Supreme Court

Carter Phillips

On Sunday, Sidley Austin announced a regime change at the firm. Over the next year, veteran Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips will become co-chair and eventually chair of the firm’s executive committee. In 2013 he will replace the current chair, Thomas Cole.

Currently, Phillips is managing partner of Sidley’s Washington D.C. office. He recently argued his 76th case in front of the Supreme Court. I had the opportunity to ask him about the Obamacare arguments last month.

Keep reading to learn more about the transition and to find out what it takes for an accomplished practicing attorney to take on a crucial business role…

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I lift my lamp beside the golden door. Except in Arizona, where I slam your head into the golden door till you beg for mercy.

If you either listened to or read a good recap of yesterday’s SCOTUS arguments about the Arizona immigration law, and saw a mainstream media report about it, you are probably pulling your hair out. What seems to me as the most likely and reasonable compromise to the issue is being treated like a victory for the state’s radical immigration approach.

It seems there was consensus on the Court to allow Arizona officials to check the immigration status of people they’ve already arrested as a matter of state enforcement of already established federal law. I can live with that.

But here’s what’s not happening: the Court doesn’t seem to be endorsing the aggressive “show me your papers” approach that would lead to somebody writing the diary of Anita Franco. And the Court isn’t even taking up the racial profiling question, leaving that argument open for future debate. That’s a big, huge “technicality” that means we likely haven’t seen the last of the Arizona immigration debate.

I guess “SCOTUS Stakes Out Reasonable Compromise While Dodging Racial Issue” doesn’t make for a good mainstream headline. Instead, we’ve got: “Arizona Beats Obama While Verrilli Gets Punched In The Crotch By A Latina.”

Which begs the question: Does Don Verrilli still want this job?

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* With the Supreme Court talking about immigration today, let’s take a look at how all the SCOTUS justices got to America. [Reuters]

* In any event, except for Scalia, the Court looks like it’s going to find a reasonable way through the Arizona immigration mess. If you’re detained for something, cops can check your status, but they can’t just go out and ask people to show them their papers on the street. Scalia thinks, I don’t know, he sounds like he thinks we’re still living under the Articles of Confederation or something. [SCOTUSblog]

* You know, I think that in the end I don’t have a problem with LSAC raising fees to take the LSAT. I mean, the cost of law school is completely out of control, prospective law students have proven that they’ll pay any price for any thing. Remember I said this when I start charging $500,000 for “Elie’s Pre-Law Seminars,” which is just a DVD of me screaming at a ten-year-old for 30 minutes. [Balkinization]

* I don’t ever want to piss Alec Baldwin off. I’m serious. [Dealbreaker]

* I’m not sure these ways to stay sane in a “toxic” office would work in a toxic law office. Unless you add liquor. Alcohol lets you go toxic on them! [Forbes]

* I love that Rob Portman, the man who inspired a walk-out at Michigan Law’s Commencement, is thought to be a “safe” pick for Romney. But hey, this is the same party that thinks nominating a wealthier Bob Dole against a charismatic president who can keep it in his pants is going to work out for them. [Recess Appointments]

Today, if you use the names Sonia Sotomayor, they would probably figure out I was a citizen.

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, speaking during today’s oral arguments in Arizona v. United States, in which the Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

(Justices on both sides of the political spectrum appeared unsympathetic to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. More harsh words that the justices had for him, after the jump.)

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There’s nothing a lawyer likes better than winning a case — especially a case that’s been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s basically the crowning achievement of a successful career in the law. That being said, even the most gracious SCOTUS victor is entitled to do some gloating (even if the subject matter was particularly snooze-worthy, like qualified immunity).

But sometimes lawyers can go a little overboard with their victory dances. Sometimes lawyers will think up some really outside-the-box ways to shame the losing litigant — and, in the process, themselves.

And with that, allow us introduce you to our Lawyer of the Day, a man who decided it would be a great idea to write a letter to his opponent with the suggestion that he read the SCOTUS opinion “eternally from hell”….

