Biden gives Supreme apology

January 28, 2009

bidenrobertssmallJust when we thought we were done with the topic, another twist emerges in the ongoing fallout from Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.’s presidential oath flub.

Vice President Joe Biden – who cracked wise about Roberts’ trouble with the oath, much to President Barack Obama’s visible chagrin (see it here) – called and apologized to the chief justice for the remark.

Biden called Roberts some time last week, and the two had “a good conversation” according to Someone Who Knows.


Biden gets a Supreme zinger in

January 21, 2009

bidenJust minutes ago, Vice President Joe Biden swore in members of the White House staff. Before doings so, he couldn’t help himself from making a joke:

“My memory is not as good as chief Justice Roberts,” Biden said, indicating he would read the oath to the new appointees instead of attempting to say it by heart as Roberts did with the presidential oath yesterday, to problematic results.

Biden’s quip drew laughs from the new staffers, as well as reporters.

UPDATE: As some tipsters have pointed out to DC Dicta, there was one person in attendance who clearly did not find Biden’s quip funny in the least: President Barack Obama. In this clip you can clearly see Obama grimace and shake his head at Biden’s remark. Obama also gave the vice president a little pat with his hand as if to say: “Just get on with it, Joe.”


The Funniest Justice, week 7: Serious Supremes

January 15, 2009

supremeobamaIt’s been a busy week at the Supreme Court. Aside from hearing oral arguments, The justices handed down four decisions (more on those here, here, here and here). They even had a couple of high-profile visitors stop by.

Perhaps the seriousness of the opinion topics and the upcoming historic transfer of executive power caused the justices to be more serious and less silly on the bench this week. The laughs were few and far between, according to our ongoing review of court transcripts.

Unlike other weeks, where the crowd laughed dozens of times, this week the justices only garnered five rounds of giggles in the Court: two from quips made by the Court’s reigning funny man Justice Antonin Scalia,  two from Justice Stephen Breyer’s comments, and one from a funny made by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.

(Looking at the picture, perhaps they saves all their laughs for the incoming president and vice president?)

Here are the laugh standings so for this term, based on Court transcripts:

Justice Antonin Scalia: 29

Justice Stephen Breyer: 21

Chief Justice John Roberts: 19

Justice David Souter: 9

Justice Anthony Kennedy: 9

Justice John Paul Stevens: 6

Justice Samuel Alito: 2

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1

Justice Clarence Thomas: 0 (Thomas hasn’t made a remark during oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006).


DC Dicta’s greatest hits of 2008

December 22, 2008

With 2008 almost in the history books, it’s a good time to take a look back at the most popular posts of the year here at DC Dicta. Looking back, the hottest items on the blog revolved around presidential campaign moments, Supreme Court shenanigans, celebrity testimony on the Hill, and the beleaguered Justice Department. Let’s count them down:

10. Mukasey: ‘Not every violation of the law is a crime’

mukaseyagComments made by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in August – particularly the quote: “Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime” – circulated around the blogosphere and ultimately became a catchphrase to represent the problems plaguing the Justice Department in recent years.

9. The Funniest Justice: Antonin Scalia

scaliasideNo one leaves ’em laughing in the courtroom like Justice Antonin Scalia, who handily won the title of Funniest Justice for the October 2007 term.

8. Kennedy winks in EEOC’s direction?

kennedy2After January oral arguments in Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC, this post noted that Justice Anthony “Swing Vote” Kennedy seemed to indicate pretty clearly that he believed the retirement benefits system in question discriminated on the basis of age – just as the EEOC contended. Although he did go on to find the program discriminatory, he was in the Court’s minority, writing the dissent in a case that did not at all adhere to the Court’s usual conservative vs. liberal breakdown. (Scalia and Ginsburg joined Kennedy’s dissent – when does that every happen?)

7. Actor to lawmakers: Let patients bring pharma suits

quaidMr. (Dennis) Quaid went to Washington. The actor, whose newborn twin daughters were accidentally given a nearly-lethal dose of the drug herapin, told lawmakers in May that without the right to sue pharmaceutical companies, consumers will become “uninformed and uncompensated lab rats.”

6. U.S. News law school rankings leaked!

When the folks at Above The Law put up a document showing the 2009 U.S. News & World Report law school rankings a few days before they were published in March, we sent you there.

5. McCain’s switch on Souter; Obama: Thomas isn’t too bright

thomas2Ah, remember that video of then presidential candidate Barack Obama basically saying Justice Clarence Thomas wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer? Of course you do! Many of you watched it right here in August.

4. Biden calls Court a Supreme campaign issue

bidenDuring the campaign season, now Vice President-elect Joe Biden was one of the most frequently searched subjects leading to DC Dicta. When he talked about the importance of the election in terms of potential Supreme Court nominees in August, the related post was one of the most popular blog items for weeks afterwards.

3. Cover blown off Chief Justice’s school visit

robertssmallWho knew Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. was so popular? Well, he obviously does – since he tried to clandestinely visit a local high school in March for a talk with students. But somehow word got out, newspaper reporters were there waiting for him, and DC Dicta readers wanted to know all about it.

2. 400 requests for reduced crack sentences in two days

crackWhen new reduced federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses, approved last year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, went into effect retroactively in March, one day later more than 400 court orders from around the country slashing prison terms had been processed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

And the most hit blog post of the year (drumroll, please!):

1. High court denies Enron investors’ petition

enronThis Jan. 22 post noted that the Supreme Court, on the heels of its decision in Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc., denied a petition by Enron investors seeking to pursue similar claims against bankers from firms including Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse Group. The move ended the investors’ actions claiming the bank companies colluded with Enron officials’ fraud.


Once and future veep chief of staff

November 13, 2008

klainVice President-elect Joe Biden has tapped an attorney with an impressive resume to be his chief of staff at the White House. According to the Associated Press and several other news outlets, this week the Obama-Biden team will announce the selection of Ron Klain as Biden’s chief of staff.

Klain, a magna cum laude grad of Harvard Law, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White for two years. He went on to become chief of staff and counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, associate counsel to President Bill Clinton, and chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore.

Klain, a top advisor in the campaign, currently serves executive vice president and general counsel of Revolution LLC, a Washington, DC-based company launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case in 2005.