Monday, August 30, 2010

Upcoming Event at Cato

The Cato Institute is hosting a book forum on September 20 featuring Timothy Sandefur from the Pacific Legal Foundation to talk about his new book, "The Right to Earn a Living." Sandefur will be joined by GMU Professor David Bernstein, Clark Neily from the Institute for Justice, and Cato's own Roger Pilon. For those of you new to Washington, Cato events are free of charge and are followed by a complimentary lunch. Please register for the event here. More information on his book can be found here.

Job Opportunity for 3L's

I was asked to post the following job opportunity for current 3L's:

Pacific Legal Foundation’s College of Public Interest Law offers 2-year litigation fellowships to
graduates interested in rapidly gaining experience in the litigation of major constitutional cases.
The fellowships are open to all graduating individuals of demonstrated high achievement and
offer an exceptional opportunity as a stepping stone to private practice, public agency law, an
academic career, or a permanent position with Pacific Legal Foundation (
Applicants accepted for the College of Public Interest Law Fellowship will begin September,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dean Treanor Interview in Washington Post

New Georgetown Law Dean
William M. Treanor
There was a quick Q&A in the Washington Post yesterday with new Law Dean William Treanor. The interview's substance is pretty basic, but there is this grim statement for those participating in OCI this week: "This is a time that we're seeing a real cutback in hiring by big firms. For the past decade, firms have had people doing work that is routine, repetitious. Increasingly, clients will not be willing to pay associates to do that kind of work, so we'll see more outsourcing and contract employment. So associates will be doing more work that is truly lawyerly work." 

Commercial Speech Questions In Virginia

Those participating in last year's Beaudry Moot Court Competition are all too familiar with the issue of commercial speech. Several of the cases in the competition were related to Virginia speech restrictions and the state continues to make headlines in this area of law. Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post has a story here on whether Virginia can ban campus newspapers from running advertisements mentioning alcohol. The ACLU is assisting a suit filed by newspapers at UVA and VaTech challenging the ban. ACLU of Virginia has petitioned the Supreme Court for review after losing its case in the Fourth Circuit. Central Hudson test anyone?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Hours

Georgetown Federalist Society is hosting our first happy hour of the year on Wednesday, September 8 from 5:30-7:30 at the Billy Goat Tavern across First Street from Hotung. The happy hour immediately follows the OSL Student Organization fair on campus. All are welcome to enjoy free food, free beer, and free soda.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Harvard Beats Yale

Supreme Court clerks for the October term were publicly released today and Harvard Law leads the way with 10 alumni. Yale had 9. Cal, Penn and Georgetown are the only T14 schools with no alumni clerks in the fall. Ouch. The confirmed list of clerks is here. To hear Congressmen complain about Harvard and Yale's dominance, go here and scroll forward to about 48:00. Justice Thomas holds his own against an uninformed onslaught from a House Appropriations Subcommittee. It starts to get particularly uncomfortable around the 54 minute mark when Barbara Lee comes after Thomas on the lack of clerk diversity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Moratorium for Drilling Moratorium

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals told District Court Judge Martin Feldman to conduct hearings on both of the administration's drilling moratoriums in order to prepare a final case for the Fifth Circuit to resolve. Bloomberg has a story here. Feldman had earlier blocked the administration's first moratorium, prompting a second drilling ban which some called a carbon copy of the first. The case is Hornbeck v. Salazar. Judge Feldman's first decision is here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Judicial Elections and the Evils of Democracy

The Washington Post ran this story today publicizing a recent report from the Brennan Center, the Justice at Stake Campaign, and the National Institute for Money in State Politics on the horrors of state judicial elections.

"The new study shows that total spending in state Supreme Court contests has rocketed from less than $6 million at the start of the 1990s to more than $45 million during the 2008 election cycle. Much of the activity is focused in a handful of states with open elections for their high courts, including Alabama, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Texas, the data show.
The spending is driven in part by outside interest groups on the right, such as the Chamber of Commerce and its affiliates, and on the left, including unions and trial attorneys." 

On the other side of the issue, Chris Bonneau and Melinda Gann Hall, authors of "In Defense of Judicial Elections" share their thoughts here

Friday, August 13, 2010

Congressional Clerkship Initiative

A bill is currently pending in the Senate which could dramatically change legal hiring for the better. A significant movement is under way to create a Congressional Clerkship program to compete with the judicial clerkships that attract so many of the legal community's best students. Georgetown Law Associate Professor Dakota Rudesill is spearheading the effort along with Stanford Law Dean Larry Kramer and numerous GULC faculty and deans. Professor Rudesill has published two good articles on the issue here and here.

The bill passed in the House by an overwhelming majority, and Senate passage is very possible during the lame duck session this Fall. That would mean the program could start hiring as early as Fall 2011 for Summer 2012. Full text of the seven page bill is here.

A conference on the bill is tentatively scheduled for this November at Georgetown so stay tuned for more information.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Revival of Judicial Activism

Emily Bazelon at Slate has a good article on judicial activism with respect to the Prop 8 decision in California and the SB 1070 decision in Arizona. Although many conservatives have complained that the judges in the two cases have ignored the will of the people in reversing popular laws, Bazelon concludes, "It's not the job of the courts solely to mirror public opinion. But increasingly over time, since the beginning of the 20th century, they have come into line with it, as Barry Friedman showed in his book, Will of the People." Bazelon argues that once a majority of Americans accepts gay marriage, it will be that much easier for a judge to protect it.

UPDATE: Professor Friedman has agreed to speak on this issue at Georgetown sometime in late October or early November. Details to come.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Amending the 14th

Some Republicans are causing a firestorm with recent remarks about a movement to repeal the 14th amendment's Citizenship Clause. Linda Chavez has a good opinion piece in the WSJ here. James Carafano at Heritage argues that the Citizenship Clause is worth revisiting here. Garrett Epps takes a different view at the Atlantic here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Criminal Disenfranchisement

Journal write on results were announced yesterday and now the Supreme Court itself will address the issue of whether the Voting Rights Act applies to state criminal disenfranchisement laws. Linda Greenhouse has an article on the subject here.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Virginia v. Obamacare

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli 
In the first substantive legal ruling on President Barack Obama's health care reform law, a federal judge rejected the Justice Department's request to dismiss a lawsuit from Virginia's state government challenging the reform's requirement that individuals purchase health insurance. Politico has  a story here. The Jurist has a more detailed article here outlining the subject matter jurisdiction question raised by the Obama administration. A copy of the seven page complaint can be read here

Monday, August 02, 2010

Death of the Amicus Brief

An important and growing trend is the rise of cert-stage amicus briefs which seem to have great influence on whether a case reaches the Court's docket. As the number of merits stage amicus briefs has grown, their influence has diminished since the justices (or their clerks) cannot or do not want to read all of them. As Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle write here, "In the 73 cases that were granted and decided last term by signed opinions, a total of 74 amicus curiae briefs were filed before review or certiorari was granted, up from 66 the previous term and 44 the term before that."