June 2007


Fresh off her scene-stealing performance versus Ferrell in the Landlord, Pearl is back, only this time as the bad cop to Will Ferrell’s suspect. Of course, there is some NSFW language, but still funny nonetheless.

WF

Good Cop, Baby Cop

Thx to Pearl and FunnyorDie

Laura Ingraham—for any of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to hear her nationally syndicated radio show—is perhaps the most spectactularly overqualified radio host in the history of the medium (with a nod to Secretary Bennett of course).

She lacks the grating egotism of Rush and O’Reilly, has the affability and easygoing charm of Hannity, but with (forgive me Sean) substantially more intellectual heft, which allows her to delve into the weeds on both law and policy in ways her cohorts cannot.

Laura Ingraham, Esq.

Her legal vitae is as pedigreed as any lawyer could hope to have. After graduating from Dartmouth, she worked as a speechwriter for President Reagan, then graduated from UVA Law School, clerked for both Judge Ralph K. Winter on the Second Circuit, and later Justice Thomas, and then worked at—hands down—one of the most preeminent law firms on the planet at Skadden Aarps.

Add to this her unwavering conservatism and innate likeability, and you have one formidable package.

Oh, and National Review had some great things to say about her recent role in the immigration debate as well.

Thx to NRO and Laura Ingraham

Michael McGough of the L.A. Times wrote a thoughtful piece detailing how Justice Thomas, through his concurrences and dissents, has carved out a niche for himself which distances him from his ideologically similar peers.

J. Thomas

Granted, the L.A. Times seems to take the time to point this out mainly in an attempt to demonstrate the weakness in the conservative majority’s reasoning on recent cases such as the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case. Nonentheless, still nice to see Justice Thomas getting some long-overdue jurisprudential accolades. I still am not totally comfortable with his silence during oral argument, but if and until I sit in one of those nine Seats, my opinion counts for naught.

Thx to the L.A. Times and LauraIngraham.com

SCOTUS

Watch out, because I may just turn into a Chief Roberts‘ groupie. The all-time, most succinct rebuttal of race-based preferences (from affirmative action to school busing) is found on pages 40-41 of the Court’s opinion in Parents Involved in Community Schoosl v. Seattle School District No. 1, wherein Chief Roberts reasons that:

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

Parents Involved in Cmty. Schs. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, Nos. 05-908 and 05-915, slip op. at 40-41 (June 28, 2007).

Justice Thomas cuts even deeper into the dissenters’ quick by citing to Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S 483 (1954), and Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537 (1896), as support for the Court’s decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools. In his concurrence, he reveals that:

Disfavoring a color-blind interpretation of the Constitution, the dissent would give school boards a free hand to make decisions onthe basis of race—an approach reminiscent of that advocated by the segregationists in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S 483 (1954). This approach is just as wrong today as it was a half-century ago.

Parents Involved in Cmty. Schs. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, Nos. 05-908 and 05-915, slip op. at 1-2 (U.S. June 28, 2007) (Thomas, J., concurring).

Justice Thomas then puts the nail in the coffin, quoting to Justice Harlan’s dissent from Plessy:

The plans before us base school assignment decisions on students’ race. Because “[o]ur Constitution is color-blind,and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,” such race-based decisionmaking is unconstitutional.

Id., slip op. at 36 (quoting Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537, 559 (1896) (Harlan, J., dissenting)).

Thx to the Parents Involved in Community Schools majority

The D.C. administrative law judge, Roy Pearson, who brought the $54 million dollar lost-pants suit against his dry cleaners, not only had his claims dismissed, but his reappointment to the D.C. administrative law bench has apparently been held up as well.

Pride of the D.C. bar

No doubt due to questions rightly raised over his judicial temperment.

Thx to the Washington Post

SCOTUS

I’ve tried to get psyched up about these cases, but I just can’t do it.

The bottom line on Morse v. Frederick, No. 06–278 (U.S. June 25, 2007) (the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case) is that students are hereafter restrained from speech “that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use,” but are not restrained from speech that “that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue, including speech on issues such as ‘the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.'” Morse, slip op. at 1 (Alito, J., concurring, joined by Kennedy, J.).

Regarding Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., No. 06–969 (U.S. June 25, 2007) (the campaign finance case), the Court held that “issue advocacy” advertisements could be aired within thirty days of a federal primary election or within sixty days of a federal general election.

Thx to SCOTUS

Some depressing analysis of the BigTex legal market relative to national BigLaw rates (taken wholesale from a discussion of same over at AbovetheLaw):

Here’s how it worked after last year’s round of national raises: First years in Texas got a big increase, from about $110k to $135k. 2nd and 3rd years also got around a $15k increase. And that’s pretty much where it stopped. 7th years received a $5,000 raise, to about a $185,000 base. To put that in perspective, it’s about 50% less than a 7th year currently makes (at the same firm or a national that pays a uniform scale) in LA, NYC, DC, etc. That is, a 7th year at BB in Texas makes $185,000; a 7th year at BB in NYC makes $275,000. Sheeeeeit! And don’t look for explanations in billing rates. The vast majority of work done in Texas by these firms is billed at national rates — the same charged in DC and LA (though maybe 10% less than in NYC).

