Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Left to right (but not in ideological terms): Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Left to right (but not in ideological terms): Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Clarence Thomas.

The day before he got turned away from Sunday brunch, Justice Samuel Alito and two of his Supreme Court colleagues, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, received Yale Law School’s Award of Merit for their contributions to the legal profession. The three justices then participated in a great joint interview conducted by Professor Kate Stith.

We covered the proceedings on Twitter (see @ATLblog and @DavidLat), and we shared with you write-ups from Adam Liptak of the New York Times, Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, and Tony Mauro of the Legal Times. But for the SCOTUS devotees among you who are not yet satisfied, keep reading for even more about this very special event….

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Justice Samuel Alito

Justice Alito: no blueberry pancakes for you!

I’m a big fan of Justice Samuel Alito. He’s a brilliant thinker, a tremendous writer, and an incisive questioner (as I learned arguing before him when he sat on the Third Circuit, and as anyone can learn from listening to audio recordings of Supreme Court arguments). I’m also a devotee of his delightful wife, the stylish and vivacious Martha-Ann Alito.

This past weekend, the Alitos returned to his alma mater, Yale Law School, where Justice Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the Yale Law School Association’s Award of Merit for their contributions to the legal profession. The three justices then participated in a lively and insightful conversation, skillfully moderated by Professor Kate Stith (and live-tweeted by yours truly; see @ATLblog and @DavidLat).

Members of the audience expressed admiration for Justice Alito and his sly sense of humor. But beyond the ivory tower, not everyone admires the justice — or even has the ability to recognize him.

Earlier today, Justice Alito got bounced out of a brunch joint….

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Everyone smile and say “certiorari”!

The opinions released by the Supreme Court this morning were not super-exciting. The good news, pointed out by Professor Rick Hasen on Twitter, is that “[t]here are no likely boring #SCOTUS opinions left.” (But see Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, noted by Ken Jost.)

So let’s talk about something more interesting than today’s SCOTUS opinions: namely, the justices’ recently released financial disclosures. Which justices are taking home the most in outside income? How robust are their investments?

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Rankings make this justice sad.

I really don’t like this categorization of schools as first, second, and third-tier. The U.S. News and World Report rankings of law schools are an abomination. The legal profession and the country would be better off if they were eliminated.

– Justice Samuel Alito, cringing at the very mention of law school rankings in comments recently published in the American Spectator’s wide-ranging interview with the Supreme Court justice. Justice Alito also thinks law schools place “too much emphasis” on the LSAT.

It’s fine if we are not all that popular. There is a reason why the Constitution gives federal judges life tenure. We are supposed to do our jobs without worrying whether our decisions are pleasing to anybody.

– Justice Samuel Alito, in comments made in reference to the Supreme Court’s 44 percent approval rating during a speech made in Florida at a luncheon of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Bar Association.

Wipe that grin off your face, Sam.

I think the tongue-in-cheek answer would be that I was surprised because of how much [Justice Samuel Alito's] done in the way of supporting anti-discrimination laws over the years. But that would be just a facetious comment.

– Judge Harold Baer (S.D.N.Y.), responding to Justice Alito’s criticisms of the practice of encouraging law firms to staff class action suits with women and minority lawyers. Baer went on to sarcastically suggest that Alito lacked “either understanding or interest” in discrimination experienced by these groups.

Mr. Milbank is a humorist and satirist. He can make mountains out of molehills if he wants to. But he should take a page out of Justice Alito’s book and pay more attention to getting it right.

William Ranney Levi and Dana Remus, former law clerks to Justice Samuel Alito, in a letter to the Washington Post responding to an article by Dana Milbank. Milbank accused the justice of “demonstrat[ing] his disdain” for his women colleagues while on the bench.

The front of the Supreme Court building: ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’ (Click to enlarge.)

Justice O’Connor, Justice Stevens, Ted Olson, David Boies, Jeffrey Toobin.

All of them were at the Supreme Court today, eager to hear what the Court had to say. New gay-marriage crusading BFFs Olson and Boies sat together. Also in attendance were lots of other fancy folks — like Solicitor General Don Verrilli and Nina Totenberg — who are there more often.

There’s nothing like late June at One First Street.

At the start of the day, 11 cases remained to be decided, four of them blockbusters. The issues on deck: the Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8, the Voting Rights Act, and the University of Texas’s use of a form of affirmative action. Today, one of the big cases was resolved; with five others coming out, there are only six remaining.

Today, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy, addressed the University of Texas’s use of affirmative action. As the Chief Justice announced that Justice Kennedy had the opinion and would start reading it, a rush swept through the courtroom. People leaned forward. Papers rustled….

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Trying to get in a question at oral argument is really like trying to grab an item that’s on sale at Walmart the day after Thanksgiving.

– Justice Samuel Alito, describing oral arguments before the Supreme Court during a keynote speech delivered at the annual meeting of the Texas State Bar.

* Today is most likely going to be a banner decision day for the Supreme Court, so in wild anticipation, SCOTUS expert Nina Totenberg was on call to answer some need-to-know questions for the people about the innermost workings of the Court. [NPR]

* One of the opinions we hope will drop at the Supreme Court today is that of the Fisher v. Texas affirmative action case. If you want some hints on how the three justices who attended Princeton (not counting Kagan) might rule, check this out. [Daily Princetonian]

* Justice Samuel Alito is out in Texas where he threw the first pitch — “a bit wide of the plate” — in last night’s Rangers game. Will SCOTUS unleash anything important in his absence? [Washington Post]

* Meanwhile, while we eagerly await decisions in the gay marriage cases next week, consider for a moment the possibility that this is all just but a gigantic train wreck waiting to happen. [New Republic]

* Things are heating up in North Dakota where the battle over abortion regulations continues to rage on. What a shame, especially since we supposedly took care of this stuff in the early 70s. [ABC News]

* “If this is what these women signed up for, who is anybody to tell them differently?” Two pimps were acquitted of sex trafficking after prostitutes testified on their behalf. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

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