Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Twilight Goes Supreme


In a landmark 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court today affirmed Vogeler v. Twilight and declared the beloved Twilight series "obscene material pursuant to the Court's prior decision in Miller v. California" upholding a Utah Federal District Court's injunction against the publication of the work. Little Brown, the publishers behind the beloved young adult vampire series by famed Mormon author Stephenie Meyer declined comment, but issued a press statement indicating that, while disappointed in the decision, it would follow the Court and "shut down production [of the novels] immediately."

In what may be the smallest decision in the last 100 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence, four of the Court's Justices recused themselves from weighing in on the Twilight decision:

Justice John Stevens (pictured above), because the overwhelming squealing at his Florida home from his wife and three daughters "nearly deafened [him] even more than usual when they heard about the case;"

Justice Anthony Kennedy (above), who gave no official reason for his recusation (although rumor abounds that Kennedy balked at potentially being the swing vote in an "undead decision" that could "bury [his] reputation with the ladies");

Justice Stephen Breyer (above), apparently because he was sick of law students associating him solely with ice cream and couldn't bear the thought of being further associated with the "Vampyre" and the potential ramifications of being known simply as "The Honorable Count Chocula";

and Justice Clarence Thomas (above), because he was feeling grumpy the day of oral argument.

Writing for what was left of the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts (above) opined that "Twilight, as a whole, appeals solely to the "prurient" interest, depicts and describes in a patently offensive way particular uncomfortable conduct prohibited by most states (necrophilia), and--when taken as a whole--lacks 'serious, literary, artistic, political [and] social value.'" After engaging in the Miller analysis, the Chief Justice crafted a surprising new rule that, in theory, will only apply to teenage vampire romance novels--the so-called "Cullen Rule."

Citing the longstanding Supreme Court decision disallowing First Amendment protection of child pornography, the Chief Justice reasoned that, although 100 years old, Edward Cullen, the protagonist and lead romantic interest of the series, was trapped in the body of a 17-year old minor. "Thus," wrote the Chief Justice, "Bella, the novel's heroine, upon reaching the age of majority systematically and obscenely engaged in vampiric, yet statutorily-prohibited acts with Edward, the 17-year old, perfectly-figured lolito."

Characterizing Bella Swan as both a "predator more vile than vampire" and a "dangerously ditzy criminal," the Chief Justice labeled her character "pristinely degrading to women, dependant, insipid, and, at the end, stupendously annoying."

Justice Samuel Alito (above), joined by Justice David Souter (not pictured), concurred in the majority's result, but not in its reasoning. Basing his opinion not in the obscenity doctrine, but in the unprotected category of speech known simply as "incitement," Justice Alito decried the series' "clear and present danger."

"The reaction this book has stirred amongst the populace of this nation has raised it to a level of danger beyond that posed by vampires and werewolves combined," Alito wrote. "I cannot presume to guess how many lives have been lost, how many families fractured, and how many young romances ruined by the publication of this monstrosity. The name 'Edward Cullen' may now be synonymous with imminent threat of unlawful activity. Sometimes, the clear and present danger presented by novels such as Twilight rise to the level of shouting 'FIRE!' in a crowded theater."

After engaging in another 20 pages of empassioned analogy, Justice Alito ended his concurrence with this interesting, yet ultimately flawed speculation: "The imminent threat of yelling 'FIRE!' in a crowded theater, however, may be ignored by the reviewing court if in fact that theater is showing Twilight. In this instance, fire may indeed be combatted with 'FIRE!'"

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (above) penned the dissenting opinion. Perhaps hearkening back to her wild days at Harvard and Columbia (where she was known commonly as Ruth "Bomb Track" Bader), Justice Ginsburg summed up her reasoning succinctly: "Best. Books. Ever."

In a somewhat surprising twist, joining Justice Ginsburg in her dissent was none other than Justice Antonin Scalia (above, staring intently into your soul...), who "focused on the facts and original intent" of Twilight and wound up writing a 30-page judicial review of the series, christening it at times as "a masterpiece of young adult fiction...eloquently written, superbly crafted" and "perfect for readers of all ages, creeds, sexes, and nationalities."

Diving into his all-too-familiar dissenter's rhetoric, Justice Scalia made "a passionate plea to vindicate Edward, that un-vivacious, oft-vexing, vixen of a vampire." Citing his long-time fascination with the undead, Justice Scalia at one point in the opinion admitted to "maintaining a library dedicated to the greats--from Stoker, to Rice, to...you guessed it, Meyer." Justice Scalia, clinging to his quirky, yet endearing penchent for self-referral in the third person, then reasoned that "If Scalia, as conservative a fellow as exists, could love and appreciate Twilight, it obviously could not fail the first prong of the Miller test. While Scalia is many things, prurient he is not." Legal scholars are already debating the viability of such a "Scalia Prurience" test.

With the future of Twilight hanging in legal limbo, critics of the five-justice decision have already voiced their despair. Some protesters (see above) have adopted rhetorical mottos such as the poignant "If Cinderella gets her Prince Charming, where is my Edward?" and the agressive "Bite Me," presumably aimed at the Roberts, Alito, Souter triad. This voice represents no small group, either. According to one protester, more than "800 billion" copies of Twilight have been sold worldwide. Countermajoritarians have teamed up with Twilight fans and reportedly called on President-elect Obama to look into new Justices that will reverse the decision...

