Sad reality


"I reckon I'm as American as anyone from Tennessee"

Y’all may have noticed I haven’t posted in the past few weeks, and my absence has been due in part to vacation, and in part due to other considerations as well (read billable hours).

Accordingly, I am signing off for a while. Many thanks for your patronage over this last year and a half or so, and continued success to all of you.

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S&W commemorative revolver

Within weeks of SCOTUS ruling Dick Heller had a II Am right to possess a pistol for self-defense, the District of Columbia informed him the right doesn’t extend to semi-auto pistols after it rejected his permit application for his 1911 .45, because the District considered such firearms to be too similar to machine guns.

Only someone who has shot neither would make such a foolish assumption.

After being denied a right to register his semi-auto handgun, Heller was successful in submitting a .22 revolver for registration. However, if Heller is successful in gaining a permit to keep his .22 revolver in his home, it will have to be disassembled and trigger-locked and/or kept in a safe. This requirement (although it does include an assembly exception while it is being used against an intruder in the home) seems to treat as dicta Justice Scalia’s admonition that the “District’s requirement … that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times … makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.” Dist. of Colum. v. Heller, No. 07-290, slip op. at 58 (June 26, 2008) (emphasis added).

Looks like it won’t be long before Heller II is foisted back upon the court system.

* * * UPDATE * * *

Looks like Dick Heller was equally displeased with the District’s new gun permit regulations, seeing as how he sued the District once again yesterday based, in part, on its disallowance of semi-auto handguns and its requirement that all firearms be kept disassembled and trigger-locked.

Thx to DC Dicta, the DCist, WaPo, and HotAir

For the coward pictured below.

About to rue the day

Today, the DPS released the security video of the arsonist who almost succeeded in burning the Governor’s Mansion to the ground.

Anyone with information about the possible identity of the person depicted in the video or picture above is urged to call investigators at:

512-506-2849,
512-506-2861,
512-506-2862, or
Crime at 800-252-8477.

Thx to the Austinist

Say it aint so

Success ruins everything.

David Lat, a former AUSA and federal circuit clerk who I first began to follow in mid-2004 when he anonymously ran the Article III gossip blog, Underneath Their Robes (one of the seminal progenitors of the modern legal blog) until he was outed as the proprietor by Jeff Toobin. He went on to serve a stint editing Wonkette, and then became the founder and editor in chief of Above the Law, which has grown into the lowly law firm associate’s blogospherical check on BigLaw shenanigans.

Well, due to his success at ATL, Lat has been promoted to oversee all of ATL‘s parent company’s sites; thus reducing his ATL blogging load substantially and forcing him to:

brush my teeth, put on clothes, and schlep into an office each morning.

We here at the SMSB wish him well and curse thank him for seeding our own little degenerative blogging afflication. It’s not often that a person can create and ride a sea change in a profession, but Mr. Lat certainly has and we thank him for his diligent, entertaining, and status-quo-shattering work over these last few years.

Thx to the
BLT

Farewell

Tony Snow, former speechwriter for President H.W. Bush and Press Secretary to President G.W. Bush, passed away today after his long bout with colon cancer.

Tony was the most articulate and effective press secretary I’ve seen, and by all accounts, one of the most decent men inside the Beltway. He not only was the founding host of Fox News Sunday and a syndicated columnist, but the winner of the inaugural “Crawlin’ Kingsnake Trophy” (for which he beat out Bob Schieffer).

One of the things I always respected and admired most about Tony was his ability and willingness to take on the Whitehouse press corps and expose the liberal bent of their questions. He was very good at it:

GREGORY: It’s kind of a totality question, though. How you can hear these things and not conclude that it’s rejection of the President’s policy?

SNOW: Well, number one, “stay the course” is not the policy.

But you need to understand that trying to frame it in a partisan way is actually at odds with what the Group, itself, says it wanted to do. And so you may try to do whatever you want in terms of rejection, that’s not the way they view it.

GREGORY: I just want to be clear. Are you suggesting that I’m trying to frame this in a partisan way?

SNOW: Yes.

And this podiumslapping of Jim Axlerod of CBS News was a classic as well. Axlerod asked Snow if the White House was “isolated and out of touch” in what they say about Iraq and the politics of the war on Capitol Hill, to which Snow dryly replied:

No, no more than I think people look at you and think you are focused on defeat.

