Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on California’s Proposition 8. Today, they’re hearing oral arguments about the Defense of Marriage Act. If you didn’t already know that, you’ve reached the wrong website, Brazzers is thataway.

High-profile Supreme Court cases attract large numbers of protesters who congregate on First Street, and yesterday was no different. Honestly, I don’t know why. I guess seeing gay people in drag humping each other makes for good television. I guess filming some dour-looking woman who appears to be locked in a loveless, frumpy marriage is a fine way to establish the “conservative” side of the argument. That stuff may work on your average “I must find out where my people are going so I can lead them” Congressperson. But I’m positive that nine unelected judges appointed for life who think this “institution” of gay people loving each other in committed relationships is “newer than cellphones” don’t give a damn about the shenanigans on the courthouse steps.

If these protests are useful, they’re useful to make a point to the media and those watching from home about the issues at play. Towards that end, a group of five law students staged a protest that really added something to the discussion here that even most talking-head court watchers didn’t bring up. Of course, it’s a point that went way over the heads of at least 90 percent of the television audience…

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‘Churn that bill, baby? Dear Lord…’

* With SCOTUS justices questioning standing in the Prop 8 case, and one even stating that gay marriage is newer than cell phones and the internet, you can guess where the decision is headed. [New York Times]

* “This badge of inequality must be extinguished.” With men like Ted Olson and David Boies representing the plaintiffs in Prop 8, at least we can say that they fought the good fight. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* OMG, remember when DLA Piper allegedly overbilled a client and got dragged through the mud over scandalous emails? Now the firm says they were totally joking. So cray. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Less than a month after handing out pink slips across multiple offices, Patton Boggs named a new managing partner in New York who just so happens to be a Dewey defector. Ominous. [Am Law Daily]

* These are great tips on negotiating financial aid, but try this: tell admissions you’ll happily enroll elsewhere, and watch them throw cash at you. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* It looks like Paul Ceglia’s zany misadventures in being fired as a client by Biglaw firms and suing Facebook may finally be at an end thanks this scathing 155-page recommendation of dismissal. [CNET]

The scene outside One First Street after the argument.

Dearly beloved, we were gathered together at SCOTUS today to argue about these fourteen words: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

But we talked a lot about standing. And we did a lot of standing.

What time did I get to the Court?

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Ed. note: Lawyer and journalist Michelle Olsen, a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar, attended today’s oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the constitutional challenge to the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California.

Her write-up of the proceedings will appear shortly. In the meantime, check out the photographs she took while at the Court, after the jump.

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* Illinois rules that young people’s tweets are not statements of fact. Are you suggesting people aren’t really rolling on the floor laughing? [IT-Lex]

* One Manhattan financial firm thinks Ally McBeal’s unisex bathroom is a good idea. Or they’re sexist dicks. One or the other. [Jezebel]

* The owner of the Boston Bruins is completely terrible, placing a small, but wealthy town in the middle of litigation costing hundreds of thousands of dollars… all so he can promote horse dancing. What is it with Massachusetts people and dressage? [SB Nation]

* Shoplifter busted with earrings swallows the evidence, but is ultimately foiled by Marie Curie. [Legal Juice]

* GULC students protest standards of review outside the Supreme Court, an important and overlooked issue. But it’s also throwing down the biggest legal dorks gauntlet to other law schools. [DCist]

* And as the legal world parses the transcripts of a big day for the Supreme Court, we also lament the loss of the man who basically created Supreme Court coverage. R.I.P. Anthony Lewis, sometimes called the “Tenth Justice.” [New Yorker]

Don’t try to answer my question with your own question.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in response to Ted Olson’s attempt to ask the justice a rhetorical question during today’s oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court.

(We’ll have additional analysis of the Hollingsworth v. Perry proceedings later today, courtesy of Michelle Olsen of Appellate Daily. You can follow Michelle’s real-time coverage on Twitter.)

Today, SCOTUS is all about the gays, and soon enough, it’ll be back to helping white people overcome affirmative action, but soon — very soon I imagine — some court is going to have to step up and reaffirm a woman’s right to choose. Or strike it down and rouse the overwhelming majority of people who support choice out of their complacency.

But quietly, abortion is under attack. And so we’re going to have to have this fight again.

And when we do, wherever we fall, we’re going to have to update Roe v. Wade to take account of the miracle (or madness) of modern science.

North Dakota just signed in the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, more restrictive than Arkansas’s new law that has received more publicity. But some of the new restrictions seem, almost, enlightened….

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In August, we lamented the fact that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t name a single member of the Supreme Court. At the time, we blamed it on the perceived stupidity of our nation’s population, calling for televised oral arguments in the hopes that they’d someday compete in the ratings with reality shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Unfortunately, given the high court’s resistance to change and the burgeoning evidence that we live in a country that’s overflowing with Honey Boo Boos, neither is going to happen any time soon.

But that’s really beside the point, because even if SCOTUS arguments were televised, they’d likely appear on C-SPAN, a channel that some people have probably never heard of before. Another thing that some people have never heard of before is the Supreme Court itself. That was a serious statement….

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He is a smart man. He is a good man. I believe he sees where the tide is going. I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction.

Jean Podrasky, lesbian cousin to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, commenting on her hopes for her cousin’s thinking about the gay marriage cases being argued before the Supreme Court this week.

Today, the National Law Journal released its list of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. The NLJ releases a similar list once every few years, and each time, the nation’s top lawyers — some from Biglaw, some from legal academia, some from the in-house world, and some from the trial and appellate bars — celebrate their success in creating real change in the industry. That said, the people named to this list are relatively well-known to the general Above the Law readership, but they won’t exactly be household names to laypeople.

Which legal eagles soared into the NLJ’s list this time around? Well, the NLJ selected their influential lawyers based on their political clout, legal results, media penetration, business credibility, and thought leadership. We’ve whittled the impressive list of 100 down to our own top 10.

So who made our cut?

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