Josh Blackman

Over the last two decades, a dedicated Supreme Court bar has gained prominence, focusing on arguing the increasingly few cases before the justices each term. These lawyers face fierce competition in persuading clients to hire them, participating in a not-so-glamorous competition known in the industry as a “beauty contest.” At these lawyerly pageants, attorneys competing to take the case make their pitch and try to persuade the client that their firm is the best suitor.

In my new book, Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare (affiliate link), I go backstage and look at two of the most high-profile beauty contests in Supreme Court history: who would represent (1) the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and (2) twenty-six states in their respective challenges to the constitutionality of Obamacare.

How did these litigants go about choosing their counsel? Which lawyers and law firms got passed over?

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* Sagging is one of the best anti-crime tools going. Since it stymies people who actually commit crimes, it seems to work better than stop-and-frisk… [Lowering the Bar]

* From an appellate brief in New York: The “’Question Presented’ stated only “’WHAT’S A BOY TO DO?’” What, indeed. [MyCase]

* Geraldo Rivera is out of an upcoming symposium on the Kennedy assassination reviewing the accuracy of the Warren Report. The reason? This half-naked selfie. I know he’s against wearing concealing hoodies, but dude, there’s a middle ground. [Inside Higher Ed via TaxProf Blog]

* Are energy drinks the next tobacco? ::sips from old-school Four Loko:: [Law and More]

* W(h)ither equity partnerships in Biglaw? [Adam Smith, Esq.]

* Professor Josh Blackman discussing his new book Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare (affiliate link). [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* A Blurred Lines parody video made by law students less than thrilled with the date-rapey message of the original. It’s got some language that you don’t want to blast in the office (though, again, it’s fundamentally less offensive than what Thicke actually sings). Embed after the jump…

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* If you thought Stephen Kaplitt’s epic cease-and-desist response was awesome, then you’ll love this work of parody in response to the response, courtesy of New York Law School. [Legal As She Is Spoke]

* Eric Holder comes clean on his involvement with the James Rosen search warrant, and to the chagrin of many, he isn’t plotting the death of journalism. That, or he’s a big liar. You pick. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* George Zimmerman is going to be staring down an all-female jury for the next few weeks in his murder trial. And let me tell you, that’s going to be so much fun when everyone’s cycles start to sync up. [CNN]

* It’s amazing that the Framers’ intentions can be applied to true love. Best wishes to Ilya Shapiro on his new marriage. Professor Josh Blackman is one hell of a wedding speaker. [CATO @ Liberty]

* Is there an appropriate way to deal with cosmetic surgery — like a breast enlargement, breast reduction, or a nose job — in the office? Just be ready for people to talk about you. [Corporette]

* Former Above the Law columnist Jay Shepherd offers up the secret to lawyer happiness in just six minutes, while taking shots at the world’s largest law firm and the world’s shortest movie star. [jayshep]

There’s really nothing to be said about this great video of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit….

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Qualified Arby’s employees are literally willing to die for the company.

* Additional thoughts, from Professor Josh Blackman, on Judge Richard Posner’s awesome streak of book reviews. [Josh Blackman]

* Meanwhile, Professor Kyle Graham wonders: How would Judge Posner review Moby Dick, Fifty Shades of Grey, and other classic literature? Incredibly, that’s how. [noncuratlex]

* Apple responded to Samsung’s blame-the-jury appeal with knives out and guns blazing. [Ars Technica]

* This attempt at using a disguise to commit ID theft was so pathetic, I almost feel bad for the guy. And yes, there is a photo. [Lowering the Bar]

* A longtime Arby’s employee fled when a knife-wielding robber broke into the restaurant in the middle the night. And then Arby’s fired her. At least unemployment > dying alone in an Arby’s. [Consumerist]

* Models, runway shows, and confidentiality agreements, oh my! [Fashionista]

Reichen Lehmkuhl

* In response to our contest for the best law firm offices, Vivia Chen proposes a contest for the shabbiest law firm offices — and gets the ball rolling with one nominee. (Hint: CHECK YOU hallways.) [The Careerist]

* Professor Eugene Volokh shares his views on the juicy leaked law review emails we covered earlier. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* And Professor Josh Blackman has some ideas about the identity of the conservative professor discussed in the controversial emails. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Villanova hired ESPN’s Andrew Brandt to be the director of the school’s Center for Sports Law. Students would probably be more excited if this meant ESPN was interested in hiring them. [SB Nation Philly]

* Sumner Redstone of Viacom just donated $18 million to Boston University Law. Quick, Boston College, hurry up and find an old rich guy to make a multi-million dollar donation to your school! [Hollywood Reporter]

* Reality TV hottie Reichen Lehmkuhl, perhaps better known for being Lance Bass’s ex-boyfriend, reports that he’s going to law school. He should be required to attend class without his shirt on. [Instinct Magazine]

Grind up some brilliant legal theories, spice liberally with Bluebook-compliant citations, and voilà — law review articles!

Have you ever wondered how the law review sausage factory works? Perhaps you’re a law professor or practitioner who regularly submits pieces to law journals for possible publication. If you are, and if you’d like to know more about how the process works — or, more to the point, what law review editors say about you behind your back — you’ve come to the right place.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, collaborating with far-flung colleagues has never been easier. Here at Above the Law, for example, your four full-time editors — myself, Elie, Staci, and Chris — keep in touch throughout the day using Gchat.

But what if, due to inadequate security, your organization’s internal deliberations were accessible to the public? And, in some cases, even crawled by search engines?

What if you were, say, law students at a highly ranked law school, where you served as editors of a high-profile law review? And what if your, er, candid and colorful comments about the articles pending before you were to become publicly available?

What then? Let’s find out….

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[L]aw schools are questioning whether or not they are teaching students the right way, and it seems to me that the bench and the bar can engage in serious discussions with the law schools to advise them whether or not, say for the next 20 years… they have the proper approach for teaching those who will soon be the trustees of the law as active practitioners. That is urgent.

– Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking this week at the Ninth Circuit’s Judicial Conference in Maui.

(Justice Kennedy’s defense of Hawaii as a conference venue, after the jump.)

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It should not be surprising that the two dissents have sharply different views on how to read the statute. That is the sort of thing that can happen when statutory analysis is so untethered from the text.

– Chief Justice John Roberts, benchslapping the dissents by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.

(The Court upheld, against a preemption challenge, an Arizona law that provides for suspending or revoking the licenses of businesses that violate state immigration law. Gavel bang: Josh Blackman.)

[M]asturbation is a form of “sexual activity” in the ordinary-language sense of the term, which judges use on occasion just as laypersons do. Masturbation is also a “sexual act” in that sense, but not in the statutory sense.

– Judge Richard Posner, doing his best to take all the fun out of jerking off (via Josh Blackman).

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