SCOTUS

‘Uh, you want me to do *what,* Justice Scalia?’

I’m hoping that a law clerk is sitting in a back room wrapping a phone in aluminum foil.

– Professor Adam M. Gershowitz of William & Mary Law, noting that warrantless cellphone searches are unnecessary when they can be stored in Faraday bags or wrapped in aluminum foil to prevent the remote wiping of information. Gershowitz and other criminal law professors filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defendants in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, which are both being heard before the Supreme Court this week.

Chris Kluwe

* Meow! Last week, in a rare move, Justice Sonia Sotomayor let the world see that she’s not exactly the best of friends with Chief Justice John Roberts through her fiery dissent in the Schuette affirmative action case. [National Law Journal]

* The Am Law 100 law firm rankings are out, and 2013 is being described as a “middling” year for most Biglaw firms. On the bright side, it looks like the big and rich got even bigger and richer. We’ll have more on this later. [American Lawyer]

* Bingham McCutchen has settled a discrimination suit filed by Sleeping Beauty a former associate with a rare sleep disorder. We hope this lawyer will be able to sleep well on her new bed of cash. [Am Law Daily]

* Secrets, secrets are no fun: The search for a new dean is on at George Washington University Law, but professors say they were “sworn to secrecy” on the candidates who’ve visited campus. [GW Hatchet]

* “It’s not about me getting the money; it’s about showing the NFL you can’t do this.” Ex-Vikings punter Chris Kluwe may sue the team after being cut for expressing positive views on gay marriage. [NBC Sports]

* Donald Sterling’s wife ain’t sayin’ V. Stiviano is a gold digger — she’s alleging V. Stiviano is a gold digger. This, plus the accusations of racism against Sterling, is a flagrant foul. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

John Paul Stevens: once a member of the ‘highest’ court?

Yes. I really think that that’s another instance of public opinion [that's] changed. And recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction. Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally, there’s a general consensus that it was not worth the cost. And I think really in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug.

– Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, in comments made during NPR’s “Weekend Edition” as to whether marijuana should be legalized in the United States.

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 been a week of strange splits and noteworthy dissents at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Navarette v. California, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a five-justice majority, holding that a traffic stop premised on an anonymous but reliable 911 tip about a swerving driver provided a police officer reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated. So much the worse for the driver in this case, who happened to have thirty pounds of pot in the bed of his truck. Chief Justice Roberts agreed, as did Justices Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan. The usual yammering about Thomas as Scalia’s lap dog was quiet in this case. In Navarette, they apparently don’t even agree about how booze works: Scalia writes, “Whether a drunk driver drives drunkenly, the Court seems to think, is up to him. That is not how I understand the influence of alcohol.” He then cites to an article on the science of drinking.

In Paroline v. United States, the case involving restitution for child pornography victims, Justice Kennedy authored the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. The Chief dissented, along with Scalia and Thomas. Justice Sotomayor dissented separately. While none of the other justices joined her opinion, Sotomayor would have affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s en banc majority, granting the victim Amy full restitution. That majority included some conservative stalwarts (such as my former boss, Edith Jones) who aren’t often on the same side of divisive issues as the Wise Latina.

Justice Sotomayor also dissented in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, this term’s high-profile affirmative action case. Justice Ginsburg joined Sotomayor’s spirited (58-page!) dissent. Justice Kennedy, writing for himself, the Chief, and Alito, concluded that the Constitution does not require the Court to strike down Michigan voters’ ban on race-based admissions policies in higher education. Scalia and Thomas concurred only in the judgment. Breyer separately concurred, based on a different rationale. Kagan was recused.

If the Supreme Court this week is any indicator, we often agree on little. Where we do, we sometimes find ourselves sharing the sheets with some strange bedfellows. A week of vociferous dissents and unexpected alliances suits seems strangely appropriate to me this week . . . .

