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Following up on our continuing presidential politics roundup, here's the latest on the lawyerly lives of the presidential candidates, as well as the legal issues involved in the upcoming campaign:

Why Obama Took the Road Less Traveled
As a Harvard Law graduate and a law review editor, Barack Obama could have had his pick of virtually any prestigious judicial clerkship.  Moreover, moving from Ivy League law school to clerkship to biglaw firm was (and still is) a traditional career path that would virtually guarantee a successful legal career.  And yet, as Tony Mauro writes in The Man That Got Away, Obama apparently never even pursued clerkship opportunities, spurning overtures from prominent judges like Abner Mikva of the D.C. Circuit, in favor of returning to Chicago to resume community and civil rights work.  Seems as if Obama's gamble paid off...

Rudy Giuliani:  From Prosecutor to President
This New York Times article reports on Giuliani's tenure as a United States attorney nearly 25 years ago.  Giuliani's ascension was "fortuitous," according to the article; a recently completed FBI investigation provided grist for several high-level Mafia prosecutions, while investigators were delving into Wall Street corruption cases that became another staple of the U.S. Attorneys' office under Giuliani's lead.  But the article quotes some as questioning Giuliani's judgment and ethics as a prosecutor. 

Right now, however, Giuliani is finding some shelter in ethics rules.  As Bloomberg reports, Giuliani has refused to release a full list of his law firm clients, citing confidentiality rules that prohibit him from revealing clients that he or his firm represents.  In any event, Giuliani has apparently identified the majority of the clients with whom he worked at his current firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, was well as at a separate consulting firm.

Will Today's Supreme Court Decision Change Hillary Clinton's Position About Retroactivity And Sentencing Guidelines for Crack Cocaine?
Last week, when Norm Pattis posted that Hillary is opposed to calls for retroactive adjustments to sentences for those convicted of possession of crack cocaine. According to Pattis, Clinton is the only Democratic candidate who's taken this position.  Today's Supreme Court decision in Kimbrough v. U.S. (see earlier post) doesn't directly address the retroactivity issue (at least, I didn't see it), but Professor Berman suggests that defendants who preserved the disparity argument may have grounds for seeking modified sentences in the aftermath of Kimbrough (while those who didn't preserve the argument are out of luck).  And in the same post, he also isn't sure whether the presidential candidates will "make much of, or ignore Kimbrough.  But the case may give Hillary Clinton an excuse to reconsider her own position on retroactivity without appearing like she's flip-flopping on the issue.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on December 10, 2007 at 05:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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