U.S. Senate

It’s often noted that the United States is governed by the world’s oldest written constitution that is still in use. This is usually stated as praise, though most other products of the eighteenth century, like horse-borne travel and leech-based medical treatment, have been replaced by improved models.

Jeffrey Toobin, writing in the New Yorker about whether the current dysfunction of the federal government might be due, at least in part, to the Constitution.

(Additional notable quotes from his interesting article, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “We The People… Can Do Better?”

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Akin Gump’s Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit. Her nomination now moves on to the full Senate.

The committee voted 10-8 to approve Millett’s nomination. Take a guess what all the voters had in common? Yes, the 10 Democrats voted “Aye” and the 8 Republicans voted “Nay.” Yet even while voting her down, the Republicans went out of their way to note that Millett was qualified for the post, but opposed her on the bogus argument Senator Grassley has been pushing that the D.C. Circuit is “underworked.”

During the hearings, Senator Grassley cited two anonymous letters, presumably from D.C. Circuit judges, to support his stance. Sounding very “Secret Plan to End the Vietnam War,” the anonymous poll felt very unscientific and shady.

Now we’ve got a hold of the secret survey Grassley sent judges. It’s as entertaining as his Tweets

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “D.C. Circuit Underworked, Say Anonymous Letters Possibly From Federal Judges”

Attorney General Eric Holder

The tipping point might be fatigue. You get to a point where you just get tired.

– Attorney General Eric Holder, responding to a question about his possible departure from the Justice Department that was posed yesterday by Senator Richard Shelby of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A future law student?

* Save for an unintelligible joke made last month, it’s been seven years since Clarence Thomas has spoken during oral arguments, much less asked a question, but with no offense to his colleagues, he’d rather “allow the advocates to advocate.” [Washington Post]

* Sorry, members of the American public, but something like 95 percent of you are too stupid to understand what’s going on during Supreme Court hearings, so there’s no point in having cameras in the courtroom to film them. (Sotomayor, J.) [New York Times]

* “Having an empty bench means people don’t get their cases heard,” but it seems like Senate Republicans could not care less. Obama’s facelift for the federal judiciary is going to have to wait a little while longer. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* A lawgasm for prestige nerds: the Harvard Law Review received federal trademark protection, and with that, the number three law school in the country gained some bragging rights over Yale. [Daily Report (reg. req.)]

* Oh my God, you guys, law school applications are down, no one can find jobs, and recent graduates are in debt up to their eyeballs. This is totally new information that no one’s heard before. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

* Turning to your parents for law school advice is perhaps the worst idea in the world — after all, they’re the cause of your “special little snowflake” syndrome in the first place. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

Court sends Obama back to the drawing board.

It’s been so long since Obama lost something I was beginning to forget what it looked like.

In a reminder that just because the Senate is a dysfunctional band of elderly people doesn’t mean you can put them in a home and wait for them to die, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit knocked down some of the president’s recess appointments.

In January 2012, Obama made some recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate wasn’t really in recess. The D.C. Circuit today says that he can’t do that.

Which might, you know, throw out a year’s worth of NLRB work. And it might be bad precedent for the big recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…

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No, Professor Jacobson, you won’t be getting her scalp.

Yesterday we mentioned the latest issue to arise in the contentious Massachusetts Senate race between incumbent Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned political candidate and national celebrity. On his blog, Legal Insurrection, Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School effectively accused Warren of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Massachusetts.

Are the accusations valid? Let’s hear from some experts — and from you, through a pair of reader polls….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update on the Elizabeth Warren Law License Controversy”

You didn’t bill that — unless you have a valid law license, right?

One of the most exciting U.S. Senate races this fall is the battle taking place in Massachusetts between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Even though my personal politics are closer to those of Brown — a moderate, socially liberal Republican — I must admit to a weakness for Warren.

How could I not love Liz Warren? She’s a Harvard Law School professor, a brilliant legal mind. She’s a fabulous, fierce female; even her critics concede that she’s a formidable foe. And thanks to her viral video and her star turn at the DNC, she’s a national celebrity. The Brown campaign has tried to use this against her, but not very effectively. After watching this Scott Brown ad, I just wanted to vote for Warren even more.

According to the latest polling data, Warren holds a slight lead. But could that edge be eroded by the latest controversy, concerning whether Warren has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law?

Let’s check out the allegations, which are being leveled against Brown by a Cornell law professor….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Does Elizabeth Warren Have a Law License Problem?”

Kim Kardashian

* Building bridges instead of burning them: a new Republican strategy that just might work. Thanks to this Senate deal, 14 federal judicial nominees will get confirmation votes before summer. [Legal Times]

* According to this survey, Biglaw firm leaders are wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to the economy and current business conditions. That said, where are the spring bonuses? [Am Law Daily]

* A jury found Virginia Tech negligent in its handling of the school’s 2007 massacre. The administration will probably appeal, but it’d be nicer if they just appeased the victims’ families. [Wall Street Journal]

* Want a tenure-track teaching position? Just sue. Nicholas Spaeth’s age discrimination suit against Georgetown Law will proceed, much to the school’s chagrin. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kim Kardashian + boobs + lawsuit = water cooler fodder for lawyers. [New York Post]

Newt, you've made the tiger angry.

* “Members of Congress are not above the law,” and that’s why the Senate will likely approve a ban on insider trading of non-public information by the end of the week. Say hello to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. [Boston Globe]

* Eye of newt tiger, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog. You see, Newt, you screw up one part of the witches’ spell, and you get sued for unauthorized song use on the Election 2012 campaign trail. [Bloomberg]

* Which Biglaw firms have the strongest brands in the country according to high-revenue clients? You’d think that those in the top five would be the firms leading the bonus market, but like most things having to do with money, you’d be wrong. [Am Law Daily]

* As Rutgers Law students take to the streets to protest the school’s merger with Rowan, nontenured faculty members are doing their damnedest to GTFO before all hell breaks loose. [Burlington County Times]

* GW Law will be launching a health care law and policy program next fall for the low, low cost of $5M, but the hordes of law school grads willing to pay top dollar for a useless LL.M. is priceless. [National Law Journal]

* DLA Piper is blaming the Occupy Wall Street movement for Biglaw’s sad, 2011 bonus season. It looks like we can expect a Cravath match from that firm. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* We could really use some more law schools — fourth tier law schools, in particular. Say hello to the Savannah Law School, a John Marshall Law School Atlanta production. [National Law Journal]

* University of Texas School of Law Dean Larry Sager has been ousted from his position. Readers have flooded our inbox with the news, so we’ll have more on this later. [Texas Tribune]

* This Senate victory for gay servicemembers came with unintended consequences. It’s now kosher to have sex with men, women, and everything else under military law. [Washington Post]

* Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against Stephen McDaniel. If being drawn and quartered were an option, maybe this medieval scholar wouldn’t mind so much. [Macon Telegraph]

* Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Although Ben Stein is the keynote speaker at this year’s ABA Techshow, legal tech nerds will likely be unable to win his money. [ABA Journal]

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