In the meantime, these self-proclaimed "Culleneers" have already adopted Justice Scalia (pictured above with protesters) as their own jurisprudential Edward, holding his opinion up as a "Standard of Truth, Justice, and Meyer." Perhaps sensing his own impending move from the Stuffy Bench to the Sexy Crypt, Scalia seemingly relished in the opportunity his dissent provided to whip out a jurisprudential stake and make a stab at what many view as the underpinnings of the majority's decision: male anxiety.

"Roberts, Alito, and Souter are, in the layman's term," Scalia writes, "sissy pants. If they were more like Edward, as Scalia is and continues to become as his per se life winds down and his un-death begins, they would 'get more play.' This is a case not of obscenity, nor of incitement, nor of any danger; this is a case of the Honorable Twilight Player Hater."

Justice Scalia closed his decision, and the opinion, with typical artistic flair. "Scalia, the Player, the Justice, the Jurisprudential Vampire, thus dissents...with a flourish of his cape and a flash of his mighty fangs. Mwa-ha-ha."

Today, as twilight settles in over the Potomac, fans of Edward Cullen and Justice Scalia can be seen emerging from their shelters and roving the streets of DC clad in black robes, neatly coifed hair, and plastic teeth. While the gears of Justice may have ground its press to a halt, in the minds and hearts of these true believers, Twilight has not gone will never go alone into the dark.

--Bob Lawblah, Law Blog Senior Writer.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gavel giggler

Q: What do you call a sufficiently evident Transformer?

A: Optimus Prima Facie Case!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 30, 2008

"I'm a lawyer, I look for loopholes."

- Jordan Wethersby, Eli Stone

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 29, 2008

Joy: "I'm gonna need another lawyer. It's nothing personal, it's just that I don't want to be represented by someone whose ears are only good for holding up glasses."

Doug (deaf lawyer's translator): "She said she is the lawyer that the court appointed you, and if you don't like it you can represent yourself, your ignorant white trash whore."

- My Name is Earl

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 28, 2008

"Objection, your honor. You can't preface your second point with 'first of all.'"

- Alan Shore, "Boston Legal"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alexandra Cabot: Lawyer Superhero Number Nine

9. Alexandra Cabot, Law and Order: SVU

A controversial choice, we know. In a way, the "Law & Order" ADAs are somewhat interchangeable. Were you aware that so many hotties went to law school? And then became low-paid public servants? With extremely high trial success rates? We didn't, either. From Abbie Carmichael to Serena Southerlyn, Connie Rubirosa to Kim Grayleck, the L&O franchise has churned out more photogenic prosecutors than Harvard has kids with superiority complexes.

So why does Alex Cabot stand out above the rest? Well, she did take on a Columbian drug syndicate and have to go into federal witness protection. And then she left federal witness protection to testify against another baddie. And then had to go back in and assume yet another identity.

And you couldn't even earn your pro bono certificate. Tsk tsk.

Quote of the Day - October 27, 2008

Jack Woltz: "I know almost every big lawyer in New York, who the hell are you?"

Tom Hagen: "I have a special practice. I handle one client. Now you have my number. I'll wait for your call. By the way, I admire your pictures very much."

- The Godfather

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is it just me, or does democratic Attorney General candidate Jean Welch Hill look eerily similar to Allison Janney, (C.J. on the West Wing)?

Jean Welch Hill with AG Mark Shurtleff

Allison Janney

I wonder if besides sharing C.J.'s good looks, Jean also shares C.J.'s wit:

"More people get killed each year getting change out of a vending machine than get killed in a wolf attack. Number of people killed last year retrieving change from a vending machine: four. Number of people killed by a wolf attack: zero." -C.J., The West Wing.

So, really, is C.J. Jean, is Jean C.J.? hmmm ....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 24, 2008

Devon: (after running into traffic and getting hit by a town car) "I'm going to sue you! I'm going to sue the whole city!"

Tracy: "You can't sue me! I'm already being sued! Double indemnity!"

- 30 Rock

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 23, 2008

Andrew Beckett:  "That's their story.  Wanna hear mine?"

Joe Miller: "How many lawyers did you go to before me?"

Andrew Beckett: "Nine."

Joe Miller: "Go on."

- Philadelphia

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Veronica Donovan: Lawyer Superhero Number Ten

10. Veronica Donovan, Prison Break 

Biography: Veronica is the childhood friend of Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield.  When Linc was accused of murdering the Vice President's brother, Veronica agreed to represent him, despite the fact that her area of expertise was real estate law.   Veronica believed in Lincoln's innocence when no one else did, including Michael.  When Lincoln was convicted and sentenced to execution, she tried to get help from a group called "Project Justice," knowing that she had no appellate experience.  Project Justice turned her down, and she was basically forced to handle the case by herself.  (No, the fact that two-faced Nick offered assistance does not constitute real help.  The dude straight up tried to have her killed in exchange for his father's freedom.  And unlike Lincoln, Nick's father probably really did it.)

Why Veronica is a legal rock star:  She took a case that no one else would, at great personal sacrifice.  She became competent in an entirely different area of law in order to help her friend.  She finally solved the murder mystery, and managed to tip Lincoln off to the truth before being axed herself.  And unlike Ally McBeal, she never showed up to court in a mini-skirt suit.  Nope, not even when she was only practicing civil law.


Quote of the Day - October 22, 2008

"You don't want to quit me, I'm your dream client.  I'm the most fun, I'm rich, and I'm always in trouble."

- Larry Flynt, The People v. Larry Flynt

Fun Fact #31

So, I thought I'd periodically share some of the fun (and not-so-fun) facts I've learned so far in law school - in random order. Given that exams are getting dreadfully closer by the second. I thought I'd start out with IRAC. I know, I know, you're thinking that Iraq is a war-torn country in the Middle East. But, no fun fact #31 is that IRAC is not a country. It is a writing style that requires you to take complete thoughts and break them down into splinters in a way that makes no sense to anyone but a law school professor: Issue-Rule-Analysis-Conclusion.

