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Washington Lawyer

Legal Spectator: Did You Read the Latest Opinion of the Supreme Court?

From Washington Lawyer, February 2009

By Jacob A. Stein

Legal Spectator

  1. I read about it in Linda Greenhouse’s story in The New York Times.
  2. I saw the summary in The Washington Post.
  3. I glanced through it.
  4. I read the headnotes, or was it the syllabus?
  5. I read about it in the newsletter we send to clients.
  6. I will try and read it when I get back to the office.
  7. Let’s just say I flipped through it.
  8. I liked that strong language in the dissent.
  9. Where can I get hold of it?
  10. Can you lend me your copy?
  11. Is it filled with original intent?
  12. I know roughly what it is about, but that’s about it.
  13. I haven’t read it, but I spoke to one of the lawyers who was on the briefs.
  14. I tried reading it but I couldn’t get through it. Too much self-justification, too long.
  15. I heard it discussed on Jim Lehrer’s show.
  16. I heard some of the oral arguments on C-SPAN Radio.
  17. I usually take it to bed with me. It must be under the covers.
  18. Congress will take care of it, just you wait and see.
  19. Was it another punitive damages case, or was it the gun case?
  20. I saw right away it had nothing to do with my clients, so I put it aside.
  21. I never thought the Court would grant cert, and now I know it should not have.
  22. After flipping through it, I think there ought to be two Supreme Courts: one to decide the legal issues, and another to decide the politics.
  23. I put it all in my briefcase and read it on the subway.
  24. I did read it, but I cannot recall the facts.
  25. I saw the lawyers interviewed on the steps of the courthouse. One of them, I cannot recall his name, was sure he won.
  26. I was hoping they would cite my law review article, but they didn’t.
  27. I read it, but I still cannot tell whether or not the sentencing guidelines are constitutional.
  28. I was consulted about the case, but they went to somebody else after I said it might be a loser. I won’t do that again.
  29. A partner of mine was at the Court when it was argued. He said he thought it would go the other way.
  30. Why don’t they televise the arguments?
  31. Didn’t Justice William H. Rehnquist use the word Kafkaesque in one of his previous opinions? This recent opinion fits right in.
  32. I attended the Georgetown Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute Moot Court Program, and they predicted it.
  33. To understand it, to really read it all, you would have to take off a day. I just don’t have the time anymore.
  34. Much of it was predictable.
  35. I thought the Court confused rather than clarified the issue. One of the dissents said just that.
  36. How much of these opinions do the clerks write?
  37. I am going into the hospital for some minor surgery, and I will read it there.

Reach Jacob A. Stein at jstein@steinmitchell.com.