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dissenting Opinions And Strange Bedfellows”

* There’s a 5-4 Supreme Court lineup you don’t see too often. [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* The Supreme Court is about to hear two cases on cellphone searches that would ring true with the Founders. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Who watches the watchmen? It turns out nobody. This’ll end well. [Reuters]

* A “Real Housewife” is apparently no longer so much a wife. She’s dating a “hot shot” NYC lawyer. [Daily Mail]

* Affirmative action took another hit yesterday. But Professor Brian Fitzpatrick examines whether or not race-neutral affirmative action was really ever working anyway. [SSRN]

* Extensive drug bust announced by publicity-hound D.A. uncovers… well, not all that much. [Slate]

* Ready for the ATL Top 50 Law School Rankings? They will be revealed next week on the next episode of Kaplan’s The 180 — Live. [The 180 -- Live / Kaplan]

* Georgia is now the 31st state with an active marriage equality lawsuit. Justice Scalia now really wants a revolt. [Associated Press via ABC News]

* Stetson boasted the best bar passage rate in Florida. See how that’s a better fact to tout than “5th out of 11“? [Ocala Star Banner]

* A key member of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s defense team is leaving the Army because they were going to force him to leave the defense to attend a graduate course in Virginia. The kneejerk, liberal reaction is that this is a conspiracy to derail his defense. I highly doubt it. From my experience, the Army’s counterproductive decisions are staunchly arbitrary. [Huffington Post]

* Derek Khanna takes on the Aereo case before the Supreme Court ruins it for all of us. [Politix]

* Britain’s just like a cute little America. They have conservative politicians trying to win votes through nonsensical religious exclusion too. [What About Clients]

* Last time we checked in on Judge Carlos Cortez, he was defending himself against charges that he strangled and threatened to kill a girlfriend. Apparently things have gotten much, much darker down there in Texas. [Dallas Morning News]

Calm down, affirmative action supporters, calm down. Yes, the Supreme Court just gave every state the authority to ban affirmative action in college admissions if they so choose. Yes, Stephen Breyer sided with the majority. Yes, this all looks incredibly bad if you think that race should be at least as allowable a consideration for admission as whether or not an applicant’s daddy went to the school.

But nothing is f**ked here dude. Not really. Colleges will still use some form of race-conscious admissions policies, even state schools. Affirmative action works and nothing that happened today will change that. The Court just made it more likely that admissions committees will have to get creative when putting together a diverse class of students…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “3 Reasons Affirmative Action Will Be Okay Despite Schuette Decision”

Jodi Arias

* Retired Justice John Paul Stevens isn’t exactly too thrilled about the Supreme Court’s opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC: “The voter is less important than the man who provides money to the candidate. It’s really wrong.” [New York Times]

* Neil Eggleston, a Kirkland & Ellis partner who served as a lawyer in the Clinton administration, has been named as replacement for Kathryn Ruemmler as White House Counsel. Please, Mr. Eggleston, we need to know about your shoes. [Associated Press]

* The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says the D&L trial could last for four months or more. Dewey know who one witness could be? Yup, the partner who allegedly shagged a spy. [Am Law Daily]

* Thanks to the turn of the tide in DOMA-related litigation, a gay widower from Australia is petitioning USCIS to approve his marriage-based green card application, 39 years after it was first denied. [Advocate]

* Here are three reasons your law school application was rejected: 1) you’re not a special snowflake; 2) your LSAT/GPA won’t game the rankings; and 3) LOL your essay. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* No, Jodi Arias didn’t get Hep C in jail and file a lawsuit to get a restraining order against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Nancy Grace. We have a feeling we know who did. We’ve missed you, Jonathan Lee Riches. [UPI]

* Mistrial declared after defendant shot in the chest in front of the jury. Judge, remarkably, phrases it like it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, a few minutes ago the FBI confirmed that the defendant has died of his wounds. [USA Today]

* Here are some signs you were meant to be a lawyer. They’re actually not all that great. Probably should have included: “You padded your hours when your mom asked how much time you’ve spent on your homework” or “You introduced your little brother as your associate… and your pets as paralegals.” [Survive Law]

* 21 Jump Fail. Cops embed a 20-something officer in a high school to pester special-needs kid into selling drugs. Judge is not amused. He probably saw the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill version. [Rolling Stone]

* Prosecutors told a guy to let a newspaper write about his drunk driving case as part of the plea deal. They’re really trying anything to save print media aren’t they? [Jim Romensesko]

* If you went to law school in New York, then the job market’s a little better for you this year. Sorry, rest of the country. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Congratulations to Paul Lo, who became the first Hmong judge in U.S. [Merced Sun Star]

* The Aereo case going before the Supreme Court in one helpful video after the jump… [Bloomberg News]

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