August 2014

* SCOTUS considers whether to open new Gitmo appeals. [New York Times]
* Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Gates calls for Gitmo closure. [
CNN]
* Spears and Federline have reached a divorce settlement, so no crazy litigation for now. [MSNBC]
* Sorority that allegedly kicked out unattractive members sues University for totally being not cool about it. [AP via Dispatch]
Have a good weekend, and Go Buckeyes!

Time for a few updates on a subject near and dear to our heart, which we’ve been neglecting as of late: federal judicial nominations. Here’s the latest news:
Jennifer Elrod Judge Jennifer W Elrod Above the Law blog.jpg1. Texas state court judge Jennifer Elrod (at right), whom we previously identified as a possible nominee to the Fifth Circuit (and compared to Jennifer Aniston), has been officially nominated to that court. We’ve heard good things about Judge Elrod and wish her the best of luck in the confirmation process.
2. Connecticut state court judge Vanessa Bryant, discussed previously here, has been confirmed to the District of Connecticut.
3. Earlier this month, the White House sent a raft of judicial nominations over to the Senate. Nothing terribly exciting.
The two most controversial nominees in the bunch: state court judge Janet Neff (D. Mich.), and trial lawyer Richard Honaker (D. Wyo.). They may generate opposition on opposite sides of the aisle. Neff got a lot of grief from the conservative Sen. Sam Brownback for having attended a lesbian commitment ceremony. Honaker may be targeted by liberals for his record of strong opposition to abortion.
Here’s a random bit of trivia about Honaker: he was a Harvard classmate of Al Franken. If Honaker runs into opposition from liberals (despite being a trial lawyer and card-carrying member of ATLA), will Franken testify in his defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee?
(The article also mentions Billy Crystal, but we don’t believe Billy Crystal went to Harvard.)
Update: HA! The Billy Crystal mystery is revealed. Check out this comment.
Nomination Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Nominations Confirmed [Senate.gov via How Appealing]
Nominations Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Harris County civil judge nominated to federal bench [Houston Chronicle]
Bush renominates five Michiganians to federal judgeships [Detroit News]
Thomas announces judgeship nomination for Rock Springs lawyer [Casper Star-Tribune via How Appealing]

* A hilarious read if you’ve been there, even if I tell you that the punchline is that this 70-year-old rich lawyer dude with 40-year-old sheets now has a 22-year-old Russian girlfriend. [New York Times]
* I think I heard a colleague at one of my first jobs say he wanted to f*&k me like an animal. It was a good thing I didn’t find any cause of action, because it turns out it was just that Nine Inch Nails song playing in his cubicle. [Workplace Prof Blog]
* You are actually a day older than you think, a fact hopefully irrelevant to ATL readers. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Groupies are much less trouble. [MSN Music]

Arthur Miller Professor Arthur R Miller Above the Law blog.jpgOh no he didn’t… Oh yes he did! Check out this account of yesterday’s Supreme Court argument, by the AP:

Longtime Harvard law professor Arthur Miller (at right)… was arguing on behalf of shareholders who want to sue companies for fraud. Miller is a frequent television commentator, prolific writer and possibly the inspiration for an abrasive professor in a popular account of life at Harvard.

Justice Antonin Scalia and Miller were contemporaries at Harvard Law School in the late 1950s. Miller graduated in 1958, two years ahead of Scalia.

Scalia clearly was on the side of the companies, chiming in from time to time to make Miller’s difficult task a bit harder.

After one remark, Miller let loose: “Is that because you never met a plaintiff you really liked?”

OUCH. And it must have been ten times better in person:

There was laughter and an “ooh” from spectators. Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas laughed for several seconds, even after arguments resumed.

Miller, perhaps sensing he crossed a line, quickly added, “I took a liberty there with the justice.”

You sure did, Professor Miller — but it could have been worse. E.g.: “Yo mama is so stupid, she relies on legislative history!”
Scalia and Harvard Law Professor Trade Barbs in Court [AP via Law.com]

Jenkens Gilchrist Above the Law blog.jpgMaybe you’re grumpy because your firm hasn’t matched the latest associate pay raises. Maybe your clerkship bonus isn’t as big as the $50,000 now offered by Sullivan & Cromwell.
But at least you still have a job. From Bloomberg:

Jenkens & Gilchrist, a Dallas-based firm that once had 600 lawyers, is shutting down after reaching an accord with authorities to avoid prosecution for selling tax shelters that generated more than $1 billion in phony losses.

The firm admitted it developed and marketed fraudulent tax shelters and faces a $76 million fine, the Internal Revenue Service said.

The firm points a finger towards its Chicago office:

Jenkens & Gilchrist blamed its demise on unnamed lawyers in its Chicago office. That branch was closed on March 22.

