An Operatic Constitutional Battle

In the you’ve-got-to-hear-it-to believe-it department, composer and recent law school grad Derrick Wang has written an opera pitting Justices Scalia and Ginsburg (and their conflicting views) against each other. Be sure to click through to the “Listen Now” button — not only will you hear excerpts from the clever opera, but the piece also offers the rare chance to hear the two justices speak.

SCOTUS Updates Rules of Practice

The United States Supreme Court has updated its rules of practice, effective July 1, 2013 [.pdf]. The changes are relatively minor, such that the Court did not make them available for comment before adopting them. The changes include:

  • Rule 12.6: Providing that a party aligned with and supporting the grant of a petition has 30 days to file a supporting brief. The party must still notify the court of its intent to file within 20 days, and cannot get an enlargement of time to file.
  • Rules 15 & 18: Increasing the number of days the Clerk waits to distribute petitions to the Justices, which gives Petitioners more time to get a reply brief served and included in the distribution packet.
  • Rule 29.3: requiring electronic transmission of Petitions to other parties in most instances.
  • Rules 37.2(a) and 3(a): Clarifying that only one signatory to an amicus brief need get consent, eliminating the need for additional signatories to file consents.
  • Rule 39: Allowing attorneys who are appointed by a state court to appear without filing an affidavit of indigency.
  • Rule 28.8: Requiring everyone to argue before the Court to be an attorney.

This article explains the interesting backstory of the Court’s new Rule 28.8, including the fascinating story of the last non-lawyer to argue (and win!) before the Supreme Court.

How an Idea Become and Amicus Brief: ABA Edition

I have always been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes policy decisions that go into the preparation and filing of an amicus curiae brief. The American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Section offers a peek behind the curtain in this months’ Landslide magazine. It’s an interesting look at how the sausage is made when the ABA is aiming to be a friend of the court.