Thomas Goldstein

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:

Public opinion is polarized regarding the mega-leakers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. One common view holds them to be heroic patriots. To others, they’re simply traitors. Prominent whistleblower attorney John Howley asks us to consider the possibility that they can be both at once.

Last week, ATL—along with our friends at Lawline—hosted a fascinating (seriously) and timely CLE course, Whistleblowers, Traitors and the Rule of Law. Howley walked the attendees through the various laws governing whistleblowers, treason, and espionage. He also gave an overview of the most important whistleblower and treason cases, as well as explored the thorny legal and ethical implications for lawyers involved in such cases.

The course was as much a history lesson as a legal one. The role of whistleblower plays an integral part of our national history. In fact, the first American whistleblower law predates the country’s founding. In 1777, sailors accused the commander of the Continental Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins, of torturing captured British sailors, and petitioned the Continental Congress to remove him. Hopkins sued for criminal libel, and Congress — by unanimous vote — agreed to defend the sailors in the suit. Congress also passed a law requiring all military members to inform Congress of “misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers in the service of these states.”

Many of the most important heroes in American history were, technically, traitors, including the Founding Fathers. And knowingly so. As Benjamin Franklin quipped, “We must hang together or we will hang separately.”

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* A lawyer fresh out of law school botched a domestic violence case by gushing all over Tom Hanks… who was serving as a juror. Which, in fairness, was awfully Big of him. [TMZ]

* Federal prosecutors are seeking at least 27 years in prison for a Massachusetts man who authorities say plotted to kill and eat his children based on a search of his home and car, which is presumably a Saturn. As one law professor observed, “Perhaps the lawyer will make a free exercise argument and claim that eating children is a requirement of his religion.” [CNN]

* If you’re going to drink and drive, be sure to toss a few back with the judge first. [KVUE]

* A criminal defense lawyer who begins every cross by making the cop look more humane and respectable. I thought the public defender from My Cousin Vinny was the lowest criminal defense could go in the comical incompetence department. [Katz Justice]

* Putin crony claims 100 percent of profits in a “public” oil company by flat ignoring minority shareholders. Shhhh! Stop giving Exxon ideas. [Breaking Energy]

* Elizabeth Wurtzel knows music (a subject she covered for the New Yorker for New York Magazine). In this article, she writes about The Replacements (something Wurtzel has made her past employers, including Boies Schiller, become familiar with). [The Daily Beast]

* On Monday, the American Constitution Society will host a preview of the upcoming Supreme Court session. Panelists include Pamela Harris, Randy Barnett, Joshua Civin, Andrew Pincus, and David Strauss. [American Constitution Society]

* Then next Tuesday, The Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies will host a symposium titled “The Supreme Court: Past and Prologue: A Look at the October 2012 and 2013 Terms.” Panelists include Tom Goldstein, Marcia Coyle, and Howard Bashman. [How Appealing]

[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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The Defense of Marriage Act. California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. These were two of the big issues that the U.S. Supreme Court was deciding whether to hear this Term.

The Court just issued its certiorari orders. What happened?

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Tom Goldstein

Still, who am I to say these cases are a mistake? I am straight and married. And I am white and well off. I got mine.

SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein, commenting on the many gay marriage “test cases” that might get heard this Term by the Supreme Court. SCOTUSblog has a liveblog up right now, waiting for possible certiorari grants and denials in these cases.

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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