Monthly Archives: January 2013

Kiriakou Sentencing, CIA Leaker or Whistleblower?

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To his defenders former CIA officer John Kiriakou is a whistleblower who revealed the use of torture on terror suspects, but the government says that when he leaked the identity of a covert agent he was motivated by ego and money, seeking to “raise his media profile”.
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In a deal with prosecutors Espionage Act charges were dropped and Kiriakou became only the second person ever convicted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Also part of the deal was a prison sentence of 30 months instead of the eight years he faced under sentencing guidelines.

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Supporters who signed a letter to President Obama asking that the sentence be commuted include NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Government Accountability Project director Jesselyn Radack who were seated in the courtroom today.

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WaPo story here.

 

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , , ,

LGBT Group Take Supreme Court Bar Oath

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A large group of lawyers from the National LGBT Bar Association were introduced by Paul Smith before being sworn in to the bar of the Supreme Court.

Openly gay lawyers practice before the Supreme Court, but yesterday marks the first time lawyers have been identified as LGBT Bar members at the ceremony. The times they are a changing.

 

Posted in Supreme Court Tagged with: ,

Clerk Suter’s Morning Shtick

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Clerk Willam K. Suter gives an informal, even entertaining, orientation to lawyers about to be sworn to the bar of the Supreme Court. This morning he pointed to the adjacent bench where the press would soon be taking their seats and said, “the press sits over here, so keep your hands on your wallets”.

General Suter – he is a former Army major general – will be retiring at the end of this term after 22 years as Clerk of the Supreme Court.

 

Posted in Supreme Court Tagged with: ,

For Administration Law Lovers

The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in City of Arlington, Texas v. FCC, a case concerning the deference due an agency in interpreting the statute that it administers and more specifically in this case whether it can determine its own jurisdiction. (Am I starting to sound like a lawyer yet?)
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Thomas Goldstein, pictured above, argued for the petitioner. Solicitor General Verrilli, shown seated, responded for the FCC.

NYT story here.

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with: ,

Anchors Aweigh

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A group of Navy lawyers picked the right day, yesterday, to be sworn in to the Supreme Court bar. ┬áThe first case argued, Levi v. United States, involved a malpractice and medical battery suit against a Navy surgeon. But first, the Court had an opinion to announce that might have touched on Admiralty law, but didn’t.
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In Lozman v. Riviera Beach the Supreme Court ruled that a houseboat is not a vessel subject to maritime law. In his opinion┬áJustice Stephen Breyer noted that not every floating structure is a vessel. “To state the obvious, a wooden washtub, a plastic dishpan, a swimming platform on pontoons … or Pinocchio (when inside the whale) are not ‘vessels’”, Breyer said, “even if they are ‘artificial contrivances’ capable of floating, moving under tow, and incidentally carrying even a fair-sized item or two when they do so.”

The Court also heard arguments in a “takings” case, Koontz v. St. Johns River, of which I’ve posted a sketch below.
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Not sure why the lawyer for the petitioner looks so happy. According to Lyle the argument did not seem to go his way.

Lyle Denniston’s take on the “takings” case here.

Posted in Arguments, Opinions, Supreme Court Tagged with: , ,

Justice Thomas Breaks His Silence …sort of

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The first argument at the Supreme Court this morning, and what I expected would be the subject of this post, was a potentially historic case, Alleyne v. United States. But near the end of the second argument, as I was finishing my sketches of the first, an unfamiliar voice was heard from the bench. After nearly seven years of remaining silent during arguments Justice Thomas was speaking!
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It wasn’t a question for the lawyer at the lectern, more of an aside. And what Thomas actually said is in dispute. Something about the competence of Yale or Harvard Law graduates?

WSJ’s Jess Bravin has the historic story here.

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with: ,

DUI Blood Test Argument

Can police order someone pulled over for drunk driving to take a blood test, or must they first get a warrant? During yesterday’s Supreme Court arguments in Missouri v. McNeely most of the Justices seemed to think that usually a warrant should be required.6a00d8341cd0df53ef017c358cc0aa970b-800wi

In the sketch above the ACLU’s Steven Shapiro argues for the repondent, Tyler McNeely. Below are more sketches from the arguments and a link to Lyle Denniston’s SCOTUSblog story.

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My apologies to Mr. Shapiro; I just couldn’t get a good likeness. Sometimes it’s like that.

Lyle Denniston’s analysis here.

 

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with: ,

Welcome Back, Aggie

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One of the sketch artists I most admire, Aggie Whalen Kenny, was visiting the Supreme Court this week. Aggie used to sketch the Court regularly for ABC and CBS back when I was still wet behind the ears. Now if only Don Juhlin would show up!

Oh, in case you were wondering, she’s sketching the riveting arguments in Gabelli v. SEC.

Posted in History, Supreme Court Tagged with: ,

First Argument of the New Year

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A small, 9″ x 12″, sketch of yesterday’s arguments in Descamps v. U.S.

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with:
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