For those of you who need an example I'd be glad to provide one.

Here is a plain English description of governmental immunity (sadly, based on a real case):

If the police ignore your mulitple pleas for help every time your psycho ex-boyfriend threatens to kill or maim you, it's OK. And don't bother trying to sue the police, when your ex finally follows through with his threats, especially if you live in New York.
You see, police are required to protect everyone, but have a duty to no one in particular. That's what Linda Riss found out after her ex-boyfriend hired someone to through lye in her face. She sued the police for ignoring her pleas for help. The New York court said, basically, too bad Linda, "there is no warrant ... to carve out an area of tort liability for police protections to members of the public."

Here is the IRAC version:

Is a police department liable to a citizen who suffered severe personal harm after repeatedly seeking help from the police to no avail?
Governmental public service agencies, such as a police departments are typically immune from liability for failing to protect individual citizens.
Governments may be liable under tort law for certain activities that provide services for public use, such as highways and public buildings. However, the Court of Appeals of New York, said in Riss v. City of New York that this isn't the case for police departments, which "protect the public generally from external hazards."
The court reasoned that because police have limited resources, they can't be expected to protect every single person, or else lawsuits could spiral out of control. The court also suggested that it would be up to the legislature to "carve out an area of tort liability."
Given this line of reasoning, it would seem that the police department owes no duty to Riss and the department is therefore not likely to be found liable for her injuries.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sit Down. Stay Com.

Recently, I was privy to a conversation about being on a journal in law school. As we all know, being on a journal, preferably law review, is the only way for anyone to have any measure of success for the rest of their life. No person who failed to participate in law review ever successfully put someone’s grandmother away for selling meth, nor negotiated a settlement wherein an orphanage paid an oil company billions of dollars to keep them quiet. That’s why it surpised me so much when I heard the following phrase: “they ought to make a sitcom out of law review.”

After I reswallowed the bile that erupted out of my throat, I uttered a one word response: “That is the worst idea since they decided to put Cardozo’s drivel in textbooks.” (I’m paraphrasing. I believe what I literally said was “Mwuh? Gah?”) I really had a point, Cardozo’s writing was drivel. But I had another point as well: people on law review are not funny, even as objects of ridicule. They are merely unpleasant. Law review cannot and should not be allowed to entertain anyone on any level.

First, television is about structured expectation. There’s the likable ne’er-do-well, the wacky sidekick, the love interest, and of course, the jerk. In the case of a law review sitcom, however, we have a cast strictly composed of jerks, with the biggest jerk of all at the head. See, e.g., The Utah Law Review. There is no lovable schlub to relate to, pining for the unobtainable opposite member, guided by the misguided yet affable advice of a concerned moron. Instead, a law review sitcom would require casting David Spade in every role, something not even the ghost of Chris Farley could tolerate. For what is David Spade, without a cast of cheerful idiots with which to surround him? Simply another law review member.

Second, in a traditional sitcom, jokes follow a tripartite structure: innocuous setup followed by one normal statement, an additional normal statement, and finally something ridiculous. For example: “What’s on your grocery list, protagonist?” “Why thank you for asking, wacky sidekick! It says, eggs, milk, and the love interest.” (cue audience hilarity). In a law review sitcom, each joke would be rigidly cited using only printed sources, requiring intense research on behalf of the audience to verify its humor, the least subtle of which would be signaled cf. Cf is not funny. Unless you think it stands for Chicken Fornicator, which at least one member of the Utah Law Review has confirmed that s/he does.

If we must give yet more recognition to these most conniving, most inhumane, most… evil, dare I say it, of law students, then we should only do so via the reality format. Reality television rewards sneaky, underhanded, mean-spirited behavior. This is clearly the venue most suited to the shifty reptiles we collectively call Law Review. It also is the best way to get them to eat bugs.

Denny Crane for President

Step aside John McCain, say goodbye Sarah...there is a new Republican candidate in town...

Boston Legal the Final Season: Will Crane, Poole & Schmidt go under? Will Denny Crane live?

Boston Legal, the sexy, sassy, politically charged courtroom thriller starring James Spader, William Shatner and Candice Bergen is in its final season.

How will it all end?? Will Crane Poole and Schmidt dissolve? Will Alan be disbarred? Will Denny Crane die?

If you've missed out on the first five episodes of the season here is a quick recap:

SPOILER ALERT! (If you're like my good friend and watch Boston Legal on DVD (so you are behind) STOP READING!!

Episode 501--"Smoke Signals:" Alan Shore takes on Big Tobacco, and of course, wins ($2.6 Million to be exact) :) Denny had some difficulty "saluting the flag" or as he put it "my junk doesn't work" and to help him with his "issue" Shirley Schmidt lends Denny her high school cheer leading uniform.

Episode 502--"Guardians and Gatekeepers:" In the opening scene Denny Crane almost collapses and almost dies from the toxic interactions of the 28 different prescriptions he is taking (he of course is self-proscribing these and buying them on the Internet) Alan Shore has to give him mouth to mouth (...Denny was later disappointed that Shirley did not step up to give him the kiss of life)
Since Denny nearly died, Alan Shore decides to take on Big Pharmaceuticals. Why not? He just beat Big Tobacco the week before. I support it. Alan manages to fend off a motion to dismiss--so it's go time. I'm sure we'll see more of this case throughout the season.