The point: screw the first years! They now make only $50,000 less than the folks up for partner. Not that partnership chances have increased.

BigTex

Texas Offices at $160K
Dewey Ballantine (Austin – 9)
Fish & Richardson (Austin – 9, Dallas – 30)
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Dallas – 27)
McKool Smith LLP (Dallas – 46)
Skadden Arps LLP (Houston – 19)
Weil Gotshal LLP (Dallas – 57, Houston – 46)
Wilson Sonsini (Austin – 32)
Texas Offices at $150K
Dechert LLP (Austin – 6)
Jones Day LLP (Dallas – 109, Houston – 26)

Thx to AbovetheLaw and no thx to BigTex

This Colorado lawyer is quite a piece of work. First, she filed this motion for extension of time to file, citing the tried and true “too drunk to file” excuse:

Wino

Next, she filed the following motion for extension of time in another case, only this time she didn’t get drunk on hooch before attempting to file, she just admitted to lying to the court and opposing counsel by affixing pre-dated postage to her filing:

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I will refrain from commenting on the cleanliness of this lawyer’s torso, but I would quibble with her assertion that she has a reputation for incorruptability, because I think she has now fairly clearly established her reputation is far more grounded in incompetence.

Thx to AbovetheLaw

FDT’s former girlfriends (including country singer Lorrie Morgan and Georgette Mosbacher) as well as his ex-wife have agreed to campaign for him.

FDT

I know we’re not supposed to consider these types of things when voting, but you have to be an all-around decent guy to still be able to garner the votes and support of your exes. Just ask Bill Clinton.

Thx to the Times

On Wednesday, Texas’ highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, affirmed a trial judge’s dismissal of Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle’s indictment against Tom Delay.

TD

You’ll remember, however, that this indictment was replaced by a subsequent one, which was not dismissed, and is still pending before the Third District Court of Appeals.

Thx to the Statesman

Joe Jamail, of Texaco v. Pennzoil fame (which still stands as the largest verdict ever upheld on appeal ($7.53 billion in actual damages and $1 billion in punitives)), just donated some of his $335 million fee earned from that case to build a skatepark in Houston.

JJ

Thx to Tex Parte Blog

Texas Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn have refused to support the undead immigration bill.

God Bless Texas

Halleluja!

Thx to the Senators, the Houston Chronicle, and an aspiring Michigan law student

Zurich American was apparently one of the insurers for the World Trade Towers. After the horrors of the 9/11 attacks, the first instinct of the insurer was—of course—to deny coverage to the Towers.

Wraiths

This denial of coverage extended to attempting to delete a copy of the insurance policy proving they agreed to cover the Towers, and Zurich’s attorneys at Wiley Rein failing to produce the same document to the Towers’ counsel for over two years.

This despicable conduct led the presiding federal judge to sanction both Zurich and their lawyers.

Unbelievable.

Thx to the WSJ LawBlog and the NY Sun

Justice Scalia was recently up in Canada to participate in an international judicial panel on torture and terrorism. Apparently, the subject of the interrogation techniques of Jack Bauer–the fictional character from 24–came up, whereupon a Canadian jurist expressed disgust at same and Justice Scalia responded by saying:

Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer … I don’t think so …. So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes … [a]nd ought we believe in these absolutes.

Just remember that Justice Scalia dresses like this,

The Man

And the Canadian judge dresses like this.

Goofy

Who you gonna believe?

Thx to the WSJ LawBlog

The current members of Motley Crue are suing one of their former managers for purportedly giving them bad career advice by forcing Tommy Lee to participate in the twin reality show phenomenons, Tommy Lee Goes to College, and Rock Star: Supernova. The band alleges that Mr. Pam Anderson’s involvement in the shows hurt his reputation as a musician and prevented the band from performing as many concert dates as it might otherwise have been able to.

Musical genius

I was not aware that Tommy Lee nor Motley Crue possessed musical reputations.

Thx to the WSJ LawBlog

Today’s SCOTUS opinon in Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., No. 06-484, slip op. (U.S. June 21, 2007), contains a lively exchange between Justices Stevens (in dissent) and Scalia (in concurrence). As usual, I find Justice Scalia’s argument the more logical, eloquent, and persuasive.

