Supreme Court

Congrats, professor, but Malawi’s law stinks.

* “I don’t think the government should be in the credentialing business.” Thanks to the whims of politicians, SCOTUSblog is having trouble getting media credentials to continue its coverage of the Supreme Court’s cases. [New York Times]

* How you like me now? In Redeeming the Dream (affiliate link), a new book co-authored with David Boies, Ted Olson says he experienced “some blowback” when he announced he was taking on the Prop 8 gay marriage case. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Steve Davis and Steve DiCarmine of failed firm fame think it’s “unfair” they have to defend themselves in a criminal case and an SEC case at the same time. They want the SEC case to be halted. Dewey think the judge will say yes? [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* Back in 2011, Pillsbury decided to ship its back-office operations to Nashville, and now it’s hiring a small contingent of lawyers to work there. FYI, an Ivy League degree may not be necessary. [Washington Post]

* Only in Florida would a judge allegedly challenge a public defender to a fight out back during a hearing and start throwing punches. We’ll definitely have more on this fiasco later today. [WFTV Eyewitness News]

* Peter Mutharika, a former law professor who taught at Washington University in St. Louis Law for about 40 years, is now the new president of Malawi, where it’s illegal to fart. Congrats! [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* The Supreme Court chimed in on the death penalty today, ruling 5-4 that Florida can’t use an IQ score as a hardline rule to apply the death penalty. Justice Alito dissented, complaining that the Court turned over the issue to psychiatric doctors. Because if you’re going to make a decision on mental incapacity, why involve people who know the science? [SCOTUSBlog]

* Well, it turns out one of the reasons why Charleston Law is so eager to sell to InfiLaw is that its founders withdrew $25 million in profits over the last three and a half years, leaving the school a financial wreck. [Post and Courier]

* What?!? A judge was allegedly kidnapped by a convicted felon that she may or may not have had a relationship with while she worked as a public defender. And the alleged kidnapper escaped the police when he sneaked out of the hospital because apparently Maryland hired the Keystone Kops. [Washington Post]

* In a sad testament to what happens when zealous representation meets law firm hierarchy, a new study reveals that working hard doesn’t get you anywhere. Just deliver the bare minimum you promised and call it a day. [Law and More]

* Video game manufacturer files lawsuit against… somebody. They’re not sure. But whoever they are, they’re ruining Starcraft. [Hardcore Gamer]

* Nevada’s bar president decided to use his monthly newsletter column to opine on gay marriage. That was probably a mistake for him. [The Irreverent Lawyer]

* A new environmental law firm opens in the rustbelt and it’s ready to take on some industry bigwigs. [What About Paris]

* New York upholds the right to be annoying on the Internet. [IT-Lex]

* Lawyer-turned-rapper Mr. Kelly (@Mrkelly_music) has a new video after the jump about lunchtime and the malaise of living a corporate lifestyle. His album is available too. [YouTube]

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Mahbod Moghadam, formerly of Rap Genius

* Supreme Court justices are “basically rewriting the law,” sometimes years after the fact. As it turns out they’ve been quietly “changing the wording of opinions” — sometimes, even our legal idols make mistakes. [New York Times]

* Many law school deans at leading law schools are pretty pissed off about Justice Antonin Scalia’s latest criticisms of the legal academy. Please, continue taking “Law and Unicorns.” It’s a real class, we promise! [National Law Journal]

* Judge Randall Rader, who recently resigned as the Federal Circuit’s chief judge, released a memo to his colleagues apologizing for his scandalous recusals in a pair of patent cases. Poor guy. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Peter Alexander, Indiana Tech Law’s dean, has resigned less than a year after opening the school’s doors. The school’s interim dean doesn’t use capital letters in his name. That’s cute. [Journal Gazette]

* Très, très déclassé: Mahbod Moghadam, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf, was fired from Rap Genius after he inappropriately annotated suspected Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodgers’s manifesto. [Re/code]

Ed. note: Above the Law will not be publishing on Monday, May 26, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

* Who cleans up after Godzilla rolls into town? I figure it’s Damage Control. [The Legal Geeks]

* So we all know University of Texas Law admits politically-connected students with bad grades and scores. But did you know they let in someone with a 128 on the LSAT? ONE. TWENTY. EIGHT. [Watchdog.org]

* Do we even need the Supreme Court? Well, that’s one way to get RBG to retire. [Huffington Post]

* Seriously, the Boston Public School system is eliminating its history department. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Yesterday I talked about a devastating takedown of the latest National Review article contending that sexual assault is no big deal. Perhaps I crowned a champion too soon, because this is an even better whipping of that article. [Concurring Opinions]

* Wait, ID laws ultimately suppress voter turnout? What a surprise! [Election Law Blog]

* The last word in the death penalty debate after the jump… [The Onion]

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Reason enough why no country should ever engage in the practice of Affirmative Action again. This could be the result. Where would she be if she didn’t hit the quota lottery? Here’s a hint: “Would you like to supersize that sir?”

