Notre Dame

* Anna Nicole Smith’s estate finally loses its effort to secure a piece of her late husband’s estate. This whole thing was like Bleak House with boobs. [Jezebel]

* Supreme Court halts same-sex marriage in Virginia. So there you go. [ABC News]

* Our old friend the Affluenza kid is back in the news, but this time he’s only a footnote to the story. His father, the one who spoiled him so badly he couldn’t help himself but kill a bunch of people, has been arrested for impersonating a cop. Maybe affluenza is contagious. [NBCDFW]

* The preliminary draft of the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure are available for public comment! So what are you still doing here? [U.S. Courts]

* Lawyer posts a bounty available to anyone who can help him collect on the multi-million dollar judgments he’s secured against a pilfering billionaire. “I’ve spent enough money getting judgments.” Enter Dog the Judgement Bounty Hunter. Go with Christ, Brah.[Forbes]

* Adam Carolla has settled with the patent troll who was suing him claiming they invented the podcast. Details weren’t disclosed, but since Carolla had previously said he wouldn’t settle for any amount of money, I wonder how they sweetened the pot. [USAToday]

* Suspended Notre Dame athletes reportedly considering a lawsuit against journalists who named them as suspects in a cheating scandal. Even though the school itself named them. If the classes they supposedly took were “Pre-Law” or “Basics of Defamation,” then I think the NCAA has a slam dunk case. [FoxSports]

* The extracurriculars that help you get into law school. Debate’s still on there even if the description — at least of the form of debate most Americans practice — sounds more like what a high school drama thinks of debate instead of reality. Less extemporaneous speaking and more “massive, in-depth research and a developing a mastery of electronic research databases.” [InGenius Prep]

* The lingering lawsuit over one of the most devastating hockey hits in recent memory has finally settled. The parties agreed to 5 minutes for fighting and a game misconduct. [ESPN]

Judge Richard Posner

From the Above the Law mailbag: “Is ATL ever going to call out Judge Posner for being so needlessly nasty to litigants?”

Ummm, no. I’m a big fan of Judge Richard Posner, who is brilliant and hilarious. (Yes, hilarious — if you doubt that, check out the awesome podcast that he and I did together, which you can download and listen to during your commute or at the gym.)

But in the interest of fairness, I will make this reader’s case. This correspondent cited the recent oral argument in Notre Dame v. Sebelius, which we alluded to yesterday, in which Judge Posner dispensed some benchslaps to Matthew Kairis, head of litigation in the Columbus office of Jones Day. The reader also mentioned the argument on remand in the Conrad Black case, alleging that Posner “was particularly nasty to Miguel Estrada, seemingly piqued that Estrada got him reversed by SCOTUS.”

Let’s focus on the Notre Dame v. Sebelius argument, since it just happened. How bad was it?

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Nothing illustrates the way religion can warp the normal function of rational thought quite like the National Jurist’s “most devout law schools” rankings. If you are a person of faith, that’s fine. Mazel tov. And if you want to find new and exciting ways to mingle your religious beliefs with our secular laws, that’s fine too. I mean, I’ll do what I can to oppose you, but in America we must be comfortable with difference.

But picking a law school based on its piety seems pretty dumb. For one thing, law schools should be teaching, you know, laws and stuff. What you do with that knowledge is your own choice, but it seems to me that people should want the best education they can get, and then apply that education to the causes and issues that move them. Why go to Regent Law if you can go to Vanderbilt Law and then advocate for your theocracy from a position of greater strength?

The second problem is that picking a law school because it has some kind of “mission” beyond helping you become a good and employed lawyer seems like a path to pain. But that will become obvious as we actually look at the National Jurist’s list.

In any event, onward Christian lawyers…

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Summer associate programs will be wrapping up soon. May the offer rates be ever in your favor.

As programs finish, we hope to hear some interesting tales of summer associate fun. This year, as in previous post-recession years, it seems that summers are playing it pretty close to the vest. Programs are smaller, and people are more terrified about not getting an offer thanks to the bleak 3L hiring market.

It looks like this year, people left their guns at home. Our biggest summer story of 2013 so far was the Cleary summer with a sex-offender past. And it’s not like he was sex-offending people in the office. Right now, even political interns are blowing away private practice summer associates.

To prime the pump a little bit, we have a summer associate story from a good firm in flyover country that shall remain nameless. It’s more humorous than scandalous, particularly as it involves summer-on-summer inappropriateness.

But there’s a detail in here that I really like….