Episode 503--"Dances with Wolves:" As a man attempts to mug Denny and Jerry, Denny Crane shoots him (oops, he did it again) three times in self-defense. Denny is arrested (that's right, again) for carrying a concealed firearm--well technically for carrying about 5 concealed weapons and a blowtorch in his pants when they arrested him. Denny wants Carl Sack and Jerry to defend him (he thinks Alan is too "anti-gun").

Notable quotes of that week go to Denny (of course)...

Denny's trial is all about how he did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. When asked why he did not have a permit Denny responds...Well, I had a note from Dick Cheney."

While he was on the stand during cross examination, Denny is asked how he possibly thinks that the Constitution gives him a right to carry a concealed weapon Denny responds...
"Look, the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says it says and what the Supreme Court says depends on who is president. Let's face it, when you've got a president who loves guns and a vice president who hunts lawyers and quail, you'll have a right to shoot people in the knee."

Ultimately Denny prevails, much to his dismay because he was really hoping to go to the Supreme Court to get Big Tony and the Big 5 to find a constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon.

Episode 504--"True Love" Alan's ex girlfriend Phoebe (who Alan is very much still in love with much to his chagrin) calls on him to defend her husband in a murder case. The husband was accused of murdering his nurse (who he had previously had an affair with--yup things are getting spicy). The husband's only alibi is his wife, who of course says that he was home all night and did not leave the house. Alan tells Phoebe that she is going to have to do a much better job convincing the jury of her husband's innocence than she did convincing him. (You can tell Alan doesn't believe the guy is innocent, he clearly doesn't even like the guy and secretly hopes he is found guilty so that Phoebe can go back to him).
On the stand Alan asks Phoebe "did your husband leave the house that night?" MUCH to his surprise Phoebe hesitates and then says "yes he did." Alan calls for a recess to confer with his client and then talk to Phoebe--furious that Phoebe did not tell him of her plan to tell "the truth."

After talking with the husband, they all return to the courtroom. Back on the stand Alan accuses Phoebe of killing the nurse--saying that she had the motive and opportunity to do it and that is why she was so eager to get up on the stand and accuse her husband--so she could get away with murder--expressing his own disgust that she would use her "ex-boyfriend" to try to get away with murder. She denies the murder.

The jury finds the husband not guilty. The husband thanks Alan and Alan remarks that "well, I'm assuming you won't see Phoebe anytime soon" when Phoebe walks in his door. Turns out that it was all part of Phoebe and her husband's plan--the husband did in fact do it.
This episode was crazy! I definitely thought that the wife did it--threw me for a loop!

Episode 505--"The Bad Seed:" Alan and Shirley take on the Army after a man's brother dies in a military hospital due to the doctor's admitted negligence--after being wounded in Iraq he is taken to the medical hospital and was recovering until the doctors gave him improper medication and improperly placed a breathing tube in him---after 15 minutes of pumping air into his stomach, he died. Even though military hospitals are immune, they decide to challenge the doctrine and manage to get past a motion to dismiss. ...BUT, not before Denny and Alan get a chance to bet on the outcome of the case (loser pays $100,000.00 and the money goes to the troops). Unfortunately, Denny decides to tell the clerk of the judge in the case (oops, his bad--mad cow?). The judge finds out and says he is going to recommend that Alan is disbarred! Alan is furious with Denny. Denny comes to Alan in a moment of weakness and admits to Alan that he is "slipping," that everything has gotten more "foggy" lately.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jerry's sister comes to him with a problem. Jerry's nephew (who is a sperm donor baby) may be dating his half sister! Turns out, the girlfriend is also a sperm donor baby, who just happens to come from the same sperm bank, who just happens to look exactly like him. So, Jerry tries to force the bank to reveal the identity of the donor to no avail. He then takes the matter to a judge and the judge says that the bank does not have to reveal the identity of the father(s) but does have to tell the kids if they do have the same father. Turns out, yup, they definitely came from the same Dad!

Well, that gets you up to speed. How will it all end??????? Well, as an avid fan of the show from day 1, I see no possible way for it to end other than in one last balcony scene with Denny and Alan--sipping on scotch and smoking cigars.

BUT who knows...we'll see. To be continued.

On that note...

Lawyer Superheroes: The Countdown Begins

"Why did you go to law school?"

We all get asked the question.

Some of us did it because we didn't know what else to do after getting a degree in psychology. Some of us did it because our parents have the coveted "J.D." after their names. Some of us did it for the money. Some of us did it out of the genuine desire to (cough, cough) "help people."

And some of us did it because we grew up watching the Law and Order franchise.

Don't be ashamed to admit it--you get misty during the big, theatrical summations in a "based on the novel by John Grisham" movie. You watch Twelve Angry Men and feel that swell of pride knowing that you are a part of the justice system--"justice system" said entirely without irony. You went to law school--you didn't get an MBA. (Oh, burn!) There's got to be part of you that's really just a Girl/Boy Scout at heart.
So in the spirit of the holiday season (that holiday being Halloween, natch), the Jackie Chiles Law Society presents to you, our reading audience, the Top Ten Lawyer Super Heroes. Each day we will present to you the fictitious, idealized men and women we should be admiring and emulating. Sometimes these guys and gals are kicking ass and taking names, and sometimes they're courageously pursuing the doomed but meritorious case. Either way, they do it with dignity and class. Because as much as we all love to smirk at the exploits of Denny Crane, Barry Zuckercorn, Lionel Hutz, et. al., sometimes it's nice to remember that pop culture features some very stand-up officers of the court -- and those ladies and gents deserve a little more play.

