Top 5 On the Record posts of the year

An insider’s perspective on the U.S. Supreme Court was the most-read On the Record blog post of 2011. Readers also checked out a judge’s sense of humor in the Jewish Times bankruptcy case, why “Huckleberry Finn” shouldn’t be censored and the age-old debate on the value of law school.

The most-read blog posts of 2011 are as follows:

1. The power of five on the Supreme Court — June 15

The justices on the Supreme Court still have a few more opinions to issue this term, even if their minds are drifting toward their summer vacation plans.

The final batch of opinions might include a 5-4 decision decided by the “swing” vote of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Court watchers often predict that outcome for a case when a petition is granted. But chances are the outcome was determined when the justices decided to take the case in the first place, according to Lyle Denniston, who has covered the Supreme Court for more than 50 years.

2. Is law school worth the price of admission? — March 16

When U.S. News & World Report unveiled its 2012 law school rankings on Tuesday, the results weren’t exactly earth shattering. Despite efforts by the publication to put a premium on transparency in employment numbers, the list remained much the same as it has in years past. (But — can I get a “Hook ‘em Horns?”)

The law blogs were all atwitter over the “new” rankings this week, but I’d been ignoring such stories until a Facebook post caught my eye. A former colleague wrote on her wall that graduates from two of the three law schools in San Diego have the highest debt load in the country, according to the same issue of U.S. News.

3. Judge in Jewish Times case calls out lawyers — Sept. 23

Some next-day thoughts on the unexpected outcome of the two-and-a-half-day bankruptcy hearing of Alter Communications, publisher of the Baltimore Jewish Times (in which the judge rejected the restructuring plans of both Alter and its printer-turned-creditor, H.G. Roebuck & Son Inc.):

The federal judge in the case, James F. Schneider, lightened the proceedings several times with his ultra-dry wit. At one point Maria Ellena Chavez-Ruark, Alter’s attorney, was reading back word-for-word Schneider’s decision to confirm Alter’s plan in December — a decision that was later overturned by a higher court.

4. Is there a ribbon for lawsuit awareness? — Jan. 4

The Huffington Post reported last month that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure has filed trademark infringement lawsuits against other charities that use “for the cure” in their names. The story alleges Komen spends a $1 million a year in donor funds on such litigation.

The foundation has more than 200 registered trademarks, and I didn’t even know you could protect a phrase like “for the cure,” hon.

5. The case against censoring ‘Huckleberry Finn’ — Jan. 6

By now you’ve probably heard about the new editions of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by NewSouth Books that will not include any mention of the n-word, which had originally appeared in the book more than 200 times.

The n-word will be replaced by the word “slave,” part of an attempt by Auburn University professor Alan Gribben — who worked with NewSouth on the new edition — to keep the book in the hands of students.

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