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I don’t know what Gloria Allred does, exactly. I know she’s nominally an attorney because it says so on her Wikipedia page and also under her head when her head appears on my television screen. It says, “Attorney.” But, despite three years of law school, I have no idea what service she provides her clients. It’s always some weirdo at the periphery of a scandal she’s representing. A woman who bedded Tiger Woods, for instance. Or it’s a minor scandal that in years past would have been relegated to the Odd Stories column in your local newspaper. Like the time Roger McDowell got his gay slur on in front of some baseball fans. What connects these things is their apparent distance from anything resembling a legal issue.

Gloria Allred holds press conferences, as far as I can tell. And she talks sternly and forcefully, admonishing those bad actors who did her clients wrong. And after the microphones are turned off and the cameramen have all fled… well, I don’t know what it is she does. You can do anything with a law degree!

Which brings me to the latest in the Manti Te’o saga. The man behind Lennay has lawyered up, which thankfully allows me to write about Manti’s man in this here column.

Let’s talk Scandal Law. Scaw, Landal…

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I’m trying to figure out whether Lance Armstrong is relieved that Manti Te’o upstaged him this week. On one hand, all of the mean, finger-wagging columns on Lance’s lying, like this typically flatulent effort by Rick Reilly, have been pushed to the second page of the Internet by Te’o's (I’m not entirely sure I’m using the apostrophe correctly here) fake dead girlfriend. Although the internet defies all attempts to ascribe a finite supply of oxygen to any news story, there is a finite amount of attention that can be paid. And even though every news organization has dutifully assigned a writer (or moron) to cover the Lance debacle, no one much cares about it anymore. What happens to a scandal deferred? Does it dry up, like a craisin in this pun?

I think the overshadowing of the Lance Armstrong saga probably doesn’t help Armstrong at all. The vast majority of people who will have opinions about him have already formed them and those who may be swayed by a teary confession in front of Oprah now may not even be paying attention. But that’s all public opinion, which is the least of Lance’s worries at this point. And yet, public opinion is almost exclusively Manti Te’o's (seriously, these apostrophes are bothering me) worry at this point. Almost.

Let’s talk fake dead Samoan girlfriends….

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Attorney retirement home?

Well, the election is over, and a gaggle of new Congressfolks and Senators are coming to Washington in January. Of this population, 43 percent are lawyers, reversing the decline in lawyer politicians. So let’s review the incoming class and you can not-so-quietly judge our new legislators for their education and experience in the comments.

Ten new members attended Harvard Law School, so congratulations Crimson for continuing your tradition as the shadowy institution ruling our lives. There are also some inspiring stories among the new members. Like Joseph P. Kennedy, who lifted himself up by the bootstraps and managed to get into Harvard without any connections whatsoever. Everyone’s education info and any interesting career tidbits are provided below.

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Aficionados of wedding-related WTF-ery should not miss this slide show of married-name train wrecks. The one shown at right is mild compared to some of the other exhibits!

And speaking of train wrecks, lawyers continue to marry at a depressing rate. Here’s our roundup of all the recent legal weddings, plus an in-depth look at the following outstanding newlyweds:

Heather Davis and John Jones II

Leah Raful and Seth Goldberg

Stephanie Adams and Patrick Ryan

Read on for the details on these couples — plus photos and links to their wedding registries.

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The power to thwart God's will is at your local drugstore.

Who’d have thunk it? These days, contraception is a hot-button issue. On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Rick Santorum thinks that Griswold was wrongly decided. Inside academia, students are challenging the refusal of one Catholic university (including its law school) to let its health centers prescribe birth control.

Getting upset over inadequate access to contraception is one thing. What about getting upset — at a Catholic law school, mind you — over a discussion of birth control? Can you imagine what kind of comments about contraception could cause a law school community to get all riled up?

Let’s look at — and argue about — the email that caused students at one top-ranked Catholic law school to get their diaphragms all scrunched up proverbial panties in a wad. Even the dean had to get involved….

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Professor Stephen Smith

Perhaps this is part of some elaborate research project into the workings of the criminal justice system. Professor Stephen F. Smith, who teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at Notre Dame Law School, stands accused of a serious crime.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Professor Smith faces one count of domestic battery, a class D felony. He’s accused of striking and kicking his wife at their home, in an incident that allegedly took place back in June.

Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case. How many DV defendants have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court? How many have graduated from Dartmouth College, where Smith served as a trustee, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he once taught?

After graduating from Dartmouth and UVA Law, Smith clerked on the D.C. Circuit (for Judge David Sentelle) and SCOTUS (for Justice Clarence Thomas). He practiced at Sidley Austin before joining the UVA Law faculty, where he served as John V. Ray Research Professor before moving to Notre Dame. (Query: What prompted Professor Smith to move from UVA to ND?)

Legal pedigrees don’t get much better than this. But enough of Professor Smith’s dazzling résumé. Let’s learn about the lurid allegations against him — and hear from ND law students about a campus controversy he created….

UPDATE: Please note the updates added to the end of this story. Thanks.

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