He was articulate and quick on his feet–much more so than his pathetic predecessor–and enjoyed as much friendly banter with the press corps as he did heated exchanges. A great example of the latter was when he chided CBS’s Harry Smith that he couldn’t “have his own facts,” and an amusing example of the former was with Bill Plante of CBS News:

Plante: Are you going to say you’ve met those benchmarks? You’ve met almost none of them.

Snow: You’re going to find out exactly what people have said when the report becomes available — within the next week.

Plante: If it’s about the benchmarks that you’ve laid out, there are very few that have been met, or they have been met in the most vaporous way. We’ve seen progress in the alliance between most of the sheikhs opposed to Al Qaeda. Oh good.

Snow: Again I’m not going to rise to the bait —

Plante: It’s vaporware.

Snow: Vaporware? What is vaporware?

Plante: Vaporware is software that has been promised but hasn’t yet been delivered.

Snow: I see. I was afraid it had to do with bodily functions and —

Plante: Oh no.

Snow: I was a little worried about it.

We only wish that Tony–as he told Helen Thomas when he left the Whitehouse last September–had lived to make “life a living hell” for another Whitehouse Press Secretary when he was her age.

Thx to Tony Snow for his service to our country

Is that a shovel in your hand or are you just happy to see me?

Is that a shovel in your hand or are you just happy to see me?

Earlier this week, it took the Wisconsin Supreme Court 34 pages to explain that a corpse cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Even more amazing is that the High Court’s opinion reversed the decision of two lower Wisconsin courts … and was dissented from on the merits by two of the supreme court justices.

Incredibly, the grave-robbing defendants’ attorney commented that the majority opinion was–I’m not making this up–“dead wrong, as it makes the entire statute superfluous” (emphasis added). Indeed.

Thx to How Appealing and the Telegraph Herald

Officially incompetent

After the leaders of both houses of the Texas Legislature sent a very strongly-worded to the State Auditor in late February calling for review of TxDOT‘s “questionable accounting procedures,” including TxDOT’s projection of a $3.6 billion shortfall by 2015 without accounting for some $8 billion in already-approved road bonds, and its admission of $1 billion “error” in its budget forecasting, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission (the “Commission”)–charged with recommending every twelve years whether targeted state agencies should be done away with–unsurprisingly issued a stinging rebuke of TxDOT early last month:

Sunset staff found that this atmosphere of distrust permeated most of TxDOT’s actions and determined that it could not be an effective state transportation agency if trust and confidence were not restored …. Significant changes are needed to begin this restoration; tweaking the status quo is simply not enough.

In its report, the Commission called TxDOT “out of control” in pursuing its toll-road agenda. So disgusted with TxDOT was the Commission that it recommended abolishing altogether the five-member Texas Transportation Commission which oversees the agency and replacing it with a leaner executive structure composed only of the agency’s executive director and a single commissioner. The final major recommendation of the Commission was that TxDOT undergo sunset review again in just four years’ time, instead of the normal 12-year review cycle.

Thx to the Statesman

Thanks for the memories

Walter Huffman, Dean of Texas Tech’s law school since 2001, and former Judge Advocate General of the Army, announced today his intent to resign effective following this upcoming school year (Spring 2009). The one-year lead time is apparently to allow the school time to conduct a thorough search for his replacement. No word on where Dean Huffman is off to.

Everything I ever heard about Dean Huffman was beyond positive, and I know that he had been ambitious in his efforts to raise both the profile and the academic statute of TTU’s law school. They will no doubt miss his leadership, and owe him a debt of gratitude for his successful and dedicated efforts as well.

Thx to an anonymous aspiring lawyer

Too soon

I read with great sadness this weekend of former Texas Supreme Court and Dallas Court of Appeals Justice James Baker‘s passing. I got to know him only briefly, but I can vouch that his stellar reputation among those who appeared before him was well-earned. He was giant both in his jurisprudence and in the admiration he rightly enjoyed from his colleagues and peers. He will be greatly missed.

Thx to SCOTX Blog and the Houston Chronicle

Tough

First, any man who at any point in his life wore a fu-man-chu mustache, you just gotta like.

Also, below are some excerpts from an interview former CBS News correspondent Bernie Goldberg did with Tim Russert for Goldberg’s 2003 book, Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite. Read through these excerpts and tell me if you can picture any current journalist from any network uttering these words. I sure can’t. We’re definitely gonna miss Tim.

