FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST

CJ Roberts Considering Stepping Down?!?!?! [UPDATE: NO!]

Posted in Law and Politics by Mike Sacks on March 4, 2010

UPDATE: Radar has rescinded its rumor:

RadarOnline.com has obtained new information that Justice Roberts will NOT resign. The justice will be staying on the bench.

Radar should know better than to freak out SCOTUS junkies with highly improbable, if not flatly impossible, rumors that will never fail to make us freak out despite ourselves.

UPDATE II: Above the Law has the story behind the story:

Like many a promising legal career, the Roberts resignation rumor traces its origins to a 1L class at Georgetown University Law Center….

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This can’t be right:

John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, is seriously considering stepping down from the nation’s highest court for personal reasons, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.

Drudge follows up:

TOP COURT SOURCE TELLS DRUDGE: 'THIS IS NOT HAPPENING... NEWS TO ME'... DEVELOPING...
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McDonald: Caricatures on Parade

Posted in Case Reports by Mike Sacks on March 4, 2010

If I were Art Lien, I would have had a very hard time sketching the McDonald oral argument without caricaturing the justices:

  • Chief Justice Roberts, super-restrained stare decisis security guard:
  • Of course, this argument is contrary to the Slaughter-House cases, which have been the law for 140 years. It might be simpler, but it’s a big — it’s a heavy burden for you to carry to suggest that we ought to overrule that decision.
  • Your approach -­ your original approach [with the Privileges or Immunities Clause] would give judges a lot more power and flexibility in determining what rights they think a good idea than they have now with the constraints of the Due Process Clause.
  • Justice Scalia, faint-hearted originalist foe of abortion and gay rights; rock-ribbed textualist:
  • I’m not talking about whether — whether the Slaughter-House Cases were right or wrong….[W]hy are you asking us to overrule 150, 140 years of prior law, when — when you can reach your result under substantive due [process]? [...] Why do you want to undertake that burden instead of just arguing substantive due process, which as much as I think it’s wrong, I have — even I have acquiesced in it?
  • I guess we have applied substantive due process with regard to the necessity of permitting homosexual conduct and with respect to the necessity of permitting abortion on demand.
  • That may be the reason it was put there. But it was put there.  And that’s the crucial fact. It is either or it is not there. And if it’s there, it doesn’t seem to me to make any difference why they chose to put that one there as opposed to other ones that they didn’t put there. It’s either there or not.
  • Justice Stevens, old man minimalist:
  • [W]ould you comment on Justice Kennedy’s question about whether it necessarily incorporates every jot and tittle of the Federal right into the [states], keeping in mind that with regard to trial by jury in criminal cases there is a difference, non-unanimous juries. Why does this incorporation have to be every bit as broad as the Second Amendment itself?
  • Justice Ginsburg, foreign law feminist:
  • Did married women at that time across the nation have the right to contract, to hold property, to sue and be sued?
  • [I]f the notion is that these are principles that any free society would adopt, well, a lot of free societies have rejected the right to keep and bear arms.
  • Justice Breyer, professorial pragmatist:
  • Look at the statistics. You know, one side says a million people killed by guns. Chicago says that their — their gun law has saved hundreds, including — and they have statistics — including lots of women in domestic cases. And the other side disputes it. This is a highly statistical matter.
  • [L]et’s make up an imaginary importance of ordered liberty chart, and we give it to James Madison and the other framers. And he would say insofar as that right to bear arms is important for the purpose of maintaining the militia, it’s high on the ordered liberty chart. Insofar as the right to bear arms is there to shoot burglars, it’s low on the ordered liberty chart.
  • Justice Sotomayor, “she really can’t be that moderate, can she?”
  • [O]ur selective incorporation doctrine under the Due Process Clause does suggest that there are some rights that were fundamental enough to be incorporated and some that are fundamental, but not fundamental enough to be incorporated. We have drawn a line. Is it the ordered liberty concept alone in our jurisprudence that you are relying upon, or is it any other articulation of our incorporation doctrine that supports your view?
  • Justice Kennedy, Coy Finder of Fundamental Rights:
  • What are these other unenumerated rights?
  • Justice Alito, throwback:
  • Well, doesn’t [the PI Clause] include the right to contract?  Isn’t that an unenumerated right?
  • Justice Thomas, silent but scrutable.  He’ll be the only one voting to overturn Slaughter-House and revive the PI Clause.
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Court Artist Blog = ROCK

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on March 3, 2010

Art Lien, NBC’s SCOTUS sketch artist, goes where cameras cannot.  This is really great stuff.  And talk about the perfect name for his profession.

