Month: November 2012

Justice Ginsburg Forgoes the Jabot


One thing a sketch artist at the Supreme Court needs to look for is whether Justice Ginsburg is wearing a jabot or one of her increasingly large doilies around her neck. Today, for the first time I can recall, she wore neither. She appeared to be wearing a sparkly necklace of dark crystals. I couldn’t quite make it out.

The above sketch is from the Title VII case argued today, Vance v. Ball State University.

Below are a couple of sketches from the other case argued dealing with federal antitrust law and Georgia’s state health care system, FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System. Note again, Ginsburg sans jabot.




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Is She Looking At Me ?

Justice Sotomayor often glances over at the press section during oral arguments. Is she just pondering a legal question, or checking that the sketch artist is getting this?

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The Morning After . . .


. . . election day. Best not to read anything into it; Scalia often looks down while the Marshal calls the Court to order.

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Kramer Takes the Tough Cases

I’ve sketched Chief Federal Public Defender A.J. Kramer many times over the years, but always in U.S. District Court where he defended those accused of highly publicized crimes in DC. Today was the first time I’ve seen him argue a case before the Supreme Court. He did a good job, but the cards are stacked against his client.

BTW, the case concerned the statute of limitations on a conspiracy charge and I just have to insert this bit of dialogue from Seinfeld episode #307, The Cafe.

Kramer: Anyway, it’s been two years. I mean isn’t there like statue of limitations on that?

Jerry: Statute.

Kramer: What?

Jerry: Statute of limitations. It’s not a statue.

Kramer: No, statue.

Jerry: Fine, it’s a sculpture of limitations.

Kramer: Just wait a minute…Elaine, Elaine! Now you’re smart, is it statue or statute of limitations?

Elaine: Statute.

Kramer: Oh, I really think you’re wrong.


The case is Smith v. United States

Above the Law‘s Matt Kaiser has the story here.

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Politics Aside

Conservative lawyer Miguel Estrada, whose nomination to the DC Circuit by President George W. Bush was succesfully fillibustered by Senate Democrats, went out of his way to support liberal Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan during her Senate confirmation. He called her  “an impeccably qualified nominee”, and wrote, “one of the prerogatives of the President under our Constitution is to nominate high federal officers, including judges, who share his (or her) governing philosophies”. Later, in a letter to Senator Lindsay Graham, Kagan said of Estrada, “no one I know is a more faithful friend or a more fundamentally decent person”.

The above sketch shows Estrada during today’s arguments in a class action case, Comcast v. Behrend.

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Supreme Court Goes to the Dogs


Yesterday’s arguments in two cases from Florida were devoted to man’s best friend, or more specifically his nose. At issue, does the use of drug-sniffing dogs sometimes violate the fourth Amendment’s right “against unreasonable searches and seizures”, or, as the State of Florida argues, are dogs 1. never intrusive, and 2. always reliable?


In the first case, Franky, a chocolate Labrador, was brought without a warrant to the porch of Joelis Jardines where he sniffed marijuana by the front door.


In the second case a German Shepherd named Aldo smelled methamphetamine on a truck driven by Clayton Harris. No privacy issue here, but Aldo’s certification had expired.

Jesse Holland has the story here.

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