GOLDBERG: I think a lot of people have seen a fairness in you that they’re not used to seeing on the networks, and I’m wondering how much you think your blue-collar background has to do with it.

RUSSERT: There’s no substitute for it, Bernie, believe me. I’ve worked on garbage trucks. I drove a taxi. I tended bar. I delivered pizzas. I worked with liberals, conservatives, blacks, whites; that’s how you grew up in this interesting world, and people were always simply judged in the end on their quality as a person: Did they tell the truth? Did they honor their commitments? Did they show up for work on time?

* * *

And I also believe that going to the schools I did—St. Bonaventure school, Canisius High School, John Carroll University—these are not fashionable, elitist schools. These are schools where you learn to read and write and learn right from wrong. But they would never wave a wand and say, this is the way you must think.

The key to it was always respecting another person’s view and never suggesting that anyone had a monopoly on correctness. And that should be the centerpiece to being a journalist. You don’t go out there bringing to your profession an attitude that you know what is right for the country or you know what view is the progressive one or the appropriate one to have.

* * *

It’s just central to a journalist that we not adopt a code of correctness that this is the preferred position on the issue.

* * *

There is no preferred position. One cannot be dismissive of one person as extreme and find another acceptable just because of how you define liberal, conservative or mainstream.

* * *

It really is fascinating to me when you talk to political figures and to some journalists, they’ll say the center is here—if you are for abortion rights, for gun control, for campaign finance reform, that’s a mainstream position; and those opposed to it are on the fringe. And that’s just not the way reporters should approach issues.

* * *

Whenever we were going through the whole situation with President Clinton on a variety of issues involving his veracity, I would say in the newsroom: What if President Nixon had said this? And people would sit up [because they hadn’t thought of it that way]. You have to apply a single standard.

GOLDBERG: And to those who say journalists shouldn’t wear red, white and blue ribbons, that by doing that somehow you’re taking the government’s side in some debate or another — which I don’t frankly see, by the way . . .

RUSSERT: It is imperative that we never suggest that there’s a moral equivalency between the United States of America and the terrorists. Period. I’ll believe that until the day I die. I have talked about being a journalist—but also being an American. And first and foremost, you’re an American. I want a debate about national security, and who defines national security. I understand all that. But in the end, you have to make judgements, and on that day I made a judgement that five days after the most horrific event of my lifetime and of my journalistic career, that for me to say to the country I too am part of this, I too have experienced this gut-wrenching pain and agony, and I too have enormous remorse and sympathy, with not only the people who died in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in the field in Pennsylvania, but all of us—we’re in this together; this isn’t covering Democrats and Republicans or the Bills versus the Redskins; this is us. The Taliban doesn’t believe in the First Amendment.

I’m an American and then I’m a journalist.

(emphasis added).

Thx to NewsBusters and Tim Russert

The accused

Last month, the Texas Appellate Law Blog had a great post on the (believe it or not) benefit legal blogs offer to the legal landscape at large. I would add one other entirely unexpected yet undeniably valuable benefit to that list as well, as evidenced by the media fracas over Chief Judge Alex Kozinski‘s recent travails.

I have purposefully stayed away from writing about this story because it struck me from the beginning as likely a bogus “scandal.” I was wrong to do so, but not because the story had any merit, but because it turns out the blogosphere actually served to get the truth out.

In brief, the L.A. Times published a story at the urging of a disgruntled litigant who—as is frustratingly all too common—insisted on lambasting the four trial judges and at least six appellate justices (including Chief Kozinski) who held against him of bias and judicial misconduct. Riiiight. The L.A. Times story revealed that Chief Kozinski had various files stored on his family’s server that the paper framed as pornographic and even as examples of beastiality but that were really just so much ribald and off-color humor.

As Professor Volokh explains:

And some of the files contain what is basically—if what I saw at Patterico‘s site is representative—visual sexual humor. There are some spoofs, for instance of the MasterCard commercials, some puns, some absurdities. Kozinski, or someone in his family, apparently got them sent to him, and decided to save them alongside a bunch of other stuff he found interesting or amusing.

* * *

Jeez, folks, Kozinski has a quirky sense of humor, and keeps some joke pictures and videos on his computer rather than throwing them away. I’m sure they aren’t the kinds of things some people would enjoy seeing. But he wasn’t trying to show them to those people! He was just minding his own business, keeping some files on his own private server. And now it’s a national news story.