As you peruse, be mindful of his one admonishment:

You may download images for personal viewing, but any other use including, but not limited to, posting on a website, publishing in a newsletter, or even printing on a personal greeting card is strictly forbidden without my written permission. NBC News owns the broadcast rights.

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Samantar v. Yousuf

Posted in Anticipation by Mike Sacks on March 3, 2010

Had I had any gas left in the tank after Monday/yesterday’s 26-hour vigil, I’d have gotten back in line for this morning’s case, Samantar v. Yousuf.  But after I submitted my ABA Journal piece on McDonald last night, my body and mind shouted “no más.”

Samantar does look to be a very interesting case that sadly flew under the radar this term.  In lieu of F1@1F coverage, check out the following links:

As I publish this post, the respondent’s counsel should be fielding the justices’ questions.  Once the SCOTUS press corps starts publishing their oral argument write-ups, I’ll link to them here.

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There Will Be Blood

Posted in Case Reports by Mike Sacks on March 2, 2010

My write-up of this morning’s oral argument in McDonald v. City of Chicago is now live at ABA Journal:

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court made clear that the penalty for constitutional grave-digging is death by firing squad. [...]

The big question going into today’s argument was not whether the justices would incorporate the Second Amendment—the Heller Five were guaranteed to do so—but rather how they would incorporate.

This is where it got bloody for Alan Gura, petitioners’ lead counsel and Heller’s victorious advocate.

Read the rest here.

ATL’s Law Student of the Day!

Posted in Endorsements by Mike Sacks on March 2, 2010

Welcome Above the Law readers!

Georgetown 3L Mike Sacks had a mission this semester. He wanted to be first in line for every major argument at the Supreme Court. He’s been documenting his adventures on his blog First One @ One First.

This is made easier for him because he has no morning classes and lives on Capitol Hill, a few minutes away from the High Court. He should also have camping experience from his undergrad days at Duke, but unlike me, he somehow avoided spending time in Krzyzewskiville.

Maybe if he had paid his dues tenting out for basketball games, he would have succeeded in his mission. But no. Some Californians derailed him this week, as documented by the New York Times.

Fair enough, Kash.

Keep a lookout at ATL tomorrow next week:

Sacks will be writing a post for us on how to tailgate score a SCOTUS seat. If you have any specific questions, shoot us an email.

Until then, I must hunker down and get my oral argument write-up readied for the ABA Journal tonight, and maybe even get a Supreme Court Side Walk clip posted on here before my body shuts down.

Make sure to subscribe to F1@1F’s email, RSS, or Twitter feeds available to the right.

Front Paging

Posted in Endorsements by Mike Sacks on March 2, 2010

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Welcome NY Times Readers!

Posted in Endorsements, Vox Populi by Mike Sacks on March 2, 2010

Adam Liptak of the NYT has scooped my McDonald vox populi column and I can’t thank him more for doing so. 

WASHINGTON — Mike Sacks likes to be the first person in line for big Supreme Court arguments, and he was feeling pretty confident when he arrived at the court Monday morning around 8, 26 hours before the court would hear a big gun-control case.

To all the readers directed to F1@1F from Mr. Liptak’s story, please enjoy your stay and be sure to subscribe!

Pre-McDonalding

Posted in Anticipation by Mike Sacks on March 2, 2010

Just got home from nearly 24 hours out on the pavement.  The company was wonderful all night and the line got mega-long come daybreak.

Despite my pout above, I am honored to claim Third One @ One First behind Rob and Larken.  They flew out from Malibu, CA, to see McDonald and hit the concrete at 5:30am yesterday.  Champions, both of them!

A few notes:

  • Look for Adam Liptak of the NYT to scoop my vox populi column tonight or tomorrow.  He came out last night and this morning to cover F1@1F and the line experience more generally.
  • There were far fewer gun rights supporters in line than I expected.  I deeply enjoyed getting to know those who were there, however.
  • Huge thanks to ABA Journal for buying the line pizza last night!
  • Thanks to Josh Blackman for teaming up with me to deliver some fun overnight coverage.  Check out joshblackman.com for some more video and commentary.
  • Dick Heller came out to entertain the linegoers last night and this morning.  He was especially a hit among the fifteen high schoolers from Cupertino, CA, that braved the cold overnight wait.
  • Predictions for McDonald are all over the place, from 5-4 to 9-0.  The only thing everyone agrees upon is that the Second Amendment will be incorporated against the states.
  • Finally, I think I got the makings of the first Supreme Court Side Walk episode.  I hope to have it up here in some fashion by the week’s end.

Time to dethaw, get clean, suit up, and head back out.

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New Day Rising @ McD

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike Sacks on March 2, 2010

6:30am

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