* Overrated: Government surveillance is out of control. Underrated: Government spending massive amounts of money making the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command look like the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation is out of control. [Lowering the Bar]
* Helen Wan explains “The 5 Rules Every New Associate Must Know.” Not included: learning all the technical details required to convincingly say your smartphone failed to get that 1 a.m. message. [The Careerist]
* Another post in the fascinating series about creating visual maps of Supreme Court doctrine. It’s like a nerdier version of the The Atlas of Middle-Earth (affiliate link). [PrawfsBlawg]
* Ilya Somin reviews the Supreme Court’s most recent Takings Clause jurisprudence. It’s a lot harder for the government to take your property away. But don’t worry, it’s still really easy to lose all your property to unregulated markets. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* The Office of the Solicitor General may have inadvertently helped out Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner, the two lawyers charged with criminal contempt for talking about a cooperator’s sentence (if you can call a $25,000 fine for admitting to a $40 million fraud a “sentence”) that the feds claim was sealed. [Wise Law NY]
* A somewhat sad art show based on requests from prisoners in solitary. Some beautiful stuff here. Though I’d have expected more “Rita Hayworth” photo requests. [Gawker]
* After winning his first NFL game this weekend, it’s worth looking back at this profile of Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman, who started his coaching career as a University of Miami law student. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* Here’s all of law school in one syllabus. The third year of law school may be useless, but this is probably too short for a decent legal education. [Postgrad Problems]
* The solution to the law school business model should include reaching out to provide basic legal instruction for those not seeking a J.D. But how does this jibe with the argument that the only way to understand the law is to spend three years in school? [Chronicle of Higher Education]
* In fairness to George Zimmerman, his wife was wearing a hoodie… [CNN]
* Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is looking for a new attorney for the office. It’s a pretty sweet government job because you don’t have to submit to a background check — they already know everything you have to hide. [Constitutional Daily]
* The tax collection system in D.C. is taking nominal shortfalls, charging the homeowners astronomical lawyer fees, and then foreclosing on their houses. Check out how much Aeon Financial tried to charge… [Washington Post]
* Australia banned an ad featuring young, naked women not because they were young and naked, but because they weren’t smiling. This makes sense, because if you’re going to be a hyper-sexualized prop in a campaign to hawk consumer products, you’d better be happy about it. [BuzzFeed]
* Caron Washington, D.C., a comprehensive addiction treatment center, will present the D.C. Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program with the Caron Employee Assistance Excellence Award at the Caron Recovery for Life Gala on October 8th, 2013 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The Lawyer Assistance Program is a free, voluntary, and confidential program for lawyers, law students, and judges who are suffering from addiction, depression, anxiety, or stress. You can purchase tickets or make a contribution at the link. [Caron]
* On October 17-18, IT-Lex is hosting a conference covering the intersection of law and technology. Attendees include the Chief Privacy Officer of the Federal Trade Commission, a Special Agent from the FBI’s Cyber Intrusion Squad, Judge John M. Facciola, the Honorable Nan R. Nolan, and Ken Withers. And the event is in Orlando so you can double up with a trip to Disneyworld over the weekend! Sign up at the link. [IT-Lex]
* DOJ busts giant fortune telling ring. You’d think they would have seen that coming. [Lowering the Bar]
* Today’s New York Times points out that Judge Kopf penned an eloquent post regarding his reaction to the news that Shon Hopwood — a man Kopf sentenced to a lengthy prison term — is poised to clerk for Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit. Funny, it seems like I read that news before… [New York Times]
* The government just doesn’t know what documents Edward Snowden stole. That’s part of the reason British authorities stopped David Miranda. That and the Brits love irony. [The Volokh Conspiracy]
* The message here is not bad per se, but to all the law school apologists spreading it around based on the quote, “Yeah, I know, the legal market sucks, blah blah blah. But you don’t need thousands of jobs. You just need one,” well, that’s not a sustainable model. For students that is. [Medium]
* In the midst of cracking down on the NYPD, Judge Scheindlin also issued a new opinion on e-Discovery. IT-Lex provides an in-depth review. [IT-Lex]
* Another sign of the discrimination against women in business — women lag far behind in the commission of high-level corporate fraud. [Law and More]
* BP has taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal to complain about how much money they’ve had to spend cleaning up that one time they catastrophically devastated an ecosystem through their own recklessness. It’s the most recent curious PR move on BP’s part…
* A chat with Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. Kozinski is the only interviewee who can talk about political oppression and reserve the real shock and horror for jury verdicts. [Concurring Opinions]
* On a serious note, a summer intern at Bank of America has died after pulling three all-nighters. Biglaw reminds associates that the lesson here is to get your work done faster. [Gawker via Instapundit]
* LeBron James thinks he’s actually above the law. What’s more despicable? Using celebrity to ruin everyone else’s commute so you can watch a concert or being part of the Heat? [Grantland]
* Case Western Reserve is changing its legal curriculum out of desperation an effort to revolutionize law school. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
* Women’s magazines make a ton of demoralizing helpful promises. What if lawyers inserted themselves into the editorial process? [The Tangential]
As was recently covered here, a Morgan County, IL state’s attorney by the name of Robert Bonjean declared his intentions to selectively enforce a state law declared unconstitutional by the Seventh Circuit Court.
