Orin Kerr

Neal Katyal

* “Dominique Strauss-Kahn Gets Off, As Did Everyone Else Who Stayed In His Room At The Sofitel.” Or: what you don’t want to know about your high-end hotel room. [Dealbreaker]

* F**k yeah — trademark law! Or: some reflections on the “immoral or scandalous” bar to trademark registration, by fashion lawyer Chuck Colman. [Law of Fashion]

* The New Jersey Supreme Court just issued a major new decision calling for changes in the way that courts handle eyewitness identifications — an issue that will also be going before SCOTUS in the coming Term. [The Innocence Project]

* Congratulations to Professor Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general, who’s apparently headed to Hogan Lovells. [Am Law Daily]

* Professor Orin Kerr is not impressed by how Dean Linda Ammons has handled the controversy over Professor Larry Connell. [Volokh Conspiracy via Instapundit]

* They have lots of lawyers over at the IRS (former workplace of Michele Bachmann). Do you really expect them to be good at math? [Going Concern]

* Does signing a bill into law with an autopen present constitutional problems? Professor Terry Turnipseed explains how it might. [Slate]

* Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain thinks that President Obama’s decision not to defend DOMA constitutes an “impeachable defense.” [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

The 'scamblogging' law professor has revealed himself.

Earlier this month, we wrote about an anonymous law professor — a tenured professor, at a top-tier school — essentially joining the ranks of the law school scambloggers. Writing over at a site entitled Inside the Law School Scam, under the pseudonym LawProf, the author offered a harsh indictment of legal education, purportedly from within the ivory tower.

I believed that the author was who he said he was, but others did not. Professor Ann Althouse, for example, opined that the blogger was a student, “uncharitably projecting thoughts onto [a] professor” (who talked about how little he, and his colleagues, prepared for teaching). Professor Althouse explained that she thought was student-written, “because it had some bad writing and simplistic thinking.”

Well, as it turns out, LawProf is an actual tenured law professor, at a top 50 law school. Who is he, and where does he teach?

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* A federal judge in Kansas has given Planned Parenthood’s Abortionplex a new lease on life. [WSJ Law Blog]

* What? A former Supreme Court clerk who got passed over for a job at a law school? Nicholas Spaeth, who’s also the former state attorney general for North Dakota, is suing the Michigan State University College of Law, for age discrimination. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times via SBM Blog]

* Interesting thoughts from Scott Greenfield on making executions public. I certainly don’t oppose more-comprehensive coverage of the criminal justice system in general. [Simple Justice]

* Elsewhere in criminal justice news, should prisons be run on a voucher system? Dan Markel offers some thoughts on Sasha Volokh’s interesting proposal. [PrawfsBlawg]

* An interesting profile of Alan Gura, the celebrated Second Amendment litigator, by a fellow small-firm lawyer, Nicole Black. [The Xemplar]

* Hopefully this will all become moot after a deal gets done, but remember the Fourteenth Amendment argument for Obama unilaterally raising the debt ceiling? Jeffrey Rosen thinks a lawsuit against Obama would get kicked for lack of standing — or might even prevail. [New Republic]

* But Orin Kerr believes that a recent SCOTUS case might change the analysis. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Howrey going to pay all the creditors? A lot turns on how some contingency-fee cases turn out, according to Larry Ribstein. [Truth on the Market]

* From in-house to the big house: former general counsel Russell Mackert just got sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his role in a fraud scheme. [Corporate Counsel]

* Keep It Simple: a commendable theme for Blawg Review #313. [Patent Baristas via Blawg Review]

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)]

That’s very impressive support. Off the top of my head, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. Washington is a small place, and informal channels will generally get word back to the relevant folks in the Senate without a public letter…. But the fact that so many conservative former clerks publicly support [Alison] Nathan’s nomination [to the S.D.N.Y.] is quite impressive.

– Professor Orin Kerr, commenting on a letter signed by 27 former Supreme Court clerks in support of the nomination of Alison J. Nathan, a former law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens who has been nominated to a judgeship on the Southern District of New York.

DNA is pretty, oh so pretty.

