READ THAT BACK: The Facts of Life, Your Flaming Commute, and What’s a Hoya?


The Court Reporter tries to present a balanced view of the world, but some things just aren’t up for debate. Racism and bigotry are repugnant and fundamentally at odds with the rule of law. Apparently these things still need to be said in 2017. Let’s get to the courts.

All I Do Is Win: Okay, that’s not all the U.S. Solicitor General does, but the SG’s Office does have a pretty high success rate before the U.S. Supreme Court. We looked at some of the stats to show just how successful they’ve been, both this term and in years past. We also answer the age-old question: What do the Solicitor General and Pac-Man have in common? Answer: This infographic. And the Court Reporter apologizes for getting that song (which isn’t linked, you’re welcome) stuck in your head. (If you somehow don’t know what song I’m talking about, count your blessings. You’re up to at least one.)

Take the Good, Take the Bad: Retired SDNY Judge Shira Scheindlin developed strategies while on the bench to encourage women, who might otherwise not have gotten an opportunity to speak, to participate in her courtroom. She sat down with Bloomberg BNA to talk about them, and a recent study showing that women in New York are—still—underrepresented behind the lectern. Also, the Court Reporter can’t be the only one reminded of one of ’80s TV’s greatest characters, Mrs. Garrett from “The Facts of Life”—who also provided guidance and counsel to a group of young women in New York. The world needs more role models who are willing to share their wisdom with the next generation of women—particularly in the legal profession.

Gunning for the Top: Any bro with a sleeveless t-shirt can welcome you to the gun show, but what about a gun-don’t-show? Many states, including West Virginia, allow individuals to carry concealed firearms. But as Shaquille Robinson’s case makes clear, that doesn’t mean that the police can’t search you if they suspect you of being armed. Or does it? Robinson (a felon, so not actually allowed to carry a firearm, concealed or not, but leaving that aside) asks the Supreme Court to decide. The case may pit the Trump administration against a broad array of conservative government officials and activist groups.

Ad Wars: The DC Metro, recently infamous for being on fire more often than on time, can at least take some pride in being not quite as bad (anymore) as the beleaguered New York City Subway. (Question: If a Philadelphia regional train derails, is it a Deviated SEPTA?) But that doesn’t mean Metro’s out of the woods—or the courthouse—yet. The ACLU has sued Metro over their rejection of proposed ads that were deemed too controversial, including ads for an abortion provider, PETA, and the book by “ultimate troll” Milo Yiannopoulos (whose last name, if The Court Reporter’s etymology lessons serve, is Greek for “Johnson”).

Speaking of Suits: Several firms and interest groups have filed one against the government over whether already-serving transgender members of the military will get to keep wearing theirs. Their uniforms, that is. Of course, the three tweet, uh, “policy” was a bit of a hash from the start, and may not be happening anyway, but is apparently a “great favor” to the military.

ICYMI:

  • Is litigation over sports-related concussions—and who pays for damages—heading (sorry) for the kind of settlement system used to handle asbestos and other long-tail toxic tort claims?
  • Bankruptcy trustees in Maryland are asking for debtors’ PayPal, eBay and Amazon Prime login credentials. The requests are “odious,” “ridiculous,” “frightening” and “very, very invasive,” a former president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys told Bloomberg BNA. How like life.
  • Despite having gone through some rather unfortunate acronyms, the newly christened (and rechristened) Antonin Scalia Law School is emerging as a feeder for the Trump administration.
  • In a headline worthy of the Court Reporter, longtime appellate blogger Howard Bashman directs us to coverage of will.i.am’s difficulties registering a trademark on possibly the most basic phrase in the English language.
    • The New York Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers considered whether blawggers can be professionally sanctioned for misstating facts or law in their posts. The Court Reporter wouldn’t know anything about that, of course. Commenter “Edwin Bell”—who may or may not be an attorney—immediately puts the issue to the test by accusing the state bar of acting like a “NAZI Gestapo”! And they say understatement is dead.

And Now…It’s Been So Long: A billion years ago when the Earth was still cooling, (one part of*) the Court Reporter was a student at Georgetown University. Inevitably I was asked by family and friends “What’s a Hoya?” The answer to the question is “Yes,” as “hoya” is a slightly modified “hoia,” Greek for “What a.” (The mascot, Jack the bulldog, was originally the pet of one the Jesuit priests and was adopted later.) So the Court Reporter was delighted that Georgetown came up not once but twice in the news last week. First, for the announcement of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, the faculty director of which will be Supreme Court all-star Neal K. Katyal. Second, because it—along with a growing list of law schools—is now accepting the GRE, as well as the LSAT, for admissions. Okay, okay, these are both related to the law school, and the Court Reporter attended as an undergraduate (although the Court Reporter’s legal alma mater is also among the ranks of law schools accepting the GRE). Still! It’s nice to see Georgetown in the news for reasons other than yet another disappointing basketball season.

* The Court Reporter is a gestalt entity. E pluribus Unum!