Monday, April 14th, 2008

On the right

U.T. Law does have some good news today, however. Over at the Clerkship Notification Blog (which appears to be revamped and relaunched for the 2009-10 clerkship season), a commenter notes that Scott Keller–an ’07 U.T. Law grad and current Chief Judge Kozinski clerk–has been hired by Justice Kennedy to clerk in his chambers during the Court‘s 2009 term.

If Scott Keller’s name sounds familiar, it should, because he was a member of the certiorari team assembled by U.T.’s Supreme Court Clinic, which successfully petitioned the Court in the clinic’s very first case.

This hiring will help improve U.T.’s ranking among schools placing SCOTUS clerks, and ensure C.J. Kozinski stays atop the list of feeder judges as well.

Thx to the CNB and SCOTUS Law Clerk Placement

While few opinions may ever rival Judge Kent‘s “live Bolivian” exposition or his “Big Chief tabletbenchslapping of two unfortunate counsel, there are three Texas jurists currently at the top of my list for the title Judge Kent may now never regain.

The first would-be-successor is federal district judge Sam Sparks in Austin, who penned this order just about a year ago:


Next up is San Antonio federal district judge Fred Biery, who recently quoted both scripture and the Grimms’ fairy tales in a ruling:

Just as it would be difficult for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, Cornerstone’s effort to enter the UIL is denied.

* * *

Having not followed the proverb, “Physician, heal yourself” nor having treated others as it would like to be treated, Cornerstone has reaped what it has sown.

Most recently, SCOTX Justice Don Willett demonstrated juristical flair in his concurrence to the Court’s decision this past Friday in Lewis v. Funderburk, No. 06-0518, ___ Tex. Sup. Ct. J. ___ (Tex. April 11, 2008):

My recent concurrence in Ogletree v. Matthews described what I hoped would be a “rare bird in Texas legal practice”: a “grossly substandard filing pitched as a bona fide report” under Section 74.351. Today’s case presents the Court with an actual sighting of this rare bird, a species that in my view merits extinction, not conservation. Extensions forgive deficient reports, not absent ones. If a report is missed, not just amiss, courts are remiss if they do not dismiss.

Congratulations to these three jurisprudential talents for drafting such entertaining yet legally precise rulings, and may the best jurist win.

Thx to Tex Parte Blog and Above the Law

Two pieces of news regarding the original D.C. political gossip blog have broken in the past few days.


First, the founder of Wonkette, the hilarious if crude Ana Marie Cox, lost her gig as Washington editor of Not all literary elites were thrilled with her original appointment to the post, however, as Eric Alterman once observed:

I’m fine with what she does. My issue with Time is that they hired a “liberal” gossip writer who specializes in articles about “a[$$]-f[*]cking” to offset their conservative heavy-hitters who regularly abuse liberals.

Second, Wonkette itself is in the process of being sold to its Managing Editor, Ken Layne.

We report it here mainly because Above the Law‘s David Lat once served a term at Wonkette‘s helm, and because we remember well the halcyon days of Wonkette‘s heyday breaking (or reveling in) the Jessica Cutler / Washingtonienne scandal.

Thx to FishBowl D.C.


In a little-noticed ruling last week, the California Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a California intermediate appellate court’s decision striking down the City of San Francisco‘s (the “City”) 2005 handgun ban.

The ban, called “Proposition H,” passed with 58% of the vote in November 2005 and would have forbidden City residents (excepting only law enforcement officers) from possessing handguns, and prohibited the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any type of firearms or ammunition in the City.

The First District Court of Appeal upheld a trial judge’s ruling on preemption grounds, holding the City could not enact ordinances that impinged upon the state’s regulatory authority.

The California Supreme Court did not, of course, have to provide any reason for not taking the appeal, but might its reluctance to opine on II Am. issues have something to do with last month’s oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller (no. 07-290)?

Thx to Newsbusters and the SF Chronicle

The National Law Journal (NLJ) annually publishes its own ranking of relative law school “prestige,” which–to my mind–is much more useful to potential law school applicants than the U.S. News and World Report beauty contest.

The List

The NLJ annually ranks the country’s law school’s that place the highest percentage of graduates in the nation’s top 250 law firms. Last year, U.T. was 19 on this list of twenty, but this year U.T. fell out of the ranking alltogether.

Of its 460 J.D. graduates in 2007, 35.2% became attorneys at NLJ 250 law firms.

Compare this percentage to the top school on the list, Columbia, which placed 74.8% of its graduates at NLJ 250 firms. Don’t feel too disenchanged though, Yale Law School–which perenially sits atop the U.S. News list, was 19th on the list, only placing 38.5% of its graduates at top firms.

Thx to the WSJ Law Blog and the NLJ