Quote of the Day - October 21, 2008

Gunn: "You wanna give us your evil law firm?  We ain't lawyers!"

Fred: "Or evil.  Currently."

- Angel

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 20, 2008

"Gentlemen, trials are too important to be left up to juries."

- Rankin Fitch, Runaway Jury

Sorry friends

Yes, we know that we have been remiss in our blogging.  But, it was Fall Break!  And the week before Fall Break!  Which is basically the same Break, really.  But never fear, we're back on our game.  Funny (or at least visually entertaining) blogs will once again be coming your way.


The Jackie Chiles Law Society

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Popular culture and the law isn't all about Legal Dramas and Brittney Spears. There are also laws that govern popular culture.

Halloween is fast approaching us, and I've concluded a study about what rules govern appropriate celebration. This is not opinion.

Behold the Law:

1. Scrubs and scrubs alone are not an adequate costume.

Please show some respect for the rest of us. Boys, if you are going to be a doctor, wear scrubs if you'd like, but is it asking too much to throw in a lab coat, a stethoscope, or one of those old-timey head bands with the round shiny deal?

Girls, if you want to be a nurse (comfortably below the glass ceiling) please consider involving a skirt and being button cute.

Don't think you can pull off button cute? Well, don't fret. Even the sub-cute can still be a nurse for Halloween. You'll just have to be a crazy nurse.

(As a side note, "Crazy _______," "Evil ________," "Mad ________," or Deranged _______" are all good costume ideas for the more homely of face.)

2. Joke costumes can be a hit, but like any comic device, they should be used sparingly and with great caution.

Wearing a "funny costume" to a party is like committing to retelling the same joke for three hours straight. If joke costume you must, make a joke the rest of us can live with for an evening.

Be creative. Express yourself. Have fun. But don't get too carried away, especially if you are attending a party where coworkers, esteemed peers, or women you are interested in courting are present.

3. Finally, and it bothers me that I even have to mention this, make sure you give out an appropriate treat in an appropriate way.

This is an area in Halloween where creativity is NOT encouraged. Just give out candy. And, unless you're really poor, try and steer away from those five pound bags full of awful gum and fake tootsie rolls.

But just making sure you give out something kids will want to eat isn't your only responsibility. Make sure you're not too creepy when you're giving it out.

For instance, this year I plan on being Magnum P.I. for Halloween. However, I've exercised discretion enough to know that wearing my shorty-short shorts and sporting a mustache while the neighborhood children all come to my door crosses a line.

In review, show some respect for the rest of us. Be safe. Have fun.

Lawyer Soundtrack: Update

These are the current suggestions for the songs that best represent lawyers, the legal system, law school, etc.  You only have ... 20ish* more days to get in your ideas!

In no particular order:
  • - Renegade by Styx
  • - Breakin' the Law by Judas Priest
  • - Mean Mr. Medwed by Rock v. Roll
  • - Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
  • - Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash
  • - F*!@ the Police by NWA
  • - America, F*!@ Yeah! from the Team America Soundtrack
  • - I Fought The Law by the Bobby Fuller Four
  • - California Sex Lawyer by Fountains of Wayne
  • - Lawyers Guns and Money by Warren Zevon 

As an added incentive, I'm sure there's some kind of prize or recognition for good suggestions.

* I'm in law school, I don't do math.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prison Break and Existentialism

Check out Entertainment Weekly for Stephen King's column on Prison Break.


Quote of the Day - October 6, 2008

"Let me tell you something.  I didn't become a lawyer because I like the law.  The law sucks.  It's boring.  But it can also be used as a weapon.  You want to bankrupt somebody? Cost him everything he's worked for?  Make his wife leave him, even make his kids cry?  Yeah, we can do that."

- Richard Fish, Ally McBeal

Friday, October 3, 2008

Quote of the Day - October 3, 2008

Greta: "He knocked over another ATM.  This time at knifepoint.  He needs your legal advice."

Fletcher:  "Stop breaking the law, asshole!"

- Liar Liar

Razzle Dazzle

I know, it sounds completely strange, but there are some law students who get out of the library. Some students go skiing, others start bands. Now I’m not well versed in, well, any of my classes, but these groups make me laugh, which after hearing that finals are like the Titanic I needed. I found bands with names like “Elvis Cardozo and the Attractive Nuisances” or “Assault with a Deadly Weapon.” The two below were the best of the law school bands :

Mikey Mel and the JD’s
Songs :
Forbidden Lawyer Love
The Library Stacks
Ambulance Chasers
Punitive Damages for a Broken Heart

Are they the best band, no. Think Modest Mouse mixed with a little Fountain of Wayne, then throw some other stuff in to see if it sticks. At the same time there are some great lines :

“but when I want to hang out with my girl I say ‘I’m sorry baby but the law library stacks are calling to me’ ” The Library Stacks

“she had some interviews in the fall she thought she’d get her job then one day she go a letter from her favorite firm and here’s what it told her : You not good enough to work for us so thank you for your interesting offer. “ Rejection Letter

Josh Keesan : The Law of Rock Volume 1
Contributory negligence
Promissory estoppel
Mens rea

As his site eloquently put it, “Put down your commercial outlines and treatises: here, for the first time, you can learn complex legal doctrines through these digestible pop-rock gems.” Jack Johnson for the law school world. Fun pop that makes me thing that contracts might somehow be cool. Then again maybe not.

“Oh, mens rea, It’s a guilty mind, the girl gives me mens rea, and actus reus isn’t far behind.” Mens Rea

“Cause I relied on you and you screwed me through and through, So it’s Promissory Estoppel. We made plans far ahead, and now you say you want me dead, Well, too bad: ’cause it’s Promissory Estoppel.” Promissory Estoppel

If you use iTunes, look up 1L imixes. My personal favorite was about taking cocaine for finals. Isn’t that a bright and cheery thought for December?


