FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST

My New CSMonitor Piece

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on September 29, 2010

I have two short articles in this week’s Christian Science Monitor.  One, an info briefing on the states’ lawsuit against the PPACA, has just been posted online:

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23. Within minutes, 14 state attorneys general filed lawsuits in federal courts in Virginia and Florida challenging the constitutionality of the law’s “individual mandate,” which will require nearly every American to buy health insurance or face annual fines.

Although the individual mandate doesn’t kick in until 2014, legal challenges to the mandate have been met with some sympathy in court. As these cases move forward, it’s worth taking another look at the suits.

Read the rest over at the Monitor’s website.  When they post the other piece, I’ll link to it.  My previous work for the Monitor is available here.

New ABA Journal Piece – October 2010 Issue

Posted in Non-justiciable, Vox Populi by Mike Sacks on September 21, 2010

The ABA Journal has just published on their website my feature essay, “By Dawn’s Light,” for the October 2010 print issue.  The piece is a retrospective of my experiences on the Court’s sidewalk through this past winter and spring.

From my first morning on Jan. 11 until my final overnight on June 27, I witnessed relationships and communities being formed among men and women whose personal engagement with the American system of government transcended their political differences.

I wasn’t always first in line, despite my aspirational title (I was six for 10, for the record), but whether I was first in line, second, third, fifth or 34th, I found all around me new friends cutting through the cold by the warmth of each other’s company.

Loyal F1@1F readers will find some familiar tableaus in the story, but it serves as a good refresher on what’s to come this next term.  I invite new readers clicking over from the essay to plumb F1@1F’s archives for my real-time reflections and photos on the days of my campouts.

Enjoy!

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Neck Doilies and Foot Pillows

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on September 16, 2010

As the first day of oral argument on October 4 draws near, the Court will reassemble for its annual “Long Conference” on September 27 and  the investiture of Elena Kagan on October 1.  Somewhere amid this preseason activity, the justices will pose for their class picture, taken only when a new justice joins the Court.

The Oyez Project has these photos going all the way back to the early Chase Court of 1865.  Through the class pictures, the Court’s institutional continuity is set before us in plainly human terms.  Young men and women share the stage with their elders, only to become elders themselves.  Sometimes a single justice links generations disappeared and developing, such as John Paul StevensWilliam J. Brennan, William O. DouglasOliver Wendell Holmes, and Stephen J. Field.

Naturally, all eyes will be on Justice Kagan for this year’s class photo, as they were on Justice Sotomayor for last year’s.  But a question for both comes to mind: neck doily or no neck doily?  For Sotomayor’s investiture and the class photo, she wore the neck doily–or jabot–that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor had long donned.  Sotomayor kept the jabot on for Citizens United, her first oral argument, but when the Court reconvened a month later, she had done away with the doily for the unadorned black robe.

So will Sotomayor reapply the doily for this year’s class photo?  And what about Kagan?  Going without it is not without precedent: although O’Connor introduced the jabot, she went without it for every class picture until Ginsburg joined the Court.  But surely neither Sotomayor nor Kagan will want to return Ginsburg to her lonely doilihood of the O’Connor-Sotomayor interregnum.

Speaking of Ginsburg, this year’s photo will be her first seated in the front row.  Given her diminutive height, another question emerges.  If her feet don’t touch the ground, will she bring back the Fuller Foot Pillow?

Nominate F1@1F for ABA Journal’s Blawg 100!

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on September 14, 2010

As F1@1F gears up for Justice Kagan’s debut, revealed rocket scientists, überviolent video games, fire-and-brimstone funeral picketers, Costco-wholesaled watches, California prison overcrowding, and death row DNA testing, please consider being my Blawg 100 Amici for the ABA Journal’s annual lawblog rankings.  Here are the guidelines:

[T]ell us about a blawg—not your own—that you read regularly and think other lawyers should know about. If there is more than one blawg you want to support, feel free to send us more amici through the form. We’ll be including some of the best comments in our Blawg 100 coverage. But keep your remarks pithy—you have a 500-character limit.

So if you have enjoyed my reports from oral arguments, stories from the Supreme Court Side Walk, and general analysis of SCOTUS and SCOTUS-potential issues, click on over and give F1@1F 500 characters of love.

Thanks!

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Nina Totenberg on Marty Ginsburg

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

My former boss, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, has written a short and sweet story about Marty and Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

On the last day of the Supreme Court term, less than 24 hours after her husband had died, an ashen-faced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced her opinion for the court in one of the term’s major cases. She was on the bench, she told colleagues, because “Marty would have wanted it this way.”

This piece is not just the work of a reporter, but also of a friend.  Nina has been close with the Ginsburgs dating back over three decades to Justice Ginsburg’s days as a pioneering lawyer for gender equality at the ACLU.

Line Sketches by Art Lien

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on June 28, 2010

I didn’t expect Art Lien to scan and send over his work so fast, but these are awesome.  Huge thanks for doing these, Art!

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Marty Ginsburg and Georgetown Law

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on June 27, 2010

Marty Ginsburg, Georgetown Law’s legendary tax professor and husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has died at age 78 of complications from cancer.

I had been intending to take Professor Ginsburg’s Tax I class this coming fall as a capstone to my legal education.  When I went to register and saw that his name was nowhere to be found, I figured he might have just taken the term off from teaching, as tenured titans may do from time to time.  Turns out his absence was because of a much more serious reason.

A small anecdote: during my first year at Georgetown, I spotted H. Ross Perot’s name etched into the wall inside the entrance of McDonough Hall, the school’s main law building.  I did some asking around to find out why he’d be a GULC benefactor.  The answer?  The Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate wanted to express his appreciation to Marty Ginsburg, his tax lawyer, for a job well done over the years.

My condolences to Justice Ginsburg and her family.  I’ll be sitting shiva as I sit on the sidewalk tonight, convinced that Prof. Ginsburg is out there treating his friends old and new to a heavenly meal.

CSM Cover Story!

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on June 22, 2010

My First Cover Story

This week’s edition of the Christian Science Monitor features my very first cover story!  When the piece goes live on the web, I’ll provide the link and a cross-posted excerpt here.

This is Awesome

Posted in Non-justiciable, Weekend Reading by Mike Sacks on June 4, 2010

For some exceedingly brief weekend reading, check out this letter to and from Justice Sotomayor.  While you’re at it, see who won a reply-race between Presidents Clinton and G.H.W. Bush.

Catching up…

Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on June 1, 2010

Apologies for the slowed-down schedule here despite my last week’s promise to return to more regular posting.  This weekend, I’ve been doing double-duty: when the First Lady of First One @ One First and I haven’t been moving apartments from one end of the neighborhood to the other, I’ve been out on assignment for an ABA Journal piece set to run in the magazine this summer.

Nevertheless, I was at the Court this morning for the opinion announcements.  I’ll post my take in the next few days, once I catch my breath.  For now, I’m just happy to have an Internet connection again.

Thanks for your patience!

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