“The Chicago tax shelter practice seriously undermined the firm’s long-standing reputation,” the firm said in a statement. “We deeply regret our involvement in this tax practice.”

This was probably ill-advised on the part of the firm:

Among the fraudulent shelters were transactions known as BOSS, BART and HOMER, prosecutors said in the agreement.

Guess those IRS types aren’t Simpsons fans.
Update: This Jenkens & Gilchrist promotional video is nothing short of mortifying.
Jenkens to Close After U.S. Agrees Not to Prosecute [Bloomberg]
U.S. Enters Non-Prosecution Pact With Jenkens & Gilchrist [WSJ Law Blog]

Stephen Kotran Stephen M Kotran Steven Kotran Steve Kotran Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgGandolfo DiBlasi Gandolfo V DiBlasi Vince DiBlasi Above the Law Blog.jpgIn a post from last week, we solicited your tips about two major players in the Charney v. S&C saga:

(1) litigation partner Gandolfo “Vince” DiBlasi, who allegedly intimidated Aaron Charney at a settlement meeting; and

(2) M&A partner Stephen Kotran, cited by Aaron Charney as an ally of his at the firm.

The post generated lots of comments, plus a few reader emails. We collect the highlights after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Brokeback Lawfirm: More on Vince DiBlasi and Steve Kotran”

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just announced that the Republicans have objected, under Senate rules, to the Kyle Sampson hearings continuing any further.
The committee, which returned from lunch at around 1:45, now stands in recess. We’ll keep you posted.
Update (2:42 PM): And we’re back. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is questioning Kyle Sampson.

At this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, one of the Democratic senators invoked the bugaboo of Karl Rove. In arguing that the U.S. Attorney firings HAD to be politically motivated, the senator cited the involvement of Rove, whom he referred to darkly as “the ultimate political insider.”
Demonizing Karl Rove is a favorite political pastime of the left. But is the man really that scary? Check out his performance at last night’s Radio and TV Correspondents’ dinner:

MC Rove [YouTube via Wonkette]

Week Opinion Awards 1.JPG
Sir Harold Evans reaches out to choke Claire Shipman, while Jim Lehrer giggles girlishly. Tucker Carlson and Tom Friedman are bored off their gourds.
Sometimes it feels like all we do is attend parties — it’s that time of year here in DC. On Tuesday night, we schlepped up to Georgetown for the annual Opinion Awards, sponsored by The Week magazine.
In case you’re not familiar with it, The Week describes itself — accurately, in our view — as “a spirited newsweekly that distills the best of news, opinion, and ideas from the U.S. and international media. It’s smart, incisive, wry.” It reminds us a lot of The Economist, in that after you finish reading it, you feel caught up with what’s going on in the world. But unlike The Economist, you can actually read it in one sitting.
(Okay, that’s it for the plug. But we felt that we owed them a plug, since dinner was delicious).
We saw our former co-blogger, Alex Pareene of Wonkette, at the dinner. His entertaining write-up of the evening appears here. A gallery of professional photographs, by the talented Liz Gorman, are available here.
And some decidedly non-professional photographs by us, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Week Opinion Awards: A Photo Essay”

(We were a little distracted by a technical glitch with the site that some commenters pointed out. But we think it has been fixed now, so we’re back to blogging on the hearings.)
Since our last post, there have been some exciting developments. Sen. Pat Leahy’s questioning was pretty boring; he walked Sampson through a bunch of emails, deposition-style.
But things got more interesting when Sen. Arlen Specter took over. Playing his role as Senate moderate, he asked some questions that could be viewed as friendly, and some as hostile. Senator Specter got Sampson to admit that some of Alberto Gonzales’s prior testimony was not consistent with Sampson’s recollection.
Things got even hotter during Sen. Chuck Schumer’s questioning. In a “yes or no,” Perry Mason-esque line of cross-examination, Senator Schumer got Sampson to admit — under oath, and with apparent reluctance — that several of AG Gonzales’s prior statements were “not accurate,” or at least not consistent with Sampson’s recollection. Ruh-roh…
You could tell that Senator Schumer was scoring points because Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a smart and savvy former prosecutor and judge, piped up in the middle of Schumer’s questioning. Senator Cornyn angrily protested that Sen. Schumer was being unfair in not allowing Kyle Sampson, a witness testifying under oath, to answer questions fully. Exciting stuff!
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) is trying too hard. It seems like he is looking for something to be upset about.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sounds like Alec Baldwin with a lisp. He is vaguely ridiculous.
Okay, it’s lunchtime. In recess until 1:45 PM.
Earlier: Kyle Sampson Inside the Lions’ Den

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