Thursday, October 2, 2008

You had me at "drill"

"Say it ain't so Joe,"
Joe Biden that is. The smack down for vice president didn't stop there. From taxes to Iraq, it was on Tuesday night. And I'm pretty sure when the dust settles, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, will both need some time to heal from all the political upper cuts. But for those of you - like me - who spent most of the debate lamenting that your beer glass was half empty and the word "maverick" only appeared once on your bingo card, here's a link that may help you feel a little less out of place this election season:

Today Now!: How To Pretend You Give A Shit About The Election

Open Forum Post: Does anybody know a good lawyer for ...?

I have a ... friend ... that needs a lawyer for ... uh ... lawyer malpractice suit.  Any recommendations?  I'm thinking about one of these two guys:

Apologies, DSM fans

So, apparently Nick's wife's name is Lisa, not Nina.  I thought about fixing my earlier blog posts, but then thought, "No.  If I, a long-time Dirty Sexy Money fan, cannot remember a fairly significant character's name, that is simply more evidence that Nina/Lisa needs to go.  Stat."

Loves you!

- Elle

Quote of the Day - October 2, 2008

"Every lawyer, at least once in every case, feels himself crossing a line that he didn't really mean to cross.  It just happens.  And if you cross it enough times, it disappears forever.  And then you're nothing but another lawyer joke.  Just another shark in the dirty water."

- Rudy Baylor, The Rainmaker

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Here's hoping Nick George CALI'd in Legal Professions

Spoiler alert: Don't keep reading if you haven't seen the new episode of Dirty Sexy Money.


Whoa whoa whoa whoa.

And here I was, in the first few minutes of DSM's first episode of the season, thinking that I was going to have to blog about Nick playing mediator to Patrick and Tripp.  Ugh.

Ethical issues are so much more fun than father-son ADR.  Was anyone else having flashbacks to Legal Professions when Nick walked into Patrick's penthouse and found Ellen's dead body?  First thought: Nick is already their lawyer, so if Patrick had really killed Ellen, he wouldn't have been able to say a word.

Second thought:  Or would he?  He just saw the body.  Granted, he only came over because Patrick and Tripp called him.  Does that count as a "communication?"

Third thought: What about when they asked him to take the body out to the country house and burn it down with her inside?  Um, I may be wrong, but I think that fits into the felony-exception.  True, Nick's participation in the elaborate cover-up wasn't a mandatory (the Darling men had Clark the chauffeur do the deed as soon as Nick split) ... so maybe not.

Fourth thought: Nick represents the Darling family.  Does that mean he represents Patrick specifically and individually?  What about the fact that Patrick's interests are now at odds with the rest of the Darling family?  Is that a big enough loophole for anyone out there?  Anyone?

Anywho, I don't know how to come out on this.  Patrick didn't murder Ellen, but he definitely broke some laws.  Off the top of my head ... fraud, conspiracy, arson, obstruction of justice, and the always-fun desecration of a corpse.  Nick knows about it, but he's Patrick's lawyer.  WHAT IS OUR IDEALISTIC LAWYER TO DO???

And then Dirty Sexy Money took it up a notch—as soon as the cop chopper showed up, I knew that Nick wouldn't have ratted out Tripp and Patrick.  But arresting Leticia for the murder of Dutch George!?  I must say, the scene of her being led away in handcuffs, calling Nick's name for help, was heart-breaking.

So where does all this leave our intrepid lawyer hero?  Granted, this is a show that features gratuitous limo sex, but DSM writers can't really expect Nick to defend the woman accused of murdering his dad.  True, Nick probably believes—like I do—that Leticia is innocent, and the defendant should get her choice of counsel ... but REALLY?

Sound off on Nick's ethical issues in the comments section below, boys and girls.  And then let's all take a moment and mourn for dearly departed Ellen Darling, pictured above.

Random thoughts:
Did Lisa really manage to lay all the blame at Nick's feet after he caught her making out with Jeremy Darling?  Yup, sure did.

Favorite moment of the night:  When Tripp asked Brian to counsel his sister-in-law Ellen, the former reverend replied that he left the church to focus on the family business so he would no longer have to pretend to care about the problems of others.  "When you sent me to Munich to close down that factory and fire all those people, that was fun."

Justice Scalia Weighs In

In a surprise move today, Justice Antonin (Nino) Scalia announced his intention to shed his judicial robes in exchange for...a regally-appointed, conservatively-styled sweat suit. You read that correctly, counsel.

"That's right, I'm going on Biggest Loser!" announced the one-time Chicago professor and current Supreme Court Justice. "And they better watch out--I'm gonna take the ass out of Justice," deadpanned the oft-controversial, always hilarious Scalia.

"Ever since the results came in on sexiest SCOTUS Justice, I just haven't been the same ol' Scalia," explained the Jurisprude. "I simply can't get it up for my awesome Scalia dissents anymore. Scalia just doesn't feel the same rush for semicolons and Federalist ideals that Scalia used to."

Hatched as just another reality show in a glut of such exploitative programs at NBC studios in the mid 2000s, The Biggest Loser has steadily grown into its own success. "Kind of Like Scalia into his ego," noted an NBC executive, who preferred to remain anonymous, but joked that his name may or may not be Alec Baldwin. "We've been approaching many of the law's largest characters for the past few years now," explained the exec "but Clarence Thomas refused out of hand. Something about his hatred for...action? And Ken Starr...well, we just didn't feel right dredging that whole Lewinsky thing up again. You really need to draw lines in reality programming. But Scalia. That dude's been on our collective radar for years, especially since his escapades in his latest book. We're fairly certain that he and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are...um...engaging in some extracurricular legal analysis, if you know what I mean."

