Friday, June 08, 2007

Help Wanted

Vikram Amar, Randy Barnett, Robert Bork, Alan Dershowitz, Viet Dinh, Douglas Kmiec, Gary Lawson, Earl Maltz, Thomas Merrill, Robert Nagel, Richard Parker, and Robert Pushaw--a very notable set of legal luminaries--have all petitioned to file an amicus brief in the Scooter Libby case, arguing that the appointment of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is a close constitutional call. In granting the request to file the brief, Judge Reggie Walton wrote the following footnote:
It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics' willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.


For what it's worth, Dershowitz and Amar would probably call themselves liberals, while Bork, Dinh, & Kmiec are definite conservatives, and Barnett is a libertarian. I know nothing of the others.

1 comment:

Flinger said...

Because it speaks to a pressing social concern -- the resources available to indigent defense -- I am inclined to grudidngly acknowledge that it is indeed the best footnote ever in a judicial opinion. But it will be oh so hard to part with the thirteenth footnote from Blakely v. Washington, the sharpest blow ever dealt to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines:

To be sure, Justice Breyer and the other dissenters would forbid those increases of sentence that violate the constitutional principle that tail shall not wag dog. The source of this principle is entirely unclear. Its precise effect, if precise effect it has, is presumably to require that the ratio of sentencing-factor add-on to basic criminal sentence be no greater than the ratio of caudal vertebrae to body in the breed of canine with the longest tail. Or perhaps no greater than the average such ratio for all breeds. Or perhaps the median. Regrettably, Apprendi has prevented full development of this line of jurisprudence.

Come here and gimme hug, Scalia, you big pompous analytically consistent reactionary lug you...

Comment a modified post from shitstorm, which I do hereby whore.