Michelle Olsen

Too soon, too soon, too soon.

– Justice Elena Kagan, declaring in a recent public appearance that she’s not ready to be the subject of a bobblehead doll.

(Additional highlights from Lady Kaga’s comments, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Justice Kagan: Not Ready For Her Close-Up?”

Looking back, the part of last week’s arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court that stands out most for me is the last hour (DOMA merits) — a fitting finale to two days of historic argument on same-sex marriage.

The way things unfolded, the last hour is why we all came. It is why people slept on the sidewalk for days. It is why Americans tuned in and logged on for updates. It is why the attorneys signed up to argue.

We were there to discuss the future of marriage in this country, how different people see it, and where state and federal governments fit in.

The Prop 8 argument went to those core issues the day before, but in fits and starts. A muddy hybrid of standing and merits.

The last hour of DOMA went there and stayed there. Merits were the only thing on the menu, and we ate it up….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Big Week at SCOTUS: What Stands Out Most”

Looking at my notes from today’s United States v. Windsor argument on DOMA at the U.S. Supreme Court, “$Q” is everywhere. That’s my shorthand for “money quote.” The merits part of the argument was $Q after $Q, moments that made an impact, in some cases if only to show where a justice might be headed.

Here are five. Look forward to bringing you more in-depth analysis of the argument in the next couple of days.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The DOMA Arguments at SCOTUS: Five Money Quotes”


The scene outside One First Street after the argument.

Dearly beloved, we were gathered together at SCOTUS today to argue about these fourteen words: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

But we talked a lot about standing. And we did a lot of standing.

What time did I get to the Court?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Proposition 8 Supreme Court Arguments: Standing and Standing”

Ed. note: Lawyer and journalist Michelle Olsen, a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar, attended today’s oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the constitutional challenge to the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California.

Her write-up of the proceedings will appear shortly. In the meantime, check out the photographs she took while at the Court, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Proposition 8 Supreme Court Arguments: A Photo Essay”

Don’t try to answer my question with your own question.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in response to Ted Olson’s attempt to ask the justice a rhetorical question during today’s oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court.

(We’ll have additional analysis of the Hollingsworth v. Perry proceedings later today, courtesy of Michelle Olsen of Appellate Daily. You can follow Michelle’s real-time coverage on Twitter.)

Michigan Central Station

Last year I got ticketed while visiting the great city of Detroit. I was trying to take some photographs — like the one at right (click to enlarge) — and I unwittingly trespassed upon government property. I got a ticket for “loitering on railroad property.” It wasn’t cheap, at $200, but I was fine with paying it, figuring that Detroit needs all the help it can get. (Also, I liked the fact that the ticket listed my race as “White.”)

Detroit needs all the help it can get — and now it’s getting some. Governor Rick Snyder just picked a leading bankruptcy lawyer to oversee the city’s operations, pursuant to Michigan’s controversial Emergency Manager Law. (The people of Michigan voted to repeal an earlier emergency management statute, and the legislature then passed a new one.)

So who’s the Biglaw partner tasked with Mission: Impossible, and which firm does he or she hail from?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Can a Biglaw Partner Fix the Big Old Mess… of Detroit?”

* In the E.D.N.Y., Pitbull prevailed over lovable, legal loser Lindsay Lohan. Lohan’s knack for the epic legal fail carried over to her attorney, Stephanie Ovadia, who was fined $750 for plagiarism by Judge Denis Hurley. [Billboard]

* Charles Fried is pretty sure Senator Ted Cruz is crazy for saying there was only one Republican on the Harvard Law faculty. But the joke’s on Fried… no one considers a Reagan appointee a Republican anymore, you silly goose! [New Yorker]

* Here are some outtakes from Michelle Olsen’s coverage of the D.C. Circuit (the main event, if you will, was published here). Sadly, unlike some outtake reels, the D.C. panel did not address the problem of snow blindness in cats. [Appellate Daily]

* Brian Leiter and Paul Campos had a little dispute. This article sums it up and has some interesting thoughts on just how little law professors care now about their own teaching methods. Don’t read this if you’re averse to honesty. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Fisticuffs erupt over messing with the thermostat. This is an official warning to the other ATL editors if that office is too hot next week… [LegalJuice]

* The whole “publish or perish” racket is rough. Bill Araiza needs a hug. [PrawfsBlawg]

* The ideological center of the U.S. House of Representatives is Staten Island. Woe to the Republic. [New York Daily News]

Chief Judge Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since last week, is dreading March 1.

With heavy stress on “not,” Chief Judge Garland said he does “not look forward” to the potential sequester because he knows that it would mean cuts and that he would have to make them.

Garland, along with fellow D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith and Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, spoke Saturday at the Georgetown University Law Center, as part of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s annual conference. I attended the panel presentation.

One positive of the new job for Garland is that he can make more writing assignments. Like Justice Breyer, he was a longtime junior judge. Translation: He had to take what he was given to write.

“The public has seen [Garland’s] last opinion on energy law,” Griffith predicted.

Read more about the panel, including Silberman’s jabs at the recess appointments decision, Griffith’s magical (?) clerk gift, and Garland’s limited edition headgear for a court party, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Dreading the Sequester”