In our most recent Grammer Pole of the Weak, over two-thirds of you voted against the use of gender-neutral language, opting instead for the historic use of “he,” “him,” and “his” to cover both sexes. In the poll before that one, over 80 percent of you voted in favor of the serial comma. These results suggest that Above the Law readers are traditionalists in matters of grammar, usage, and writing style.
But back in August, 60 percent of you said that you are all right with “alright.” So perhaps ATL readers are open to the evolution of the English language and the creation of new words.
How do y’all feel about neologisms? Let’s look at two new words, coined by none other than the newly svelteAlex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit….
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit continues to provide us with awesome anecdotes. Back in July, for example, we related a fun story pertaining to his naturalization as an American citizen.
It was an inspiring immigrant story, but it was primarily of historical interest. Cool as it was, it did not have huge relevance to the day-to-day practice of law.
Our latest law-related tale about Chief Judge Kozinski has practical ramifications. California lawyers, you should keep reading; you never know when this knowledge might come in handy.
Also handy: diet tips from His Honor, who has dropped quite a bit of weight lately….
I’m a lawyer. I’m a co-worker. In some cases, I may be a friend. But I’m not a mentor; I have no time for that crap.
When I was clerking (for the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), my judge was (and remains) a delight. She was a warm, engaging person who treated everyone as an equal. She was living proof that you don’t have to give up on human kindness just because you’ve become powerful. She taught, by example, many lessons about work-life balance and the meaning of humanity.
But a mentor? They hadn’t invented the word “mentor” (at least with its current connotation) back in 1983. I don’t think Judge Nelson gave the idea a moment’s thought….
* Congratulations to Ted Frank and his colleagues at the Center for Class Action Fairness on their latest victory — which appears to represent “the first time the Ninth Circuit has vacated approval of a class action settlement since 2003.” [Center for Class Action Fairness]
* Elsewhere in the Ninth Circuit, justice delayed turns out to be justice denied for a prisoner who died while waiting over five years for a federal district judge to rule on his habeas petition. (The magistrate judge had already recommended granting relief.) [Los Angeles Times]
Immigration is a hot topic these days. It was the subject of a recent Supreme Court case, Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (a rare loss for the Chamber, which fares well at SCOTUS). It’s getting implicated in the LGBT rights movement, as gay and lesbian binational couples fight deportations caused by the Defense of Marriage Act. And as Election 2012 gets underway, we’ll surely be hearing more about immigration in the weeks and months ahead.
As the immigration debate continues, let’s keep in mind the important contributions made to our nation by immigrants. For example, one of our most distinguished federal judges — Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — is an immigrant. He was born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1950, and he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1962, at the age of 12.
Chief Judge Kozinski recently sent me a great story relating to his naturalization, which I will now share with you (with His Honor’s permission)….
* Urging people to kill the president is protected speech, according to the Ninth Circuit. So if you are playing along at home, judges think that talking about killing judges is wrong, but they don’t care if you threaten the executive branch. [Wired]
* The U.S. Government has decided to stop pursuing Randy Quaid. When reached for comment, Russell Casse said: “They’ve got bigger fish to fry now, believe you me.” [Gawker]
* Delaware should make it more efficient for law firms to tax public mergers. If you don’t like it, you’re feel to come up with some other way for your firm to generate half a million in undeserved fees. [Dealbreaker]
* The arrest of Rebekah Brooks over the weekend only complicates the investigation into News Corp. phone-hacking. I like her hair. I only have one question. [Bloomberg]
* What (and where) becomes of Casey Anthony now that she’s out? Y’know, F. Scott Fitzgerald once opined that “There are no second acts in American lives. But Playboy is always a wise option.” Well said, F. Scott. Well said. [New York Times]
* Some longhair in San Francisco got off a shrooms possession charge because he claimed to forget he had the magical caps and stems. He could, however, rattle off Phish’s entire set list from their Montreal show on 5/9/1998. “Trey was on fire that ni…” the hippie trailed off before asking the reporter for bus fare. [San Francisco Examiner via Gawker]
* Obama’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the former Ohio AG, a University of Chicago Law alum, a member of The Elect and, most importantly, a five-time Jeopardy! champ. [Columbus Dispatch]
The Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and one of his law clerks have penned a eulogy for the Fourth Amendment. It’s been murdered, Judge Kozinski and Stephanie Grace write in an editorial for The Daily, and you all are the guilty culprits.
You’ve put a knife in it, by letting supermarkets track your shopping in exchange for loyalty discounts, letting Amazon and eBay store your credit card info, and letting Google track the websites you visit and take photos of your homes with satellites.
The problem, at least constitutionally speaking, is that the Fourth Amendment protects only what we reasonably expect to keep private. One facet of this rule, known as the third party doctrine, is that we don’t have reasonable expectations of privacy in things we’ve already revealed to other people or the public…
With so little left private, the Fourth Amendment is all but obsolete. Where police officers once needed a warrant to search your bookshelf for “Atlas Shrugged,” they can now simply ask Amazon.com if you bought it. Where police needed probable cause before seizing your day planner, they can now piece together your whereabouts from your purchases, cellphone data and car’s GPS. Someday soon we’ll realize that we’ve lost everything we once cherished as private.
Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court, which was joined in its entirety by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. SCOTUS reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that class action certification should not have been granted in this case, brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of female Wal-Mart employees who alleged a pattern and practice of pay and promotion discrimination by the giant retailer.
Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. What did RBG have to say?
The [Ninth Circuit] seems to have cherry-picked the aspects of our opinions that gave colorable support to the proposition that the un-constitutionality of the action here was clearly established.
Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. When properly applied, it protects ‘all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.’ [Former Attorney General John] Ashcroft deserves neither label, not least because eight Court of Appeals judges agreed with his judgment in a case of first impression.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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