* Since October Term 2013 came to an end, people have changed their views about the Supreme Court. Conservatives think it’s more conservative, and liberals think it’s less liberal. Funny how that works. [Pew Research Center]
* “If a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage looks inevitable, perhaps it is.” Given how quickly lower courts are issuing marriage equality victories, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll have a SCOTUS case to follow. [Bloomberg]
* Pre-law students still care about law school pedigree — as they rightfully should. Sure, scholarships are great and all, but attending a school where you’ll have a prayer of getting a job after graduation is even greater. [National Law Journal]
* Speaking of pedigree, there’s a new law school ranking in town, and Yale isn’t even in the Top 5. If that doesn’t smack of legitimacy, then we don’t know what does. We’re rolling our eyes here. [InsideCounsel]
* Cooley Law’s Ann Arbor campus may close, and students who go to the school are reportedly “pretty devastated.” Stop crying and take advantage of your loan discharge opportunities, you dopes. [MLive.com]
Katie Couric of Yahoo! News sat down to conduct an extended interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to discuss issues ranging from Hobby Lobby to the controversial “R” word. Most importantly, Couric confronts Justice Ginsburg about her internet fame and hip-hop moniker, and we learn that she knows all about it.
Obviously Justice Ginsburg is up on her internet presence. Above the Law learned firsthand that she takes the time to recognize her fans when Justice Ginsburg took the time to personally respond to Staci’s wedding invitation. But hearing an 81-year-old woman talking about how much she adores being called “Notorious” is face-meltingly cute.
There are some other gems from the full interview too….
* When it comes to bans on same-sex marriage, for Justice Anthony Kennedy, animus is a “doctrinal silver bullet” — the fact that there was no animus involved in the enactment of many of them may be problematic at the high court. [New York Times]
* Relying on some obscure Supreme Court precedent, the Fifth Circuit saved Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic after striking down as unconstitutional a state law that would have required doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. [National Law Journal]
* Given the situation over at Bingham McCutchen, people are starting to wonder about whether all the guaranteed contracts to members of merger partner McKee Nelson’s partnership helped to shape the firm’s current financial plight. [Am Law Daily]
* Hot on the heels of Cooley Law canceling its first-year class at Ann Arbor and announcing tentative plans to close the campus, the ABA approved the school’s affiliation with Western Michigan. Yay? [MLive.com]
* Here’s one way to become a lawyer without racking up massive amounts of debt: you could try to “read” the law like Abraham Lincoln, and work as a law firm apprentice. That sounds delightful. [New York Times]
The Constitution of the United States is a flawed document… [its] thinly veiled language… basically reaffirmed the legality of slavery.
– Justice Anthony Kennedy, explaining something historically accurate and entirely obvious to anyone with a third-grade education. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing commentators from freaking… the hell… out, decrying Kennedy for suggesting that human bondage may undermine their totemic reliance on “original intent.” Because when the only justification for your preferred jurisprudence is that the Framers farted laser beams, a nuanced view of the Constitution isn’t in the cards.
When planning a wedding, it’s important to closely monitor who you’re inviting to stand beside you and support you on your special day. Some couples invite everyone they’ve ever known, and some couples invite very few people. My fiancé and I decided to invite everyone who had ever made an impact on our lives, big or small.
Given that I met my soon-to-be husband in law school, I decided that I wanted to invite a Supreme Court justice to our wedding — but not any Supreme Court justice. To stay true to the way we invited all of our guests, I wanted to invite the justice who made the biggest impact on my life.
I sent an invitation to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and painstakingly sealed it with a rhinestone heart. (Truth be told, it took three rhinestone hearts before I thought it looked as perfect as possible.) Inside of the invitation’s envelopment, I enclosed a handwritten note, telling Justice Ginsburg what an inspirational woman she was and praising her for what she’s done for women’s rights in the United States.
I didn’t think Justice Ginsburg would have the time to RSVP. After all, the recipient of my celebrity wedding invitation is one of the most important public figures alive in this country, and I’m just a law school graduate who writes for a legal website (albeit the most well-known legal website in the country).