Well, even if the thought of that coupling makes your average attorney shudder, consider this writer intrigued. While conversing with his Majesty, I wondered aloud if the Founding Fathers could have ever anticipated this kind of behavior from a Supreme Court Apointee when they drafted the Constitution. Mr. Scalia responded rather matter-of-factly "There's ample room for Reality Television in an Originalist reading of the Due Process Clause." After snorting up half my Diet Coke, I asked whether that kind of interpretation implicated a Living Constitution--something Scalia has decried since his days at Harvard Law. The Justice just laughed.

"The new Scalia is the Living Constitution, be-yotch! Watch me shed it like Jefferson read it. Grammar."

Word to you, too, Mr. Scalia. Word.

-Bob Lawblah
Season Two of Dirty Sexy Money premiers tonight on ABC!  OK, I know, this show wasn't the biggest hit last year—I blame it on the relatively cheestatic name, and the way the TV announcer would draw it out as long as possible (Drrrrrrrty ... Sexxxxxxxy ... Monnnnnney).  But people, really, give it a chance.  Jackie would want you to.

For all those who didn't catch on last season, here's a little cheat-sheet to get caught up by tonight at 10/9 central:

Nick George:
Nick is an idealistic lawyer with a blah wife and a cute kid.  His dad, Dutch George, was also a lawyer, and worked exclusively for the wealthy Darling family.  Nick grew up with the Darling kids, resenting them and his father for how much time Dutch spent on the family's business.  When Dutch was killed (possibly murdered), Nick took on the Darlings as clients so he could use their resources to look into his father's death.

Key questions for Nick this season: Will he be able to maintain his idealism and ethics while working for the Darlings?  Will Nick ever get to the bottom of his father's mysterious demise?  Will he dump his boring wife already?  And when is he going to get those sideburns under control?

Nina George:
Seriously, seriously so boring.  She's insecure and oddly flighty, buying ridiculous art one second and forcing her well-paid attorney husband to paint their living room over Thanksgiving the next.  Plus, is anyone else bothered by the fact that Nick and Nina have basically the EXACT SAME HAIRCUT?

Key questions for Nina this season: Will she grow a personality any time soon?  And really, do she and Nick think that popping out another kid will solve their problems?

Tripp Darling:
The patriarch of the Darling family, Tripp wants to encourage his children to use the wealth he's given them to better the world.  Dutch George was Tripp's best friend, and despite learning some rather unpleasant facts about his bud last season, Tripp still holds Dutch's memory in the highest regard.   Tripp also views Nick as another son.

Key questions for Tripp this season: Good guy?  Bad guy?  Who even cares?  I just hope we get several more scenes of a drunk Tripp Darling imparting wisdom to his wayward children.

Leticia Darling:
Leticia Darling is the devoted wife of Tripp Darling ... and the secret lovah of Dutch George.  Oh, snap!  Despite being a decades-long adulteress, Leticia is devoted to Tripp and wildly protective of her five children.  Tripp may come off as a big cuddly teddy bear, but there's a reason all the Darling kids go to Leticia when they've got a problem.

Key questions for Leticia this season: Will she really help daughter Karen break up Nick and Nina's marriage?  And if so, does she need any more volunteers?

Patrick Darling:
Patrick is the eldest Darling child, married to Ellen Darling, and father of some unseen children.  (I love it when kids don't start taking over a grown-ups show ... cough, cough, Heroes, cough.)  Patrick faces a lot of pressure in trying to live up to his father's expectations, and is running for U.S. Senate for the state of New York.  Patrick has turned to Tripp's nemesis Simon Elder for help in breaking away from his father's control.  He's also having an affair with a transsexual named Carmelita, who disappeared at the end of last season.  This resulted in Ellen shooting him in the leg at the family cabin.

Key questions for Patrick this season: Will he and Tripp reconcile?  And what happened to poor Carmelita?  Did Tripp kidnap her?  Did Ellen?  DID PATRICK????

Oh, yeah, and how is that Senate race thing going?

Brian Darling:
Remember that affair Leticia and Dutch were having?  Well, the funny thing about adultery is that it can lead to some sticky paternity issues...which is where the Rev. Brian Darling comes in.  Yup, the guy who spent most of last season telling our boy Nick how much he hated him is, in fact, Nick's half-brother. If I had to pick a favorite Darling, it's a tough call between Brian and Karen.  "What about when he forced his illegitimate child to pretend to be a Swedish orphan?" you ask.  "What of it?" I reply.  I don't think DSM had a funnier moment than when Brian tried to buy his kid from his former mistress during a custody hearing.  I agree, three million dollars is a very respectable offer.

Key questions for Brian this season:  How is he handling the transition of leaving the church and joining the family business?  Are he and Nick ever going to start getting along?  And how is Brian Junior (aka Gustav) doing in Brazil?

Karen Darling:
The eldest Darling daughter is a four-time divorcee who is still in love with her childhood sweetheart, Nick.  And let's be honest, folks—don't we all pretty much think Nick is still in love with her, too, despite his many protests?  Although she comes off as hilariously airheaded, Karen is the most capable Darling child, as her father rightly noted.  Though it's never been stated, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that daddy's girl Karen is the behind-the-scenes show-runner of the Darling Empire.

