The Royals

I really don’t have anything to add on the Royal Baby beyond what’s been said by The Onion. The baby’s adorable; good job, England.

But while all England is hung up on this last vestige of monarchy, the real political power in the United Kingdom is busy trying to institute the kind of sexual censorship that would have made Queen Victoria proud. Under the cover of Will and Kate’s baby, British prime minister David Cameron is trying force people to “opt in” to pornography on the internet.

Or to put it another way, he’s trying to censor “porn,” even as he admits that he doesn’t really know how to define it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “With The Country Distracted By Updates From Kate’s Womb, David Cameron Tries To Take Away English Porn”

For all of the unnecessary pomp and circumstance associated with the British monarchy, we sure are obsessed with it in America. Perhaps it’s because their gorgeous young royals are great at generating headlines, whether reputable or repugnant. First, there was the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, an eleventy-billion-hour extravaganza of elegance that our eyes were glued to for what seemed like all eternity. The family quickly dropped nobility’s veil, and just one year later, Prince Harry’s crown jewels and Duchess Catherine’s breasts were put on display in gossip rags for all the world to see. After recovering from tabloid infamy, we are now eagerly awaiting the birth of the royal baby, which is a very, very big deal.

The young royal couple does not yet know the sex of their child, and Duchess Catherine, who wanted to have a natural birth, has been in labor for more than 11 hours. At this point, she’s likely desperate to greet His or Her Royal Highness. Typically, British royalty would be crossing their fingers for a male heir to the throne, but thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act, all of that is going to change…

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Oh look, somebody executed a prank, the victim of the prank killed herself, and now the world is outraged. Where have I seen this before?

Last week, the world was shocked when nurse Jacintha Saldanha killed herself after being prank called by Australian DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian. Saldanha was not the nurse who dished private details about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy to the duo, she’s just the nurse who put the call through. But since she killed herself, the world needs somebody to blame, and “Mel and MC” are it.

For those playing along at home, I think the world reaction has gone something like this:

  • OMG. Duchess Kate is having a baby! Let’s find out EVERYTHING about this private, beautiful moment.
  • MOAR BABY NEWS!
  • Hahaha, these radio hosts prank called the hospital. What stupid freaking nurses to fall for it.
  • Was it criminal for these idiot nurses to divulge this information? What kind of low rate hospital are they running over there?
  • OMG. The nurse killed herself. DEATH TO THE DJs!

The DJs have been taken off the air, and the radio station is trying to cover its ass. Needless to say, I’m unimpressed by: the outrage, the excitement, the baby, the prank, the royals, the U.K., Australia, and blaming people when others commit suicide.

Let’s focus on that last point. Because trying to find somebody to blame when a person commits suicide has really got to stop. The Terminator may not be able to self-terminate, but us humans are fully capable of self-harm….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dear World: Prank Calls Do Not ‘Cause’ Suicides”

It’s been a bad few days for the Church of England. First, it gets slammed for siding with the bankers, rather than the protesters, after its flagship venue, St Paul’s Cathedral, finds itself at the heart of Occupy London. Second, a change to the U.K.’s ancient royal succession laws strikes a blow for its great rival, Rome, as a ban on royal family members who marry Catholics taking the throne is lifted.

Beginning with the Occupy London controversy: the protesters’ original plan was to occupy St Paul’s neighbour, the London Stock Exchange, which nestles alongside the U.K. branch of O’Melveny & Myers on an adjoining square. But they were blocked by the police, forcing them instead to set up camp on the forecourt of the great cathedral (built from the ashes of the Great Fire of London in 1666). At first this seemed like a defeat, as the Church of England played victim, shutting the doors of St Paul’s to visitors for the first time since the Second World War on what it claimed were health and safety grounds.

Here’s what the encampment looked like:

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Ed. note This is the final installment in London-based journalist Alex Aldridge’s series of stories for Above the Law about the royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton. You can read the prior posts here and here.

Well, they got married.

Best man Prince Harry remembered the ring. None of Wills’ disgruntled exes opted to speak now rather than forever hold their peace. And Kate — who has been made a Duchess rather than a Princess — even smiled. So now for the party!

Unless, that is, you work at one of London’s U.S. law firms, where lawyers staffing American deals are missing out on the public holiday everyone else in Britain is enjoying. “There are no celebrations here,” one cheery soul told me this morning in that weird Madonna accent Yanks acquire when they’ve been in London too long.

Don’t worry, though, the joke will be on us on next week, when we enter the existential crisis that customarily follows royal hysteria.

