Fortune from Miscalculation

Posted in Vox Populi by Mike Sacks on April 20, 2010

My Vox Populi column from the Sunday night/Monday morning line is now up at ABA Journal:

Sometimes gross miscalculations can yield fortuitous results.

Jordan Salberg arrived at One First Street on Sunday afternoon to find a group of ten undergraduates from Eastern University in Pennsylvania fronting the general admission line for Monday’s oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.

Perfect, he thought: Salberg, a first-year at American University’s Washington College of Law, came to see City of Ontario v. Quon, Monday morning’s second argument.  The undergrads would exit the Court after CLS and leave him the best (unreserved) seat in the house.

Salberg felt so warmed by his fortunes that he lent his air mattress and quilt to unlucky #13, who showed up from Seattle to sleep on the sidewalk without any protection from the cold concrete and unseasonably wintry winds.

But that was before Salberg decided to move his car at 6:45am.  When he returned shortly after 7am, the Court police had moved the line up from the sidewalk to the plaza and handed out numbered placeholders.  Salberg’s guaranteed #11 disappeared; as far as the line was now concerned, his fifteen-hour wait never happened.

Read the rest here.  I’ll post some Supreme Court Side Walk  footage later this week.

Happy Birthday, JPS – From Art Lien

Posted in Justicespotting by Mike Sacks on April 20, 2010

Copyright Art Lien 2010 - 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 Lien's written permission.

More great stuff available at Lien’s website,

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U.S. v. Stevens Finally Decided

Posted in Case Reports by Mike Sacks on April 20, 2010

The Court has held by an 8-1 vote that a federal law criminalizing depictions of animal cruelty is “substantially overbroad,” therefore violating the First Amendment.  The opinion was written by Chief Justice Roberts; Alito dissented.

That’s the second Congressional law that the Court has struck down this term on First Amendment grounds.  The first was Citizens United.  This one, however, will be far less controversial.  In fact, this case pitted liberal value vs. liberal value: anti-restrictions on violent or obscene speech vs. animal rights protections.

This term’s big conservative value vs. conservative value case, Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which pits federalism concerns against property rights, remains to be decided.

Fun, gloating fact: I attended both Stevens and Citizens United before I started F1@1F!

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