Scatevens

Justice Stevens thought Justice Scalia’s concurrence to be “clearly wrong,” explaining:

The meaning of a statute can only be determined on a case by case basis and will, in each case, turn differently on the clarity of the statutory language, its context, and the intent of its drafters. Here, in my judgment, a probable-cause standard is more faithful to the intent of Congress, as expressed in both the specific pleading requirement and the statute as a whole, than the more defendant-friendly interpretation that Justice Scalia prefers. He is clearly wrong in concluding that in divining the meaning of this term, we can merely “read the language for what it says,” and that it is susceptible to only one reading. He argues that we “must be content to give ’strong inference’ its normal meaning,” and yet the “normal meaning” of a term such as “strong inference” is surely in the eye of the beholder. As the Court’s opinion points out, Courts of Appeals have divided on the meaning of the standard, and today, the Members of this Court have done the same. Although Justice Scalia may disagree with the Court’s reading of the term, he should at least acknowledge that, in this case, the term itself is open to interpretation.

Id. at 2 n.1 (Stevens, J., dissenting).

Justice Scalia, meanwhile, takes his longtime colleague’s logic to task:

The Court and the dissent criticize me for suggesting that there is only one reading of the text. They are both mistaken. I assert only that mine is the natural reading of the statute (i.e., the normal reading), not that it is the only conceivable one. The Court has no standing to object to this approach, since it concludes that, in another respect, the statute admits of only one natural reading, namely, that competing inferences must be weighed because the strong-inference requirement “is inherently comparative.” As for the dissent, it asserts that the statute cannot possibly have a natural and discernible meaning, since “courts of appeals” and “Members of this Court” have divided over the question. It was just weeks ago, however, that the author of the dissent, joined by the author of today’s opinion for the Court, concluded that a statute’s meaning was “plain,” even though the Courts of Appeals and Members of this Court divided over the question. Was plain meaning then, as the dissent claims it is today, “in the eye of the beholder”?

Id. at 3-4 (Scalia, J., concurring).

Of interest perhaps only to me, both Justices refer to the “Courts of Appeals” instead of the “Courts of Appeal.” I guess when you’re SCOTUS, you can phrase things however you wish.

One last aside, do you realize that Justice Stevens was nominated by President Ford, and was born in 1920 before the Great Depression?

Thx to the WSJ LawBlog and Justice Scalia

It is no secret that I am not ideologically aligned with Michael Moore or most liberals in the public eye for that matter. That said, I think Moore is an undeniably-talented documentary filmmaker, even if he plays too fast and loose with the facts for a purported nonfiction medium.

However, one area upon which I think people of all political leanings in this country can agree is that the healtcare system in the U.S. is increasingly frustrating for those covered and uncovered alike.

I’m no fan of socialistic programs, but I do think there is enormous room for improvement over our current system. Heck, I know I shell out a few grand every year just in deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums on my family’s health insurance, so any proportionate tax hike–if it eliminated my need for private insurance–would be a wash for me financially.

sicko

When you have the chance, I encourage you to see SiCKO because even if some of the silly stunts Moore pulls (such as taking 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for free healthcare) offend and incense you, it is a pretty thought-provoking film nonetheless.

Particularly so the anectdotal stories of folks denied timely or needed healthcare procedures, even though they were covered. Many of these cases resulted in the death of the afflicted person.

Thx to (hate to admit I’m saying this) Michael Moore

For having been off the last week or so. Unfortunately, work sometimes rudely intrudes on my frivolities.

020033

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Apparently, the placement of most of the nation’s 1,200 or so weather stations is less than scientific. A meterologist formerly with the CBS affiliate in Redding, California has begun site visits to these weather stations and has been shocked to discover that most seem to have placed their weather sensors alarmingly close to air conditioning exhaust vents, adjacent to asphalt parking lots, or next to BBQ griils; all of which would bias the temperature readings upwards.

unbiased

Thx to NewsBusters and Anthony Watts

In a study recently published in the journal, Science, the researchers found that people really enjoy paying taxes, honest.

What the Duck?

Where to start?

First, this study was based on analyzing the reactions of nineteen (19) female college students at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Or. I don’t know about y’all, but I certainly didn’t make enough while I was in school to have even paid taxes, so how would college students have any representative reaction to something they’ve never had to do?

Second, the sample size was a whopping nineteen people. My statistical recall from undergrad is hazy at best, but there is a calculation you have to run to know if your sample size is sufficient, and I would be surprised if a number under twenty cut the mustard.

Third, the lead researcher on the study said that people probably like paying taxes more than they admit, hence the widespread compliance with tax laws, despite our propensity to complain about paying taxes. Perhaps “widespread compliance” with tax laws has a little something to do with the threat of federal prosecution if one doesn’t pay them. Hence the supposed pleasure spike observed among the study participants upon paying their taxes is more likely really relief that they’ve just avoided confinement in a federal pen.

Thx to HotAir and NewScientist.com

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