Best Joke by a Supreme Court Justice

FACT: Chief Justice John Roberts said in a speech on Friday that he will increase the number of cases heard by the Supreme Court from two a day to three during the coming term beginning in October, according to an AP account of his speech. Roberts says that if the busier fall schedule lightens the caseload by next spring, he may be able to cut back then. 

ANALYSIS: When Roberts became Chief Justice in 2005, some Court observers wondered whether the younger Chief would begin burdening his colleagues with more work, increasing the Court’s caseload by granting more cases.  Now it looks like he may attack the issue in a slightly different way, hoping to cut a swath through the caseload issue with a burst of activity but not necessarily more cases overall.

Friday, the affable Roberts pointed out that the increase to three arguments each court day might put a strain on the Solicitor General’s Office, since it saddles the burden of arguing the federal government’s side in most of the cases.  But Roberts also pointed out that it’ll mean more work for the journalists who cover the Court – a small but tenacious crowd who like to pass judgment on the Court and its performance regularly.  Roberts then joked: “After careful reflection, I decided I didn’t care.”

Continue reading

Egypt’s Supreme Court

FACT: Last month Egypt’s parliament passed a new law on public demonstrations in the vicinity of religious facilities (churches, mosques, etc.).  Already, lawyers are planning for an appeal and review of the law before Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (photo left), the nation’s highest judicial body.  


ANALYSIS: I wrote earlier that at the Microsoft Institute we’re thinking about ways to help improve the operations and capabilities of the judicial branch of government, at various levels. 

Perhaps my interest has been piqued by the fact that, for quite a while, I’ve been sleeping with a brilliant lawyer – oh, that would be my wife Kathryn. While she’s retired from active practice, she spends some volunteer time each week at the U.S. Supreme Court, giving public lectures on the history of the Court and its justices for the Curator’s Office.

Continue reading

Required Reading on Innovation and Patents

FACT:  If you’re a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s tremendous books (“The Tipping Point” and “Blink“), then you probably read the New Yorker magazine just to get his articles.  He has a new piece this week, “In the Air: Who Says Big Ideas are Rare?” in which he describes the phenomenally appealing work of the legendary Nathan Myhrvold and his current gig running “Intellectual Ventures,” often mistaken for a VC firm.  Gladwell recounts the facts that Myhrvold “graduated from high school at fourteen. He started Microsoft’s research division, leaving, in 1999, with hundreds of millions.”  It is what he’s done since then that grabs the mind, particularly if you’re interested in invention and innovation:

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: