SCOTUS

Lisa Blatt and Tom Goldstein

In Washington, D.C., on Monday, October 27, at 6 p.m., we’ll be hosting an awesome Above the Law event: a look at the upcoming Term of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court’s docket grew by 11 cases today (but no action yet on same-sex marriage).

I’ll moderate a discussion featuring two of the nation’s foremost Supreme Court advocates: Lisa Blatt, head of the appellate and Supreme Court practice at Arnold & Porter, and Tom Goldstein, partner at Goldstein & Russell and publisher of SCOTUSblog. Blatt and Goldstein have collectively argued more than 60 times before the Court.

There are many SCOTUS previews taking place around town over the next few weeks, but we promise you that the ATL event will be especially fun and lively. We will offer food, drink, and excellent company.

And the event is free of charge. If you’d like to attend, please request an invite below. Thanks!

At press time, the child whose future decisions will touch the lives of every American citizen for generations went inside to find a lighter.

– The Onion, describing how an 8-year-old future Supreme Court justice spent his day brutally dismembering a grasshopper. The Onion envisions the Court dominated by a psychopath “who will go on to be the court’s crucial swing vote under five consecutive administrations,” and who “laughed out loud and implored the helpless creature to jump.” That sounds about right.

Justice Antonin Scalia

* Justice Scalia spoke at CU-Boulder last night. For his sake, we certainly hope he didn’t speak about any issues that might someday appear before SCOTUS, lest he be asked to recuse. [Boulder Daily Camera via How Appealing]

* Another one bites the dust over at Main Justice: David O’Neil, the head of the criminal division, is stepping down in the wake of the BNP Paribas case, and will likely have many white-shoe law firm suitors. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Fox Rothschild picked up a 18-lawyer boutique firm in Texas, which will serve as the home of its first outpost in the Lone Star State. Energy law, surprisingly, wasn’t the driving factor. [Legal Intelligencer]

* “I have a heart and I have two kids.” That’s a pretty damn good reason for Biglaw attorneys to take a break from their corporate billable hours to represent undocumented children pro bono. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Scott Greenfield reviews Lat’s forthcoming novel, Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link). Of course, in SHG style, it contains a spoiler. Try to skip that clearly marked paragraph. [Simple Justice]


Every law talkin’ guy is weighing in on the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict early voting in Ohio. The decision broke down 5-4, along predictable party lines. The same five justices who gave corporations a blank check to buy elections, the same five justices who decided to declare racism over in the South, decided to stay the restriction on Ohio preventing the state from scaling back early voting from five weeks to four weeks. No opinion was given, but it’s likely that the conservative justices applied a narrow reading to voting rights protections under the Equal Protection clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, according to Professor Rick Hasen. Shocker.

I get it, politically. It’s obvious that Democrats feel like their electoral chances are enhanced by allowing everybody to vote as easily as possible. It’s also obvious that Republicans feel like their chances at the polls are better if fewer people vote and richer people have more influence. That’s politics. Census 2020, bring your pitchforks.

But Supreme Court justices are supposed to be above petty politics. And even though we know that they are not, what is the ideological advantage of being against voters? Their jobs are unassailable. They are unaccountable to the people. Why then make it harder for “the people” to elect who they want?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Do Conservative Justices Hate Voters?”

SCOTUS broke this Con Law nerd’s heart.

We should realize that this is an emperor that truly has no clothes. For too long, we have treated the Court [a]s if they are the high priests of the law, or at least as if they are the smartest and best lawyers in society.

Erwin Chemerinsky, preeminent constitutional law scholar and dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, writing in what Robert Barnes of the Washington Post refers to as the academic’s “break-up note” to the Supreme Court. In his new book, The Case Against the Supreme Court (affiliate link), Chemerinsky notes that “[t]he court has frequently failed, throughout American history, at its most important tasks, at its most important moments.”

Amanda Bynes

* “[T]he ‘superstar’ model of Supreme Court advocacy marketing is prevailing”: recent Supreme Court litigation has been dominated by Biglaw and boutiques, and five of them handled about half of last term’s cases. [WSJ Law Blog]

* It’s not a “done deal” yet, but Albany Law School is in serious talks with the University at Albany to form an affiliation by the end of the year. There’s been no word on whether Albany Law would remain a stand-alone school under the yet-to-be inked arrangement. [Albany Business Review]

* The dismissal of lawsuits concerning allegedly deceptive employment statistics at several Chicago-area law schools was affirmed by an Illinois appeals court. ::insert sad trombone here:: [National Law Journal]

* If you’re still thinking about applying to law school for some reason, you might find these tips on what not to write in a personal statement to be useful. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Amanda Bynes, one of our favorite fading starlets who was already on probation, was arrested this weekend on a DUI charge after stopping her car in the middle of an intersection. [Los Angeles Times]

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If there was one decision I would overrule, it would be Citizens United. I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, explaining the reasons why she thinks Citizens United was one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of recent times, after being asked her opinion in a wide-ranging interview with Jeffrey Rosen of the New Republic.

(What do you think is the worst SCOTUS ruling in recent memory? Tell us.)

Laurence Tribe

On Monday night, the Young Lawyers division of the UJA-Federation of New York hosted Professor Laurence Tribe to speak about his career, the Supreme Court, and the importance of approaching the law as “a profession rather than a business arrangement.”

Professor Tribe also had an opportunity to comment on Justice Ginsburg and Supreme Court retirements, Citizens United, the mood of the Court, and the recent controversy around his support for the California teacher tenure lawsuit.

…and I got a chance to have some first-rate cookies and rugelach. So an all-around success.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Professor Laurence Tribe Calls Out Biglaw Pro Bono And Shares His Take On The Roberts Court”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have? If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. [The Senate] took off the filibuster for lower federal court appointments, but it remains for this court. So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam…. I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can.

– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, commenting on when we can expect her to retire, in an interview with Elle. The full interview is in Elle’s October issue.

* The lawyers fighting against marriage equality say “[w]hether [they] win or lose in lower courts doesn’t matter that much,” because everything will be up to the Supreme Court at the end of the day — but so far, they mostly lose. [National Law Journal]

* On the other side of the coin, the lawyers fighting in favor of marriage equality are sounding more and more like used car salesmen, always bragging about the quality of their “vehicles” just to get their cases in front of the justices. [New York Times]

* In the meantime, Justice Kagan officiated her first same-sex wedding this weekend for one of her former clerks. Only the women of SCOTUS, sans Sotomayor, have performed such ceremonies. [Huffington Post]

* In a landmark decision, Arab Bank PLC was found liable for supporting Hamas in a civil terrorism-finance case. There will be a second trial to determine damages, but the bank plans to appeal. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Here’s advice for those of you considering reapplying to law school during a time of educational crisis: rewrite your app in crayon, you’ll probably get in. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

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