Monthly Archives: June 2010

Turkey in the Straw

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In the late seventies, during one of those end of the term marathon sessions of congress, then majority leader Senator Byrd invited members of the press to his office for an early morning briefing at the conclusion of which the Senator, wearing a bright red vest, picked up his fiddle and bowed a hot “Turkey in the Straw”.  I wish I could find that sketch.

The above sketch shows Senator Byrd during the Clinton Senate Impeachment trial in 1999.

RIP Senator Byrd

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Posted in Congress

Justice Stevens Farewell

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As Justice John Paul Stevens prepared to read his farewell letter he noted that when he joined the Court in 1975 such a letter could well have been addressed “Dear Brethren”, but with two women on the Court – likely to be joined by a third – he began with “Dear Colleagues”.

Full text of Justice Stevens’ letter here.

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Posted in Supreme Court

The Line Formed Early

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SCOTUS fans started lining up at 5pm yesterday for a seat in the courtroom. Today is the last day of opinions and the last day Justice Stevens will take his seat on the bench.

I am there.

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Posted in Supreme Court

‘Honest Services Fraud’ Limited

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Justice Ginsburg today announced the opinion of the Court in three cases testing “honest services” statutes, the most notable of which is the case of Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling.  A unanimous Court found that laws proscribing the fraudulent deprivation of “the intangible right of honest service” are unconstitutionally vague, and must be limited to bribery and kickback schemes (you can now go ahead and give that lucrative public contract to your brother-in-law, just don’t ask for your share).

Is this what was augured when the wheel fell off the cart?

For more on how this may affect the Blagojevich trial go here.

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

SCOTUS Sketchbook

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Rough sketches of Justices announcing yesterday’s opinions.

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

US Loses Wheel at Blago Trial

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As spectators lined up for the first day of testimony at the trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, and attorneys made their way into the courtroom . . .

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. . . a wheel fell off of the United States evidence cart.

Probably doesn’t mean anything.

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Posted in Courtroom

Blagojevich Opening Statements

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“What about me?” repeated Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton each time she described former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s attempts to use his office for self-enrichment.

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Defense attorney Sam Adam, Jr. told the jurors “He’s broke. He’s broke. You know why he’s broke, ladies and gentlemen? It’s not hard. He didn’t take a dime.”

Chicago Sun-Times story here.

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Posted in Courtroom
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