Supreme Court

Party on, Justice Breyer.

* On this episode of Supreme Court Retirement Watch, we learn that for whatever reason, Justice Breyer is “having the time of his life,” and so once again, all eyes are upon Justice Ginsburg. Maybe in 2015, folks. [The Hill]

* How unusual that a federal judge would see a confirmation in less than three months. If only Chuck Grassley owed favors to all of the nominees. Congratulations to Jane Kelly, now of the Eighth Circuit. [Legal Times]

* Thanks to an unprecedented ruling from Judge Dolly Gee, mentally disabled immigrants facing deportation will receive government-paid legal representation. New law school clinics, assemble! [New York Times]

* “Among the things the ABA is working on, this may be the most important.” Too bad the Task Force on the Future of Education seems to suffer from too many cooks in kitchen. [National Law Journal]

* Another one bites the dust: Team Strauss/Anziska’s lawsuit against Brooklyn Law School over its allegedly phony employment statistics has been dismissed. Sad trombone. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* Justin Teixeira, one of the Berkeley law students accused in the Las Vegas bird beheading, waived an evidentiary hearing so the media couldn’t squawk about video images they’d see. [Crimesider / CBS News]

Jose Canseco

hey buddy I also think waterboard and shoot but scalia was clear in hamdi dissent that citizens get due process.

– Former MLB player and self-confessed juice head Jose Canseco, explaining to Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, via Twitter the reason why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shouldn’t be treated as an enemy combatant.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a Wise Latina who seems to have a history with drugs. In her memoir, My Beloved World (affiliate link), she recounts the time her ex-husband tried to make her pop pills on their wedding night. She also tells the tale of unknowingly driving her cousin to a drug den (where he apparently did heroin) while she was working as a prosecutor. Later in her career, she asked about cocaine from the bench — specifically, if it could be made into a rock form without using a base.

From pills, to heroin, to crack cocaine, it seems like Sotomayor’s got all of her bases covered when it comes to drugs, but she claims not to have used any of them. Well, what about marijuana?

Come on, it’s just a little pot. Everyone smokes pot. Hell, 47 percent of our readers admitted to smoking it habitually. Some would wager that even Supreme Court justices smoke weed in the privacy of their own homes (they don’t sniff glue, though; ask AMK about that one). But no, not Sonia Sotomayor — that goody two-shoes doesn’t puff, puff, or pass, and she even quit her 3½-pack-a-day cigarette habit.

So then how does this woman know so freakin’ much about joints?

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Sequestration has government lawyers going on mandatory furloughs and facing ethical dilemmas. But the federal bench has cause to bust out the bubbly.

On Monday, the Supreme Court took a pass on an appeal from the Federal Circuit that ordered the government to pay cost-of-living adjustments to six federal judges that the feds routinely stiffed over the last 20 years or so.

Sure, right now this only applies to the six judges who sued, but it’s only a matter of time before a huge swath of the federal judiciary takes the government to court.

How big of a pay day are we looking at?

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* Federal judges are going to keep getting their cost of living raises. Sequestration be damned! [CBS DC]

* Florida passes “anti-Sharia law” law. Accidentally outlaws Jewish divorce instead. [Gawker]

* Why are people so stupid? Legal threat based on the name of a blog. Not the actual content, just the name. In a related note, we’d like to let everyone know that if we write about you, you are not, in fact, “above the law.” [Popehat]

* This is curious. Convicted of stealing $1 million dollars and walking away without jail time. And no written opinion to explain it. Moral of the story? Commit your crimes in Judge Carney’s court. [Navelgazing / OC Weekly]

* You’ve got to move fast if you want to take the profit off a disaster. Best part? A tipster says the explosion pictured isn’t even of the fertilizer plant explosion. [Baron & Budd]

* Newsmax videoed an interview with Logan Beirne, author of Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency (affiliate link). Apparently, George Washington was a badass. No kidding. [Newsmax]

* Well you must have expected something like this. Michael Shannon delivers a dramatic reading of the sorority girl’s memorable cease and desist letter….

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Sometimes, we care about questions. Sometimes, we care about answers. Sometimes, we care about both.

When you’re reporting on a situation, remember that.

I see many, many interview reports that unnecessarily include questions when the reader cares only about answers. If you’re interviewing a witness, and the witness lived the facts (and you personally know bupkis), then we really don’t care about your questions; we care only about the witness’ answers.

So, when you’re reporting on your interview of the witness, do not assign an abbreviation to your name (Mark Herrmann, hereinafter MH), an abbreviation to the witness’s name (The Witness, hereinafter TW), and then report on your questions as though they mattered:

“MH asked . . . . TW responded . . . . MH followed up by asking . . . .”

