Supreme Court arguments are off and running, and the Supremes wasted no time in getting to the fun stuff. In this instance, it’s McCutcheon v. FEC, the case billed as Citizens United II: Electric Boogaloo. The conservative wing of the Court is expected to side with McCutcheon in its continuing war to make American elections safe for multi-millionaires.
Anyway, the oral argument was marked by the usual humorous sniping amongst the justices and lots of fun exchanges where counsel and the conservative justices worked overtime to subordinate reality to ideology. Up to and including Justice Scalia arguing that $3.5 million isn’t that much money for one individual to spend on an election.
Here are 3 immediate, largely stream-of-consciousness thoughts based on reading the transcript (available at the end of the post) coming out of this oral argument:
* Musical chairs (White House hottie edition): Michael Gottlieb, former associate counsel to President Barack Obama, is joining the Washington, D.C. office of Boies Schiller. [Blog of Legal Times]
* The search is on for jurors to serve in the criminal trial for Bernie Madoff’s former employees, but in a case of guilt by association, it’s proving to be a difficult exercise. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* “Democracy is not on autopilot,” said Justice Kennedy at Penn Law. Just because we have a Constitution doesn’t mean it will prevail — which is being evidenced by our government now. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
* Because no one could be more “non-essential” than a law student during this mess, the government shutdown is taking a toll on their externship placements throughout the district. [National Law Journal]
* The Princeton Review’s annual law school rankings are out, and boy, have things changed — including the schools with the best career prospects. We’ll have more on this news later today. [Chicago Tribune]
* Cooley Law is teaming up with Eastern Michigan University to offer joint degrees. But we thought Cooley was teaming up with Western Michigan University. Is Cooley infiltrating all Michigan schools? [MLive.com]
* Say what you will about Justice Scalia, but the man is hilarious — more funny than his four liberal colleagues combined, according to a statistical analysis of oral argument recordings. [New York Times]
When I can’t do the job, there will be signs. I know that Justice [John Paul] Stevens [who retired when he was 90] was concerned the last few years about his hearing. I’ve had no loss of hearing yet. But who knows when it could happen?
So all I can say is what I’ve already said: At my age, you take it year by year.
Everyone’s talking right now about New York Magazine’s fascinating and fantastic interview with Justice Antonin Scalia. Some of what’s covered will be familiar to longstanding Scalia groupies, but some of it will be new. In a wide-ranging discussion with Jennifer Senior, Justice Scalia discusses everything from his pet peeves (like women cursing, or majority opinions that ignore the dissent); whether he has any gay friends; his tastes in television (hint: “No soup for you!”); and his desire to hire more law clerks from “lesser” law schools.
The whole thing is worth reading, but here are ten highlights to whet your appetite:
* The Supreme Court’s Term opens today, and the conservative justices may have the opportunity to shift the law even further to the right when it comes to today’s social issues. [Los Angeles Times]
* In his Biglaw days, Chief Justice Roberts “gave his adversaries heartburn.” Now, his litigation skills serve the same purpose for those giving oral arguments before SCOTUS. [National Law Journal]
* It seems that in the end, Justice Ginsburg’s career choices have been whittled down to the lyrics found in one of The Clash’s catchiest songs: Should she stay or should she go now? [Washington Post]
* In other news, in case you were wondering, Justice Antonin Scalia, a firm believer in the Devil, is just as scary in real life as he is when he haunts your dreams (which is impressive!). [New York Magazine]
* “If this continues, it’s going to be very problematic.” Clients are very annoyed, and some Biglaw firms continue to worry about how the government shutdown will affect their bottom line. [New York Law Journal]
* The defections at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas: Weil Gotshal’s Houston office is still leaking partners like a sieve. We’ll have more on these developments later today. [Law360 (sub. req.)]
* President Obama continues to comment on the important issues of the day. He’d “think about changing” the Redskins team name if he were its owner — just like this fired Quinn Emanuel associate. [CNN]
* Viva la raza! The federal government is too slow for California, so the governor signed a bill into law that will allow illegal immigrants to become licensed as lawyers. Congratulations to Sergio Garcia. [Reuters]
* No, we won’t remove that embarrassing story we wrote about you — but at least we’re not trying to charge you hundreds of dollars for its removal like those pesky mug shot websites. [New York Times]
* A-Rod’s lawsuit against the MLB is a fascinating read. It alleges the MLB investigator was having sex with witnesses during the investigation. And A-Rod knows about screwing over the people he should be helping while on the job. [Deadspin]
* Sinead O’Connor threatens to sue Miley Cyrus. Too many jokes are available for this, so let’s just take a moment of silence and let you choose your favorite. [Jezebel]
* Job posting for a bankruptcy associate noting, “good organization & keyboard skills required.” And they desperately need someone with those skills if this error-filled posting is anything to go by. Screenshot here in case they figure this out. [Bright]
* Conservatives are rallying to the soon-to-be heard case of a woman who smeared deadly chemicals around a house where innocent children could have been exposed. Because it’s only about protecting children before they’re born. [Newsweek]
* A law professor wonders if he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. I wonder if narcissism is a common affliction among law professors. On an unrelated note, here’s a picture of Professor Brian Leiter. [Law Prof Blawg]
* A secret society of fun-loving drinkers are leaving gifts around Boalt Hall. The society, known as “The Gun Club,” was founded by none other than Chief Justice Earl Warren. It’s called “The Gun Club,” eh? People always forget that Earl Warren was a Republican. [Nuts and Boalts]
* With fundraisers for students beset by bad luck on the upswing, here’s another one. After the massive flooding in Boulder last month, many Colorado Law students lost housing, cars, furniture, books, and computers. Please help them out. [Indiegogo]
* How about someone builds the Supreme Court in Minecraft? Video after the jump….
In Washington, D.C., on October 17 at 6:30 p.m., please join us for the our next ATL event, a preview of the 2013-2014 U.S. Supreme Court Term.
On the SCOTUS docket for this Term are cases involving affirmative action, presidential recess-appointment powers, campaign finance regulations, and protesting near health care facilities that perform abortions.
Our special guest speaker will be preeminent Supreme Court advocate and analyst Tom Goldstein. Thanks to AccessData for sponsoring this free event. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP below:
* This Term, both wings of the Court will be making originalist arguments because “slaveholders from 200 years ago said so” is the most compelling argument in our legal toolbox. [Constitutional Accountability Center]
* Yale Law grad Ronan Farrow, supposedly Woody Allen’s son, might really be Frank Sinatra’s son. Looking at him that… makes sense. [Vanity Fair]
* Looks like the FTC is finally going after patent trolls. Or would be if we still had a government. [Ars Technica]
* Based on the look and address, the Law Librarians blog appears to have left the Law Professor Blogs Network. It must have been too loud in there for the librarians. [Law Librarians]
* So… you’re saying lots of trial judges out there don’t understand hearsay? [The Legal Watchdog]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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