June 30th, 2010
08:17 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Thurgood Marshall

The Howard University Law School graduate who fought to end the legalized segregation of the nation’s schools and was selected the first African-American associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has become a constant presence at Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings.

Although he died 17 years ago, Marshall was mentioned more than 30 times Monday, the first day of the hearings, many times by critical Republicans.

"It's clear that he considered himself a judicial activist and was unapologetic about it," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "He described his judicial philosophy as quote, 'Do what you think is right and let the law catch up.' "

After questioning about Marshall continued Tuesday, Kagan said, “I love Justice Marshall. He did an enormous amount for me. But if you confirm me to this position, you'll get Justice Kagan - you won't get Justice Marshall."

President Obama’s nominee was Marshall’s law clerk during 1988 and 1989. She recalled that Marshall playfully called her "Shorty" during her clerkship.

CNN: Kagan, senators get ready for next round

Jeremy Paris

Sen. Patrick Leahy’s chief counsel for nominations and oversight got a shout-out from Kagan during her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kagan said to Leahy, “Part of my life is teaching, which I take enormous pleasure and joy from. I am looking over your left shoulder, right on my side, and there is a student of mine right there and maybe there are some other students around the room and it’s a kind of great thing.”

To which the senator responded, “We are doing our best to make Jeremy blush.”

According to the University of Virginia School of Law website, Paris, who has been a staffer for Leahy since 2005, manages the group responsible for handling nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, lower federal courts and the Department of Justice. He helped Democratic Judiciary Committee members prepare for the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito and Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Paris received his bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Conference on Public Service and the Law: Bios

Joseph Casias

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart for the termination of the Michigan employee whose doctor verified his illness qualified for medical marijuana use.

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, fired Casias in November after he failed an on-the-job, injury-related drug test. Casias suffers from a rare form of cancer in his nasal cavity and brain, and he relied on his doctor's medical marijuana prescription to alleviate the daily pain. Casias, who has battled his cancer for more than a decade, is one of about 20,000 legal medical marijuana users in Michigan.

Wal-Mart officials say they are sympathetic to Casias' condition, but the company needed to put the safety of its customers and associates first.

Casias told CNN in March that he never arrived at work high and used the medical marijuana only outside his work hours.

"I was angry they did this to me because I always tried my best," Casias told CNN.

He had worked for Wal-Mart for nearly five years to support his wife and two young children. He started at the company as a grocery stocker in 2004 and moved up to become an inventory control manager. He earned an Associate of the Year Award at Wal-Mart in 2008, a year before his termination.

CNN: ACLU sues Wal-Mart for firing employee using medical marijuana

Andrew Romanoff

Former President Clinton announced Tuesday that he is endorsing the challenger in the battle for Colorado's Democratic Senate nomination, rather than support Sen. Michael Bennet. The move puts Clinton at odds with his national party.

In an e-mail to supporters, the former president says he first met Romanoff in 1992. Clinton then goes on to describe what he calls the many accomplishments by Romanoff as a state lawmaker and then as Colorado's first Democratic House speaker since 1976.

"Colorado is far better off today because of Andrew Romanoff's leadership. America will be too," Clinton adds.

The Denver Post reports that Romanoff said he was honored by the endorsement.

"It's not enough to put a president of real talent and vision in the White House if the same qualities aren't matched at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue," he said Tuesday, according to the Post. "But there are still 3 million registered voters of this state who will get to weigh in, and that process begins in about three weeks."

The primary is scheduled for August 10.

CNN Political Ticker: Bill Clinton at odds with party over Colorado race

The Denver Post: Bill Clinton endorses Romanoff

Takeru Kobayashi

For the first time in almost a decade, the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York, will go on without its most recognizable face.

Kobayashi, who took home six consecutive titles from 2001 to 2006, will not be participating in the challenge this year because of a dispute with Major League Eating, the association's president, Richard Shea, said in a statement Monday.

"Major League Eating has sought to arrive at an agreement with Kobayashi, but contract negotiations have reached an impasse," the statement said.

Hailing from Japan and weighing in at 160 pounds, Kobayashi, 31, rose to mouth-stuffing stardom in 2001 when he devoured 50 dogs, shattering the previously held record of 25 1/8 franks. But in 2007, having entered the challenge with a jaw injury, Kobayashi met his match in Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California.

Chestnut downed 66 dogs to Kobayashi's 63 that year. Kobayshi has not won the competition since. Currently ranked third, Kobyashi still holds world records for eating cow brains (17.7 pounds in 15 minutes), lobster rolls (41 in 15 minutes) and rice balls (20 pounds in 30 minutes).

"We respect his place in the history of our sport," Major League Eating Chairman George Shea told CNN. "Everyone will always remember him for ushering in the modern era of eating."

CNN: Hot dog-devouring legend Kobayashi to miss Independence Day dog fest

YouTube: Kobayashi vs. Chestnut

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Steve Brian

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    June 30, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Grondahl

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      June 30, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. damiao

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    June 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |