September 2007

The Tarlton Law Library at UT has recently put online the Texas Legal History Digital LIbrary, which is comprised of two sites, one of which is dedicated to the Texas Constitutions 1824-1876 and which aims to:

provide[] page images of the constitutions of Texas in effect from 1824 to 1876. Also included are copies of journals and debates of the constitutional conventions at which those constitutions were adopted. The resource links provisions of the several constitutions to those portions of the journals and debates where those provisions were discussed.

The second site focuses Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals’ Justices from 1836-1986, which:

includes, for each member of the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals between 1836 and 1986, a portrait and biography, citations to opinions authored, and links to additional resources.


Thx to Tarlton Law Library and the generosity of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission


WTC Flag

Apparently, there is more to Mr. Toobin‘s book, The Nine, than just anectdotes of Justice Souter‘s propensity to leak about the eyes. Below are some more excerpts:

Souter couldn’t be reached in time to make Rehnquist‘s funeral because he is a technophobe–he has a telephone and a fountain pen but “no answering machine, fax, cell phone or e-mail” (he was once given a television but never plugged it in).

Rehnquist was not impressed with Bill Clinton and his wife. When told that the newly elected president was thinking of nominating Hillary as attorney general, the [C]hief [J]ustice quipped, “They say Caligula appointed his horse counsel of Rome.”

When Rehnquist ordered the other justices to show up in Court for arguments in the case of Clinton v. Jones on the morning of a freakish snowstorm that dumped 21 inches on Washington, chaos ensued. Running late, Scalia ordered his driver to break the law: “By the power invested in me, I authorize you to run these lights!”

O’Connor‘s husband, John, sometimes embarrassed her with his crude sense of humor. He introduced himself to legendary Justice Harry Blackmun by handing him a business card that listed his skills as “Tigers Tamed, Bars Emptied, Orgies Organized.”

When she was being vetted as a nominee back in 1981, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor lied to (or at least misled) then-Justice Department aide Kenneth Starr, telling him that she had never cast a vote on an Arizona measure to liberalize abortion. In fact, as a state senator, she’d voted April 29, 1970, to end criminal prohibitions on abortions in the state.

Rehnquist Court

Thx to AbovetheLaw and ABC News

Watch out all you swinging folks out there, tomorrow is apparently Conception Day (at least in Russia, where it’s been creepily timed so that every child conceived tomorrow will be born on Russia’s Constitution Day).

Hey baby

Thx to Breitbart

These slides from Gen. Petraeus’ presentation before Congress today are particularly enlightening.

Gen. Petraeus

Thx to the Politico

Casting aside Justice Potter Stewart’s famously vague description of obscenity (“I know it when I see it”), the Third Circuit will apparently hear oral argument tomorrow regarding whether Janet Jackson’s “accidental wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl halftime show three years ago was obscene.

Justice Stewart

Thx to How Appealing

Last Friday, Jeff Skilling filed his appellant’s brief with the Fifth Circuit, which just barely exceeded the 14,000 word limit–by about 46,000 words.

Skilling’s brief clocked in at 58,922 words (and 239 pages), and to be fair, his counsel at O’Melveny & Meyers moved for leave to exceed the word limitation in FRAP 32(a)(7)(B)(i). However, no matter how “extraordinary and compelling” Skilling’s counsel’s reasons may be, part of the art of appellate practice is being able to distill hugely complicated issues down to more manageable and simplified points of error. Counsel at O’Melveny & Meyers probably would have been wise to remember that.

60,000 words

It’s one thing to ask for 100, 500, or maybe even a 1,000 words more, but to ask to quadruple the word limit? At the end of the day, such sloppiness just admits you have no idea what your appeal is really about and attempts to make the circuit judges do your work for you.

Thx to the WSJ Law Blog

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