Chief Kozinsky’s wife put it even better:

The reporter describes the handful of comic-sexual items as follows: “the sexually explicit material on the site was extensive.” He then includes graphic descriptions that make the material sound like hard-core porn when, in fact, it is more accurately described as raunchy humor.

* * *

The fact is, Alex is not into porn—he is into funny—and sometimes funny has a sexual character.

So, the only real controversy at issue as a result of all the hubbub was that Chief Kozinski was presiding over an obscenity trial when the story broke. However, any traction that valid potential conflict rightly had was quickly defused when, within just a few days of the story’s printing, Chief Kozinski recused himself, declared a mistrial, and called for an investigation into the controversy surrounding his stored web files.

Which, after much exposition, brings me back to my original point. If one were to have only read the L.A. Times story, you would have thought the Chief of a federal circuit was keeping porn on his work computer and making it available to the public. It was not until the legal blogosphere started investigating further that it came to light that the evidence upon which the story was based had been shopped around to several media outlets for months by a disgruntled litigant, that the files in question were not really pornographic at all, and that the “website”—really a server subdirectory—upon which they were stored was not meant to be publically accessible.

So, after entirely too much prologue, my point is that the legal blogosphere can even—in rare instances—be useful in combatting slovenly reporting by major news outlets that only serve to tar and tarnish the reputation of non-political actors as are most appellate courts and jurists. Chief Kozinski himself has now recognized that the legal blogosphere may serve at least one useful purpose—providing fuller context and facts after a media hit-piece has been released—after having once famously derided the utility of legal blogs:

I hate ‘em. Hateful things. . . . I just think it’s so self-indulgent, you know. Oh, I’m so proud of what I’m saying, I think the world instantly wants to know what I’m thinking today. People wake up thinking, hmm, what does this person, whoever the blogger in question is—I wonder what great thoughts have come into his mind this morning that I can feel myself edified by. I can’t really have breakfast, really enjoy my day until I hear the great thoughts of Howard Bashman—I don’t think so. I go for months without ever knowing what Howard has to say. So I don’t know. I find it sort of self-indulgent. And I find it so grandiloquent.

By the way, Chief Kozinksi is absolutely correct on this point: all of us legal bloggers are—to some extent or another—at least partially self-absorbed and hubristic. Why else spend valuable billable time opining on topics about which no one asked our opinion?

On a much smaller scale, I have felt forced to use this blog in much the same fashion as Patterico and Above the Law have used theirs on this matter to combat the all too numerous instances of the Texas media blindly parrotting the tripe constantly spewed forth by Texas Watch. I have no idea if my hopefully somewhat-cogent rantings have had much of an impact, but it is my pleasure to stick up for our vastly-underpaid and supremely-talented judiciary when it is ethically restrained from responding on its own to such baseless bilge favored by Texas Watch and now the L.A. Times.

Thx to Above the Law and Patterico’s Pontifications

El Jefe

One might as well treat Justice Scalia‘s dissent from last week’s majority opinion in Boumediene v. Bush, Nos. 06-1195 & 06-1196 (June 12, 2008) as an addendum to his recent legal writing tome with Bryan Garner, largely and frustratingly unavailable here in Austin.

This is because it illustrates how to write a scathing yet persuasive dissent that will likely be viewed by future Justices and Court observers in much the same jurisprudential light as Justice Jackson‘s dissent from the majority opinion in Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214, 242 (1944) (Jackson, J. dissenting) is now seen, which famously rebuked the majority’s condoning of the internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during WWII.

Justice Scalia’s dissent is masterful both in its tone and its construction. Part I lays out the policy fallout from the decision (i.e., the practical, real-world implications). Part II excoriates the majority’s attempt to brazenly recast the governing precedent, Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950). Part III traces the juristic history of the writ of habeas corpus from its codification in 1679 Britain to the present day, and explains why the majority’s decision is such a stunning departure from the entirety of Western common law previously construing and defining the boundaries of the writ.

As far as the text itself, no paraphrasing can do it justice. Below are selected excerpts from the opinon.

The classic first sentence:

Today, for the first time in our Nation’s history, the Court confers a constitutional right to habeas corpus on alien enemies detained abroad by our military forces in the course of an ongoing war.