We care only about the facts — which the witness knows, and you do not — so report only the facts:

“According to the witness . . . .” Your name should appear no more than once in the entire report, so we know who conducted the interview.

That’s a situation where we care only about answers. But there are other situations where we care only about questions . . . .

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* The New York Post responds to critics of its Boston attack coverage. [The Onion]

* I’m just going to quote our tipster on this one because I cannot improve upon his commentary: “Because we should publicize every time a Donald Trump lawsuit fails.” [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* DOUBLE F**KING NEWSFLASH: this pissed off sorority girl will write the BEST cease and desist letters someday. [Gawker]

* CVS: the place with the helpful, anti-Asian racist staff! [Associated Press via Yahoo! Finance]

* The Supreme Court stands up to warrantless searches. Sort of. [Simple Justice]

* Sports franchise owners totally rip off the communities they supposedly serve? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* You’d think an intellectual property firm would know better than to commit copyright violations. [Law 360]

* Good news, law students! You can get a casebook for the low, low price of $200! [PrawfsBlawg]

* Rachel Ray sued for negligence in trying to help a teen lose weight. If the goal was weight loss, Rachel should have just forced the girl to exclusively eat from Rachel Ray’s cookbook. Nothing can turn someone off eating like that. [US Weekly]

This is the problem with allowing only one black person into your little club, be it your country club, your journalistic publication, or your Supreme Court. When you have only one black voice, the brilliant diversity of thought and opinion within the black community can be reduced to Samuel L. Jackson playing Steven, over-laughing and telling you exactly what you want to hear.

Or it can be reduced to one dude on a revenge jihad.

Regardless, if you are only going to let one black person in, it kind of matters who you let in. And that’s why so many people who believe in the advancement of civil rights have such a visceral, negative reaction to Clarence Thomas. It’s not because Thomas isn’t “black enough.” It’s not because he’s a “sell out.” Those are stupid terms that don’t really apply to Thomas anyway.

The problem with Thomas is that despite being the lone black voice in the institution of government that is best positioned to protect minority rights against the vagaries of majority rule, Thomas’s approach to racial justice can best be summed up as, “I got mine, screw the next generation.” The man is so unable to overcome the racism visited upon him that he holds the perverse view that laws that help minorities magically hobble them. Yet he’ll allow majority rule to hobble black people as they see fit. He thinks that the law singles out people as different, as opposed to the somewhat self-evident truth that people define others as different, and then use those distinctions to discriminate. He was hurt by white people thinking that he only got somewhere “because of affirmative action,” but instead of just dealing with it, he now seeks to block the path for others to follow in his footsteps.

Thomas might not want to be a “minority leader,” but he is by simple fact of his important position. Don’t take my word for it, take Justice Scalia’s. Personally, I think that Scalia is more than capable of coming up with his racist BS on his own, but the man just blamed praised Thomas for “leading” his thoughts down a more asinine path.

But it shows why it matters so much who you let in when you only let in one. And it shows why Thomas has been such a colossal failure as a successor to Thurgood Marshall….

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Today, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, held that a citizen of a foreign country who is abused by a foreign corporation in a foreign country cannot sue in a U.S. Court under the Alien Tort Statute because, basically, multinational corporations are very different than pirates.

After Citizens United, we knew that corporations are people. We’re learning what kind of people they are (not pirates). Yet to be decided is whether you’d want to invite them to a dinner party. Or whether they’d accept.

How did we get here?

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* “Yes, it is true.” Justice Scalia admitted in a speech this week that he was guided to the right by his colleague, Justice Thomas, who’s apparently “a very stubborn man.” [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* It’s about time to say so long to your ticking tax time bomb: in President Obama’s proposed budget for 2014, he eliminates taxes on forgiven loan debt under all IBR plans. [Bucks / New York Times]

* “I am the luckiest man in the world.” Larry Macon, an Akin Gump partner from Texas, had nearly finished the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded, but lived to tell his tale. [Am Law Daily]

* Because sometimes you need to steal $374K worth of copy toner. This ex-Fried Frank staffer pleaded guilty to grand larceny, and is looking at up to 15 years in jail. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Judge Victor Marrero isn’t a fan of SEC policy, but when it comes to this civil insider trading case, SAC Capital may get to walk away without admitting or denying anything. [DealBook / New York Times]

* This Yale Law graduate is suing Brooks Brothers over a three-button suit, and wants $2K for the 90 minutes he spent arguing over it in the store. Who is the $1333/hour man? [New York Daily News]

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