* The Supreme Court opens the door, but just a crack, to prisoners seeking access to DNA evidence. [SCOTUSblog]

* The legal job market is getting better, right? Right? [Vault]

* Hall, J., dissenting — from the grave. [How Appealing]

* Harvard Law School is always ready for its close-up: first The Paper Chase, then Legally Blonde, and now The Five Hundred. [Deadline.com]

* Are computers better than attorneys at document review? Maybe — but they’re definitely more attractive. [Constitutional Daily]

* Protip for litigators: “Pull Your Pants Up Before Going to Court.” [Gothamist]

* Elsewhere in fashion news, a Seventh Circuit panel (Posner, J.) holds that it’s constitutionally protected to wear a t-shirt that says “Be Happy Not Gay” to your high school. But it’s still really… gay. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Litigation to advance a worthy cause (although it seems odd, in a “cart before the horse” sort of way, to file the press releases before the actual lawsuit). [The Snitch / SF Weekly]

* Blawg Review #301: it’s all about communication. [Not Guilty via Blawg Review]

* Congratulations to Professor Brian Fitzpatrick of Vanderbilt Law on receiving the 2011 Paul M. Bator Award (won previously by a long list of blawg celebrities, including M. Todd Henderson, Orin Kerr, Jonathan Adler, Eugene Volokh, and Randy Barnett). [Federalist Society]

First of all, Happy Chanukah. May your candles burn bright.

It is certainly possible that some lowly internet hacker was trying to take advantage of some holiday compassion when he or she hacked the email of Harvard Law School Professor Charles Nesson. Nesson is a well-known figure in “internet and the law” circles — as well as to readers of A Civil Action, who know him as “Billion Dollar Charlie” — but today he’s just another victim of a phishing attack. An email went out to the HLS community this morning claiming that Nesson was stuck in the U.K. and in desperate need of money.

We can’t be sure if Nesson will be able to find and bring charges against the hacker, but let’s hope that if he does he isn’t forced to rely on HLS students for legal advice…

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Anna Nicole Smith: her candle burned out long before her legend ever did. And the great beauty’s legend continues to grow, over three years after her untimely death in February 2007, as litigation involving her estate contributes to the development of a rich body of law regarding bankruptcy and probate law — in a tribunal no less distinguished than the Supreme Court of the United States.

Over at USA Today, Joan Biskupic has this report:

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear an appeal from the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, the late Playboy model and TV reality-show star, in the decades-old dispute over an inheritance from her tycoon husband.

The action, involving a sensational set of characters in an otherwise dry case at the intersection of probate and bankruptcy law, came on a day of varied court business that included acceptance of 14 new cases for the 2010-2011 term that officially begins Monday.

Sounds scintillating. Let’s get all up in Anna Nicole’s business, shall we?

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Stephen Zack wants a $5 footlong.

* Which four firms do in-house counsel fear the most? [Law 360]

* Professor Orin Kerr offers a more concise version of my analysis from yesterday of politics and Supreme Court clerk hiring, viewing the issue as a principal-agent problem. [Volokh Conspiracy via Instapundit]

* Speaking of the principal-agent problem, Ted Frank explores it in the context of class-action litigation — and has some harsh words for the “coddled Ivy-League defense attorney that’s afraid of the inside of a courtroom and goes home at night feeling vaguely guilty that he’s working for The Man.” [Point of Law]

* Why isn’t the California Attorney General appealing the striking down of Proposition 8? Because “the filing of an appeal under such circumstance would be frivolous.” [Metro Weekly]

* Good news for the next set of Blagojevich jurors. [Chicago News Cooperative]

* What types of questions should law students ask during OCI interviews? [Lawyerist]

* Stephen Zack, the Boies Schiller partner who recently took over as president of the ABA, was just named the Hispanic National Bar Association’s “Lawyer of the Year.” That man is one wise Latino. [ABA Now]

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski gives a thumbs up to privacy for the poor

A user’s manual that’s 200+ years old can be difficult to apply to modern technologies. Thus, it’s been a challenge for judges interpreting the Fourth Amendment as it applies to police surveillance via GPS tracking devices on cars.

There has been a plethora of precedents set across the country as to whether slapping a GPS tracker on a car is considered a “search” and whether a warrant is needed. A Wisconsin state court decided last year that warrantless GPS surveillance is okay. Within a week of the Wisconsin decision, a New York state court disagreed. More recently, the D.C. Circuit ruled that GPS tracking is indeed a search, and introduced what the Volokh Conspiracy’s Orin Kerr called a “mosaic theory of the Fourth Amendment,” i.e., that a series of discrete facts may be public, but their aggregation may violate privacy rights. Kerr dissed the D.C. Circuit’s mosaic ruling, but Cato’s Julian Sanchez was a fan.

The Ninth Circuit got in on the GPS-Fourth Amendment throwdown too. As noted by How Appealing, a Ninth Circuit panel — consisting of two of the court’s more conservative members, Diarmuid O’Scannlain and Randy Smith, and Judge Charles Wolle (S.D. Iowa), sitting my designation — ruled that police officers who placed a GPS device on the underbed of a suspected drug dealer’s car while it was parked outside of his house did not violate his constitutional rights.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski was not happy about their decision. He wrote an angry dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc, accusing the judges of “cultural elitism,” by granting privacy rights to the rich but not to the poor…

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Calls his fellow judges ‘cultural elitists’ when it comes to privacy.

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