Wise Latina

For aficionados of books about the U.S. Supreme Court, 2014 has been a very good year. The past few months have brought us Uncertain Justice, by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz; The Case Against the Supreme Court, by Erwin Chemerinsky; Scalia: A Court of One, by Bruce Allen Murphy; and American Justice 2014, by Garrett Epps. (Forthcoming on the fiction side in a few weeks: my very own Supreme Ambitions.)

One of the most eagerly anticipated of these books is Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor, by veteran SCOTUS reporter Joan Biskupic. She recently posted a juicy excerpt on Reuters, in which Justice Antonin Scalia is quoted saying of Justice Sotomayor, “I knew she’d be trouble.”

What prompted Nino to make this comment about Sonia? It has to do with allegations of the Wise Latina engaging in unwise behavior at a Supreme Court party….

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Well, a piece of me would want her to become a justice instead of a person on television….

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in response to Stephen Colbert’s question — “When you go to the Bronx and you see a young girl on a playground there, do you think, ‘That child has the same opportunities I had when I was a child’?” — posed during last night’s episode of the Colbert Report. Sotomayor seemed generally confused, but attempted to play it off as if she had just pulled one over on Colbert.

(Continue reading to see a clip of the interview in question.)

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Justice Sotomayor is enjoying D.C. life. Last month, she attended a Nationals vs. Yankees baseball game. (Photo by an ATL tipster.)

A reader down in Washington, D.C., recently shared with us this amusing Facebook status update from one of his friends: “Gentrification (noun): When a Supreme Court justice moves into the [condo above] the first apartment you lived in DC, which used to share a block with an abandoned gas station / drug den and a ‘do not bring guns to [elementary] school’ sign.”

Who’s the justice in question, intrepidly moving into a gentrifying neighborhood? None other than Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Wise Latina recently acquired a condo in D.C.’s uber-trendy U Street corridor.

How much did she pay for her new place? And what does it look like? Yes, we have pictures….

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* Apparently the Roberts Court is unusual in that its elite members lacked opportunities to gain “the most critical judicial virtue: practical wisdom.” Yeah, right. Tell that one to the Wise Latina. [Washington Post]

* In the wake of the contraception controversy, Rush Limbaugh apologized for calling Georgetown 3L Sandra Fluke a “slut.” He’s so very, very sorry… that he lost some of his advertisers. [The Caucus / New York Times]

* The powers that be in Massachusetts have decided to show law bloggers a little bit of respect. Now they’ll get to cover judicial proceedings like real, live journalists — press passes and all. [Metro Desk / Boston Globe]

* Pornography: now with ten percent fewer HIV infections! A Los Angeles city ordinance requiring porn actors to wear condoms during filming will be taking effect today. [L.A. Now / Los Angeles Times]

* After allegedly making two other incidents disappear from her record, former Bronx ADA Jennifer Troiano pleaded guilty to drunk driving last week. It looks like the third time really is the charm. [New York Daily News]

* New York newlyweds allege that Glamour Me Studio Photoshopped their heads onto naked bodies. Groomzilla Todd Remis must be glad that his wedding photography woes weren’t so graphic. [New York Post]

English m*****f***** do you speak it?

How much English do you have to be able to speak in order to hold elected office? I don’t know, but apparently justices in Arizona think they know it when they hear it.

Continuing Arizona’s quest to become the most racist state in the Union, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed a ruling that prevented Alejandrina Cabrera from running for a city council seat because she doesn’t speak English proficiently.

But we can’t just “blame whitey” for this one. Here we’ve got a Southwestern case of Latino-on-Latino crime.

Well, you know what they say: when in ‘Zona, do as the xenophobes do…

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Justice Elena Kagan

The latest issue of New York magazine contains a very interesting profile of the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Elena Kagan, penned by Dahlia Lithwick. Here’s the bottom-line summary of the piece (via Ezra Klein):

“While Kagan is assuredly a liberal, and likely also a fan of the health-reform law, a close read of her tenure at the Supreme Court suggests that she is in fact the opposite of a progressive zealot. By the end of Kagan’s first term, conservatives like former Bush solicitor general Paul Clement (who will likely argue against the health-care law this coming spring) and Chief Justice John Roberts were giving Kagan high marks as a new justice precisely because she wasn’t a frothing ideologue. The pre-confirmation caricatures of her as a self-serving careerist and party hack are not borne out by her conduct at oral argument, her writing, and her interactions with her colleagues. In fact, if her first term and a half is any indication, she may well madden as many staunch liberals as conservatives in the coming years.”

That’s just the overview. Let’s delve into the details a bit more….

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Kim Kardashian

* With AT&T’s T-Mobile deal falling apart, in-house lawyer Wayne Watts could be heard singing, “it’s my merger and I’ll cry if I want to,” before more whining to the FCC. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Build us a border fence, and then get the f**k over it. Arizona lawmakers are soliciting the public for donations to keep out the people who would work at low cost to build it. [New York Daily News]

* Ever wonder what’s preventing greater diversity in the law? Apparently the problem is pre-law counselors with advising skills that are crappier than minority LSAT scores. [National Law Journal]

* ‘Til death (and billable hours) do us part: British firms are paying for employees’ divorces. Biglawyers await the day this gets picked up America. [Press Association]

* The star of this year’s Black and Blue Friday was the not-so-wise Latina who decided it was a good idea to pepper-spray her Xbox competition. Best deal ever? No charges brought. [CNN]

* It looks like Kim Kardashian got her Christmas wish early this year. Her soon-to-be ex-husband will not be suing her for $10M over his portrayal on her new reality show. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Robert Bork

Some lawyers can be so circumspect in speech and so careful in action that they’re just plain boring. Such caution might help you make it to the Supreme Court someday, but it’s not a recipe for a very fun life.

Thankfully, not all brilliant lawyers are afraid of speaking their minds. Take Robert Bork, the former U.S. Solicitor General and D.C. Circuit judge whose Supreme Court nomination famously went down in flames in 1987 — due in part to his loquaciousness during his confirmation hearings.

Judge Bork, now 84, is currently a fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank. He’s not as involved in public life as he once was, but he’s not completely out of the picture. For example, he’s serving as a legal adviser to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney (a development that some on the left have criticized).

And Judge Bork continues to make controversial pronouncements, most recently in an interview with Newsweek….

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We recently imagined a scenario in which Professor Goodwin Liu, the controversial Boalt Hall law prof whose Ninth Circuit nomination was successfully filibustered, became Justice Goodwin Liu. It now looks like this might happen earlier than we had expected.

But he would be a justice on a non-SCOTUS court (for now). California Governor Jerry Brown just nominated Professor Liu, 40, to serve on the California Supreme Court.

How might Goodwin Liu’s nomination be received by the people of California? He’s smart, he’s liberal — er, progressive — but there’s one potential rub….

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Talk about the branches getting together! I’ll have to show up.

– Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), reacting to the prospect of Justice Sonia Sotomayor joining the congressional women’s softball team.

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