Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in Illinois. The U.S. Attorney for Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, seemed to have some great evidence — tape recordings of Blagojevich engaging in apparent wheeling and dealing (and uttering a fair amount of profanity).
Today, on the fourteenth day of jury deliberations, the jury found the former governor guilty on count 24 of the indictment, making false statements to federal agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. The maximum penalty is five years of imprisonment. This makes Blagojevich a convicted felon.
There was a time when Americans knew how to protest a war. Now is not that time. From the Detroit News:
One protester, Ahlam Mohsen, a Michigan State University senior from Coldwater, was arrested and faces arraignment today on a felony charge of stalking, as well as misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct, Big Rapids police said. She is accused of throwing the apple pie at [U.S. Senator Carl Levin] after her friend Max Kantar made a lengthy statement at a public event at Peppers Cafe and Deli in downtown Big Rapids.
I can accept that money is speech. I can accept that mosque building is religious freedom. But if your political discourse devolves to pie throwing — or shoe throwing, for that matter — you’re just an idiot.
Senator Levin wasn’t injured by the iconic American dessert…
This should not come as a huge surprise, but Solicitor General Elena Kagan was just confirmed by the Senate as to be the 112th justice of the United States Supreme Court. Kagan, the first woman to serve as Solicitor General, is the fourth woman ever to serve on the Court.
CORRECTION: I replaced “as” with “to be” after receiving this from a former White House official: “I feel compelled to point out that the Senate confirmed Kagan TO BE the 112th justice, after which President Obama likely appointed her AS the 112th justice. Marbury, Madison, etc.”
Fifty-eight Democrats and independents, as well as five Republicans, voted for Kagan. Thirty-six Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against the nominee.
The five Republicans who supported Kagan were Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
The current U.S. Supreme Court lineup (once Kagan is officially sworn in): Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush 43) and Justices Antonin Scalia (Reagan), Anthony Kennedy (Reagan), Clarence Thomas (Bush 41), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Clinton), Stephen Breyer (Clinton), Samuel Alito (Bush 43), Sonia Sotomayor (Obama) and Elena Kagan (Obama).
UPDATE: In case you’re curious, President Obama’s prior SCOTUS nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was confirmed last year by a vote of 68-31, with nine Republicans in support. Three Republicans voted for Sotomayor but not Kagan: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Christopher Bond (Mo.), and Voinovich (Ohio). Scott Brown (Mass.) — who introduced Kagan at her hearings, by the way — voted against her (but wasn’t in the Senate yet for the Sotomayor vote). So did George LeMieux (Fla.), who replaced Mel Martinez (a pro-Sotomayor Republican).
After the Kagan vote, the Divine Miss K’s successor as Harvard Law School dean, Martha Minow, sent out a celebratory email at HLS….
Today Chief Judge Vaughn Walker (N.D. Cal.) issued his ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage. The case was famously brought by Ted Olson and David Boies, two of the nation’s top lawyers (who previously faced off in Bush v. Gore, on opposite sides of the case). We first learned of the news at 4:35 PM today (via Chris Rovzar of New York magazine).
In his 136-page ruling, Chief Judge Walker — a Bush I appointee to the federal bench who is generally viewed as a moderate, not some crazy San Francisco liberal — ruled that Prop 8 is “unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.” Accordingly, he “order[ed] entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement.”
A permanent injunction? Expect Prop 8 proponents to turn to a higher court in 3, 2, 1…. But is the famously left-leaning Ninth Circuit going to be much help?
For excerpts from the opinion and more links, see below….
UPDATE: This post has been revised extensively since it was first published.
Note especially the update near the end of this post regarding Judge Walker’s STAYING THE ENTRY OF JUDGMENT.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli can take his legal attack on the health reform legislation one step further. Today Judge Henry Hudson (E.D. Va.) denied a Health and Human Services motion to dismiss — which means we’re headed for discovery. The WSJ Law Blog reports:
The ruling represents a setback that will force the Obama administration to mount a lengthy legal defense of the law. The suit, filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, alleges that the law’s requirement that its residents have health insurance violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution…
In his opinion, Judge Hudson ruled: “The guiding precedent [on the Commerce Clause] is informative but inconclusive.”
At times like these, it’s important to remember that the Democrats have 255 votes in the House and 59 votes in the Senate, but only four votes on the Supreme Court…
If you thought this whole Shirley Sherrod thing was just going to blow over, well, you’re not thinking like a lawyer interested in generating fees. Burned by Andrew Breitbart’s editing skills, Sherrod says she intends to sue. The New York Daily News reports:
“I will definitely do it,” Sherrod said at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego.
Sherrod said Andrew Breitbart knew what he was doing when he posted a doctored video that made it appear she was boasting about mistreating a white farmer.
“I knew it was racism, and no one had to tell me that,” she said. “Right will win the end.”
Oh Jesus Christ, please don’t tell me I’m going to have to defend Andrew Breitbart…
Now meet John Mantooth’s daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Andrew Schill, creators of a website called Do Not Vote for my Dad. On July 20, Jan Schill wrote:
District 21 judicial candidate John Mantooth is not a good father, not a good grandfather and in my opinion a review of his 37 year record as an attorney in Cleveland, Garvin and McClain Counties reveals that he would not be a good judge.
The Schills are shrill; in their next post, Andrew Schill — another Okie Law grad who worked in Mantooth’s office for a year — lambastes his father-in-law for giving them a crappy Christmas basket, including worm-ridden chocolates…
Last week, Elie and I debated the subject of liberal bias in legal education. Does it exist? Does it matter? Many of you continued the debate, in the comments.
Since our discussion, a number of notable thinkers have also tackled the topic. They include what we’d describe as the legal world’s answer to the McLaughlin Group, a small gathering of highly opinionated and outspoken pundits: Richard Epstein, Elizabeth Wurtzel, and John Yoo. (This same trio recently debated the bar exam and its utility.)
So what did they have to say about liberal bias in legal academia?
As we mentioned this morning, a report from researchers at Berkeley Law suggests that legal education is a field dominated by white, male, elite liberals. The National Law Journal reports:
Law schools hire more openly liberal professors than openly conservative ones, but the plum jobs at the most prestigious schools don’t appear to be going solely to the liberals.
That’s the conclusion reached by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law who analyzed the ideology of recently hired law professors. Their study, “Ideological Diversity and Law School Hiring,” is the first to focus specifically on the political leanings of law professors.
Previous research concluded that law professors skew white and male, and tend to have completed their legal studies at top law schools.
There might be a liberal bias among law school professors? Shocking! Why are we just being informed of this?
But is it really as bad as the study makes it out to be? While the researchers determined that 52 of 60 professors showed a liberal slant, the report goes on to explain that the researchers couldn’t get a clear read on 60% of the 149 entry-level professors sampled.
And even if we agree that there is some liberal bias among law school professors, does the distinction matter? Is there really a “liberal” or “conservative” way to educate people about the law?
This sounds like an appropriate moment for an Above the Law debate. Editors David Lat and Elie Mystal sound off about whether law schools need to be more welcoming to conservatives. As always, we welcome your opinions in the comments….
The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to recommend Obama’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, to the full Senate, by a vote of 13 – 6. So the former Harvard Law School Dean and current Solicitor General is one step closer to becoming the fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court.
Kagan received exactly one of the seven possible votes from Senate Judiciary Republicans. South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham was the only Republican to break ranks. But the Democrats held together, and it’s always impressive when Senate Democrats manage to not royally screw something up.
Kagan’s confirmation should be voted on by the full Senate sometime next week.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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