Earlier this month, we provided you with a fairly complete listing of Supreme Court law clerks for October Term 2010. The OT 2010 clerks are starting up at the Court this month, staggered over a few weeks. To get a sense of what they’ll be working on this summer, see this SCOTUSblog post, by Lisa McElroy.
If you had any doubts about the accuracy of our list of OT 2010 clerks, consider them dispelled. The Public Information Office of the Supreme Court has kindly provided Above the Law with the official list of incoming law clerks, and the list is consistent with what we’ve previously reported. There’s just one name that we didn’t previously have: the law clerk to retired Justice David H. Souter.
Find out who he is, and check out the official list — we know you’re dying to learn the middle initials of the newest members of “The Elect” — after the jump.
In addition to her intellect, academic and professional qualifications, Kagan did just enough to win my vote by her answers that television would be good for the country and the court, and by identifying Justice Marshall as her role model.
The Senate confirmation vote on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court has been pushed back one week, to July 20. This gives the Republicans more time to try and persuade a few Democrats to vote against Lady Kaga.
As they try to win over Democrats, the Senate Republicans have some new fodder: a Kagan-related scandal! A hit-and-run car accident, involving thousands of dollars in damage! To a minivan — owned by the mother of a disabled child!
Alas, the Divine Miss K wasn’t at the wheel. Who was?
Last month, the employee cafe in the D.C. office of Skadden was briefly closed for health code violations. Meanwhile, across town, the Supreme Court cafeteria continues to operate — even though some apparently think it should be struck down like an errant statute.
This food should be unconstitutional, we agreed, as my two companions and I sat in the court’s sparsely populated dining area, examining the wan offerings we’d just received.
The restaurant review is part of the WaPo’s ongoing review of federal government cafeterias. Based on the harsh write-up for Cafe Scotus, it sounds like the judiciary is — with apologies to Alexander Bickel — the most dangerous branch.
So, what are some of the specific dishes panned by the Post?
In today’s Washington Post (gavel bang: WSJ Law Blog), writer Stuart Taylor Jr. notices that the Supreme Court is a totally partisan institution:
Why does the supposedly nonpartisan Supreme Court split so often along ideological lines, with the four conservatives locked in combat against the four liberals and the eclectic Justice Anthony Kennedy determining which faction wins?
And why do all of the justices so often find in the Constitution a mirror image of their own political and policy views on issues as diverse as abortion, race, religion, gay rights, campaign finance, the death penalty and national security?
If I hear one more person refer to Justice Kennedy as some kind of swinging independent, I’m going to scream. But that’s besides the point. The point is that there are still a lot of people out there who fool themselves into thinking that the political preferences of the judges don’t, or shouldn’t, matter…
Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has no plans of stepping down from the Supreme Court anytime soon. This wasn’t terribly exciting, since there haven’t been any rumblings of an AMK departure. In addition, Justice Kennedy has already hired at least two law clerks for October Term 2011.
And so have several of his colleagues, including Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who are said to be done with their OT 2011 hiring). Some have wondered whether Justice Ginsburg might be leaving the Court, given her health issues. But RBG’s commitment to the Court appears strong — she took the bench the day after the deeply sad passing of her husband, Marty Ginsburg — and her hiring a full clerk complement for 2011-2012 suggests she isn’t going anywhere.
A full list of the October Term 2010 law clerks, who are starting at One First Street this month, plus news (and rumor) of OT 2011 hires — after the jump.
A lot of ink (virtual and otherwise) has been spent the last couple of days grading the performance of Elena Kagan at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate. If confirmed, this week is the last time Kagan has to talk to the people, so it’s right to focus on how she did.
But there seems to be a media blind spot when it comes to grading the Senate Judiciary Committee itself. These 19 elected representatives are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of being the people’s voice in a process that ends with a lifetime appointment. Yet few seem to care if these guys are doing a good job — or if they even know what they are talking about. Sure, we’ve got to live with confirmed SCOTUS Justices for the rest of their lives, be we have direct electoral control over the Senators who do the confirming. Is it too much to ask that we find 19 people in the entire U.S. Senate that actually understand what judges do for a living?
Let’s get this ball rolling. Which Senator best fulfilled his or her duty to all of us, and which ones need to be transferred to Foreign Relations — where only our enemies and allies have to suffer under their stupidity?
Aharon Barak wonders: Why do Senate Republicans hate me so much?
Yesterday morning, while I was shamelessly snooping scanning the bookshelves of my significant other, a handsome book caught my eye. The title, Purposive Interpretation in Law, wasn’t very sexy, but the author’s name grabbed my attention: AHARON BARAK.
Yes, the Aharon Barak — the man whose name has been constantly invoked this week, over the past three days of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings. “The other white meat Barak,” not be confused with our president Barack (Hussein Obama). The bugaboo of the rule of law, in the eyes of Kagan critics. Quite possibly “the worst judge on the planet,” in the words of failed SCOTUS nominee Robert Bork.
As I picked up Barak’s book from the shelf, a chill ran up my spine. I felt myself in the presence of a judicial Voldemort. Should owning a book by Aharon Barak be grounds for breaking up with someone? Is it tantamount to owning a lovingly dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf?
I needed to educate myself. Just who is Aharon Barak?
Elena Kagan slogged through her third day of hearings and last day of questioning. We liveblogged the proceedings (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) and we’re a bit tired of listening to senators talk. We prefer the sweet sounds of judges opining.
We’re surely not as tired of it as Lady Kaga, though. She noted that she has found the hearings to be “somewhat wearying.” But now she’s done. Senator Leahy told her she can put her feet up and relax after today, to which she responded, “I can’t come back?”
“If you’re that much of a glutton for punishment, you’re not qualified for the Supreme Court,” exclaimed Committee Chairman Leahy. Kagan did come across as eminently qualified, though; it’s fair to expect smooth sailing for her to the bench at One First Street.
Tomorrow, the senators will be grilling a lengthy list of witnesses, though we’re not planning on liveblogging now that the Divine Miss K is no longer on stage. She wore a navy blue blazer and pearls today (much more demure than her bright blue attire Monday). What pearls dropped from her lips? Our top five favorite quotes from day 3 of the hearings, after the jump.
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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