The law in question was the 1960 Eavesdropping Law that forbade recordings without the consent of both parties. The court stated that using this statute to prevent citizens from recording police was likely unconstitutional. Shortly thereafter, a citizen (Randy Newingham) was detained for doing exactly that. Bonjean said he wouldn’t issue a “blanket statement” on citizens’ recordings and would take it on a “case-by-case” basis.
* As it turns out, the National Security Agency oversteps its legal authority thousands of times each year, but that’s only because it’s a “human-run agency.” [Washington Post]
* Federal judges have come together to bemoan sequestration. “We do not have projects or programs to cut; we only have people.” Eep! Don’t give them any ideas. [National Law Journal]
* Ready, set, lawgasm! The comment period for proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure opened up yesterday, and yet again, e-discovery rules are on the table for debate. [Forbes]
* NYU professors want Martin Lipton to step down from the school’s board of trustees, but the Wachtell Lipton founding partner has had a honey badger-esque response — he don’t give a s**t. [Am Law Daily]
* A West Virginia judge was federally indicted for attempting to frame his secretary’s husband with drug charges. Did we mention that the secretary is the judge’s ex-lover? Quite dramatic. [Charleston Gazette]
* Consortium: Not just for straight couples. A same-sex couple in Pennsylvania is trying to appeal the dismissal of a loss of consortium claim in light of the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling. [Legal Intelligencer]
* Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka poseur heir Clark Rockefeller, was just sentenced to 27 years to life in prison in a California cold-case murder. Maybe Lifetime will make a sequel to that god-awful movie. [Toronto Star]
* Jacques Vergès, defender of notorious villains and perpetual devil’s advocate, RIP. [New York Times]
* In the latest round of musical chairs, Skadden Arps managed to scoop up products liability queen and top woman litigator Lisa Gilford from Alston & Bird. Congratulations! [The Recorder (sub. req.)]
* Is merger mania a thing of the past? With pocketbooks tighter than ever, “pseudo-mergers” are starting to look great. No one will complain about more lawyers with less liability. [Legal Intelligencer]
* Man, it’d be great if you could represent plaintiffs in a class action suit and keep all of the settlement funds without having to pay your clients a cent. Oh wait, you can actually do that? [New York Times]
* Whitey Bulger was convicted on 31 of the 32 counts he faced. [NBC News]
* Eric Holder announced that the federal government will stop charging certain drug offenders with crimes that carry draconian mandatory minimum sentences. Apparently, he just now realized the prison system is riddled with non-violent offenders. The last horses are finally crossing the finish line, folks! [Washington Post]
* Johnny Manziel has hired counsel for his upcoming NCAA probe. Surprise, surprise, it’s Champ Kind from Anchorman. [Jim Darnell]
* As a follow-up, the lawyer who filed suit against his ex-wife for bad mothering is facing ethics charges in an unrelated matter where he wrote a will giving his own kids 40 percent of his client’s estate. It take something special to try and slip that one past the goalie. [ABA Journal]
* The former escort behind the nom de plume Belle de Jour, whose exploits gave rise to a TV show, is being sued for defamation by an old boyfriend who claims her sexploits are a lie. If you can’t trust a detailed diary of sexual experiences, what can you trust? [Jezebel]
* Here are the top energy law priorities facing Congress after they return from summer recess. Repealing Obamacare, Congress’s only priority, is not an energy policy. [Breaking Energy]
* For IP attorney LOLZ, here’s a fun Tumblr. [IP Attorney]
* A law student at Wisconsin has developed a system that allows easy stalking of someone’s smartphone. While this makes him sound like a jerk, his intention is to prove how unacceptable this lack of privacy really is. It’s not stalking if it’s proving a point! [Ars Technica]
* The Sixth Circuit thinks the emergency manager law in Michigan may violate the state’s constitution. This could throw the whole Detroit bankruptcy into doubt. There’s a lot of talk about how this could help city pensioners, but let’s focus on the victims it could cause — what would happen to Jones Day’s billings? [Constitutional Law Prof Blog]
The administration wants Snowden back badly enough that it has let this singular aspect cloud its judgement. Obama recently stated he won’t be meeting with Putin, stating Russia’s harboring of Snowden as a factor (rather than Russia’s multiple issues with human rights). Rather than engage in the debate Obama claimed he “welcomed,” the administration is circling the wagons, as evidenced in the petty statement it issued in reference to Rep. Justin Amash’s NSA-defunding amendment. Don’t govern angry, as they say.
There are plenty of people who believe Snowden is a hero. Many others believe the opposite. The problem is the middle ground is pretty much nonexistent. Allowing Snowden to go free would appease the former, but allow him to continue exposing the NSA’s surveillance programs. Locking him up wouldn’t do much either, other than allow the government to avenge its embarrassment. It won’t stop the leaks, however, at least not if Snowden’s “dead man’s switch” works as intended. The Guardian is already in possession of thousands of documents. Capturing Snowden will only hasten their release.
The ongoing court battle over warrantless cell phone location tracking continues and the latest decision is another setback for the Fourth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy over their location data. The decision states that location data is a “business record” created by private companies with the implicit consent of cell phone users and therefore are not subject to privacy protections.
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
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