Right now some of you may be wondering, as you might with respect to Carmen Sandiego, "Where in the world is Article III Groupie?"
Well, A3G's life -- including her fragile psyche -- is pretty much an open book here at UTR. But a girl must have some secrets, no? Suffice it to say that she's enjoying her vacation, especially the chance to read things other than Westlaw print-outs. She recently finished The Devil Wears Prada, which she recommends to you all. It's not exactly a literary masterpiece, but it's a great guilty pleasure, full of fashion world gossip and shameless label-dropping. She will next be turning her attention to Tom Wolfe's latest opus, I Am Article III Groupie, er, I Am Charlotte Simmons.
Despite the many demands of her vacation schedule, A3G has found a little spare time for blogging (although she will not be e-mailing during this time, as noted here). With apologies for the lack of graphics and the many missing hyperlinks, she now offers you a few judicial celebrity sightings, to tide you over until her full-blown return to the blogosphere:
First, one UTR reader offers this judicial sight-ation:
I thought you might be interested in hearing about Yale Law's moot court finals, which took place on [the afternoon of Monday, December 13]. Three circuit judges presided -- Chief Judge Carolyn King of the Fifth Circuit, Judge Guy Cole of the Sixth Circuit, and Judge Paul Niemeyer of the Fourth Circuit -- and two more were in attendance, Judge Thomas Reavley (husband of Chief Judge King, also on the Fifth Circuit) and Judge Guido Calabresi (whom you know and love).
The finalists were arguing McCreary County v. ACLU, involving the constitutionality of a courthouse Ten Commandments display surrounded by various historical documents such as the Bill of Rights and Magna Carta. The two finalists arguing for Petitioners (the Kentucky counties that posted the Commandments) were Josh Block, a 3L, and Nick Stephanopoulos, a 2L. The two finalists arguing for Respondent (the ACLU) were Rebecca Smullin and Matt Spence, both 2Ls.
Of the presiding judges, Niemeyer asked the most (and the most pointed) questions, including one elaborate hypothetical involving a display of the Declaration of the Independence that everyone knew to be religiously motivated. Chief Judge King made several funny comments in defense of confusing Supreme Court precedents. And Cole asked more philosophical questions about the workability of different Establishment Clause standards.
It was a great event in front of a packed auditorium -- and one that I'm sure you would find interesting, given that five circuit court judges were in attendance.
A3G thanks her correspondent for this sight-ation. She does, however, have an unanswered question she'd like to pose: Why does Harvard Law School always get the biggest judicial superstars for its moot court final round?
As you may recall, UTR reported on the Ames Moot Court finals up at Harvard back in this post. Despite Yale's status as the most selective law school in the country, as well as its #1 U.S. News ranking (you can debate amongst yourselves how much that's worth), the moot court finals at Harvard regularly attract greater judicial celebrities than those of any other law school, including Yale. Supreme Court justices are regular fixtures at the Ames Moot Court finals. Why is that? What special inducements do the organziers of the Ames Moot Court competition offer to the justices? (If we were talking about Stanford Law School, of course, one could imagine the male justices being offered an intimate dinner with Stanford grad Chrstina Schultz, a.k.a. "Brazil," after the competition.)
Second, for those of you who are thinking, "Enough of judges being 'spotted' at moot court finals, speeches, etc.," here's a celebrity sighting you're sure to enjoy. A UTR reader who follows sports -- yes, there are a handful of you out there -- submitted this delicious tidbit:
Not a personal [sight-ation], but it's good nonetheless. In a recap of last night's Phoenix Suns-Utah Jazz game, ESPN notes the following (at the bottom of the page, under "Game Notes"): "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who grew up in Arizona, was seated at courtside."
Of course, in addition to growing up in Arizona, the Justice practiced law, legislated, and sat on the bench there from 1958 until her ascension in 1981, but there's no reason for ESPN to know that. I wonder what the Justice snacks on at a basketball game...
SDO watching b-ball? This might strike many as surprising; she is, after all, a federal judicial goddess and one of the most powerful women in the world. But let's not forget that the athletic Justice O'Connor, leader of the morning aerobics sessions at One First Street, likes to present herself as an ordinary gal who grew up on a ranch.
This may be more than just a public relations facade. Various UTR readers who have met Justice O'Connor report that she appears to be surprisingly down-to-earth and possessed of a good sense of humor. Another UTR reader offers this anecdote:
Several years ago, Sandra Day O’Connor was commencement speaker at Washington College of Law, American University. The University’s president, Dr. Benjamin Ladner, attended, in his academic robes and wearing his special necklace. To add an imperial tone to his presidency, he had several medallions struck, each depicting one of the colleges or schools of the University. Chained together, the medallions would do a biker chick very proud at a Harley fest.
Justice O’Connor, who is a little taller than the Prez, gravely shook his hand and inquired about the necklace. On hearing its significance, she said archly, “Do you wear that around the house to get a little extra respect?”
[Insert witty sign-off here],