parenthood may be picking a fight with the Obama administration over funding Planned Parenthood. [Los Angeles Times]

* Yesterday, Justice John Paul Stevens delivered a speech on the need for legal representation of immigrants. Es muy importante. ¿Puedo ir al baño? Gracias. [New York Times]

* Justice Stevens also criticized a recent Supreme Court decision on prosecutorial misconduct in his speech. Said the current Court is one bowtie short of a… then he trailed off. But he’s pretty sure they got what he was saying. [WSJ Law Blog]

* In the wake of the King & Spalding mess, a look at how other law firms vet controversial clients. [Am Law Daily]

* “Wife of stoned QB passes on taking the stand.” [New York Post]

* The U.S. government has filed suit against Deutsche Bank, accusing them of fraud. Something something schaudenfraud. [Washington Post]

* Medical-pot dispensaries in Washington fear raids, crave Doritos. [Seattle Times]

Personally, I would like to see more Midwesterners or Westerners and not as many from the Ivy League schools. But that does not mean any one of them is not fully qualified. It’s a problem that there are only so many seats available….

– Justice John Paul Stevens, in an interview with the Houston Chronicle (gavel bang: ABA Journal).

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