Boumediene, slip op. at 1 (Scalia, J. dissenting, joined by Roberts, C.J., Thomas and Alito, J.J.). And then, the meat of Part I:

The game of bait-and-switch that today’s opinion plays upon the Nation’s Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.

Id. at 2. Talk about “plain language,” you can’t get much plainer than that.

During the 1995 prosecution of Omar Abdel Rahman, federal prosecutors gave the namesof 200 unindicted co-conspirators to the “Blind Sheik’s” defense lawyers; that information was in the hands of Osama Bin Laden within two weeks. In another case, trial testimony revealed to the enemy that the United States had been monitoring their cellular network, whereupon they promptly stopped using it, enabling more of them to evade capture and continue their atrocities.

Id. at 4-5 (citations omitted). After recounting the bromide four of the five-Justice majority in Boumediene previously offered in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557, 636 (2006) (Breyer, J., concurring in part, joined by Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg, J.J.)—namely that “[n]othing prevents the President from returing to Congress to seek the authority [for trial by military commission] he believes necessary”—Justice Scalia curtly observes:

Turns out they were just kidding.

Boumediene, slip op. at 5 (Scalia, J. dissenting, joined by Roberts, C.J., Thomas and Alito, J.J.).

What competence does the Court have to second-guess the judgment of Congress and the President on such a point? None whatever. But the Court blunders in nonetheless. Henceforth, as today’s opinion makes unnervingly clear, how to handle enemy prisonersin this war will ultimately lie with the branch that knows least about the national security concerns that the subject entails.

Id. at 6. Ouch.

It is both irrational and arrogant to say that the answer [to the question of “whether the Constitution confers habeas jurisdiction on federal courtsto decide petitioners’ claims”] must be yes, because otherwise we would not be supreme.

Id. at 18. Calling out his colleagues for their juristic arrogance. And from the final paragraph:

Today the Court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause, invoking judicially brainstormed separation of-powers principles to establish a manipulable “functional” test for the extraterritorial reach of habeas corpus (and, no doubt, for the extraterritorial reach of other constitutional protections as well). It blatantly misdescribes important precedents, most conspicuously Justice Jackson’s opinion for the Court in Johnson v. Eisentrager. It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad absent statutory authorization.

And the most sobering, bold, and blood-chilling line I think I may have ever read in a SCOTUS dissent, the last line cautions:

The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today.

Let’s hope not.

* * * UPDATE * * *

For a fascinating examination of the Boumediene decision, see Professor John Yoo‘s op-ed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. This article is all the more interesting because Justice Scalia cites in his dissent to a memo Professor Yoo authored while at the Office of Legal Counsel that relied upon the then-accepted interpretation of Eisentrager. See Boumediene, slip op. at 3 (Scalia, J. dissenting, joined by Roberts, C.J., Thomas and Alito, J.J.).

* * * UPDATED UPDATE * * *

It is humorous to note that Justice Scalia “sics” the Justice he has publicly acknowledged as the best writer ever to sit on the Court, Justice Jackson, for the former Justice’s use of the phrase, “cited to [x case],” instead of “cited [x case] to [y court].” Id. at 9. So strong is Justice Scalia’s dislike for this phrasing that he has stated its use makes the author sound “illiterate.”


Thx to Justice Scalia for his incomparable wit and eloquence.

We\'ll miss you

Much has been written last week and this weekend regarding the untimely and shocking passing of Tim Russert by folks far more eloquent than I. All I can do is thank him and his family for the many years of Tim gave us that set the bar against which modern journalism should and hopefully will measure itself henceforth.

Before the advent of the DVR, I had many a Sunday where I agonized over having to turn off Meet the Press in order to get everyone to church on time.

May Tim rest in peace and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Maureen, and son, Luke.

Thx to Tim Russert for his integrity, objectivity, and unmatched acumen

Early Sunday morning, some cowardly soul set fire to the Texas Governor’s Mansion. Completed almost one hundred and fifty-two years ago on June 14, 1856, the Governor’s Mansion is one of Texas’s most historic structures, having housed Sam Houston during his first term as Governor.

In the downstairs parlors:

where Texas’ first presidential visitor, William McKinley, was received in 1901, plaster could be seen cracked and broken. Smoke damage was heavy, and windows were broken and charred.

The dining room—where famed humorist Will Rogers once ate so much chili with Gov. Miriam Ferguson that he had no room for dessert — was blackened and still smoldering.

