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A Little Excitement at the Staid Court

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After a slippery sloppy commute on a snowy morning a couple of quiet hours listening to patent law arguments seemed like a good opportunity for a snooze. I was sketching on auto-pilot as the first argument, Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, was concluding when a loud voice coming from the back of the courtroom startled me out of my somnolence. “Corporations are not people, money is speech. Overturn Citizens United.” shouted a young man before Court security officers whisked him away.

He was later identified as Noah Newkirk and charged with making “a harangue or oration . . . in the Supreme Court Building.” I think this may be him. The young man, it turns out, is Noah Kia Newkirk, a member of a group called 99Rise.org whose aim is to “get big money out of American politics.” It appears his outburst was in part staged for a video camera that was smuggled into the courtroom. The video shows that this is not the first time this group has captured the Court on camera. Footage at the beginning is from McCutcheon v. FEC, a campaign Finance case argued in October and yet to be decided. It also turns out that the footage at the beginning, though labeled McCutcheon v. FEC, is actually from arguments in  Burt v. Titlow, another case argued the same day.

I initially sketched him with a moustache and goatee, but on reflection I think he just had a heavy five o’clock shadow. It all happened very fast and I am not possessed of a photographic memory. Not a very good drawing.

Anyway, here are a couple sketches from the argument that I managed to finish. I think they are more successful.

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with: , ,

Supreme Court Jolt

“It is a
jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent.”
Chief Justice Roberts at his 2005 confirmation hearings

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Overturning its own precedents the Supreme Court yesterday removed limits on corporate campaign spending citing the First Amendment free speech rights of corporations.

In dissenting from the majority in Citizens United v. FEC Justice Stevens wrote “Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment
problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting
is, among other things, a form of speech.”

Dahlia Lithwick has the story here.

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

Hillary: The Movie / scotus: the sketch

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Above is a sketch of Tuesday’s arguments in a campaign finance (read McCain-Feingold) case about a blistering 90-minute political film, Hillary: The Movie.

The sketch shows former Solicitor General Ted Olson arguing on behalf of the movie’s producers. Note that the foreground is filled with some of the Supreme Court press regulars; they are: in the first (foreground) row, left to right, Pete Williams, NBC, Marcia Coyle, National Law Journal, Tony Mauro, Legal Times, in the second row are Adam Liptak, New York Times, Nina Totenberg, NPR, Joan Biskupic, USA Today, and Robert Barnes, Washington Post.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, who is not pictured because she sits back in the alcove with us artists (the true ink-stained wretches), has the story here.

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