– Florida Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis, in a message expressing his love for Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Facebook. Lewis also posted messages suggesting that “crack hoes” get their tubes tied for Mother’s Day, and in support of Donald Sterling and the right to free speech.

* Justice Kagan received a Supreme Court fact check when she confused the site of the nation’s oldest standing synagogue with the home of the nation’s first Jewish community. At least she didn’t make a mistake about the actual law that she actually wrote. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Justice Scalia may not understand how cell phones work, but even he gets net neutrality — because it’s a lot like pizza. [The Atlantic]

* Marc Randazza describes the need for a right to be forgotten online. Getting forgotten online? Hey, we found a new job for Jill Abramson. [CNN]

* A woman threatened to shoot up a South Carolina Burger King over a stale roll. Don’t tell her what “pink slime” is. [New York Daily News]

* Cops arrest upwards of 40 people while trying to catch a bank robber. When you read the whole history, it’s actually surprising they weren’t limiting their search to people in stripes carrying bags with dollar signs on them. [Slate]

* Corporate lawyer fits right into the rising phenomenon of “Bulls**t Jobs.” [Strike! Magazine]

* Earlier today we wrote about a possible crowdfunded lawsuit. Here’s a discussion of legal issues involved in crowdfunding generally. [IT-Lex]

* Sen. Rand Paul has a stupid idea, so he’ll probably convince a bunch of liberals to go along with it. And that would be bad news for Professor David Barron’s nomination to the First Circuit. [New Republic]

* Led Zeppelin is getting sued over allegedly stealing the opening riff from Stairway to Heaven. It turns out there’s some band out there who’s sure that all that glitters is gold and they want some of it. A clip of the alleged original below…. [The Guardian]

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Who is this fellow, and how long will he starve for?

Social media has opened many new doors in terms of people’s ability to be fired from their jobs, especially in extremely conservative businesses like law. In order to maintain your appearance as a professional, you’re expected to be on the clock all day, every day. Kiss your keg stand pictures goodbye and turn your Facebook privacy settings all the way up, lest you face undesired consequences.

Not to worry, Americans, because one lawyer has got your back. Likely unemployed due to his own social media antics, this fellow is going to forgo life-sustaining food and water in an effort to bring greater attention to how we as a society can mitigate the risks of social media — by demanding that employers stop “searching the social media accounts of their employees and firing [them] because of unpopular opinions or lifestyle choices.”

Who is the man who intends to starve himself on the steps of America’s highest court for this cause?

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Justice Antonin Scalia

[I]f law school is to remain three years, costs have to be cut; the system is not sustainable in its present form. The graduation into a shrunken legal sector of students with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt, nondischargeable in bankruptcy, cannot continue. Perhaps — just perhaps — the more prestigious law schools (and I include William and Mary among them) can continue the way they are, though that is not certain. But the vast majority of law schools will have to lower tuition.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, in his commencement speech at William & Mary School of Law. More highlights from Justice Scalia’s remarks, after the jump.

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* When people tell you that you can do anything with a law degree, they’re wrong. Sounds like… everything Elie writes. [Slate]

* Student debt is dragging down the economy. Is today “every news outlet catches up with Elie Day”? [New York Times]

* Everyone’s also talking about the law student turned prostitute. What about the law professor who was a gigolo? [The Nota Bene]

* Baker Hostetler lawyer leaving the law to start a gym. With any luck he’ll have a championship dodgeball team in no time. [Crain's Cleveland Business]

* Just a reminder, there isn’t a “telling a university everything you’ve done for an oral history” privilege. [BBC]

* An argument for Republicans to get serious about loosening the reins on technological innovation like the Republican Party of old. But that might require saying no to some billionaire donor, so that’s off the table. [The American Conservative]

* Professor Will Baude pointed us to a fun new law professor blog from Professor Richard Re, soon to be of UCLA Law, with an even more fun title. Here he compares Justice Sotomayor’s dissent in Schuette to Quidditch. [Re's Judicata]

* A new show about law school. It’s supposedly about criminal law, but the trailer looks more like a professional responsibility fact pattern. [YouTube]

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Judge Richard Posner isn’t amused.

Please convey my congratulations to Bryan Garner on inventing a new form of arbitration. Two parties have a dispute; one appoints an arbitrator to resolve the dispute; the other disputant is not consulted. How beautifully that simplifies arbitration! No need for the parties to agree on an arbitrator, or for the American Arbitration Association to list possible arbitrators and the disputants cross out the ones they don’t like.

– Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, in response to the latest barb dealt in his long-running dispute with Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court. In June 2012, Bryan Garner co-authored Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (affiliate link) with Scalia, and Posner criticized it for “misrepresent[ing] case rationales.” Garner recently hired Keker & Van Nest partner Steven Hirsch to evaluate those criticisms, saying he wanted an “objective third party.” Posner wasn’t particularly impressed.

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