Key questions for Karen this season:  Will she ever be successful at winning Nick back?  And if Nick and Karen were engaged back when they were eighteen, why did they ever break up?  And how is that whole corporate spying/illicit affairing going with Simon Elder?

Jeremy Darling:
Arguably the most irresponsible Darling—which, given all the explanation that has gone before, is really saying something.  Yet whether Jeremy is tempting fate by dangling off the Brooklyn Bridge, sleeping with his twin sister's frenemy, or lying about his name/background/occupation to his newest flame, Jeremy is a total snooze.  No wonder he and Nina have such chemistry.

Key questions for Jeremy this season: If he does achieve his lifelong dream of launching into space, will I find it as boring as when he was arrested on a stolen yacht full of illegal immigrants?

Juliet Darling:
As much as I liked Juliet Darling, I'm relieved to hear that she's been downgraded from series regular to recurring character.  DO YOU SEE HOW LONG THIS BLOG POST IS?  In an overstuffed cast, Juliet's siblings' storylines were far more interesting than hers, including dullsville Jeremy's.  Bring Juliet back for the occasional comic relief—her "twintuition" could kick in if Jeremy ever falls down a well.  But that's it.

Simon Elder:
Much like Tripp Darling himself, this "richest man on earth" (dang, that must stick in Tripp's craw) prompts the question—Good guy?  Bad guy?  And also like Tripp, the answer is, "Beats me."  But in any event, I hope Blair Underwood smooth-talking entrepreneur is around more often this season.  No one else can play the antagonist to Nick and the Darlings' wackiness but this Russian-speaking son of ex-patriots bazillionaire.  Oh, and did I mention he used to be married to a Kenyan PRINCESS?  I didn't even know there were Kenyan princesses.

Question of the Month: A Lawyer's Soundtrack

What songs do you feel accurately reflect either the legal system in America, or a lawyer's experience in navigating the system?  We at the Jackie Chiles Law Society don't act like we know everything (we don't!), so we want your input.  Of course, we came up with some suggestions of our own, just to get the ball rolling.  (Self-deprecating shrug.)  

Post your suggestions in the comments section, or compliment/criticize our offerings.  At the end of October, we'll announce the Jackie Chiles Law Society Top Ten List.  Thanks!
  • "Renegade" by Styx.  Sample lyrics: "Oh mama, I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law/Lawman has put an end to my running and I'm so far from my home."
  • "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash.  Sample lyrics: "I know I had it comin'/I know I can't be free/But those people keep a'movin'/And that's what tortures me."
  • "F*!@ the Police" by NWA.  Sample lyrics: "Right about now NWA court is in full effect/Judge Dre presiding in the case of NWA versus the police department... Order, order, order/Ice Cube, take the muthafu*!@#$ stand."
  • "California Sex Lawyer" by Fountains of Wayne.  Sample lyrics: "I've got big ideas/I've got backup plans/I've got cha-cha-charisma/Got the slight of hand/I'm gonna do some damage/Gonna bust some heads/I'm gonna go the distance/Then I'm going to bed."
  • "Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon.  Sample lyrics: "I was gambling in Havana/I took a little risk/Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me out of this."

Quote of the Day

"First rule of thumb in practicing law: Always, always promise the client millions and millions of dollars.  It's good business."

- Denny Crane, Boston Legal

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quote of the Day - September 30, 2008

Judge Roy Snyder: "Mr. Hutz, we've been in here for four hours.  Do you have any evidence at all?"

Lionel Hutz: "Well, your Honor, we've got plenty of hearsay and conjecture.  Those are ... kinds of evidence."

- The Simpsons

2008 Sexiest Supreme Court Justices

After hours of drinking, name-calling, heated debate, and crying in the committee room, Jackie Chiles Law Society has made our selections for the 2008 sexiest Supreme Court Justices.

#5. Anthony McLeod Kennedy

Kennedy said he was happy to swing into the 5-4 group of sexiest Justices. He describes himself as a flirt who likes to "frustrates some constitutional law scholars by often forgoing conventional methods of explaining my holdings and instead relying on vivid prose and unusual philosophy." Political conservatives have criticized him for regularly referring to European law, "but that's just how I roll," explains Kennedy. "Besides, the ladies love it when I get all European on those holdings."

#4. John Paul Stevens.

Some people think Gerald Ford was a do-nothing president, but teen girls are not likely to be among them. Stevens, the longest sitting Justice, was appoint by Ford in 1975.

"The bow-tie does seem to drive women wild," sheepishly admits Stevens. "And I like to give the ladies what they like in conservative moderation."

#3. Clarence Thomas

This bad boy of the court has faced some rough allegations. It wouldn't be fair for us to speculate, but let's just say if the crime is being sexy, the verdict is guilty as charged (8-1, with Scalia dissenting because "sexy" is never mentioned in the Constitution).

#2. Ruth Joan Bader Ginsberg

Don't dismiss her because of her demure appearance. "I'm bader than most people would think," says Justice Ginsberg. When pressed to explain the "what," "when," and "how" of her wild side, she would only reply, "Were I to rehearse here what I would say and how I would reason on such questions, I would act injudiciously".

#1. John Glover Roberts Jr.

It's no wonder how this boy wonder made Chief Justice so quickly. "He has a smile that won't quit for days," admitted George W. Bush. This former steel man and football captain also managed to graduate magna cum laud, which sources tell us is Latin for "too much sexy."

At 52 years young, there might be a conservative lock on the sexiest Justice for some time to come.

(Honorable Honorable Mention: David Hackett Souter, who would've beat out Kennedy if his "elfiness" was taken down a notch.)