Between 2009 and 2020, Josh published more than 10,000 blog posts. Here, you can access his blog archives.


Doilyology: Predict Justice Ginsburg Opinions With Her Majority and Dissenting Jabots

August 1st, 2014

During an interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ginsburg gave us an insight into her jabot closet–but even more than that, she gave us a glimpse into the secret world of doilyology. Much like Kremlinology, we can now use the jabot draped around RBG’s punam to predict her authored opinions a given day. You see RBG wears different collars when she is reading a majority, or dissenting opinion. (An RBG clerk told me this some time ago, but I wasn’t able to make it public. Now I can).

There’s only one way to test this new theory of Doilyology. Compare her chosen jabots with our only window into the fortress of solitude at One First Street NE. Courtartist Art Lien!

First, we have the “majority collar.” RBG explains:

This one is my majority opinion collar. So when I’m announcing an opinion for the Court, this is the collar I wear. This was a gift from my clerks.




So let’s check the archives. Here is Justice Ginsburg delivering the majority opinion in Wood v. Moss. That is most definitely the golden majority jabot!

Opinion: Wood v. Moss, No.13-115

It’s quite regal!

Although, the majority jabot may be somewhat recent. Here is RBG in 2011 delivering the opinion for the Court in CSX v. McBride, with a standard, run of the mill jabot–what I call the teacup neck doily.


Second, we have the dissenting doily (dissentoily?). RBG explained, “This is my dissenting collar.” Couric replied, “Why is that.” RBG answered,  “It looks fitting for dissents.” This neck-bling is so shiny it can give the men in the majority a blind spot.



And, I think we have a match. Here is Art’s sketch of RBG dissenting in Hobby Lobby, while seated next to the doily-less Justice Alito, who delivered the majority opinion. Alito definitely seems to be blinded by the light.

Opinion: Hobby Lobby, No. 13-354

And, you can just make out the shades of the dissenting jabot in this sketch of Argentina v. NML Capital.

Opinion: Argentina v. NML Capital, No. 12-842

Here is RBG dissenting Shelby County v. Holder last term. Definitely the dissenting neck doily.

SCOTUS dissent: Shelby County v Holder

I think we have a match!

So, all of you enterprising SCOTUS sleuths. When you are sitting in the Court for a hand-down, pay close attention to Justice Ginsburg’s neck–you may be able to figure out what’s what. So let’s add doily-watching to box-counting and waiting-for-Lyle to our Supreme Court traditions.

In case you are interested, Couric gave us a nice shot of RBG’s closet.




And this jabot, which is from South Africa:

“This one is my favorite, it’s from South Africa. It’s from Cape Town.”


She wore this jabot in two same-sex weddings she performed. This must be the nuptial doily.

Good thing jabot, and “neck doily” are in the next edition of Black’s Law dictionary.

Prop1 Final Exam Grades & Comments

May 19th, 2014

Hello everyone. I apologize for interrupting your summer break with this note. I have submitted grades for Property I.  I am very proud of all of you. On the whole, you nailed it. I put together really difficult fact patterns that were quite open-ended, with the intent that there would be many, many, many correct answers. I thought I had considered all the possible answers, but several of you came up with things I didn’t even think of. Well done.

Additionally, many of you incorporated various concepts we talked about in class that were not in the textbook (such as the Coase Theorem, various natural law concepts, etc.). And one of you correctly used the word “dissental” to characterize Judge Kozinski’s dissent from denial of rehearing en banc in Vanna White v. Samsung. (“The dissental by Kozinski would characterize this as overprotection.”)  I sent a note to Chief Judge Kozinski and he replied, “love, love, love.” I understand that he also added it to his case to persuade Bryan Garner to add word “dissental” to the next edition of Black’s law dictionary (add it alongside “neck doily,” my humble contribution to legal language).

For some comic relief, one of you used the phrase “fiduciary doodie.” I did not take any points off, but I chuckled. Another noted the uncanny resemblance between Bookie (a/k/a Snooki) and Amy Winehouse: “The leopard tights and hair bump could only be Bookie or Amy Winehouse. and Amy is thinner and never went to the gym.”

Finally, despite all of your concerns, almost every single one of you managed to completely answer the question within the word limit. In other words, the differences between the A, B, and C was not due to an inability to write within the word limits.

You can download the exam here.

You can download the A+ paper here. If this is your paper, please drop me a line.

The Grades

First year classes are subject to the school’s mandatory grading curve (see p. 84 of the handbook):

grades assigned in classes of 40 or more students shall conform to a mandatory grading distribution. That distribution provides for a required 9-16 percent for A+/A, a required 16-30 percent for A+/A/A-; a required 16-30 percent for C+/C/C-/D+/D/F; and a required 9-16 percent for C/C-/D+/D/F. The class average shall be 2.85-3.15.

I think you will find that I maximized the grades here. I approached the upper limits of the grades allowed above an A-, and approached the lower limits of grades below C+. In addition, the class average was very close to the upper limit (3.326). In other words, there were many more As than Cs, and the class averages were quite high.

Here is the full breakdown.



Thank you all for a great semester.



Video: Obamacare in One Lesson

March 1st, 2014

In my constitutional law class, I gave a condensed lecture on all aspects of NFIB v. Sebelius from start to finish. The video runs three hours in length, but covers everything from start to finish. (As it turns out, I led off class by playing the video of the guy who snuck the camera into court). I also may or may not have announced that I am the proud owner of my very own neck doily. If you have some time, you will enjoy this.

Ruth Vader Ginsburg

January 29th, 2014

The force is strong with this neck doily.


Via LadyPuns

David Lat Has Coined Three Words in Black’s Law Dictionary (and I got a slang tweet from Garner)

January 27th, 2014

Kudos to David Lat for coning three new words added to the newest edition of Black’s Law Dictionary: bench-slap, judicial diva, and litigatrix.

And, Bryan Garner confirmed that “neck doily” is now slang for Jabot!


And “doily” is preferred to “doiley.”

Update: Here is a screen shot from the 10th Edition of Black’s Dictionary for Jabot.