Posted on February 13, 2016 by lewisshepherd
Supreme Court Justice Scalia passed away today. My wife Kathryn Ballentine Shepherd, a semi-retired attorney, has worked at the Supreme Court since 2003 (in the Curator’s Office, giving Chambers tours and lectures on the history of the Court and its Justices). Through her I’ve met and spent quite a bit of time with Justice Scalia over the years, and always enjoyed his writing and analyses, his humor and humanity. You see here a recent photo of Kathryn joking with him at the Supreme Court – he really seemed to love spending time with her, joshing with her in front of crowds (perhaps because she was a smart lawyer as well), and he always seemed to steer visiting friends to her for a “private” tour.
I was at Chief Justice Rehnquist’s funeral in 2005; he was deeply loved by the Supreme Court “family.” On today’s Court, the most-loved by them in my observation: Antonin Scalia.
One of the funnier moments in my recollection was at a 2006 Supreme Court Historical Society reenactment of the Aaron Burr treason trial held in the Court’s actual Chambers one evening, with Justice Scalia playing the role of the actual trial judge, Chief Justice John Marshall. Scalia peered down from the bench as the DC attorneys recruited for the event began to play out their own roles – among them Scalia’s own son Eugene, a powerhouse lawyer in his own right. “Chief Justice Marshall” (Justice Scalia) looked over his glasses and boomed out, “OK, who’s next – it says here your name is, um, Scall-ee-a, Scall-eye-a, what kind of name is that??” The audience roared with laughter. That was the common reaction to his ever-present, ever-witty humor.
For seven years I’ve recycled an old Reagan-era joke (it was originally about Thurgood Marshall), updating it for the Obama Administration and asking, “Who’s the most important conservative in Washington DC? Justice Scalia’s doctor.” In today’s hyper-politicized era, we’re about to see why….
Filed under: Government, Society, Technology | Tagged: Antonin Scalia, legal, politics, Scalia, Supreme Court | 8 Comments »
Posted on June 17, 2008 by lewisshepherd
FACT: According to a Reuters story today, “The European Commission, a thorn in Microsoft’s side for its antitrust campaigns against the software giant, is falling short in its own internal attempt to promote more competition in the technology sector. The European Union executive has so far not followed its own policy that it purchase office software and operating systems with open standards as well as Microsoft products.”
In the money quote, according to the Reuters story, the EU’s director of IT solutions “said in an interview arranged by a spokeswoman for Commissioner Siim Kallas, who oversees procurement, that studies showed the costs of moving to open source outweighed the benefits.”
Filed under: Government, Microsoft, Technology | Tagged: antitrust, Austria, bureaucracy, business, Christos Ellinides, computer, e2.0, education, enterprise, EU, Europe, European Community, European Court of Justice, European Investment Bank, European Parliament, eweek, Government, ideology, information week, legal, LINUX, Microsoft, open source, opensource, OS, Reuters, slashdot, software, tech, Technology, Vienna | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 9, 2008 by lewisshepherd
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.”
Filed under: Government, Society | Tagged: about.com, Antonin Scalia, AP, Associated Press, Boston University, Chief Justice, comedy, court, Daily Show, David Letterman, funny, Government, humor, Jay Leno, Jay Wexler, John Roberts, John Stewart, joke, jokes, journalists, judiciary, justice, law, lawyer, lawyers, legal, media, New York Times, Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court, William Rehnquist | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 21, 2008 by lewisshepherd
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.
Filed under: Government, Microsoft, Society, Technology | Tagged: Ahmed Mito, architect, architecture, Cairo, Capitol Hill, Chief Justice, Confucius, curator, Egypt, frieze, Hammurabi, international law, John Marshall, judges, judicial, judiciary, lawyer, lawyers, legal, Menes, Microsoft, Mohamed, Mohammed, Moses, Muhamed, Muhammed, Napoleon, SCC, SCUSA, Supreme Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Wikipedia | 6 Comments »