Meet Judge Sonia Sotomayor: "She was 'a child with dreams,' as she once said, the little girl who learned at 8 that she had diabetes, who lost her father when she was 9, who devoured Nancy Drew books and spent Saturday nights playing bingo, marking the cards with chickpeas, in the squat red brick housing projects of the East Bronx." So begins this fascinating NYT profile of the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee. Click here for The National Law Journal's coverage by Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle.
Overruled: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court yesterday overruled a 23-year-old precedent on the right to counsel, Coyle reports. The majority in Montejo v. Louisiana dispensed with Michigan v. Jackson, the 1986 decision that bars police from initiating interrogation of a criminal defendant once he or she has asked for a lawyer at an arraignment or a similar proceeding. Justice Antonin Scalia, who read the opinion to an unusually thin crowd, said Jackson was "poorly reasoned, has created no significant reliance interests and is ultimately unworkable."
Storm Warnings: In other SCOTUS news, the NLJ's Mike Scarcella reports that yesterday the Court agreed to hear Merck & Co.'s challenge to a shareholder suit linked to litigation over the painkiller Vioxx. Company lawyers say the shareholder suit was filed outside the two-year statute of limitations and should not be permitted to go forward. At issue in the case are so-called "storm warnings" -- the point at which the investor has received notice of the alleged wrongdoing and the two-year window on bringing a suit begins. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit noted there is disagreement among circuit courts about starting points.
Health Care Hangups: More from today's New York Times: Antitrust lawyers say doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and drug makers could run into legal trouble if they agree to hold down prices and reduce the growth of health spending. That's bad news for President Barack Obama, who wants to cut health costs by $2 trillion over the next decade. The Justice Department and the Supreme Court have made clear that agreements setting maximum prices are just as illegal as agreements that set minimum ones, and while Obama is asking the health care industry for proposals to control costs, his administration has offered no relief from antitrust laws. In fact, he's vowed to step up enforcement.
Bernie's Bank: Banco Santander SA, one of the largest conduits of investor money to Bernard Madoff, agreed on Tuesday to pay $235 million to settle potential legal claims by the trustee of the defunct Madoff firm, The Wall Street Journal reports. If approved by the bankruptcy court overseeing the Madoff firm's liquidation, the bank's agreement would would mark the first time a so-called feeder fund has agreed to make payments to the trustee. It also would raise to $1.2 billion the amount of assets the trustee has recovered for Madoff investors.