Because the mansion was currently undergoing an extensive renovation, thankfully “all of the furnishings and official items had been removed” including “the window casements.” Some these irreplaceable items include original and seminal Texas history works of art and Stephen F. Austin‘s writing desk.

I’m not a criminal lawyer, so I don’t know what the Penal Code provides as a sentence for arson, but I’m all in favor of upping it to life in prison in this instance—or even worse—permanent banishment from Texas. Whatever misguided and mangled soul set this fire, they’ve forever given up their right to enjoy life in our fair State.

unbelievable

unbelievable

unbelievable

Thx to the Austinist, the Statesman, BurkaBlog, and State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado, who is leading the investigation and has promised that “[w]e’re going to come get the person responsible for causing this damage.” Amen brother.

The U.S. News & World Report law school rankings have long been criticized for numerous and valid reasons by people who know of what they speak (unlike myself), but I think Res Ipsa has crystalized what criteria should really be considerd when ranking law schools—if the purpose in ranking these schools is to help inform where an aspiring applicant will spend the next the three years of indentured legal servitude.

Namely, return on one’s dollar.

Most law school students could care less about most of the indices USNWR uses to rank law schools, namely the size of a school’s library, median entering GPAs or LSAT scores, per capita expenditures, or even the employment rate for graduates (because what does it matter that you have a job if that job pays far less than the amount of money you just shelled out for the privilege of securing said job). Of much more importance to most law school students is the relative assurance they have that a given law school will provide them with an education that will likely allow them to attain a positive net worth at some point in their lives.

depressing

There are only three law schools in Texas where a graduate will, on average, make more in their first year of practice than they paid in tuition for three glorious years of legal tutelage: UT, Houston, and Texas Tech.

However, I would add two columns to Res Ipsa‘s excellent comparison chart above (and if I weren’t much lazier than Res Ipsa, I’d add in Thurgood Marshall‘s numbers as well): the return ratio of these schools when you factor in room and board (which all of us know who survived law school grossly underestimates the essential “beer” portion of the “board” figure, not to mention all kinds of other significant costs like books, etc.).

hmmmmm

Taking into account room and board, nobody makes enough their first year to make up for what they expended during law school, but some schools fall so woefully low on the this list that I think the fallacy of the USNWR ranking of these schools is revealed.

what a bargain

So, according to USNWR, SMU is the second best school in Texas, but according to the modified return rate ranking, it’s one of the very worst. Same with Baylor (third best according to USNWR, sixth out of eight schools measured according to the modified return rate ranking).

However, USNWR did accurately rank UT as the best law school in Texas, and came awfully close on both Houston (third versus second) and Texas Tech (fourth versus third).

So, all hype and boosterism aside, I think one would have a pretty hard time arguing UT, Houston, and Texas Tech are not the top three law schools in the state. Conversely, it’s hard to rank either Baylor or SMU in the top three when you consider how much longer it will—on average—take a graduate to make back their law school investment.

I freely and anectdotally admit however that—hands down—the most impressive and intellectually-imposing lawyers I’ve ever worked with, against, or for were largely SMU and Baylor grads.

All this aside, it goes without saying that if you graduate in the top ten percentile, have served on a journal (or better yet, been pubished in or been selected to the executive board of said journal), you will likely be able to secure a clerkship somewhere and then go on to make oodles of money in the private sector, if so desired.

* * * MEA CULPA UPDATE * * *

Having had some time this afternoon to reflect on this morning’s rant, I think I have to temper my enthusiasm for the modified return rate metric somewhat. Namely, I don’t think that it is as indicative of the best law schools in the state as it is merely a investment-value measurement.

While I believe that average starting salaries among Texas law schools are misleading because I would posit that SMU, Houston, and South Texas‘s numbers are biased upward because most of schools’ graduates remain in either Dallas or Houston to practice, and St. Mary‘s is largely as low as it is because a large percentage of its graduates remain in San Antonio to practice, average starting salary is still probably a greater reflection of school prestige than is a return rate index.

Under my reasoning put forward earlier today, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford would all likely have much lower return rate rankings than their state school brethren, but no one could argue that these schools are not the best in their respective states, if not the country.

Thx to Res Ipsa

The booking photo says it all

This blog’s newfound buddy, Adam “[Gee, maybe I’m not so] Bulletproof” Reposa, is–unfortunately–back in the news.

