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Blog Scan

Microphone Malfunction During Supreme Court Oral Arguments:  At Blog of the Legal Times, Tony Mauro has a post explaining the "banging sound" that crept into transcripts from oral arguments in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee.  The banging occurred during Charles Rothfeld's argument for the Petitioners after Justice Ginsburg asked him to raise the microphone on his podium.  Apparently, when Rothfeld cranked up the podium, he inadvertently stretched a wire to one of the microphones on the podium to the near-breaking point.  The result: a loud banging sound "as if someone was swatting one of the microphones."  Luckily, Rothfeld kept his cool and finished his argument without further banging.  This serves as one more example of what not to let fluster you when appearing before the Supreme Court.

Alito Speaks on Originalist Interpretation at the Supreme Court
:  Robert VerBruggen has a post on Bench Memos discussing Alito's keynote address at The American Spectator's annual Robert L. Bartley Gala last night.  For VerBruggen, Alito's "most interesting remarks had to do with how the Supreme Court is increasingly returning to Blackstone's 'text first' method of interpreting laws..."  While Alito used D.C. v. Heller to illustrate the Supreme Court's use of originalist intent.  He then cited  the interesting statistic that recently, judges have used dictionary definitions more often than they have through the entire history of the court.  As a follow-up, Kathryn Jean Lopez provides a post that exemplifies how Justice Alito used his quick wit to poke fun at Vice President-elect, Joe Biden.

Can Emoticons Become Entrapment?: 
This is the question posed by Dionne Searcey at Wall Street Journal Blog today.  In her post Searcey discusses a case before the Nebraska Supreme Court involving "those little smiley faces created by various punctuation that teenagers -- and some Law Bloggers -- use in text messages and emails. :)"  The case revolves around a 31-year-old, James Pischel, who was sent to prison for using his computer to entice a 15-year-old girl who turned out to be a police investigator.  According to Pischel's attorney the state investigator played on Pischel's emotions and continued to chat with him after Pischel had said she was too young to pursue.  Although it seems hard to believe that little punctuation marks could entice someone to do something they wouldn't ordinarily do, Nebraska's Supreme Court will get the chance to review the issue and Pischel's sentence.  For more information on the oral argument check out Lori Pilger's article in the Lincoln Journal-Star.   

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