Shame on me for thinking Justice Ginsburg — or the Notorious R.B.G., as we so lovingly call her — would let me down when it came to our wedding…
* The day after the Supreme Court lifted a stay on Joseph Wood’s execution, it took nearly two hours for Arizona authorities to kill him using the very drug cocktail he contested on appeal. [New York Times]
* So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu: Spencer Barasch, the lawyer at the center of some blowback due to his dealings with Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford, is now leaving Andrews Kurth. [Am Law Daily]
* A dead body was found inside of this West Texas law firm, and the man who was pegged as a suspect claimed he lived at the firm, along with his recently deceased friend. This seems sketchy. [KCBD 11]
* Suffolk Law is hosting a contest where students, coders, and entrepreneurs will try to figure out a way to hack the justice gap. Start by creating an app to help new lawyers earn a living wage. [BostInno]
* Donald Sterling isn’t going to let the fact that he’s already involved in one contentious lawsuit about the L.A. Clippers stop him from filing another contentious lawsuit about the L.A. Clippers. [Bloomberg]
* Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild infamy is in some trouble with the law. He just got hit with a $5,000 per day fine until he returns two luxury cars to the pornography company’s bankruptcy estate. [WSJ Law Blog]
Many of you may remember Sex and the City, a sitcom that followed four women’s lives and relationships through good sex and bad. The show’s most ardent viewers found it easy to identify with one or more of its main characters. There was Carrie Bradshaw, the self-deprecating, too hopeful writer; Samantha Jones, the highly confident and highly oversexed vixen; Charlotte York Goldenblatt, the conservative prestige whore searching for true romance; and Miranda Hobbes, the often masculinized, debbie downer lawyer.
There have only been four women justices on the Supreme Court in the history of its existence — Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — so it’s fitting that we’d someday see an episode of SCOTUS and the City.
Which justice would you assign to each of these character roles? You’re about to find out…
* NO, NO, NO, NOTORIOUS! Previously unpublished documents from the Clinton White House have been released, and it looks like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was criticized for her “laconic” nature. Not cool, Bill. [Legal Times]
* Document review jobs aren’t going anywhere, folks. Exhibit A: Winston & Strawn’s e-discovery practice is bringing in the big bucks, earning the firm more than $20 million in revenue last year. [Capital Business / Washington Post]
* More lawyers are being treated for substance abuse for drugs and alcohol than ever before. In fact, a founding partner of Farella Braun + Martel, one of California’s largest firms, was once a “functioning alcoholic.” [Am Law Daily]
* A Florida jury apparently set on “sending a message” to tobacco companies awarded $23.6 billion in punitive damages to a chain smoker’s widow against RJ Reynolds. That was a costly message. [Reuters]
* June 2014 marked the fewest people who sat for the LSAT in 14 years, but it may get even lower if a new ABA proposal which would allow the test to be waived for 10% of students passes. [Central Florida Future]
The old ball and chain, dischargeable in bankruptcy only in the most limited of cases. Go ahead, try and prove you’ve got a ‘substantial hardship’ preventing you from paying. We dare you.
* Now that a federal judge has classified California’s death penalty as unconstitutional, it’s only a matter of time before the issue reaches the Supreme Court. We have a feeling the justices will likely roll their eyes. [National Law Journal]
* Word on the street is that Bingham McCutchen has got the urge to merge, and has apparently spoken to a handful of potential partners over the course of the past three months. We’ll have more on these developments later. [Reuters]
* As it turns out, it was neither Wachtell Lipton nor Jenner & Block that managed to snag the coveted GM litigation oversight job. Nice work, Quinn Emanuel — you’re considered a “well-respected outside law firm.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* Congrats, Flori-duh, you did something right. A state court judge has ruled that Florida’s ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution in the latest post-Windsor victory for equality. Yay! [Bloomberg]
* Thanks to their hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt, many graduates are considering declaring bankruptcy. Too bad most won’t be able to get their loans discharged. [Connecticut Law Tribune]
Ed. note: This is the latest post by Steve Dykstra, our new columnist covering the Canadian legal market.
I am a Canadian-trained lawyer. I live about five hours away from the Supreme Court of Canada located in Ottawa. I thought it would interesting to see how many justices of the venerable SCC I could name off the top of my head.
I got Beverley McLachlin (the Chief Justice) and Louis LeBel. Two out of nine. I missed Rosalie Abella (whom I’ve met), Marshall Rothstein, Thomas Cromwell, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Richard Wagner, and Clément Gascon (the newbie on the court).
Then I tried the current SCOTUS. I got Alito, Ginsburg, Thomas, and Roberts. Four of nine.
I admit, it’s a bit embarrassing that I can name more U.S. justices than Canadian….
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The Trust Women conference is an influential gathering that brings together global corporations, lawyers and pioneers in the field of women’s rights. Unlike many other events, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.
This year, the Trust Women conference will take place 18-19 November in London. From women’s economic empowerment to slavery in the supply chain and child labour, this year’s agenda is strong and powerful. Speakers include Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking and many other influential leaders. Find out more about Trust Women here.