“What the hell happened there?” we’ll mutter, warm beer still on our breath.

“Oh no, we’ve only gone and got over-excited about that bunch of royal weirdos again,” we’ll groan, as we remove our commemorative Wills & Kate mugs from view and pour our tea into alternative vessels.

“Why do we, the country that brought the world the rule of law, have a royal family at all?” we’ll wonder indignantly, gnashing our yellow teeth and feeling a touch murderous….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Royal Wedding: A Legal Look (Part 3)”

Ed. note This is the second in a series of posts that Alex Aldridge, a London-based journalist who covers legal affairs, will be writing for Above the Law about the upcoming royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton. You can read the first post here.

In Britain, middle-class people who don’t know what to do with their lives have the option of trying to wed a royal.

If that doesn’t work, the situation is much the same as in the US: they become lawyers. A case in point is Prince Harry’s on-and-off girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, who will begin a traineeship with “Magic Circle” law firm Allen & Overy in September, having failed to secure the ginger hell-raiser on a permanent basis. Had Kate Middleton’s 2007 split with Prince William proved final, our future queen — whose ex is an in-house lawyer — may well have gone down the same route.

Needless to say, royals don’t do law. It’s too aspirational. They don’t even sue; one lawyer who has had dealings with The Firm once told me (in jest, possibly): “The royal family don’t take people to court, they kill them.”

Perhaps this explains why they’re so keen on the military: Wills and Harry have followed family tradition by going into the air force and army, respectively. They probably won’t stick around long, though. Like Princes Charles and Andrew before them, the pair will soon be eased into a middle age of government handouts and state-provided housing. Royals, bless ‘em, are basically very rich poor people.

So is a union between a very rich poor person and a member of the middle class likely to work?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Royal Wedding: A Legal Look (Part 2)”

Ed. note This is the first in a series of posts that Alex Aldridge, a London-based journalist who covers legal affairs, will be writing for Above the Law about the upcoming royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton.

So, you wish you had a royal family, eh?

Judging by the content of your media, royal wedding fever is even hotter in the US than in the country to which Wills and Kate belong (that’s the United Kingdom, by the way, for the 90% of you without passports who think London is in France). To an outsider, it seems you’re doubting the wisdom of that decision you took to go independent from your colonial forebears and start a republic.

You knew almost before us about the Kate Middleton jelly bean, the emotional pre-wedding visit to Diana’s grave, and the plans of our many extremist groups to hijack the big day in an assortment of eye-catching ways.

But I have stuff you don’t have: namely, on-the-ground insights into the mood of the British legal intelligentsia….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Royal Wedding: A Legal Look (Part 1)”

Harvard Law School

* Attorney Jason Goldfarb pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy yesterday in a case that originated with the Rajabba investigation. Here’s his firm website photo. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Harvard Law is being investigated for violating Title IX. As someone who did not attend Harvard, I assume IX rhymes with sticks. Which brings me no closer to understanding exactly what was violated here. [Harvard Law Record]

* The Bonds trial ended just in time for us to get super-psyched about the Roger “Frosted Tips” Clemens perjury trial. Let’s start boning up on it! [Reuters]

* Mexico is considering filing a lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers. Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to Remington. [CBS News]

Frank and Jamie McCourt, in happier days.

* Here’s a thorough breakdown of the McCourt mess, including details on the ongoing Bingham divorce debacle. [Am Law Daily]

* So there’s a Canadian lawyer who looks like Kate Middleton? Yeah, well my buddies say I look like Hedo Turkoglu. #humblebrag [Vancouver Sun via ABA Journal]

* Fox News wins the headline contest for Obama’s new gasoline price task force. [Fox News]

* It’s Friday. Let’s consider the better bonobos of our nature, guys. [Times Higher Education]

Breaking: Scion of fatuous family which contributes absolutely nothing to society chooses a mate.

Sorry, if we were living in Britain, that sentence would have read “Prince William to wed Catherine (Don’t call me Kate) Middleton.”

Thank you, George Washington, for saving me from the horror of actually having to care about the British Royal Family. Obsessing over the Britney Spears is much more respectable. At least she can dance.

But there is an interesting wrinkle to the massive waste of time, money, and ink about to be spent on the royal nuptials. For the first time, U.K. laws would appear to hold pre-nuptial agreements enforceable. Which leads to the obvious questions: should the royal couple sign a prenup?

I think the answer is yes, and not to protect the crown jewels from a spurned future Catherine. See, it turns out that Kate Middleton is a “commoner” only in the insulting, archaic, British sense of the word….

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