October 21, 2020
October 15, 2020
Without a "meat market" around which schools and candidates coordinate their behavior, the timing is quite various this year. Some schools are still scheduling initial interviews, while other schools hosted call-backs as early as September. Some schools have even started extending offers. This is going to make things more challenging all around; I hope hiring schools will give candidates at least one month to consider an offer. By the same token, candidates should be timely in letting schools know if they are no longer interested in being considered because they have other offers in hand.
October 12, 2020
600 law students pledge to boycott Paul Weiss because of its representation of Exxon and its role in thwarting action on climate change
Their press statement is here: Download Press Release--Six hundred law students pledge not to work for law firm defending Exxon's role in the climate crisis.
I asked Mr. Hirschel-Burns, a Yale law student and one of the organizers, for a list of the signatories, which he kindly provided but did not give permission to share. A bit more than two-thirds of the 600 signatories come from the elite law schools from which Paul Weiss usually hires, including large contingents from Harvard (78), NYU (94), Stanford (80), Michigan (79), and Yale (76).
October 06, 2020
October 05, 2020
October 02, 2020
September 29, 2020
September 26, 2020
Harvard's Noah Feldman thinks his friends and former co-clerks are "brilliant" and should be on SCOTUS
That's the short version, I think. (I could count on one hand the number of "brilliant" people I've met in the legal academy, but maybe I don't use it in the hyberbolic way Yale graduates do!) Joking aside, there's no doubt Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a smart and capable lawyer. But Professor Feldman knows as well as I do that those are a dime a dozen, and that the only reason she was chosen from among the many dozens was because she is a religious conservative whom religious conservatives expect will exercise her inevitable discretion in a way congenial to their moral and political objectives. Why not educate the public about what the Supreme Court really does and why the moral and political views of the nominees matter, instead of offering up misleading bromides like she "will analyze and decide cases in good faith, applying the jurisprudential principles to which she is committed"? All judges who act in good faith and with adherence to their "principles" will nonetheless have to make moral and political choices on the Supreme Court. Once we get over that low bar of acting in good faith in accordance with "principles," the real question is what will the nominee's moral and political choices be?
September 21, 2020
"Court packing" is typically used to refer to FDR's proposal in the 1930s to expand the size of the Supreme Court, which had been holding New Deal legislation unconstitutional. The idea was that FDR would add justices sympatico to the New Deal, and thus change the political leanings of the Court that would, in turn, influence its constitutional decisions.
FDR's proposed method of court packing was to expand the court, which would change a century-old norm governing the court's composition. But the essence of court packing is not expanding the size of the court, it is changing the norms governing Supreme Court appointments for partisan ends: you can do that by expanding the size of the Court, or you can do it, as Senator McConnell did in 2016, by denying a sitting President even a vote on his nominee for a vacancy on the Court, also a massive violation of an established norm.
Senator McConnell could, perhaps, have been trying to start a new norm, but now it's clear (if anyone had doubts) that was not what he was doing: he wants to pack the court for partisan ends by adjusting the norms for appointments to suit his political preferences, one rule for 2016 when a Democrat is President, another for 2020 when a Republican is President.
September 19, 2020
Toronto Law scuttles search after sitting judge (and major donor) criticizes the final candidate on political grounds
MOVING TO FRONT FROM SEPTEMBER 17--UPDATED
What an embarrassment. If these allegations are borne out, the Dean of the Law School there will have to resign.
UPDATE: The University of Toronto's Students' Law Society has written a public letter to the Dean. And various faculty, at Toronto and elsewhere, have apprently called for an ethics investigtion of the judge who allegedly interjected himself into the search: e.g, Download Ethics complaint CJC-20-09-17 (003).
AND STILL MORE:
Today’s press now reports [paywall] that ‘In a written statement to what he described as the ‘faculty of law community’… Edward Iacobucci [Dean of the Law School] did not deny that a Tax Court Judge contacted the administration to express concerns about the candidate, Valentina Azarova.’
...A law dean did not deny published reports that a sitting judge attempted to influence a University hiring decision. Presumably, then, he also did not deny that a judge had found out, or was told, who was on that short list? (Even the University of Toronto law school is not yet required to get pre-clearance from the judiciary.) And, presumably, if ‘contact’ was made, it was made with someone. So who was listening (reluctantly? anxiously? eagerly?) to the judge’s ‘concerns’? It was not the faculty members of the Advisory Board. They resigned in protest.
SEPTEMBER 19 UPDATE: The media is now reporting internal e-mails that contradict the Dean's public assertions about this case. What a mess.