Thomas C. Goldstein

Judge Richard KopfNine days ago, Judge Richard Kopf wrote an article about the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby that suggested, “[a]s the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.” It was a good post, but something that seemed of such little controversy that we relegated it to an in-blurb mention within Non-Sequiturs.

And then all manner of shock and hand-wringing commenced.

It’s not the first time a federal judge received criticism for speaking out. Are jurists like Judge Kopf out of control?

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for a video that looked a little like this. The original has since been taken down for very obvious reasons we’ll explain in just a minute:

On Monday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our contest…

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this video (warning, turn down your volume):

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and vote on the finalists…

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Some Supreme Court litigators are bookish types, soft-spoken and polite until it’s time to flex their mental muscles in a court of law. Others have been described as having an air of “brashness” and an “entrepreneurial” bent — the kind of creativity that spawns such innovations as SCOTUSblog.

Some call this guy a hustler. Some call him Tommy. And now, Tommy’s got a gun…

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This is the latest in a new series of ATL infographics — visual representations of our own proprietary data, relevant third-party data, “anecdata,” or just plain jokes.

Last month, ATL hosted a well-attended event previewing the current Supreme Court Term. Our special guest was preeminent Supreme Court advocate and analyst Tom Goldstein. Our own David Lat conducted a lively interview with Goldstein, covering the major cases on this Term’s docket as well as Goldstein’s insights into Supreme Court advocacy generally. It was an educational evening for all, and, in the words of one attendee, “funny and brilliant is always a fantastic and rare mix in a speaker.”

Today’s infographic distills some of the evening’s observations and insights into a SCOTUS “cheat sheet.” Thanks to AccessData for sponsoring this free event, and look for upcoming events in your area….

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Your Above the Law editors are making like Mr. Smith and going to Washington. This week we’re hosting not one but two excellent events in our nation’s capital (both free and open to the public):

  • On Wednesday night (tomorrow night), we’re hosting a trivia night for our law student readers. To get the details and to RSVP, please click here (and scroll down to the RSVP form). Please note that trivia participation is not required; you can simply come for the food, drink, and company (of your ATL editors and other D.C.-area law students).
  • On Thursday night, we’re hosting a reception and SCOTUS preview with noted Supreme Court advocate and analyst Tom Goldstein. To get the details and to RSVP, please click here (and scroll down to the RSVP form).

If the government shutdown is still in effect, some of you won’t have to get up early the next day, so it’s a great time for weeknight socializing. We hope to see you at one or both of these events.

(Thanks to our friends at Kaplan Bar Review for sponsoring the trivia night and Access Data for sponsoring the SCOTUS preview.)

Earlier: D.C. Is Shut Down, Seems Like A Perfect Time To Have A Party
Join ATL For A SCOTUS Preview With Tom Goldstein

Tom Goldstein

In Washington, D.C., on October 17 at 6:30 p.m., please join us for the our next ATL event, a preview of the 2013-2014 U.S. Supreme Court Term.

On the SCOTUS docket for this Term are cases involving affirmative action, presidential recess-appointment powers, campaign finance regulations, and protesting near health care facilities that perform abortions.

Our special guest speaker will be preeminent Supreme Court advocate and analyst Tom Goldstein. Thanks to AccessData for sponsoring this free event. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP below:

[T]here’s been a very significant retrenchment of resources journalistically at the Supreme Court, and we’re going in the opposite direction. We’re putting more work into covering the Supreme Court than anyone in history.

Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog, remarking on current trends among the journalists who cover Supreme Court cases. He went on to note that he believes that members of the mainstream media now regard the blog as an “extreme threat.” SCOTUSblog recently became the first blog to win a Peabody Award.

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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Is there anything more American than an argument at the Supreme Court about affirmative action?

It combines so many things unique to our country: an obsession with elite institutions (including both the Supreme Court and the University of Texas, one of our best public schools); passionate arguments about our nation’s long and complicated relationship with race; the relentless striving for success and attainment familiar to so many of us who want to be a named plaintiff in a Supreme Court case (or get into college, depending); and, of course, protests outside a government building.

My fellow lawyers, Alexis de Tocqueville was right — “[s]carcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question.” Surely this form of American exceptionalism should be the most celebrated by the noble readers of Above the Law.

If there is any advantage to the way some in our nation attempt to affect the presence of minorities in elite colleges — through litigation rather than, say, appropriations — it’s that it leads to an awesome spectacle at One First Street NE.

And to that spectacle we now turn….

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