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* Arizona’s immigration law is heading to the Supreme Court today. Meanwhile, former Senator Dennis DeConcini lobbed the worst insult ever against his state. How embarrassing for you, Arizona. [New York Times]

* Will Wal-Mart regret not disclosing its bribery investigation sooner? Not when the delay saved millions in criminal fines. What Wal-Mart will regret is being forced into disclosure by the NYT narcs. [Corporate Counsel]

* Delete all the oil from ocean, and then maybe we’ll care about this. A former BP employee was charged with obstruction of justice for deleting texts having to do with the Deepwater Horizon disaster. [Bloomberg]

* The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners has granted Duncan Law an extension on its bid for ABA accreditation. Woohoo, five more years of allowing students to “negligently enroll.” [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* “Once you cross the six-figure mark, you think, what’s a few thousand dollars more?” You’re doing it wrong: you’re supposed to be bragging about a six-figure salary, not a six-figure debt obligation. [Baltimore Sun]

* New Jersey residents don’t always have the great pleasure of nearly being killed by two high-speed Lamborghinis, but when they do, they prefer that police officers be suspended and sue over it. [ABC News]

It is the dream of many a young attorney to appear in front of the Supreme Court of the United States and argue the most important legal cases of the day.

To achieve career success like that of, say, Carter Phillips, who has argued dozens of cases in front of the nine, is a lofty aspiration, to say the least.

But there are other ways of appearing in front of a Supreme Court justice that might leave you with the bitter taste of bile in your mouth. At least one law student knows what we mean by that, quite literally….

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At least a Law Hawk is better than a Law Chicken.

* Judge Mark Bennett, no stranger to these pages, issues a controversial ruling on a GPS tracking issue. [Threat Level / Wired]

* Is it more amusing that law students at the University of Georgia adopted a “Law Hawk” as an unofficial mascot, or that the student newspaper article about it reads like something out of The Onion? You decide. [Red and Black]

* Ogletree Deakins takes Manhattan (and some lawyers from Seyfarth Shaw). [New York Law Journal]

* OK, Marines lawyers. No more excuses, it’s time to suit wire up. Get your tech on, thousands of your jobs may depend on it. [Nightly Business Review]

* A North Carolina judge blocked a death sentence based on racial bias. A lot of people say that everyone’s a little bit racist, but let’s work out our prejudices in the Octagon, not the courtroom, okay? [New York Times]

* In an interview with the UVA Law student newspaper, Lat discusses blogging v. journalism, why you shouldn’t be stupid, and the state of legal education. [Virginia Law Weekly]

Nooooooooo!

* I will never feel bad about making a typo ever again. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Hey law school students, get your hack on! [Huffington Post]

* Ann Romney doesn’t want to hear it, but there is a difference between working and working a paying job. [The Careerist]

* Should lawyers try journalism? I mean, sure. The job market in the industry is similarly crummy, and journalists make way less money than everyone except baristas and document reviewers. But it is a fun time, and it seems like most lawyers were journalism majors anyway. Go for it… [ Law and More]

* The Romney camp drops a bomb: Obama had a dog as a kid. Oh, wait. I misread that. Obama ate dog as a kid. Clearly, people who didn’t have the moral fortitude at six years old to reject the food their parents gave them are unfit to be president. [New York Post]

* Man, the presidential race is just at an apex of intellectualism today. Voters in Iowa just received a fundraising letter from Rick Santorum (who dropped out of the race, in case you just got out of prison), in which he wrote that Mitt Romney “truly frightens” him. Congratulations Rick, now you know how the rest of us felt about you. [ABC News]

* If you haven’t reserved your .xxx domain name yet, there is still time. They ain’t cheap, but I’m pretty sure ElieMystal.xxx is still available. Hell, who am I kidding. BikeDudeRomance.xxx probably is, too. [Law Technology News]

One of the worst parts of attending an institute of higher learning, whether for undergraduate studies or law school, is being forced to purchase overpriced textbooks that in all likelihood you will never need or open.

A cottage industry has sprouted up for people trying to find ways to let students pay less for the costly laptop stands. These days, students can take advantage of local used bookstores, Amazon or eBay, and in some cases, their iPads.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding the legality of one unexpectedly common way to make a little cash, and still sell affordable-ish books: buy that s**t abroad for cheap, bring the books back to the U.S., and sell them online for normal American prices.

Unsurprisingly, publishers are not excited about this emerging “gray market.” That’s where SCOTUS comes in….

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