Saturday, August 08, 2009

More 'Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick' Behind-the-Scenes Trivia

Readers of this blog may have noticed how much I enjoy emphasizing that the 2001 Supreme Court vote in Tasini v. New York Times was 7-2. One of my sound bites goes something like this: "When Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are on the same side, you have consensus."

One of the two minority holdouts in Tasini was Stephen Breyer (the other was John Paul Stevens). And with the Court now taking up Tasini offshoot Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick, it is useful to take note of some of Justice Breyer's background. (It is also important to remind everyone that the question currently before the Court is jurisdiction of settlements including claims of unregistered copyrights -- not, at least as yet, the merits of the freelance writers' class-action settlement, to which I and others object.)

The mediator of the freelance settlement was Kenneth Feinberg, best known for his work with the 9/11 victims' compensation fund.

Feinberg and Breyer are old friends and colleagues. In a June article about the Sonia Sotomayor nomination, National Law Journal's David Ingram called Feinberg "a prominent defender of Breyer ... when questions arose [during Breyer's confirmation hearings] about Breyer's investment in Lloyd's of London."


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