The Supreme Court was amazing. The Justices (OK, everyone but Clarence Thomas) participated vigorously in the oral arguments in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale; for the most part, they appeared to be exploring ideas more than they were stating preconceived opinions, which was very nice to hear. The attorney for James Dale, Evan Wolfson, was incredibly articulate and had clearly done his homework (which is more than can be said for the attorney for the Boy Scouts, George Davidson, who dodged almost every difficult question posed to him).

I wish that I had found FindLaw’s Supreme Court docket before I had gone to D.C.; it has all of the amicus briefs filed in the Boy Scouts case, and I bet that there are some really scary arguments in some of them.

Dahlia Lithwick’s column on the arguments yesterday is available on Slate. In particular, I like her characterization of Davidson’s “rebuttal,” which legitimately left everyone in the room scratching their heads, assuming that he just didn’t want to subject himself to any more questioning from the bench.

Now, admittedly, I’m no legal expert, but I have lost a ton of respect for Lawrence Tribe after his New York Times op-ed piece contending that there was no legal right to grab Elian. To quote Tribe:

The Justice Department points out that the agents who stormed the Miami home were armed not only with guns but with a search warrant. But it was not a warrant to seize the child. Elián was not lost, and it is a semantic sleight of hand to compare his forcible removal to the seizure of evidence, which is what a search warrant is for.

Now, to quote from the warrant (bold emphasis added by me):

[On the premises of Lazaro Gonzalez’s house] there is now concealed a certain person or property, namely the person of of Elian Gonzalez, date of birth December 8, 1993, a native and citizen of Cuba… You are hereby commanded to search on or before 5-1-00 (not to exceed 10 days) the person or place named above for the person or property specified, serving this warrant and making the search… and if the person or property be found there to seize same

Seems to me that the warrant was clear that it was to seize Elian.

I am superbly glad to read both that Juan Miguel Gonzalez has filed to assert his rights as Elian’s father, and that the Dr. Pauline Kernberg has recommended that Elian’s Miami “relatives” should not be allowed to see him in their current angry state. More importantly, I am glad that the Eleventh Circuit has denied all of the requests made by the Miami family (that they, their doctors, and their lawyers all be given “regular and reasonable” access to Elian).

The only problem I have with Cam’s “Four Men in Hats” brainteaser: the answer assumes that the men know where each other are positioned, an assumption that’s never explicitly stated. In other words, the “Puzzle” paragraph needs to state that in addition to everything else, each knows where the others are situated. is suing Robert Smigel, writer for Conan O’Brien, saying that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (a puppet dog that appears on Conan every now and then) is a rip-off of the ubiquitous dog. Unfortunately for them, Triumph first appeared in February 1997, when (I’d be willing to bet) hadn’t even been conceived as a company.