Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading is the reason for the season:

A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients’ appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period.

The lawyers are the most influential members of one of the most powerful specialties in America: the business of practicing before the Supreme Court. None of these lawyers is a household name. But many are familiar to the nine justices. That’s because about half worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them.

They are the elite of the elite: Although they account for far less than 1 percent of lawyers who filed appeals to the Supreme Court, these attorneys were involved in 43 percent of the cases the high court chose to decide from 2004 through 2012.

The dialogue between the two sides was not especially nuanced. The people of color would chant, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and the White people would respond, “Whose jails? Your jails!” This went on and on — the Black and Hispanic folks yelling, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and the White people responding, “Hands up, don’t loot!”


And, of course, “I can’t breathe” was met with, “I can breathe.”

The latter was extremely offensive, and I had a hard time maintaining body language which wouldn’t make those yelling it clam up around me. It is hard to fathom, even as a reporter, what is going on with folks who will use a dying man’s words against him to prove he was a “thug.” Nothing was as scary as hearing folks shout, “I can breathe! I follow the law!”

I was most scared when I got a retired, large white cop to talk to me. He was trying to convince me that Eric Garner should have known how to submit, because he’d been arrested so often. The man put his hands on me to demonstrate what a chokehold was, and what it was not.


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