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The A.B.A. on Judicial Nominations

Traditionally the American Bar Association (A.B.A.) has had a chance to look over potential federal judicial nominations and offer an opinion before nominations are made public.  Former President Bush elected not to send his candidates through the process, but President Obama is again sending his nominations for review.  The reason for the change in policy is probably a question of the neutrality of the A.B.A.’s review group.  Various studies, including a fairly recent one, suggest that democratic candidates receive preferential treatment.  Some groups, however, argue that the approval of the A.B.A. is not a large enough sticking point to really disrupt the process.  Is the A.B.A. biased?  If it is, what effect does that have in the confirmation proceedings?  For more, look at articles in the National Law Journal and the New York Times.

Hilarity and the Court

D.C. Dicta, a blog devoted to “the latest legal buzz on the Supreme Court, Congress and other Washington newsmakers” has started to keep a tally of which members of the Supreme Court are the funniest.  Justice Scalia has long been a favorite for this title, and he does lead the count, but Justice Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts are putting in a nice showing as well.  Every week the blog goes through the records and counts the number of laughs each Justice received, sometimes including a funny moment or two.  Take a look at the most recent count, or at the archives.

AT&T and the RIAA

AT&T has recently announced that it will join several other internet providers in sending notices to copyright violators.  Since December, when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) decided to stop suing individuals for piracy, they have been working with internet providers, in an effort to cut off users who download media illegally.  Though AT&T is firm in saying that they do not intend to start kicking users off, and will not be sharing user information with the RIAA, it will begin alerting customers when they may be violating copyright laws.  For the full story, take a look at the Associated Press release on the subject.

An Interesting Memo

The American Lawyer called our attention today to the firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.  Cadwalader specializes in financial law, and is kind enough to regularly post memos about interesting events in the financial world and what they might mean to you.  The most recent post is more rant than memo about baseball salaries and movies, complete with off the wall footnotes.  Go take a look.

Obama’s Judicial Picks

Indiana has been singled out at the home of first President Obama’s first judicial pick.  Judge David Hamilton was nominated last week, and will, according to CNN, be something of a test case for the appointment process.  Judicial selection has been very controversial in past years, and this year looks to be no different.  Obama has more than 50 vacancies to fill, and already people are arguing whether Judge Hamilton is a moderate or a liberal.  For more, see articles here, here, and here.

Juries and Technology

These days it’s almost impossible to imagine the legal profession without technology.  At the very least, doing research without Lexis or Westlaw, or even just Google seems a thing of the past.  Technology is moving more than just the lawyer side of things along, though.  A recent New York Times article talks about the problem of jurors doing their own research, and updating their blog and twitter entries with case information. 

For hundreds of years juries have been, or at least are supposed to be, closed to the outside world.  But, as the article points out, most jurors think that they are helping when they do some research of their own.  Is juror research a bad thing?  If so, how can we stop it?  Thoughts?

Legal Poetry

There is poetry to the law.  For example, there are several cases that are written in verse.  Enterprising judges will either rewrite famous poems or even invent there own rhymes for cases.  The page on judicial humor at the Gallagher Law Library collects cases in verse, and a lot of other funny legal cases.  You might also want to look at the ContractsProf Blog, which offers a weekly limerick on a big business associations case. And finally, we offer an original limerick, just for you:

                               Welcome back, gentle students of Maurer,

                               As you study from hour to hour,

                               And have many class sessions,

                               Tax to Legal Professions,

                               We hope that you have time to shower!

Enjoy your last weekend!

Prof. Johnsen’s Nomination Approved!

Congratulations, Prof. Johnsen!  You can check out the last few minutes of the live webcast here.

The Anonymous Law Firm

The Anonymous Law Firm website is delightfully close to life.  Complete with mission statement, histories of each office, recruiting information, and inspiring employee quotes the website is eerily similar to many large law firm websites.  You could be a member of the firm, too.  Submit your own headshot and bio and you might just make the firm’s bio page. 

Legal Cartoons

There are lots of places to go for cartoons about law and lawyers.  Stu’s Views is a site devoted almost entirely to legal comics.  You might also want to take a look at the legal sections of Andertoons and Off the Mark.  These are all licensed cartoons, but you can buy them if you want to use them, or Andertoons will even let you commission a cartoon if you want one.  If you’d like to see cartoons that you are more familiar with, the Cartoonist Group collects editorial cartoons and comics you might expect to find in you local newspaper and lets you narrow them by subject.

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