Monday, March 31, 2008
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Love her or hate her, you have to admire U.S Sen. Hillary Clinton'stenacity. Whether she'll ultimately take the Democratic nomination forpresident remains up in the air; as of this writing, neither she norher Democratic opponent,has cried "uncle." But, win or lose, like her or not, the New Yorksenator's campaign offers women lawyers some valuable lessons as theyfight their own battles in this still male-dominated profession.
Never underestimate an opponent. The most importantmistake the Clinton campaign made was that it didn't seem to anticipatewhat it was up against. A first-term senator from Illinois nobody hadheard of until four years ago? It should have been a cakewalk.Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign didn't seem to have put much of anorganization in place beyond the Feb. 4 Super Tuesday primaries. Itlost momentum just when it needed to pick up steam.Fortunately, she managed a strong showing in Texas (and solidwins in Ohio and Rhode Island), so she's back in the race now. Butthere's no doubt that she didn't anticipate Obama becoming the Bono of Democratic Party politics, and she hadn't put in place the infrastructure for a campaign stretching well into the spring.
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Indiana v. Edwards, a case in which the Court is considering whether states may adopt a higher standard for measuring competency to represent oneself at trial than for measuring competency to stand trial. Specifically, the Court is weighing whether the Indiana Supreme Court correctly ruled that a court which found a schizophrenic defendant competent to stand trial could not subsequently deny that defendant the right to represent himself under the Sixth Amendment. During arguments Wednesday, several justices suggested that the constitutional right to self-representation is not absolute, while Justice Antonin Scalia took issue with the contention that courts may be able to find a defendant competent to stand trial but not to mount his own defense.
The Court also heard arguments Wednesday in Florida Dept. of Revenue v. Piccadilly Cafeterias, a statutory interpretation case in which the Court is expected to whether an exemption from state and local transfer taxes, provided under the federal bankruptcy code for reorganization plans confirmed in court, applies only after the plan has been approved by a bankruptcy court. The case is on appeal from an April 2007 Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling; a decision in the case could help resolve a difference of interpretation between the Eleventh Circuit and the Third and Fourth Circuits.