Tex Parte Blog just came across the ad mentioned here a few months ago and used quite effectively by the prosecution as an exhibit at Reposa’s trial for demonstrating an alternative hand sign for “contempt.”

Reposa has filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals complaining his 90-day contempt sentence is excessive. In his writ, Reposa alleges that he was denied due process and due course of law when “Judge Davis declined to follow criminal procedure in ascertaining applicant’s guilt” by allowing the state to introduce evidence of extraneous conduct, i.e., the ad mentioned above from something called Whoopsy magazine, which is apparently distributed in some Austin clubs.

Of course it is.

In a letter sent by one of Reposa’s attorneys to the State Bar‘s Advertising Review Committee responding to the committee’s letter that threatened to report Reposa to the State Bar’s grievance committee, Reposa’s counsel justified the ad (presumably with a straight face) by stating:

If one was acquainted with Mr. Reposa when he was 11 years old, then they might connect this parody with him, but otherwise, no casual reader would regard this parody as an advertisement for a specific lawyer.

No, of course not. Except for the fact that the ad repeatedly mentions it references an Austin DWI attorney who has given himself the moniker, “Bulletproof.” It just so happens that there’s only one Austin DWI attorney–or any attorney in the state for that matter–who [in]famously holds himself out with the nickname “Bulletproof.”

Surely no one could connect those disparate dots?

Thx to Tex Parte Blog, Texas Lawyer, and Awesomeness For Awesome’s Sake

Good night and good luck

You hear Keith Olbermann go off on one of his unhinged tirades, keep in mind that the insanely-mustachioed Geraldo impersonator pictured above is the man you’re listening to.

Have to admit though, he and Dan Patrick were probably the best sportscasting team ever to hit the airwaves.

Thx to Deadspin and Flash Sports Tonight

Wow

Res Ipsa has another great post today detailing the average starting salaries of Texas law school grads. Unsurprisingly, UT topped the list at $101,111 and Texas Wesleyan–the newest accredited law school in the state–provided the foundation for the list at $57,497.

Res Ipsa also includes a fascinating snapshot of a relative salary comparison tool from CNN Money that will help the curious decide if the grass is truly greener on the other side.

As an aside, for any of my readers that are looking to add a talented lawyer to their ranks, you should get in touch with young Mr. Benson Varghese, who runs Res Ipsa Blog and is currently a 3L at Texas Tech. Since debuting his blog in March of this year, it has consistently proven to be a fine legal read with invaluable content for the Texas Bar (of which Mr. Varghese will no doubt soon be a member).

Thx to Res Ipsa

Oink

Few who read this blog may be old enough to remember Carole Keeton Strayhorn Rylander McClellan’s 1986 run for Congress, but I do.

Back in ’86, Carole “Keeton McClellan”–as she was then known–made enemies of her Democrat compatriots when she abruptly resigned from the State Board of Insurance with a full three years left on her term, and promptly switched parties so that she could run against the revered and longserving District 10 congressional representative, J.J. Jake Pickle. It wasn’t so much that people begrudged her ambition, but that she would so brazenly and inelegantly attempt to displace an LBJ-era icon in Central Texas politics who was literally beloved by his constituents.

In fact, so deserving of his constitutents’ affection was Congressman Pickle that I remember a tale told at his 2005 funeral that, throughout his years in Congress, he kept his home telephone number listed in the Austin phonebook so he was always—literally—just a phone call away from those who elected him.

Well, the Washington Times reports today that, ‘lo and behold, Mama Carole may have had something to do with her son’s recent partisan about-face with his former boss, 43.

Yesteryear

Lil’ Scotty’s on the left.

Thx to the Washington Times and the Austin Chronicle

Fishbowl D.C. has been dutifully covering the buyout offers extended to longtime Washington Post employees as the paper struggles to remain competitive in the internet age.

Part of the Post‘s strategy has been to offer buyout packages to its full-time employees so that the paper can convert them into contract employees who require less financial overhead. The buyouts of the more lucrative news personalities will not result in any real change in their job functions at the Post, but will instead serve to alleviate the remunerable concerns of the paper.

Well, just this month, one of the men who put the Washington Post on the map and who happens to be Assistant Managing Editor accepted the paper’s buyout offer: Bob Woodward.

Even though the buyout may be a mere formality with no real effect, it still seems like the end of an era when the financial times force the Post to break with it’s longtime resident legend.

Thx to FishBowl DC

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