Linda Greenhouse

The media has toppled a barrel of digital ink on the issue of Justice Ginsburg’s insistence on retaining her seat on the Supreme Court. Above the Law has even mentioned it once or twice or thrice. Like any other conventional wisdom story emanating from inside the Beltway, someone raised the issue, Justice Ginsburg said “no,” and then scores of pages were written explaining how she was wrong. And now, as that’s played itself out, scores of pages are going to be written taking the stance that maybe Justice Ginsburg… isn’t wrong?

Well, she is wrong, and bucking the trend of conventional wisdom makes for fun thought experiments, but isn’t as helpful when it comes to discrete, short-term decision-making. The thinking is all too clever by half and should be heaved onto the bonfire of civil liberties Scalia has cooking in his mind….

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Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two eagerly anticipated rulings in major gay marriage cases. In United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, the Court held that the petitioners lacked standing to appeal, vacated the decision of the Ninth Circuit, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. This left the district court’s ruling intact and had the effect of allowing same-sex marriages to take place in California (although there’s some litigation winding its way through the courts on this matter).

Now that we have the decisions, let’s take a deeper dive into them. What do they reflect about the Court’s role in society? And what can we expect from future SCOTUS rulings in this area?

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Stephen McDaniel

* Is the D.C. Circuit is okay with TSA screeners touching your junk? Professor Orin Kerr discusses an opinion handed down today. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* According to his mother, Mercer Law grad Stephen McDaniel — a “person of interest” in the investigation of the death of Lauren Giddings — would like to serve on the Supreme Court someday. He might want to get a haircut first. [Macon.com]

* Speaking of SCOTUS, here’s Linda Greenhouse’s scorecard for the Term that just finished. [Opinionator / New York Times]

* Could a change in Irish law result in priests going to prison? [Catholic News Agency]

* Can a criminal defendant assert a Batson claim based on sexual orientation? [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe): all grown up now.

* Lawyer turned novelist Arin Greenwood offers conflicting thoughts on the Canadian legal troubles of comedian Dave Foley. [Washington City Paper]

* “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Lawsuits”: Justin Tenuto reviews “the most interesting, amusing, and preposterous claims from a decade of Potter case law.” [Legally Easy]

* Has diversity taken a hit during the recession? Not on the campuses of the University of California, according to Heather Mac Donald. [City Journal via Instapundit]

* How can legal departments implement new technology to increase the value they provide to their organizations? [Above the Law (sponsored content)]


* Technology is a godsend, but old-school ways did have their charms. Ben Kerschberg reminisces about preparing SCOTUS briefs back in the days of hot-metal printing. [Forbes]

* Ed Whelan calls out Linda Greenhouse regarding the D.C. Circuit nomination of Caitlin Halligan (in a blog post whose title I prefer not to dwell on). [Bench Memos / National Review Online]

* Volokh on Vibrators. Sounds like the title of a treatise, no? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Lessons learned from The Lincoln Lawyer. [Tips for Young Lawyers]

* San Francisco residents: this is satire, right? Right? [Breadbucket]

* Wise Latino? Luis Ramírez, an ex-associate at Quarles & Brady, is suing his former firm. [Am Law Daily]

* If your parents are paying for law school, do they have the right to learn your Fed Jur and Corporate Tax grades? [TaxProf Blog]

* Today is Good Friday — an appropriate time for reflection on social justice. [Mirror of Justice]

* How would you like to have us as colleagues? Our sister site, Dealbreaker, seeks a new writer. [Dealbreaker]

* Johnson & Johnson will have to fix several factories after an agreement with the FDA prompted by massive product recalls. This still doesn’t explain why my bottle of Tylenol may contain tree nuts. [Bloomberg]

* Charlie Sheen hammered out a custody agreement With Brooke Mueller. That’s nice. [People Magazine]

* Texas may consider a law that would make losers pay attorneys’ fees. Easy, New York Mets. Not all losers. Just those who lose lawsuits. [New York Times]

* A discussion of the legal complaints lodged against the Wisconsin Legislature for Wednesday night’s votes. You know who’s not complaining? This guy. [Wisconsin State Journal]

* A former assistant attorney general from Maine was sentenced yesterday in a child porn case. This is definitely the year of the assistant AG. [ABA Journal]

Happy Birthday Nino

* Not all people living in Idaho are racists, duh. Some are gangsters from Boston. [New York Times]

* Law firm profits and productivity were up in 2010, while demand was flat and revenue was modestly up. Someone named Dan DiPietro and someone named Gretta Rusanow tag-teamed a report all about it. [Am Law Daily]

* A former McGuireWoods partner pleaded guilty to falsifying a tax document. [ABA Journal]

* Linda Greenhouse wishes Justice Scalia a happy 75th birthday. Sort of. [The Opinionator / New York Times]

[A] résumé need not be destiny.

Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, discussing the Roberts Court.

That’s the question posed by Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times, in an extremely interesting post on the Opinionator blog. In attempting to address “why other countries [don't] suffer from the same toxic confirmation battles that we do,” she first notes that other nations don’t give their judges life tenure:

High-court judges [in other countries] typically serve for a single nonrenewable term of 9 to 12 years — a period during which Supreme Court justices in the United States are just getting warmed up. These shorter terms ensure frequent turnover and allay fears about a party in power being able to lock up the court for decades through the fortuity of a large number of vacancies; each vacancy naturally carries less weight.

But we’re guessing that Greenhouse, whose politics tend to fall on the left side of the aisle, actually likes having life-tenured judges who are completely unaccountable insulated from the political process. So she tosses out another idea….

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